Happiness by Ibn Faqih.
What is happiness and how do we obtain it?
Happiness means different things to different people. If you ask a single brother, his idea of happiness is getting married already. If you ask a married person, happiness might be having children. For people with children, it might be them behaving!
People used to define happiness as a subjective sense of well-being, but it turns out that's missing something. You can "feel happy" from eating chocolate, shopping, or chilling with friends, but once done you're miserable again. True happiness requires a sense of purpose and meaningful engagement, plus the feelings of well-being. Where does this feeling come from? We believe it comes only from righteousness, and studies can confirm that. There was a study in which two groups of people were given money, the first were told to spend only on themselves. The second group was told to spend the money on someone else.
Guess which group came back happier?
The one that did good. :)
Allah says in the Quran that those who do good, will not experience misery. We know that serving others and doing good is the key to genuine happiness, it creates purpose and meaningful engagement. The other key element to happiness is an understanding of reality, making sense of your existence and place in this world. That is where we, as people of faith, have an advantage. We know why we're here. We have a sense of purpose. Some people seek happiness through the perfect life, but all things in this world are temporary, only one is forever. There is no true satisfaction or happiness except Jannah, but the path to Jannah itself is also happiness to walk upon.
10% of your happiness is determined by external factors, the other 90% comes from how you perceive these factors. Think of the people who have everything in the dunia, but they're miserable, versus, those with nothing who are truly happy. There are people who see any test is life as an opportunity, versus those who see same issues as a threat. Two people can have the same disease or loss, and one can make the most of it and the other can be reduced to nothing. Experts, regardless of their religious beliefs or absence thereof, agree that happiness starts with gratitude.
Umar Ibn Zubair said, "Indeed we found joy in sabr."
A person without sabr will never experience happiness. To Allah belongs all that He gives and to Allah belongs what He takes. We praise Allah for what he gives and what he takes. This quote from Umar Ibn Zubair, who lost his 1st son and praised Allah for preserving the others rather than grieves. Turns out money can actually buy you happiness, but only when you spend it on other people. When you repent after a sin, Allah loves you, and when He loves you, those around you turn to you with love as well.
In short, we can conclude that happiness comes from 3 things:
1. Gratitude for blessings.
2. Patience during adversity.
3. Repentance after sin.
The wise man knows that a heart cannot found true happiness unless it is sound, qalb salim.
SubhanAllah, indeed a heart-opening!