The Alchemy of Happiness

6 alchemy of happiness

Imam Al-Ghazali – Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic of Persian descent

The alchemy of happiness is a guide to transform the essence of man from baseness to the purity of the angelic state. This transformation is through increasing one’s knowledge of Allah (swt). However, before you can begin to know Allah (swt), you must first know yourself. This starts with the understanding of a human being’s two distinct components:

  • The body
  • The heart (the spiritual heart)

There are five steps to understand the heart:

  1. Recognize its existence.
  2. Know its true nature: The heart works to seek happiness through the knowledge of Allah (swt), which it acquires through the knowledge of Allah (swt)’s creation.
  3. The body is a kingdom: The body is a kingdom and within it, the limbs and organs are its workers.
    1. Appetite is the tax collector;
    2. Anger is the policeman;
    3. Intellect is the Chief Minister;
    4. The heart is the king.

The body is in a constant spiritual struggle between being held captive by appetite and anger and using them as a weapon to attain spiritual fulfillment. If the heart acts at the advice of the intellect and keeps appetite and anger under control, a part of happiness will be made accessible. But if the intellect becomes a prisoner of anger and appetite, the kingdom will become desperate, and the heart will be destroyed.

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Is Allah (swt) Happy with Me?

How can a believer tell that Allah (swt) is happy with him? Is there any sign?

If a person is doing what pleases Allah (swt), then he or she should feel that He is happy with him or her; otherwise, what was the point of Allah (swt) telling us to do what pleases Him? We don’t have to wait for any divine sign like a bolt of lightning from the heaven, stars, and so on. It is enough to know and feel certain that we are doing what pleases Allah (swt).

How does Islam describe happiness? Are there any examples from lives of the Sahabahs? Does our present-day definition of happiness differ from that of Islam?

Happiness is when we experience a state of emotional and spiritual satisfaction or pleasure, which is the ultimate happiness. We know from the lives of the Sahabahs that they were happy in the presence of the Prophet (sa). They were happy even in giving away their lives, when needed, for Allah’s (swt) pleasure.

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Happiness- Six steps away

Vol 7 - Issue 1 The real happinessIt was a usual bright morning, and I was standing in the main foyer. Suddenly, cold wind touched my skin, and at once I uttered Alhumduillah! Thanking your Creator also provides you with an essence of happiness.

Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:28)

Smiling and laughing all the time doesn’t make you happy. Following are the ways which will help you to attain happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

Ponder and give thanks

You think about the loss, and do not give thanks for what is with you. Ponder upon yourself, your household, your good health and you will find yourself genuinely blessed by Allah (swt).

Think of the people who are less privileged, count on your blessings and give thanks to your Creator.

“And if you would count the graces of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly! Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (An- Nahl 16:18)

The past is gone

The ingredient for happiness is to avoid lengthy meditation on the past. Recalling the past, reacting to it and being sad are stupidity and madness. Be courageous and embrace your present with much enthusiasm and live it; and surely He is sufficient for us and is the best disposer of affairs.

“…And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed.” (Al-Maidah 5:23)

Patience and prayer

Be patient, no matter how difficult the situation gets, and the path gets darkened- happiness and ease comes with distress and hardship. When fear engulfs you, and sadness surrounds you, rest and tranquil your soul through Salah.

“O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). Truly! Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.) (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

Consolation from the stricken

Look around- do you find any other afflicted being? Every home has a weeping story. You should take consolation from those stricken with adversity, and try to live happy with what you have.

“Or think you that you will enter paradise without such (trials) as come to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken….” (Al-Baqarah 2:214)

Make a pleasant drink from the lemon

When an adversity befalls on you, try to look at the bright side; take out every possible positive aspect. Don’t let people or situations ruin your happiness. When a person hands over a cup of lemon to you, add a cup of sugar to it, and when he presents a snake to you, take its priceless skin and leave the rest. Being happy is all in your hands.

Greed and love for Paradise

If you are eager to gain Jannah, you will definitely refrain yourselves from wrong doings. Ignore all the negatives of your life, and try to lead yourself with the formula of “Sabr and Shukr”; you will feel peace and happiness within yourself.

Remind yourself of the paradise, the width of which is as that of the heaven and the earth.

“Peace be upon you for that you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!” (Ar-Ra’d 13:24)

These ways will make your life easy and full of happiness Insha’Allah.

Beyond Good Grades

Good_GradeI was astonished to hear what she had just said. My mind was spinning, as her words kept echoing in my ears.

‘My mother, she hit me with a belt; she was not happy with my grades.’

This was her reply to the inquiry I made about the marks near her elbow. A reply that till this day sends shivers down my spine.

We were in sixth grade at that time, and everyone knew we were inseparable. She was like my sister. And, being very fond of each other, we didn’t hide things from one another. But, that was the first time she confided in me about the horrific beatings she had to go through.  I clearly remember her warm, hazel eyes become teary as she explained everything.

It was the dream of her parents to see her as a successful doctor. And, to make it come true, they expected her to bring back home nothing less than outstanding grades, forgetting that slowly and gradually, she was becoming a slave to all that they desired.

Of course, parents have dreams for us; and at times, we have goals for ourselves. We are brought up amongst people who tell us that we need to become ‘something’ when we grow up. Grades, careers, schools and universities become fragments of our thoughts without which we feel incomplete. Surrounded by chaotic competition, we often forget the real purpose of our lives. Pre-occupied with temporary gains, we begin to lose precious days chasing after endless enticements that eventually lead nowhere. We become prisoners of our dreams and wishes; we feel trapped, suffocated and helpless when we fail to achieve what we wanted to. We feel afraid when life throws at us trials that our degrees didn’t train us for.

However, what we should have realized was- that the race for the best grades, reputable jobs and most expensive cars, was one that had no finish- line. We were deceived into believing that progress in material gains and promotions to higher ranks were the only ways to find happiness.

