The Happiness and Blessings Brought by Faith
Because they believe in Allah and accept His decree, the cheerfulness and joy of the faithful are perpetual. This also manifests itself in their daily lives and is the basic source of believers' character. By contrast, in return for their living in ignorance of Allah and His scriptures, disbelievers are always unhappy.
The love and devotion believers feel towards Allah and their submission to Him remove all cause for material and spiritual discomfort because for believers there is nothing in their lives which can be classified as "bad." Through the guidance of the Qur'an they are aware that things regarded as "bad" will be turned to their advantage and benefit by Allah. This ensures that believers always have a cheerfulness and joy which springs from their faith. In surroundings where everybody is unhappy and pessimistic, they never lose any of their cheerfulness because there is nothing which can make them unhappy.
People in the community of the ignorant can do whatever they like but because they do not have the joy of faith they will never know true contentment. Even though they want to do so very much they can never act with sincere and heartfelt cheerfulness. They cannot be relaxed and at peace in the true sense because they have excluded themselves from the tranquility which faith would bring them. They also make those around them uncomfortable.
The reactions of believers are always heartfelt and sincere because they have the joy of faith. Their actions and behavior bring great calm and cheer to those around them because they always act on the basis of their devotion to Allah. For this reason everybody takes great pleasure from discussion and friendship with a believer because only believers possess sincerity, honesty and happiness in the true sense. Because of this incomparable blessing which Allah has given them, believers are the only people who take pleasure from life and enjoy themselves and celebrate in the full meaning of the word because they know that everything is by the decree of Allah. Allah explains this in the following verse of the Qur'an:
Say: "Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in Allah that the believers should put their trust." (Surat at-Tawba, 51)
People who suffer difficulty and anxiety because of the ignorance and immorality which govern their way of life, do not experience the pleasure of enjoying themselves in the real sense because of the deep spiritual unease which disturbs their inner beings. Even if a person seems to be laughing and enjoying himself, he only thinks he is doing so. He paints a false picture of fun and happiness because he cannot forget the troubles and problems he meets in daily life. Wherever he goes and whatever he does, he is unable to enjoy himself wholeheartedly because he is constantly plagued by worry and anxiety. The unhappiness of such people is so deep that when they meet someone who is able to smile sincerely it causes them great discomfort because they cannot be like that themselves. The cheerfulness and ease of others turns into a torture for them and increases their unhappiness still further. Because of this they do not hesitate to engage in all kinds of odd and contrary behavior in order to pass on their own unhappiness to those around them. They want everyone else to be just like them. This unbalanced behavior on the part of disbelievers makes it impossible for them to experience the blessings of happiness. No matter what they do or where they go, so long as they do not have sincere faith they will be deprived of the cheerfulness which faith brings and will spend their lives in spiritual torment.
The hearts of such people can be compared to a dark house whose interior is filled with smoke. Because they do not have faith in Allah this house has no doors or windows. Because they do not have faith in our Lord, the filthy and smoky air inside their houses never goes out and the clean air outside never gets in.
The believers have the capacity to experience the greatest degree of high spirits. They can truly have fun and enjoy themselves because Allah has rewarded them in this way for their sincere faith in Him. Our Lord gives us this good news in the Qur'an:
... Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. That is the Great Victory. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 119)
In another verse, Allah tells us that the hearts of believers are content with His remembrance and that the real source of the tranquility and happiness they experience is their faith in Him:
Those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 28)
To be strong and thus to be able to control people is regarded as very important in the community of the ignorant. People believe they can hold a powerful position by becoming rich or achieving a status in which those around them will look up to them.
