Saturday, April 18, 2009

Keys to Happiness

received by an email :

Happiness is the only goal on earth that all people without exception are seeking to attain. Believers and unbelievers alike seek to be happy, but each party is using different methods.

However, only believers can achieve genuine happiness. All forms of happiness attained without a firm belief in God, the Almighty, are mere illusions.

The following are tips for the attainment of happiness:

1. Know that if you do not live within the scope of today, your thoughts will be scattered, your affairs will become confused, and your anxiety will increase. These realities are explained in the following hadith:

“When you are in the evening, do not expect to see themorning, and when you are in the morning, do not expect to see the evening.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

2. Forget the past and all that it contained. Being absorbed in things that are past and gone is sheer lunacy.

3. Do not be preoccupied with the future because the future is in the world of the unseen; do not let it bother you until it comes.

4. Do not be shaken by criticism; instead, be firm. Be sure that in proportion to your worth, the level of people's criticism rises. Also, make good use of criticism in discovering your shortcomings and faults, and let it drive you toward self-improvement.

5. Have certain faith in God and perform good deeds; these are the ingredients that makeup a good and happy life.

6. If you desire peace, tranquility, and comfort, you can find it all in the remembrance of Almighty.

7. You should know with certainty that everything that happens, occurs in accordance with the divine decree.

8. Do not expect gratitude from anyone.

9. Train yourself to be prepared for the worst eventuality.

10. Perhaps what has happened is in your best interest, even though you may not comprehend how that can be so.

11. Everything that is decreed for the believer is the best for him.

12. Enumerate the blessings of God and be thankful for them.

13. Remember that you are better off than many others.

14. Relief comes from one hour to the next. Indeed, with each difficulty there is relief.

15. In both times of hardship and ease, one should turn to supplication and prayer, either patiently contented or thankful.

16. Calamities should strengthen your heart and reshape your outlook in a positive way.

17. Do not let trivialities be the cause of your destruction.

18. Always remember that your Lord is Oft-Forgiving.

19. Assume an easy-going attitude and avoid anger.

20. Life is bread, water, and shade; so do not be perturbed by a lack of any other material thing.

“And in the heaven is your providence and that which you are promised.” (Quran 51:22)

21. Most evil that is supposed to happen never occurs.

22. Look at those who have more afflictions and be grateful that you have less.

23. Bear in mind the fact that God loves those who endure trials with steadfastness, so seek to be one of them.

24. Constantly repeat those supplications that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us to say during times of hardship.

25. Work hard at something that is productive, and cast off idleness.

26. Do not spread rumors and do not listen to them. If you hear a rumor inadvertently, do not believe it.

27. Know that your malice and your striving to seek revenge are much more harmful to your health than they are to your antagonist.

28. The hardships that befall you atone for your sins, if you endure with patience.

One reason we have so much trouble attaining happiness is that we have no idea about what it is. Consequently, we make poor judgments in life. An Islamic tale illustrates the relationship of judgment with happiness.

“Oh, great sage, Nasrudin,” said the eager student, “I must ask you a very important question, the answer to which we all seek: What is the secret to attaining happiness?” Nasrudin thought for a time, then responded. “The secret of happiness is good judgment.” “Ah,” said the student. “But how do we attain good judgment? “From experience,” answered Nasrudin. “Yes,” said the student. “But how do we attain experience?’ “Bad judgment.”

An example of our good judgment is knowing that materialistic comforts by themselves do not lead to lasting happiness. Having reached that conclusion by our good judgment, we do not retreat into our comforts. We continue to crave a happiness that seems out of reach. We make more money thinking that is the way to become happy, and in the process neglect our family. Most big events we dream of yield less sustained happiness than we hoped for. In addition to getting less happiness than we expected or hoped for, we frequently do not know exactly what we want, what will make us happy or how to get it. We misjudge.

Enduring happiness does not come from ‘making it.’ Imagine someone could snap their fingers and give you fame, fortune, and leisure. Would you be happy? You would be euphoric, but in the short run. Gradually you would adapt to your new circumstance and life would return to its normal mix of emotions. Studies show that big lottery winners after a few months are no happier than the average person! To recover the joy, you would now need an even higher high.

Consider, too, how we have “made it.” In 1957, our per-person income, expressed in today’s dollars, was less than $8,000. Today it is $16,000. With doubled incomes, we now have double the material goods that money can buy - including twice as many cars per person. We also have microwave ovens, color TVs, VCRs, answering machines, and $12 billion a year worth of brand-name athletic shoes.

So are we happier? No. In 1957, 35 percent of Americans told the National Opinion Research Center they were “very happy.” In 1991, only 31 percent said the same.[6] Meanwhile, depression rates have soared.

God’s Prophet of Mercy said:

“True enrichment does not come through possessing a lot of wealth, but true enrichment is the enrichment of the soul.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

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