There will be no end to our desires, our wants, our plans and our dreams if we don’t limit them. At times, it is important to break away, to disconnect yourself from your surroundings, and remember that your story has already been written; you are merely on the journey to uncover it.

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (ra) is reported to have said: “No amount of guilt can change the past; and no amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s (swt) Decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from it you cannot flee.”

He knows whether you will become an engineer or a doctor; He has written down how much it is that you will earn; He knows what is best for you, and it is He who we fail to turn to.

We may have a hundred plans for our lives; a thousand ways in which we have pictured our future. But, suddenly, our life takes an unexpected turn, and we reach a path we never even thought about, and that path is Allah’s (swt) plan for you.

And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you (O Muhammad (sa)) to imprison you, or to kill you, or to get you out (from your home, i.e. Makkah); they were plotting and Allah too was planning, and Allah is the Best of the planners.” (Al-Anfal 8:30)

A Decade of Happy Marriage


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9 happy marriage

Being a young girl, I repeatedly had to listen to such statements: “Whatever you study, one day you have to get married and do the household chores.”

I used to ignore it as much as I could. After the bone-breaking study of medicine with all work and no play schedule, there came a time when I had to tie a knot with somebody and leave all my books. I had to start from scratch and set foot in the sea of entirely new experiences and learning. Anatomy and biochemistry that had become a part and parcel of my life got replaced by the study of kitchen management and hacks.

My married life is now ten years old, and a proud feather is added to my marriage cap. I have realized the deeper meaning of marriage – it is a pact of making your sharp corners round.

According to Mufti Ibrahim Desai: “There can be no doubt in the success of a marriage governed by the fear of Allah (swt).”

I don’t celebrate marriage anniversaries by parties or hip-hop; but I do celebrate by pondering over the lessons that I had learnt during that year and store them in my memory. Each year, I implement those lessons into my life to get more happiness and success. My secret of a blissful marriage is based on the following lessons.

  1. Silence is the best medicine

It is very usual to have differences, but to remain calm and composed is an art, which is achieved through excellent self-control tactics. Arguing at times of conflict can make the situation worse by letting the Satan enter into it.

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “If anyone is humble for the sake of Allah (swt) by a degree, Allah (swt) will elevate him one degree, until he reaches the highest degrees; if anyone is arrogant towards Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will lower him one degree until he reaches the lowest of low degrees.” (Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani)

The very first thing that took me to the tantrums after my marriage was the late night schedule of my husband’s job. As my father was a government officer, we used to enjoy the evening tea with him at home. When I shared that with my hubby, I got a mind-blowing lecture of office responsibilities and problems. The best I could do was to pray to Almighty Allah (swt) and remain silent. The next year, my hubby changed the job, in which he had the facility to return back home early and could work from home. Silence helped me keep a peaceful environment at home.

  1. Conquer through love

Love is the language that everybody understands. Showing constant gratitude and love takes your hubby to the Mount Everest of his self-esteem. In turn, he showers you with the same.

  1. To err is human, to forgive – divine

Females have a 967432 GB of memory, and on any little issue, they open up the historical book of complaints, which ignites never-ending arguments. I used to avoid it by imagining the large number of women burning in hellfire, due to ungratefulness to their husbands.

It was narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas (rtam) that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “I was shown Hell, and I have never seen anything more terrifying than it. And I saw that the majority of its people are women.” They said: “Why, O Messenger of Allah (sa)?” He said: “Because of their ingratitude (Kufr).” It was said: “Are they ungrateful to Allah (swt)?” He said: “They are ungrateful to their companions (husbands) and ungrateful for good treatment. If you are kind to one of them for a lifetime and then she sees one (undesirable) thing in you, she will say: ‘I have never had anything good from you.’” (Bukhari)

  1. The foolish secret

I know this is difficult to apply for many of us, but believe me – it works. I used to surprise my hubby by listening to common talks with great astonishment. It is a secret, which I apply regularly and keep my relationship filled with joy.

  1. Invest in your relationship

Sharing lovely gifts and words adds strength to my life and fuels my passion to live together. A beautifully-wrapped present leaves a long lasting effect on the heart of your hubby – it will never be a waste!

  1. Out of sight wins the mind!

It sounds awkward but this is another secret to my fulfilling joyous life. Whenever I used to return from my mom’s house, I used to find a new spark in my married life. Being away for some time allows one to re-discover, and have some ‘me’ time. It helps both to settle and look into the disputes with an impartial aspect.

  1. Give credit

Your achievements and success must be because of your hard work, but transfer the credit to your hubby, as that success wouldn’t have been possible without his broadmindedness, compromise, support, and appreciation. Try to be more courteous and giving.

  1. Show gratitude

Thank your hubby often; it takes just a second but kindles the light of respect and love. Nothing big is required to admit his support – only a nice comment on his return from the office or shop can make the day wonderful for both of you.

  1. Share with care

Effective communication is the life and blood of a successful relationship. Not a single day of my married life has passed without sharing problems, asking or just telling the whole day routine. It gradually and slowly builds up the understanding between the two souls.

  1. Trust is a must

Last but not the least, trust is the key to a prosperous and ever growing married life. Hiding petty matters from the hubby may be of no value at the moment, but it will eventually shake the pillars of married life. Remember the key point that after your marriage, your hubby is the most worthy person in your life. Although ten years have passed, I am still striving to the best of my abilities, so that I don’t let anyone down. Insha’Allah.

Resolving family conflicts

familyIslam is based on a relationship with Allah (swt), with its creations and the world we live in. As soon as we come together, a potential conflict exists. But conflict is not unnatural. Of course with Allah (swt), there is no conflict- as He is Al-Aziz (The Mighty) and Al-Jabbar (The Compeller). Whatever He decides will be. However, between humans there exist differences. Allah (swt) wants us to take the best out of these differences. It is Allah (swt) Who has planted the seed of difference in our existence in regard to other human beings. Be it our colour, our nations, our tribes, etc.

