The believer and the pursuit of happiness in this world (II)

In other words, whenever we indulge in the assumption that our obedience to the Almighty has become so enamored and strong as to serve as a shield for us against earthly tribulations and test, we must quickly retrace our steps back to Him and seek His forgiveness. The reason for this is simple: worship of the Almighty is one thing and the acceptance of same by His grace is another. It is partly in recognition of this reality that we have been counseled to pray to Him not to render our acts of worship a nullity. Remember Prophet Ibrahim’s supplication after he and his son, Ismail (a.s) have completed the construction of the Kaaba. He says: “…Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (Q2: 127)

Throwing the odyssey of faith in the Abrahamic tradition into the mix positively complicates this discourse further. In other words, when the Almighty asked him to build the Kaaba, his response was ‘we hear and obey’. That was a time humanity had not yet discovered the various machines and equipment for construction of buildings that we have in the world today. As at that time, humans lived in what Thomas Hobbes refers to as ‘the state of nature’-no electricity, not cement industries, no quarries for the production of stone-dust etc. Yet the house had to be built. Yet the house was built.


The above calls attention to yet another story- when Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was instructed to circumcise himself at a time razor blade had not yet been discovered. Imagine a circumcision that was carried out with sharp stones! Yet it had to be done because it was demanded of him by He who owned the soul and the body of the circumcised. Yet when these divine instructions were carried out and completed, after the pillars of the house had been erected, Prophet Ibrahim pleaded with Him, the Almighty, to accept the efforts as acts of Ibaadah. The pleasure of the Almighty, the Creator, took precedence over the pleasure of the created. Prophet Ibrahim became happy only after the happiness of the Almighty had been obtained.

Thus it follows from the above that whenever the servant does what pleases the Master, the latter usually does pleasing things to the former. Yes. This is our conception of natural justice. This is the notion that we have of the relationship between us and our Creator. He observes his prayers regularly. He fasts without blemish in the month of Ramadan. He visits the weak. He rescues the needy. He solaces himself that he has done it all. He forgets the story and circumstance of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). Why would the believer not be immersed in happiness in the presence of His Lord, the Cherisher of the world? Is it possible for the saint to be afflicted with tribulations at a time the dissolute, the sinner, the corrupt is enjoying life and living?


I would “Yes” in order to say “No”. Yes because, like the small child in the care of his mother, we are subjects born of ignorance. Since we do not know, in most cases what is best for our destiny, we always complain of what we do not have out of ignorance of the fact that not to have them is best for our health and well-being here on earth and in the hereafter.

Thus, Sister, bear this in mind: whenever you feel unhappy even while fulfilling your duties to Him, it may be He is testing your patience in order to increase your rewards. He says: “And We shall surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,”(Q2:155). Thus lack of happiness may occur resultant of an error that we have committed or sins that you have committed unknowingly or sins that you have not repented from. Your state of unhappiness could therefore be an opportunity to make you realize your mistakes. (Q32: 21); state of unhappiness may actually be the station before the destination of happiness which lies closely by.

To belong to category (c) however, to be disobedient to the Almighty and be happy in life is the worst station in human life. It is worse than category (d) – those who are disobedient to the Almighty and are unhappy with their lives. Whereas lack of happiness could force the disobedient back to the Almighty, those who belong to category (c) usually think that it is their disobedience that has led to them to happiness. The Almighty says in reference to the latter: “So when they forgot that by which they have been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair.”(Q3: 44). In our societies today, there are countless examples of those we know are waging war against what the Almighty wants yet they live opulent life. They ride in the best of cars; they live in palatial mansions. It is their children that go to the best school in the neighborhood; their dinner tables are usually filled with the best meals one could imagine; they live in paradisiacal encampments. Yes. They are living in the only paradise they would have. And what an illusion the ‘paradise’ of this earth is?


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