By Qainaf Najam
Gasping for breath, he strained his eyes in search of water, but all that lay ahead was the vast barren desert with the sun shining with its full fervor. He sat down, exhausted and hopeless. He was a tourist, a foreigner to this land, lost and roaming around in this desolate desert for over a week now. All his food supplies had finished the day before and no communication with the outer world was possible in this remote area. He stood up again with fresh hope and determination to set forth in search of water. After walking for miles, he saw an oasis. He rubbed his eyes thrice to make sure it wasn’t a hallucination. He felt happiness, like he had never experienced before. He felt ecstatic and ran towards it. He drank like a thirsty crow and soon as he was done, he felt the ecstasy slip away from his body. All that remained was his usual self, fresh as a cucumber after quenching his thirst.
“Mom, I am so excited. I didn’t sleep a wink”, 24 years old Aila squealed with delight at the prospect of what lay ahead. Years of hard work had paid off and it was her turn to sport the cap and gown. Her mom smiled at her lovingly as she made breakfast for her.
At the convocation, Aila couldn’t sit still. She kept jumping up and down and roaming around with her friends, happiness etched in every line of her face. The look of pure delight on her face as the graduates threw their caps in air was impossible to catch in camera’s eye!
A week later when a relative called to congratulate her, she just smiled – the zeal and joy of the convocation day was long gone!
“Man, why do you do all this?”
“I mean – the charity school…the hospital…the volunteer work you do…How does that benefit you?”
“That is not ‘charity work’, Salik… I’m doing that for myself.”
“For yourself, Usman? But how is a school for the needy and a hospital for the poor any good to you?”
“Why do you go to job?”
“To earn a living, so I can support my family and live a happy and peaceful life.”
“What will happen if you don’t earn anything? Will the world end?”
“Yeah, for me, it will. Because, I won’t be happy and there is no point in living when you are not happy.”
“Exactly. So basically you are working in order to be happy. It’s for your own sake…right?”
“Yes, of course!”
“So that is why I am doing what you call ‘charity and volunteer’ work. You chose to be your boss’s servant; I chose to be my God’s servant. For you, the world will end if you don’t earn money, for me, my ‘Akhirah’ will end if I don’t earn reward in this world. So I am happy doing my job for my real boss!”
There are three kinds of happiness – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Unless all three are satisfied, you don’t get what is called the real happiness.
Physical happiness refers to the joy every person experiences when their physical needs and desires are fulfilled. Emotional happiness is characterized by feelings you have when you achieve something that you set out for in your life. While physical and emotional happiness is a bodily need, spiritual happiness feeds the soul. Spiritual happiness increases as you increase your spiritual acts. Allah (swt) says in the Quran,
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest! “ (Ar-Rad 13:28)
The real essence of spiritual happiness is attained when you direct your physical and emotional happiness in the right way and then they fall under the category of spiritual happiness. That is the point where you achieve peace of mind.
“Whosoever believes and does righteous good deeds upon such shall come no fear, not shall they grieve!” (Al-Anam 6:48)