We live in a community, and were not sent to live in a monastery or on top of a mountain. The Prophet (sa) said: “The believer who mixes with humans and bear’s their harm is better than the one who does not mix with people and bear their harm.” (Tirmidhi) Hence, the preferable way for the believer is to deal with conflicts positively as it contains good. But, as soon as we utter the word ‘conflict’, we think negative. We are trained to think that ‘we should avoid it, block it as it is bad.’ Circumstances without it are better.

The issue is, are we able to identify the good in the conflict? The following might just alter your perspective:

  1. Means for a change. Conflicts provide just that. When we change from what we were doing to something different, it highlights that our previous way of handling something was wrong. It shows a conflict between what we were doing versus the best way to do something. This spells the need for us to change to what is beneficial for all.
  2. Motivates us. Conflicts motivate us to do better. Otherwise, we are complacent and lazy about the way things are. Things either improve or degrade. The idea of going at one pace with no ups and downs is impossible. That is not life. That is the life of a stone. Living creatures experience change- whether it is a caterpillar changing into a butterfly, or a child growing up to be an adult. Allah (swt) states, “We created human beings in struggle.” (Surah Balad, 90: 4)) Struggle is a result of conflict. Gravity tells us to lie down, but struggle tells us to roll over. Gravity tells us to stay where we are. Struggle tells us to move, and eventually, we start walking. Struggle and conflict are part of our own development.
  3. Increases awareness of issues. Pain in life is important for us to know that things are not going in the right direction in life. Those patients, who due to a damaged nervous system are unable to feel pain, self-destruct themselves. Pain lets us know where our problem exists; otherwise, we would bleed and bruise to death. Similarly, conflicts identify where issues need to be corrected so we can repair and improve.
  4. Improves decision-making. Conflicts also cause decisions to be sought out more carefully. Through conflicts, some careful decision-making is reached; more precautions are taken and secure analysis is done.

    The attitude of gratitude is the most powerful attribute after believing in Allah (swt). Whenever you feel frustrated, distressed, in the middle of a conflict make Sujood-as-Shukr.

  5. Opportunity for self-assessment. It helps us to understand what we are really like. We might think of ourselves as someone very calm and understanding, but as the heat turns on our voices raise. It exposes our weakness. It is under conflict that we can take benefit for personal change to correct short comings that we are not normally aware of.
  6. Smaller conflicts defuse greater conflicts. If we can deal with certain issues by catching them at an earlier stage, we are then able to prevent greater harm at a later stage. It is nipped in the bud.
  7. Amusement, if not taken seriously. Differences can be put in place. If we have the ability to handle them in a non-serious manner, we can laugh about them. We all argue and later look back and laugh at it realizing that it was nothing to be uptight about.
  8. With every evil exists good. Can we capitalize on the positive and do not become overwhelmed and overcame by conflicts? Allah (swt) does not cause any harm, evil or bad to occur, unless there is a good side to it. Allah (swt) didn’t create Satan to commit evil. Likewise, Allah (swt) didn’t create Hazrat Adam (as) to disobey. But, He did provide them with the opportunity to ask for forgiveness later. The template for life is, ‘Repentance must follow error and sin.’ And the power of repentance is so great that the Prophet (sa) said: “One who repents from sins is like one who never sinned.” (Ibn Majah; Hasan)). Repentance is a higher level of worship. It is the reason for creation of sin.
  9. A means to get to know others. When we face a problem, we should work vigorously to deal with the problem and not the person. Also, we must understand that asking others and their listening to us doesn’t equate to agreeing to and obeying. We confuse ourselves when we say something and assume that others are in agreement. We need to ensure first if he/she accepts it or not.
  10. Develops Husn-e-Zan. In the course of a dialogue, words have impact. If in the discussion we accuse: “You said or you thought or you did…” it works like fuel on the fire. You are taking it right to the person. Instead, you may say: “I thought or it was my interpretation or I understood…” This does not sound confrontational. You are defusing the problem. Hence, beware of ‘you’ and ‘your’. Always give the benefit of the doubt to others by assuming the best interpretation they meant. To have assumed the worst, well in fact, it wasn’t intended at all, is bad.

Importance of gratitude

It is for us to take the good out of conflicts when they occur in families, whether it is between spouses, parents and their children or siblings. We need to look at the glass that is half full. Islam always talks about positivity. Muslims recite the chapter of Fatihah seventeen times daily. What is it? It teaches gratefulness. The attitude of gratitude is the most powerful attribute after believing in Allah (swt). Whenever you feel frustrated, distressed, in the middle of a conflict make Sujood-as-Shukr. This is the best cure. It was the Prophet’s (sa) regular practice. Sujood-as-Shukr keeps us in touch with the positive side of reality.

Ingratitude is so dangerous that the Prophet (sa) said the majority of women will be in hellfire as they are quick to deny good. It’s an alarming practice with horrible consequences. It is important for us to be grateful to Allah (swt) and then to our fellow beings. The Prophet (sa) said that whoever is not thankful to people is not thankful to Allah (swt). If the wives do not appreciate their husbands for what they have done, they are not thanking Allah (swt) either. Similarly for men, big displays of gratitude to Allah (swt) mean little if they mistreat their wives.

Some conflicts end in depression. Depression is the inability to recognize good. Hundreds of people are killing themselves due to it. Psychologists consider offering gratitude to be the best remedy for dealing with depression. As a general principle when resolving family conflicts this needs to be considered carefully. This is a huge topic. We can apply this principle to virtually all circumstances.

In any conflict, ask Allah (swt) what good does He want to bring forth? Then develop strategies. Difference between needs, values and beliefs are reasons for problems resulting between people in conflict. Though Pakistan has mostly a homogenous community, still there are some unique familial, tribal customs and values people carry with them as they come together in marriage.These are some foundations of conflict, but Allah (swt) commands us to resolve them.

We need to ask ourselves a very vital question: “Would I rather be happy or would I rather be right?”

