We are going to talk about the American dream: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am going to start with the pursuit of happiness. Even though it is an incredible notion, I was pretty surprised to find that the Quran does not talk about the pursuit of happiness. The Quran talks about contentment as an ultimate peace. In Surah Najm (53:39), Allah (swt) says: “Wa Al-Laysa Lil-Insani Illa Ma Sa‘aa.” Human being will have nothing for his benefit, except whatever efforts he made.
- Happiness. The lowest of all the pursuits is happiness. It comes and goes, so you keep running after this drug. If your pursuit is only happiness, you are in for a lot of disappointment. One can never live in a constant state of happiness.
- Being cool. Let’s go to the second pursuit, which is the pursuit of ‘cool’. In order to be blended into the society, let me be cool, so that nobody would pick on me. Nobody would point at me and say: “Why are dressed like that? Why do you look like that?” You want to fit in and want to be invisible. In this case, the decision of what you are going to buy is actually driven by what people are going to think of it.
- Popularity. Next comes the pursuit of popularity. Let’s put it as follows: I do not just want to blend in – I want to be the coolest person around! I want to be the one that everybody else wants to be friends with. The obsession of “I want to be talked about”, “I want to be the centre of attention” and “I want people commenting on me” leads the way. Pursuit of popularity is a strange thing, because it makes people humiliate themselves. To achieve the pursuit of popularity, you have to maintain your image.
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