Are You Looking for Happiness?

Posted: March 16, 2010 in Translated from the Islamic & Arabic Culture

This is a two-part articel that I have translated from Arabic. I have posted the two  parts here. Enjoy!

Are You Looking for Happiness? (1)


By Ahmad Al-Shugairi

Translated by Maha Noor Elahi

“Of course, I am!” I assume that this would be the answer to my question, for who isn’t looking for happiness? All of us want to be happy, but the problem is that most of us search for happiness in the wrong place. A clear example of this is the story of the legendary rock and roll singer; The King, Elvis Presley. I have always felt astonished when reading his story. Elvis was given many graces that few people had. He made a breakthrough in the history of music and evoked an incomparable uproar in the media by his revolutionary style. He was a handsome young man enjoying all the advantages of good health and great wealth that most people dream of. Moreover, he got married to one of the most beautiful women of his time. His fame reached everywhere, and he had innumerable cars, jewels, and clothing. In brief, and from a sheer secular point of view, he had everything. Yet, in spite of all these gifts and pleasures, he died in a very awkward and pathetic way. Do you know how he died? He died in the bathroom of his house due to an excessive doze of drugs. He died sad, lonely, and full of anguish and grief. How could someone who has everything die is such a way? The reason is that Elvis (and many like him) have looked for happiness in the wrong place and in the wrong way. People who look for happiness outside themselves; in artificial materialistic matters and in momentary pleasures usually end up living in depression and emptiness. Unfortunately, I see that Elvis Presley’s story is repeated with several young Muslims who are enjoying a luxurious life. They have all the things that common men and women cannot even dare dream of, yet they are gloomy and dispirited. One might ask, what is the solution, and how can each one of us attain the desired happiness?


Are You Looking for Happiness? (2) 

I hope I have convinced my readers that artificial earthly pleasures of life are not the reason for genuine happiness. I also hope readers agree with me about believing that excessive indulgence in pleasures usually causes sadness and depression which is obvious in Elvis Presley’s life story.

And now, one might wonder, what is the solution? The solution is in a few golden words by the Islamic scholar, Ibn Taymia. After being imprisoned by his enemies, Ibn Taymia said with great content and confidence: “What will my enemies gain out of imprisoning me? My paradise is within my heart wherever I go. If I am locked up, it will not matter because I will have the chance to devote my time for contemplation. If I am killed, I will be a martyr, and if I am exiled, I will be a tourist.”

There are two morals out of this precious saying:

1- Searching for happiness has to be  within the self. Happiness will not come from having many cars, lovers, or palaces. If you feel some sort of pleasure when attaining these things, it will be only a temporary fake enjoyment that will be usually followed by a state of emptiness and distress. So happiness has to come from the inside, not the outside.

2- A person has to transform ordeals into graces, which means to make use of experiences and learn from them. It is like applying the Mohammedan principle (Optimism creates goodness). For example, you are in your car, and there is a traffic jam, and it seems that the situation is going to remain like this for the next thirty minutes. In such a condition, you have two options; either to spend this time grumbling and probably swearing at anyone in front of you, or to start complaining about the lack of organization in the roads and the ignorance of drivers. Theses two options will definitely cause you high blood pressure, anger, and bad temperو which will take you so far from the happiness or comfort that you are seeking.

However, you have a third option; make the best of this (bad) experience and train yourself to be patient. This terrible traffic jam can help you be more patient and kind with people in other situations. It is all about you and your reaction to the circumstances that you face. Yet this does not mean that a happy person never feels upset, sad, or worried as this is impossible. The difference is that a happy person is content and satisfied most of his/her time, and states of anxiety and grief pass by like a slight storm on a spring day.

Oh God, grant us happiness in the present life and in the hereafter.

  1. BLOGitse says:

    I agree 100%!
    It’s all about us, in ourselves – happiness.

  2. Happiness … it will last as the unanswered question of all times!

    Thanks Maha for this powerful translation …

  3. naeemaf says:

    that was really nice! thanks for translating his thoughts into beautiful writing!

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