Say ‘Go’ to your Ego!

In families, the biggest problem is communication breakdown. Marriage psychologists especially highlight this challenge. Men usually do not like to talk. Women always like to talk. There are different ways that people use to deal with their troubles. We must keep the dialogue going. We need to ask ourselves a very vital question: “Would I rather be happy or would I rather be right?” What if you actually give up when you have an opportunity to further go into conflict?

The Prophet (sa) states: “If a person gives up his argument in spite of being right, Allah (swt) promises him a place in Jannah.” (Abu Dawud). Some people insist that they will fight for their right, but actually, it is not always wise to be right and have the last say. One must analyze the situation. What is the greater good of the situation?  Greater good is in happiness. Allah (swt) has put a husband and a wife together for them to be in a state of love, comfort and happiness.  Do not let smaller issues be blown out of proportion.

Transcribed by Rana Rais Khan, editor Hiba.

Confide in Who? Him or You?

fireworksLife is unpredictably weird. We don’t understand what it wants from us. It shows us its bright side- full of colors and happiness, but we tend to end up in the shades of darkness. If certain things are not meant for us, then why do we even get a glimpse of them? When some people share their achievement with the people around them, especially their family; they all get so excited for them. Excitement is just a gesture to portray that they are happy. But, here in our lives everything goes in an opposite direction.

Whenever we convey any good news to some people- they do get happy for a few moments, but then they are back to sort out their problems, regardless of the fact that someone has shared something with them. In such a situation, we must try our best cope up with everyone in the best possible manner.

Maybe, we are seeking our ultimate happiness in the wrong direction. Maybe, these achievements are not the only happiness for us; or the people with whom we are sharing the news are not the right ones who could bring cherish moments to us. And, we might have relied on wrong sources for wrong reasons. Well, we cannot wholly blame it on the people around us- after all they all are human beings. They will make mistakes, they will let you down, and they will not react the way you want them to. Hence, we are wrong from the very beginning. But, if we are wrong, then what is the right solution?

Who to confide into?

Okay, the simple solution is to share your news or achievements first and foremost with your Lord, who actually granted you that opportunity. Thank Him, praise Him, and value His power; take out everything in front of him, like- how you did it, what hurdles you faced or how you tackled the drift, even share that how you feel about it after achieving such a big thing in your life. Share it like you are sharing something with someone most important, who will surely understand you and will utterly be happy for you. And on a serious note- yes He will be happy for you; and secondly, He will actually listen to you (Who in today’s world is ready to give you time and listen to your struggle story?). He will regard you; He will make you feel better and positive. And, while sharing your precious news with your Lord, you will face no criticism or “the comments”.

“Expect from others, and expect to be disappointed. Expect from the Almighty, and He will provide. He will also pave the way for greater things.”
-Mufti Ismail Menk

How to confide in your Lord?

How should we deliver our thanks and praise to Him. One very simple way is to pray two Rakat extra prayer in order to say “Thank You” to your Lord. This way you will be thankful to your Lord’s blessing that He had bestowed upon you. You are able to share your news with Someone very special; and doing this you will be getting a reward as well. Moreover, it doesn’t mean, that you stop sharing your news or achievements with your family or people. You should share it with them, but after the above process for you will not be disappointed Insha’Allah. In the end, life is unpredictable but it is not weird at all; our approach, understanding and our reasoning makes our life weird. We need to change our approach towards life and life will turn out to be beautiful, Insha’Allah!

“The secret of happiness is accepting where you are in life, making the most out of every day, and always looking to Allah (swt) for what’s ahead.”
–Dr. Bilal Philips

10 Reasons to Be Positive in Life

optimismIt has become a very common thing in our lives that if we face discouragement, disappointment or a set-back, we simply move towards the “negative zone”- that is towards the dark side of our existence. We tend to believe that it is the last stop of our life, and no good will ever happen to us again. But, we forget that life is a road of opportunities- one goes, other comes. Moreover, while being in the zone of negativity, we overlook the good things that have or had happened to us in our lives. This negative zone lead us to the path where we start to believe that “We are good for nothing”, and nothing good will happen to us again. It is the height of negative thinking.

Instead, after a disappointment or a set-back, people should remain positive. It will help them remain calm and composed emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Also, it will bring a new outlook of life which will be based on optimism.

Here are the ten incredibly motivating reasons to acquire a positive approach towards life.

1. Feel Better

One of the peaceful reasons of being positive is to feel better.  During a set-back or hard time, you usually feel down and powerless, because negativity is all around you- making feel like nothing will ever change. But, if you remain calm and take that set-back or hardship as a phase which will fade away. Then, this thought would surely make you feel better.

2. Ability to cope up

Well, hardships are a part of life. They will never go away. But, with positive attitude, you can cope up with the hard times which will help you to remain strong, calm and compose during tough times.

3. Motivation

Your positive approach will help you stay motivated towards your goal or aim in life, and no obstacle or hardship will ever de-motivate you.

4. Regain self-esteem

With positive attitude- you believe in yourself; you value yourself; you do not underestimate your potential or strengths, and you trust your decisions.

5. Attain Good Health

Positive approach keeps you away from tension, depression, and many mental illnesses. It gifts you a good health.

6. Happiness all around

Optimism is one of the charms that even during hardship, it keeps you happy and content with your life.

7. Gratitude

Positive perspective makes you grateful, thankful and pleased with all the blessings and gifts you have. It creates a huge distance between you and negativity or ungratefulness.

8. Gift of Courage

While acquiring this beautiful approach in life, it grants you one of the tremendous tendencies such as courage. It helps you to remain strong against every obstacle; it gives stamina to keep on fighting and eliminates our fears.

9. Make impossible, possible

Whether it is a test, exam, interview or an assignment, sometimes we feel it is impossible to accomplish. But, with positivity we can make impossible, possible.

