The Way To Happiness
Barriers To Real Happiness
Disbelief In Allah And Lack Of The True Faith
Since the true faith fills the heart with comfort, security, reassurance and contentment, and makes man feel that he has a strong relationship with Almighty Allah, Who alone is the Creator of man and everything visible and invisible and knows best what achieves man's well-being and happiness. Therefore, one of the biggest barriers to real happiness both in this world and the Hereafter is the rejection of Allah's true religion (i.e., Islam).
Those who lack correct belief and stray from Divine Guidance revealed to mankind through the Universal and Last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, will suffer from spiritual void and deprive themselves from real salvation and mercy:“ Those whom God (in His Plan) willeth to guide, He openeth their breast to Islam; those whom He willeth to leave straying, He maketh their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus doth Allah lay abomination on those who refuse to follow His code of life, that is Islam....” (Qur'an, 6:125).
Sin and Crime
Man has not realized well the serious consequences of sin as their effects generally have no cure. Sins and crimes are barriers to real happiness. Therefore, a criminal is always more unhappy than his victim, for a criminal who is not punished could be among the most miserable people.
Envy and Jealousy
Envy and jealousy are sources of dissatisfaction and self-torture for people. Therefore, we are advised in the Holy Qur'an to seek refuge from the serious effects of such kinds of malignant social evils. In chapter 113 of the Holy Qur'an, we are advised to seek refuge in Allah “ from the mischief of the envious one as he practices envy....”. Both envy and jealousy, when translated into action, lead to the destruction of happiness and deprive people of the good things they enjoy. The best refuge from evil is trust in Allah along along with putty of heart.
True believers are described in the Holy Qur'an, verse 10 of chapter 59, as saying when they pray to Allah: “ And leave not, in our hearts, rancor (or sense of injury) against those who have believed....”. Ill-will and rancor are barriers to the happiness of man. In fact, ill-will is contrary to happiness; it belongs to a different domain on human feelings. It is like a virus that kills the lofty sentiments and kind feelings of man.
Anger connotes displeasure and hostility. Therefore, it is one of the biggest threats that spoil man's happiness. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), stressed the importance of self-restraint when he advised one of his companions “ Do not be overpowered by anger...”.
Injustice, no doubt will bring ruin to everybody who practices it. This is proven by many examples that served as warnings and lessons to humanity to shun this dangerous vice and maintain justice and equality. Injustice may signify the trespassing and going beyond limits; it may also signify the misplacement of things or denial of truth. In this context, incorrect concepts on divinity, such as polytheism, idolatry and false worship, air one of the forms of injustice as it is a distortion of true religion and trespassing against divine commands. The following verse from the Holy Qur'an illustrates this point:“ Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: 0 my son! Join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed the highest wrongdoing...,” (Qur'an, 31:13).
Many a nation backed up, or refrained from resisting, unjust tyrants and wrongdoers and brought thereby upon themselves devastation and perdition.
The following quotation from the sayings of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) testifies to this proven fact very often noticed in human life. Abu Musa AlAsh'ari, a companion of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), related that the Prophet said (as narrated by imams Bukhari and Muslim):“ Allah may give a wrongdoing tyrant respite, and thereafter when He punishes him, He never lets him escape. Then, he recited this Qur'anic Verse: Such is the chastisement of thy Lord when He chastises communities in the midst of their wrong: Grievous, indeed, and severe is His chastisement” (Qur'an, 11:102).
In another verse from the Holy Qur'an, it is stated:“ And how many populations did I give respite, which were given to wrongdoing? In the end I punished them. To Me is the destination (of all)” (Qur'an, 22:48).
Fear of Worldly Power
Fear of other than Allah is the cause of humility, insecurity and unhappiness. Whereas, fear of Allah produces in man lofty ideals and drives him to develop sound conduct and excellent moral behavior. It frees him from all fetters of human bondage and safeguards his dignity and freedom of will. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:“ It is only the Satan that suggests to you the fear of his votaries: be you not afraid of them, but fear me, if you are true believers” (Qur'an, 3:175).
Pessimism is synonymous with misery and trouble. It leads to a stage of inertia and depression. A pessimistic person would hold back from enjoying his normal life or achieving his objectives. Therefore, the Gracious Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) promoted and liked optimism but discouraged and disliked pessimism. A pessimist, due to his defeatist tendencies, incurs several troubles and difficulties the effects of which on his nerves are far heavier than dilemmas and disasters.
Allah (Glory be to Him) states in the Holy Qur'an:“ 0 ye who believe! Shun suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin....”(Qur'an, 49:12). Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) also says:“ Shun suspicion, because suspicion is the biggest lie” (Narrated by Imams Bukhari and Muslim). How can a suspicious person be happy? And how can a society pervaded by suspicion and mistrust prosper or lead a collective life of happiness.
An arrogant person leads a life of misery even though he treats other people rudely and boastfully without due regard to established norms of moral conduct. He oppresses them or turns his cheek in scorn toward them but he is definitely haunted with guilty conscience which makes his life miserable. “ Turn not thy cheek in scorn toward folk, nor walk with pertness in the land. Lo! Allah loveth not each braggart boaster” (Qur'an, 31:18).
Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) gave his advice in this regard when he said:“ On the Day of Judgment Allah will not look towards him who trails his lower garment out of pride” (Hadith narrated by imams Bukhari and Muslim).
Devotion to other than Allah
It is a part of man's character to love and hate, but carrying the passions of love and hate to extremes is precarious. Take for example the story of Romeo and Juliet in English Literature or Qays and Layla in Arabic Literature. Qays, who was known in the story as Layla's mad lover, had suffered tremendously from this love until he lost his senses and later died in a wretched piteous state. When your heart is wholly devoted to your Creator (Allah), your love is holy and you thereby enjoy an elevated emotion which fills your heart with peace and happiness. This kind of emotion is not in contradiction with love for parents, wife or children. In fact, they are harmonious and complementary. But, extreme emotions, when not controlled by reason or logic, are in fact detrimental to our life and happiness.
Alcohol. Drugs and Drug Addiction
Many people imagine that happiness can be attained through alcohol or drug addiction. Therefore, they resort to drugs escaping thereby from the troubles and worries of life. In fact, they are like one who escapes from a small fire to a hell, Drugs may throw one, for a short while, into a dreamy illusive world of happiness; but in fact they lead both to disintegration and destruction. We nowadays witness many examples of such social disintegration and chaos due to the worldwide surge of drug addiction besides other causes related to corruption and the absence of real religious sanctions and sound creed.