The height of happiness was when my son was born, but that state of intense joy was fleeting, marred by sadness of my sickness. My wife was in fear. So, you see, at this level of happiness there was still sadness lurking, as for the first time in my life, I actually feared that I might die and not get to know my baby.
Happiness is perhaps the most sought after state of mind in the universe. Almost every human endeavor one way or the other links back to it. We work ourselves off to get there. And many people in their explanations for life decisions say, I just want to be happy. Well, I’m here to tell you, happiness is not in and of itself worthy of pursuit.
Happiness by default is temporary and fleeting. So to pursue it is to go after an illusion. Over dinner, a few nights ago, my wife asked what I thought of people getting hooked on psychoactive drugs. “This life, to be candid, is hard.” I said. “To face it one needs coping mechanism.”
In a world growing fastly into individualism, the community and sense of togetherness, as well as the social interactions that serve as some forms of coping strategies are at all time ebb. People thus turn everywhere for this temporary feeling of euphoria. But all roads towards it only lead to more need for it and thus a vicious cycle.
Life has been set. You will get your share of happiness. Guaranteed. You will also have your shares of sadness. Between these opposing states, you should search for a contentment with life pushes and pulls, a contentment that puts you in a kind of control and drives you to keep going no matter what. This contentment comes with the realization of one’s purpose, the meaning of one’s life. And this is where Islam comes in.
Choosing Islam has my path to God is not because of some cardiovascular benefits of Salah. It’s not because Muslims “invented” algebra or “created coffee” or because Qur’an is said to be found on a new born baby. It is because it directs me to the primary reason to my being – the worship of God. In this worship, I’m tasked to do things that please Him, and things that benefit the things He created, including human beings like myself. I’m not doing things just so that I can be happy today, and when that things stop giving me happiness, I jump to find another thing, and when I can’t get it organically, I induce it by the aid of substances that can heighten (upset) the neurotransmitters which Allah had (perfectly) set and give me a mechanical, artificial happiness.
No. I’m instead doing things commanded by Allah as much as I can in order to retain my freedom from shackles and to gain mastery over my desires which only ask to be fed with this euphoria everyday.
So, you see, I will be happy and I will be sad. And in both states, I will be His slave.
And God Himself declares: ۚ وَتِلْكَالْأَيَّامُنُدَاوِلُه بَيْنَ النَّاسِ… ك
“Such days (of happiness and sadness) We rotate among people…”
-Sura Aal-E-Imran, Ayah 140