10. Farewell to Stress

Usually, we feel stressful during important tasks or difficult times, which disables us to remain focus and determined. But, with optimistic attitude, we can say farewell to stress and welcome a happy life!

Try it!


Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to change yourself, rather than others,
Try to accept mistakes and not point fingers,
Try to be patient and try to be grateful,
Try to be honest, sincere and thoughtful!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to wipe some tears and spread happiness,
Try to eradicate poverty and loneliness,
Try to race for helping the deprived in need,
Try to change your surroundings, pay heed!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to always keep pure your intentions,
Try to be the guard of your tongue and actions,
Try not to hurt other’s feelings, nor despair,
Try to be role models, make friends and share!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to mend broken hearts and serve the Deen,
Try to appreciate the positivity that you’ve seen,
Try to be an embodiment of truth and care,
Try to revive the Sunnah, to Quran please adhere!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to sincerely follow Allah’s (swt) commandments,
Try to avoid gaining His wrath and disappointments,
Try to please your Creator and not His creation,
Try to pass on this lesson to the next generation!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Starting Afresh!

My happiness knew no bounds!
My heart wouldn’t stop to pound!

I caught this lady and said, “I was in!”
My tears couldn’t be controlled within!

It was an unbelievable achievement!
It left me shaking in bewilderment!

My sins started to occur in my mind!
My thoughts were set to ‘rewind’!

I held that lady and told her that I was selected!
How else could I thank Allah (swt), for my sinful soul He hadn’t rejected!

While in Rukoo, I burst into tears again,
When came Sajood, my consciousness I couldn’t regain!

I thanked Him, I laughed, I smiled,
Like a little baby, that day I cried,

I couldn’t believe my fate,
I had been chosen – so what if late?

Such is the mercy of Allah (swt) beyond comprehension!
Human errs and errs again, yet He gives you attention!

It only takes sincere intention and heartfelt Du’a,
He runs towards you, when you walk towards Allah (swt)!

Oh, Allah (swt), please make this journey easy for me,
May I benefit from it and spread the message of Thee,

Ya Rabb, please forgive me and cleanse me of my sins!
I want to start afresh, as my journey towards Quran begins!


(Note from the author: This poem is an effort to express my feelings on getting admission in the Taleem Al-Quran course, 2015. Alhamdulillah!)

If I can go back…


My past cannot be retrievable, cannot be reversible

The imprints are still there, which determines my story

It determines who I am, it doesn’t seem like a fairy tale

I wish I can go back once and pick up the crumbs of ifs and buts

the chants of complains and nuisance of negativity

the uproars  of hopelessness and discomforts of despair

the burden of countless expectations from myself and others

the world became a gloomy and lonely place for years

the positivity seems to shatter, the true passion disappeared

the wave of darkness overcame the joys and cheers

the circle of trust was weakened, the hopes and dreams shattered

life was meaningless, clueless, worthless, and senseless

why it happened what  was the reason behind all this distress

may be it was the lack of trust on the Lord

may be it was too much trust on one own self

may be it was the shackles of  ingratitude leaving me heartless and cold

may be the reward of every hardship in the hereafter was forgotten

maybe the real purpose of this life was stolen by the glitters of this world

then I realized that the Lord never burdens the soul what it can’t bear

He is with you, He holds you, He calms you , He is always there  for you

His words gives you hope, His remembrance gives you peace

He never leaves you alone, his decisions are always fair

no matter how harsh and hurtful this life can be

if you are patient, the everlasting joys are yours to share.

Consistency – Allah’s (swt) Favourite Trait

ConsistencyAllah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.” (Al-Imran 3:190)

Staying consistent is one of the most difficult jobs in this world. Look around yourself, and it will not be long, before your gaze discerns innumerable dissatisfied souls ambling away towards unknown worlds. Not long will it take for the same gaze to discover a similar ailment within yourself, too. Have you ever wondered, as to why the percentage of truly successful individuals/ states/ organizations/ entities is very small! The secret of their success undoubtedly rests very plainly in this seemingly simple word – consistency.

Consistency all around us

Allah (swt) is Consistent in all His traits. We definitely cannot be Allah (swt), but He who has created us wants to see this quality in us. Several times the Quran has enjoined us to perform certain obligations (Good deeds, Sabr, Salah, Zakat, Dhikr, Taqwa) with great emphasis. The repetition of these instructions shows us that they are not a one-time duty that Allah (swt) wants us to perform but a repeated series of acts, the repetition of which may make them a part of our character. And when these acts become intrinsically attached to our souls, the change will surely surface, followed with immense blessings and success in both worlds. Insha’Allah.

Life warrants one thing, death, day – night, and disaster – happiness; each follows a set pattern again and again. This consistency in their occurrences, promise a continuation of life. The day even a single atom terminates its action or changes course, Doomsday shall descend.

Nature shows it too very plainly. The bird flap flaps and flies, the baby suck sucks and drinks, the wave roars and hits, the river swishes and cascades, the cuckoo coo-coos and sings; hence, life  goes on and on for as long as it is ordained to. Repetition, being a constant characteristic everywhere!

We all harbour an innate desire and tendency to do good. We are success mongers. And for it, we strive surely but not consistently – and here is where the flaw lives. We work hard, promise help to the needy, stay positive, exhibit compassion, prevent gossiping, pray sincerely, recite Quran; but all of this we may do for a day, two days or may be a month beyond which our strength to struggle dissipates and our yearning for a grand result explodes.

Stay consistent and succeed

In short, the small word ‘consistency’ holds the key to success. Whether it be good grades, more wealth, knowledge, happiness, internal satisfaction or piety, consistency is the magical word that can make all happen. For it is in the nature, around us, within us, in every living cell/atom of the universe. Every particle is harmoniously synchronized to repeatedly sing a similar melody, and complete the beautiful picture called life.

This task may not be simple, but we have examples of truly successful people and a perfect example of our beloved Prophet (sa) to guide us along this road, as in it lies our true and sure salvation.