For example, a person who believes in the power of money to achieve anything he wants, does everything he can to acquire it. However, he continually ignores something very important; spiritual strength. Spiritual strength depends on the closeness of a person to Allah. People who live in the community of the ignorant can sink into a hopeless and pessimistic spiritual state at times of the slightest difficulty no matter how strong they are in material terms and because of this they lose whatever joie de vivre they possess. As a result of losing their zest for life and the will to succeed, nothing remains of their strength and resistance when they face difficult situations. Naturally, this spiritual loss of strength is reflected in a negative way in their lives, their actions and their behavior. As they cannot find within themselves the strength and willpower to go anywhere or do anything, they develop a lazy and impotent nature. They avoid making any effort and always set their faces against any activity which could benefit them. In fact, they feel no desire to do anything very much even if it might be to their advantage because of this oppressive weariness and lethargy. We can compare the state of these people to that of somebody very old. Even if they appear young, because of this lack of strength their low spirits cause them to behave like elderly people. They have aged not physically, but spiritually. For an elderly person, loss of strength, tiredness and the need to rest regularly are perfectly normal. Sometimes, though, we even see elderly people who are dynamic and active just like youngsters. This is because even though their bodies have aged, their spirits remain active and dynamic. The people we are talking about are the exact opposite. Although they may be young, they have fallen into the state described above and are spiritually no different from the senile.
As we can see, these people live without the spiritual strength which Allah would give them because they have no faith in Him. In return for the immorality which such people display Allah removes the strength from their hearts. As a result, their spiritual state reduces them to a kind of living death. This unpleasant state of theirs is easily discernible in all of their behavior.
In contrast to disbelievers, the powerful faith of believers increases their happiness and spiritual strength. Those who always take Allah as their guardian and friend and accept His decree are always cheerful and strong because of the spiritual strength which Allah gives them in return. They never sink into a lazy or lethargic state, because they know it will bring them harm and loss. The spiritual strength they feel inspires them to strive even harder for Allah's approval, making ever more strenuous efforts. In difficult situations they encounter on the path of Allah, this spiritual strength is also the source of their patience. Therefore, there is no challenge or circumstance which could ever cause them to behave in a way which Allah would not approve. They always opt to be vigorous and active in order to be always at the forefront, setting the best example. Their efforts ensure that they come a little closer to the prospect of the Garden each day. The strength brought by their hope of Allah's approval grows all the time so that they achieve the superior mode of conduct which Allah describes in the Qur'an. The satisfaction they derive from doing good deeds creates in them a desire to look for further good actions to do. No matter how much effort they expend on this, it never tires them. Effort sincerely made to earn Allah's pleasure only increases their faith and adds to their strength. Allah tells the faithful in the Qur'an to continue their efforts unceasingly:
So when you have finished, work on. And make your Lord your goal! (Surat al-Inshirah, 7-8)
Believers who obey this command of Allah's and spend all their lives constantly striving to earn Allah's approval, live happy lives both in this world and the next. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us that He gives the blessing of happiness to believers in this world and the Hereafter:
Those who are steadfast in seeking the face of their Lord, and perform prayer and give from the provision We have given them, secretly and openly, and stave off evil with good, it is they who will have the Ultimate Abode. (Surat ar-Ra'd, 22)
Zeal is the intense desire to accomplish a task or reach a goal. The zeal people feel towards any task is in proportion to their sincerity in performing it. As for disbelievers, it is almost impossible for them to act with eagerness in any task they perform so long as there is no benefit in it for them. They only feel eagerness to satisfy their own selfish desires, this is their only motivation. For them, the only important thing in what they do is personal gain. Otherwise, in tasks where they cannot gain any benefit for themselves, they are extremely unwilling and lacking in enthusiasm. This attitude badly affects the results of their undertakings. Because they do not take the care which eagerness and desire bring, what they do is unproductive. Most of the time they abandon a task without completing it or do not even start it. For this reason, finishing what they start is a great success for them and even something praiseworthy. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us that the jobs such people do without eagerness are all so much wasted effort and that as a result they will suffer disappointment:
Say: "Shall I inform you of the greatest losers in their actions? People whose efforts in the life of this world are misguided while they suppose that they are doing good." (Surat al-Kahf,103-104)
Because of the happiness which their faith brings them, believers have boundless energy, eagerness and willingness. In order to earn more and more of Allah's approval with every passing day they want to be involved in more good deeds. When they finish a job, they are not satisfied. On the contrary, this just makes them all the more eager and causes them to become involved in still more good works. They pray to Allah to be able to perform the tasks required of them in the best possible way and the way which is most useful to other people. They consider carefully what they are doing and make a sincere effort to achieve the best outcomes. The result of all this is that the outcome is the best they can achieve. This is an important secret of the success which Allah gives believers.
