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.
The Sahabahs were also happy with their families. Sometimes, this happiness which they experienced caused them to forget their faith-based happiness. Due to this, they became worried that this may be some form of hypocrisy. When they presented their concern to Rasulullah (sa), he assured them that this is natural – that there is a time for happiness, which is a product of doing what pleases Allah (swt) and a time for happiness which is connected with the world we live in (our parents, children, relatives, etc.) Enjoying our families is part of the happiness of this life, and the happiness of the life to come is even greater as Allah (swt) explains in the Quran and the Prophet (sa) tells us in the Sunnah. However, in simple worlds, you can say that true happiness, the one which never dies, is the happiness of realizing your faith.
What is the role of happiness in Islam, especially today when the believers find themselves wandering in different situations in the practice of Islam?
Prophet Muhammad (sa) stressed that believers should be optimistic, as pessimism is really a satanic intervention and undermines our faith. In pessimism, when we lose hope, we forget about God. It leads to disobedience, justifying what is forbidden. Believers should build their optimism on the belief that success is in the promise of Allah (swt): regardless of the trials we may face and the calamities sent our way, success is ultimately in our eventual meeting with Allah (swt).
In the Quran, a number of principles stress the importance of optimism. We have been told that after every difficulty comes ease. We have been warned that perhaps we dislike something which is good for us. These are all principles of optimism – when we face something we do not like (which is a natural reaction to unpleasantness), Allah (swt) reminds us that it may be something good for us. If we keep focused on the good, then it gives us the ability to handle the trials of life.
In the Sunnah, Prophet Muhammad (sa) tells us that the affairs of the believers are amazing: when good times come to them, they are thankful to Allah (swt) and He rewards them for it; when difficulties come, they are patient, and Allah (swt) rewards them for it.
It is optimism which keeps us grateful to Allah (swt) in good times. Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran that if we are thankful, He will increase what He has given to us that we are thankful for. Likewise, for being patient in times of difficulty, we have to be optimistic and remain patient, as it is important for us to have a balanced life, so that we do not end up in a state of depression.
This is a portion of an exclusive audio interview with Dr. Philips conducted by Hiba Magazine. Transcribed by Sana Mohsin.