Etiquettes of Celebrations – The Sunnah Way

ConfettiThe faces of the old and young – and indeed even the trees and birds around us – rejoice when they come to know about the happiness of the beloved Prophet (sa). His happiness is the happiness for those, who love him, and it is guidance for his followers. The Prophetic guidance teaches us the manners of how to be happy in the times of success and joy.

Allah (swt) did not create us to be robots. He created us with feelings, will, intellect and has granted us the liberty to choose and to act according to the situations. Now it is obligatory on a believer to adopt the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) in every sphere of his life, as acting upon Sunnah is also a worship of our Lord.

Let’s learn the etiquettes of celebrating joy and success as per Sunnah of the Prophet(sa) in different occasions of our lives.

Marriage – A Sacred Occasion

Out of all the occasions of celebration of joy and success, the marriage comes first on the list, as this is the occasion of our life in which we break the rules and commandments of Allah (swt) the most. Marriage (Nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. It is a major step in one’s life. Marriage is a matter of great responsibility which should not be taken lightly by any means. In Islam, a marriage ceremony is comprised of a Nikah (marriage contract) followed by a Walima (marriage feast) once the marriage is done.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The marriage, which is most greatly blessed, is the one which is the lightest in burden (expense). However, if people are well catered for, without extravagance and show, there is no problem with that either.” (Baihaqi)

Nowadays, our marriages follow such rituals and customs on which we tend to waste enormous amount of money and time that simply isn’t required. Nikah and Walima are both the Sunnahs of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), so we should try to commemorate these joyous occasions in the same way as he did to make them more valuable and blessful.

According to Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa), the Nikah can be held at the local asjid or at home whereas the Walima can be held anywhere.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out.” (Mishkat)

Anas  describes one of the Walimas hosted by the Prophet (sa): “The Prophet(sa) stayed for three days at a place between Khaibar and Madinah and there he consummated his marriage with Safiyya bint Huyay (rta). He invited the Muslims to a banquet which included neither meat nor bread. The Prophet (sa) ordered leather dining sheets to be spread. Dates, dried yogurt and butter were provided over it and that was the Walima (banquet) of the Prophet (sa).” (Bukhari)

There is nothing wrong with  an elaborate ceremony being  held in an elegant banquet hall and a full-course meal if you can afford. But its neither a criteria nor a requirement of a successful marriage. Moreover by doing so many people become the victim of debt due to spending extravagantly on this occasion which is of no use.

Although it’s not that easy to row your boat in the opposite direction to which the society is moving, but it’s worth going against the tides that are against the command of  Allah (swt) and the teachings of the Prophet (sa). We should try our utmost to follow the footsteps of Prophet (sa) rather than blindly following the pathetic, shameless acts of Jahiliyyah in our wedding ceremonies which lead to nothing but Fitnah and do not even guarantee  a successful marriage.

Eid – The Blessful Occasion

Islam is a very practical yet reasonable religion. After spending the whole month of Ramadan in worshipping Allah (swt), Muslims are blessed with the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr to celebrate this success with happiness and excitement. Similarly, Allah (swt) has blessed us with Eid- ul-Adha in the memory of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as).Therefore on these two occasions, the observance of the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (sa) doubles our celebration and joy.

The Sunnahs of Eids include:waking up early in the morning than usual, brushing of teeth with Miswak, taking a bath, dressing up in neat and clean clothes, using perfume and the performance of Eid Salah at the Eidgah. However it is a Sunnah to avoid eating dates or something sweet before Eid Salah of Eid-ul-Fitr , reciting aloud Takbeerat on the way to the place of prayer for Eid-ul-Adha and silently for Eid-ul-Fitr:

 “Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar Laa ilaaha illallaahu Wallaahu Akbar walillaahil Hamd.”

Using of different routes to and from the place of Eid Salah and the offering of two Rakahs of Salat-ul-Eidain (which is Wajib) are the Sunnah of celebrating these joyous occasions.

Sport Success Celebration

Then there comes a celebration of success and joy during sports activities where we are especially required to follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa). Playing sports is permissible in Islam. There are some sports which are considered to be Sunnah sports such as archery, wrestling, swimming, running, horse riding, camel racing and competition. Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to watch these sports and also award those who won.

Regardless of age, everybody is engaged or interested in some kind of sport. Sport is defined as ‘physical activities in the form of games, races and competitions that aim to improve fitness.’

While playing sports and celebrating the success, one must keep the following things in mind; the foremost is not to indulge in sports to such an extent that you miss your Fard prayers or to take part in sports where you have to play sports with the opposite gender.

According to Sunnah, the sportsman is not even allowed to wear such clothes which do not cover the body parts that are obligatory to cover. During the celebration of victory and joy, it is not permissible to use foul language, slandering and bad behaviour against the opponents. Furthermore, it is against the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) to play sports in areas where you become the cause of suffering for others such as roads and crowded streets.

Gratitude is Sunnah

In short, it is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) to be humble and thankful to Allah (swt) when one gets His Blessings in the form of success or joy rather being rude, boastful and arrogant. Whenever the Prophet Muhammad (sa) was happy, for example, after coming back from a battle or on the occasions of Eids, marriage or any other occasion of happiness; he always used to offer Nafil to thank Almighty Allah (swt) and also included the poor and needy in his happiness by giving charity or Sadaqah.

It’s not Bad to be Sad

sadCo-authored by Umm Isam

We often aim to escape from a phase of sadness, assuming that it’s not a ‘good’ or ‘normal’ state to be in. We feel sorry for people, who are undergoing certain sorrow or distress. Have we wondered why we are feeling this way? We often fail to realize that sadness is an emotion just like any other emotion in our life. Why do we feel so bad about being sad? How did we come to this conclusion that sadness is bad and happiness is good? Let’s look into some reasons which we fail to acknowledge.