Since they know that the reward they receive in the Hereafter will be proportionate to the number of good deeds they engage in to earn the approval of Allah in this short worldly life, they are never satisfied with less and are always looking for more. They pray to Allah as in the verse, "keep me acting rightly, pleasing You..." (Surat al-Ahqaf: 15) By way of reward for this sincere behavior on the part of believers, Allah sends their hearts security and peace and strengthens their faith still further with every day that passes. Allah describes this mercy towards believers in the Qur'an:
It is He Who sent down serenity into the hearts of the believers thereby increasing their faith with more faith—the legions of the Heavens and the earth belong to Allah…... (Surat al-Fath, 4)
Physical Beauty and Health
There are great differences in every area between believers and disbelievers. Generally speaking, there is a very close connection between people's spiritual state and their outward appearance. In most cases it is very easy to understand what spiritual state they are in from their actions and behavior. People who have removed themselves from the guidance of the Qur'an reflect the resignation they feel towards their troubles with a weary and hopeless expression on their faces. Even at times when there is nothing to sadden or trouble their hearts, this troubled expression remains fixed. They complain about everything that happens to them and can never be easily satisfied with anything. They usually exhibit irritable and contrary behavior. Needless to say, it is out of the question for a person in such a spiritual state to smile, behave cheerfully or wear a clear and open facial expression. Because of this they live with darkened faces deprived of the light which cheerfulness and happiness provide. Allah describes the situation of disbelievers in a verse of the Qur'an:
"But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one and on the Day of Rising We will gather him blind." (Surah Ta Ha, 124)
Because they have no faith, neither do they have the ability to separate right from wrong and good from evil. It follows in turn that they are incapable of seeing how much harm the state they are in does them. Although they should feel dissatisfied about this situation, and hence, make an effort to rescue themselves from it, they insist on the correctness of the life they lead and clearly show that they prefer that instead. When told that the situation they are in is harmful and are given advice on how to correct it, they set their faces against this advice, as Allah tells us in the verses, "He who has fear will be reminded. But the most miserable will shun it [the reminder]." (Surat al-A'la: 10-11) Even though they are aware of their unhappiness, they refuse to admit this and put forward various reasons for their situation. While trying to present their situation as reasonable, they deceive themselves because everything which contributes to their lifelong misery, everything which makes them unhappy, is a part of the test set for them by Allah. Since they are not aware that all these things have been sent them by Allah in accordance with His own divine purpose, their inevitable reaction is to become sorrowful and unhappy. Their unhappiness increases still further so long as they remain ignorant of this truth.
Allah tells us that those who do not have faith in Him and therefore cannot comprehend Him are exposed to corruption:
No self can believe except with Allah's permission. He places a blight on those who do not use their intellect. (Surah Yunus, 100)
As the state of corruption arising from their incomprehension makes them physically ugly, it also has an adverse effect on their mental and physical health. They cannot achieve a balanced mental state. The stress and anxiety they experience become an inseparable part of the psychology of such people. It is impossible to be sure of their moods; when they will get angry, when they will smile or how they will react to anything. This dark mental state makes itself apparent at every opportunity. Comfort and peace tend to make these people uneasy, which then causes them to seek alternatives which invariably bring further discomfort and unhappiness. To overcome a problem they face, instead of being patient and praying to Allah for His help they try to solve it by means of their own intelligence. However, when they fail to find a solution their unhappiness increases along with the trouble and stress that go with it. In order to find a little relief they end up resorting to methods which do them even more harm. The most widespread of these are alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. Their psychological state is so seriously disturbed and deep-rooted that they do not hesitate to use substances which harm their bodies and damage their internal organs. As a result of the endless unhappiness of their existence, they bury their heads in the sand and abandon the natural intelligence which they would normally regard as their main asset. Hence, they fail to acknowledge that all these things will only worsen the situation they are in. It is impossible for a person who lives continually in such a psychological state to be robust and healthy. His body will age faster than normal and will signal this in various ways. Ailments starting with continual headaches, early hair loss and lack of appetite are the forerunners of more painful and serious illnesses which will emerge later.