It is important to note that we live in a capitalist structure of society, which was initiated in the era of industrialization. Capitalism defines the society in a way that everyone seeks happiness in a certain object or material product. It has designed the media, products, schooling system, movies and dramas in a way that depicts a constant search for material happiness. Media is a powerful agent of the capitalists. They use it to condition humans in a way that their subconscious mind is engraved into attaining worldly or material products in order to gain happiness.

A prominent example is the common ad of skin whitening creams, which always show two main scenes: the first scene with a girl who looks dull, dark and ‘sad’; the second scene shows a girl who looks fresh, fair and ‘happy’. Our mind is way smarter than we perceive it to be; hence, it catches even the slightest details and stores it in our subconscious memory. Next time, when we face a similar situation, we tend to pick what’s available in our subconscious mind. In this case, the media has fed us to look for happiness in a simple skin whitening cream.

Another common example of imposed happiness can be seen on Facebook. Have you ever noticed on Facebook any pictures of your friends crying or looking dull? I am sure not or very rarely. Even if people are feeling gloomy and sad, they pose with hugs and smiles when someone brings out the camera. It is obvious that they are smiling merely for Facebook and do not feel the actual happiness of that smile. This happens because of the basic concept that we have to be happy all the time, which is neither necessary nor natural.

Media perpetuates products and ads, which depict humans fetching happiness all the time, or it tries to provide steps of gaining ultimate happiness. Movies and dramas are filled with ‘they lived happily ever after’, happy endings and successful protagonists, giving us a message that we have to avail happiness in the same way, and if we don’t, then we are not normal.

Furthermore, the system of capitalism has also initiated many diseases, for example, depression, bipolar disorders and even eating disorders. It depicts and defines ‘happy’ for us, and then we develop a feeling of Hasad (envy) trying to seek that happiness for ourselves; hence, we increase the risks of such diseases as depression and anxiety. The societal pressure to look happy weighs people down so heavily that they often need to seek professional help.  People experiencing depression visit psychiatrists, who prescribe anti-depressants. These drugs are highly priced and require to be taken for a long time. Pharmaceutical companies are making millions out of them, so they rope in doctors, who at times are not even qualified to prescribe these drugs. Furthermore, the chemicals in these drugs prevent the self-correctional process of human body that Allah (swt) has granted, thus throwing everything into disarray. Sometimes, all a sad person needs is counselling from another wise person or friend, instead of antidepressants.

The pressure to feel joyful is so immense that when a child falls or a teenager fails at something, parents don’t even want to acknowledge their sorrow. A child is told that all is okay and he must not cry. The adolescent is admonished to display bravado and not immaturity. In contrast, psychologists strongly advise to acknowledge these distressful feelings and emotionally empathize with these kids. This is to ensure that they will trust their feelings the next time. If we muffle them, they would eventually become desensitized and won’t respond to anybody’s pain, assuming it to be wrong. If we cut our finger and do not acknowledge it, we can actually bleed to death unknowingly. It is Allah’s (swt) mercy to feel hurt in order to recover and survive.

Allah (swt) designed everything with symmetry. If there is hot, then there is cold, too. Too much of anything makes survival difficult and can eventually destroy the system. Similarly, Allah (swt) designed happiness and sadness together, complimenting each other and giving symmetry to our life.

We, as Muslims, are well aware of the fact that nothing can stay forever. How can we expect happiness or even sadness to stay forever in our lives? A common example is going on a vacation. We enjoy ourselves and experience great happiness; however, if the vacation gets too long, we eventually start getting homesick. This is because nothing can keep us happy or sad forever. The system of Allah (swt) is flawless and everything is balanced with both positives and negatives.

Allah (swt) is the One, Who makes us happy or sad. In a state of sadness, we are not permitted to utter the words of Kufr, fall into disbelief, pose threat or harm to others, and doubt the existence of Allah (swt), or whether He has forsaken us. Some incidents in life cannot be explained through reasoning and seem very unjust, but Duniya is not Dar-ul-Jaza (a place where we will be rewarded). It is imperfect. It is a place of test for a believer, so he can score well with Sabr and Salah and attain the most exquisite bounties of Paradise, which will be perfect. Good people may be afflicted with severe hardships. Sadness should be a means to draw closer to our Rabb (swt) and ask for forgiveness.

If you remember Allah (swt) in times of joy, He will stay close to you in times of distress. A strong believer never forgets his Creator and always invokes Him alone for strength in sadness.

Instead of looking for happiness all the time, we should consider the perfect system designed by Allah (swt) and realize that no matter which emotion we experience, it should be treated well. Research has shown that crying can actually make people feel better and relieve the stress that was accumulating in their body. Therefore, it is better to let your sadness out and feel it completely; however, we should not let it overpower us and influence our lifestyle. We should learn from life events and move on. Don’t allow the media to condition a definition of happiness for you; rather, develop your own happiness. Be adventurous, take risks and always trust Allah (swt).

Preparing for Eternal Happiness

Eternal Happiness

We all want to be happy! Alhumdulillah, as Muslims Allah (swt) has provided us an opportunity to attain eternal happiness that is in Jannah, of course.

While we are mentally prepared to go to Jannah and experience Allah’s (swt) exquisite bounties, many of us are not prepared for the transit journey, leading to our final destination: death.

How many of us talk about death or even think about it? Death is often discussed. We attend funerals and watch death depicted in the mass media. However, this is not the accurate depiction of what we as Muslims believe about death. As a result, many different misconceptions have taken root in our minds; a few common ones are discussed below, Insha’Allah:

I am a Muslim, so I have a free ticket to Jannah

Many of us believe that just because we were born into a Muslim family and belong to some lineage of pious ancestors, it automatically guarantees our entry into Jannah, regardless of whether we pray or fast or perform any good deeds. Nothing could be further from the truth! Allah (swt) is not impressed by titles. We need the right deeds and mindset to get to Jannah, Insha’Allah. The Qur’an dispels this myth in the following manner:

“That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.” (Al-Baqarah 2:134)

I’m too young to die

This commonly repeated phrase is heard in countless action movies. When faced with a deadly situation the protagonist dramatically exclaims, “But I am too young to die!” And then he/she struggles to cheat death, proving to be successful and you see them triumph, living “happily ever after.” So, is there really an age when one can be considered too young to die? As Muslims we must remember that death can come any time regardless of the person’s age and you cannot cheat death.

When I die that is “The End” of my story

The mass media causes us to believe that while we are on this earth, we have all the time to enjoy ourselves, and be successful and happy. When we reach the grave that is ‘the end’ and nothing happens after that. My loved ones will weep over my grave, and then everyone will move on – end of story.

In reality, Islam tells us that when we are lowered into our grave, two angels Munkar and Nakeer will come and ask us questions. This period is called “Qiyamat As-Sughrah” or minor resurrection. In the grave, our judgement begins and based on this our place in Jannah or Jahannum is decided. We don’t sleep in our graves as many of us are led into believing. We bide our time and wait for the actual Day of Resurrection.

The most direct way of cultivating the quality of Ihsan and Khushoo in any worship we do is by remembering death and reminding ourselves that the ultimate goal is Jannah for which we are striving each time we pray, give charity or recite the Quran.

As we clear our minds of these common yet deadly misconceptions, we need to also learn why remembering death is a key element of our spiritual well-being and existence.

The first and foremost reason is the need for preparation. This test is greater than any other worldly examination for which we have prepared. Do you think it’s a wise thing to avoid or delay preparing for such a big exam coming up? We know that death is certain to come. Allah (swt) says in the Quran:

“Everyone is going to taste death…” (Al-Anbiya 21:35)

Striking the right kind of balance

When we constantly remember death, we are able get our priorities straight.  One doesn’t burden oneself too much with the temporary goals of this world where one only finds short-lived happiness in materialistic luxuries like the latest cars or designer clothes. Rather, he/she only gives as much attention as is necessary for the smooth running of his affairs but his heart yearns for Jannah and Allah’s (swt) pleasure and that is his true goal.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever has the hereafter as his goal, Allah makes his heart rich, makes his affairs focused, and the Dunya will come to him whether or not it wishes to. And whoever has the Dunya as his goal, Allah will place poverty before his eyes, make his affairs scattered, and nothing from the Dunya will come to him except what was decreed for him.” (An-Nasai)

The sign of an intelligent believer

A man came to the Prophet (sa) and asked: “Which of the believers is most virtuous?” He replied: “The best in character.” He asked: “Which believer is most intelligent?” “Those who remember death the most, and are best prepared for what is coming after it. They are the intelligent ones.” (Ibn Majah)

The wise thing to do is to remember death and prepare for it. To avoid thinking about it and kidding ourselves will only lead to our loss, not only in this world but in the Akhirah too.

Remind ourselves that we do not have a lot of time

Once, the Prophet (sa) heard his wife, Umm Habibah (ra), praying: “O Allah, allow me to enjoy my husband, Allah’s Messenger (by prolonging my life), and my father, Abu Sufyan, and my brother Muawiyah.” The Prophet (sa) responded, “Truly, you have asked Allah about time spans which are designated, days which are already numbered, and provisions which are already divided. Allah will not hasten something before its time or postpone something after its time. Had you asked Allah instead to save you from the punishment of the fire, and the punishment of the grave, it would have been better for you.” (Muslim)

Further, it is mentioned in the Quran: “And on the Day when He shall gather (resurrect) them together, (it will be) as if they had not stayed (in the life of this world and graves) but an hour of a day. They will recognize each other. Ruined indeed will be those who denied the meeting with Allah, and were not guided.” (Yunus 10:45)

Alhumdulillah, in the Quran, Allah (swt) tells us the true meaning of ‘success’ and how one can attain it. 

Imagine the extent to which individuals will regret their actions on that day if they spend all our lives in useless endeavours, running after temporary enjoyment and gains, and end up with no good deeds to make the scales heavy in the Akhirah, by means of which they can attain Allah’s (swt) mercy.

Cultivating the quality of Ihsan in our worship

At times, we complain that when we stand to pray Salah, we easily get distracted. When we extend our hand to give charity, we find our intentions tainted with motives other than Allah’s (swt) pleasure. The most direct way of cultivating the quality of Ihsan and Khushoo in any worship we do is by remembering death and reminding ourselves that the ultimate goal is Jannah for which we are striving each time we pray, give charity or recite the Quran.

A man came to the Prophet (sa) and said: “Oh Messenger of Allah give me advice and summarize it.” The Prophet (sa) said: “When you stand to pray, pray as if it is your last prayer, don’t speak with that which you would apologize for tomorrow, and be hopeless for that which is in the hands of the people!” (Ahmad)

Be amongst the successful ones

“Who believe in the Ghaib and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and spend out of what we have provided for them [i.e. give Zakat, spend on themselves, their parents, their children, their wives, etc., and also give charity to the poor and also in Allah’s cause – Jihad,]. And who believe in (the Quran and the Sunnah) which has been sent down (revealed) to you (Muhammad [sa]) and in that which we sent down before [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), etc.] and they believe with certainty in the Hereafter. (Resurrection, recompense of their good and bad deeds, Paradise and Hell,) They are on (true) guidance from their Lord, and they are the successful.” (Al-Baqarah 2:3-5)

In this world, everyone seems to have a different definition of success. Alhumdulillah, in the Quran, Allah (swt) tells us the true meaning of ‘success’ and how one can attain it. This success is the means through which we can live lives of eternal happiness, the kind of happiness we have never experienced before. So, if we remember death as we live through each day, we can rid ourselves of the love for this world and diligently work towards attaining eternal happiness in Jannah, Insha’Allah.

Transcribed from a lecture that was part of a workshop titled “Quest towards Happiness” conducted by “Friends of Allah- Al-Wali” in 2013. Email:

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