Their health, which is amongst the most important gifts we have as far as happiness is concerned, is dangerously undermined by the constant stress which pervades their lives. They are not even aware that their misguided efforts to ease their troubles a little are only opening the way to even greater danger, together with all of its consequences.
Believers are able to enjoy the peace of sincere reliance on Allah and taking only Him as their friend and guardian. They never behave in any way which will endanger their health which they regard as a blessing given them by Allah. As a result, they look after themselves to the best of their ability and so remain robust and healthy. They know what an important and wonderful thing health is and they are always grateful to Allah for it. They do not ignore every problem they encounter like the disbelievers but concern themselves with it right away and take precautions against complications which may arise later.
In return for this steadfastness on the part of the believers and their heartfelt devotion to Him, Allah rewards them with a beautiful life in this world. Of course, "beautiful life" refers to both the material and the spiritual. The spiritual happiness they feel is the greatest reason for their looking healthy and attractive. The beauty possessed by believers is the light which Allah gives them. Because of this light, the faces of believers are always open and clear. With the light which Allah gives believers He makes them different from and superior to disbelievers and provides them with a spiritual beauty and a striking air of faith. Allah describes the expression of faith on the faces of the believers and the impact it will have on those around them, "… Their mark is on their faces, the traces of prostration…" (Surat al-Fath: 29)
Just as it exists in the life of this world, so this difference between deniers of the faith and the believers will also emerge on the Day of Judgment. Allah informs us of this in the following verses:
Faces that Day will be radiant, gazing at their Lord. And faces that Day will be glowering, realizing that a back-breaking blow has fallen. (Surat al-Qiyama, 22-25)
That Day some faces will be radiant, laughing, rejoicing. That Day some faces will be dust-covered, overcast with gloom. Those are the dissolute disbelievers. (Surah Abasa 38-42)
Insight and Wisdom
In order to know Allah Who created all living creatures and the universe and to comprehend His power, a person should consider everything our Lord has created and try to appreciate the manifestations of His boundless knowledge and will. Only in this way can he understand that everything he sees was created and must definitely be the product of a power and an intelligence. By acknowledging the intelligence and creative power of Allah in this way he will come closer to Allah and realize that he needs to have faith in Him.
However, for a person to be able to see and understand all these things, he requires an insight which sees with wisdom. Seeing everything around him with wisdom is the best means of referring to Allah and remembering Him at every moment, as Allah tells us in the verse, "an instruction and a reminder for every penitent human being." (Surah Qaf: 8) A person can look at the proofs of the creation on the face of the earth as much as he wants to, he can investigate these for days, weeks or years and by doing so he can discover that they have astonishing characteristics but so long as he does not evaluate them with the eye of faith, he will be unable to understand their true meaning or what it is they are trying to tell him.
One reason for people's inability to see this meaning is that they cannot properly evaluate all these things with the eye of the heart, if they do not possess mental and spiritual ease. For a person to be able to be cautious, notice every detail and evaluate these things correctly, peace of mind is necessary. For reasons referred to above, the minds of people living in the community of the ignorant are perpetually filled with worldly concerns. They are worried about solving the problems they encounter. They believe the way to solve an uncomfortable situation and become happy is to think continually about their own daily affairs, calculate what profits they can obtain and snatch the maximum benefits from the life of this world. As a result, they direct all their attention to these things and are unable to see the proofs of the creation around them. Even if they see them they react to them as something ordinary because of their superficial viewpoint. Even if the miraculous detail of creation is pointed out to them, the explanation will be meaningless to them because what really interests them is the profits they can obtain. In short, because they do not want to see, these people are blinder than the blind and because they do not want to hear they are deafer than the deaf. Allah describes such people in the following Qur'anic verse:
...They have hearts they do not understand with. They have eyes they do not see with. They have ears they do not hear with. Such people are like cattle. No, they are even further astray! They are the unaware. (Surat al-A'raf, 179)
They are incapable of seeing the divine wisdom in the signs of Allah's creation because as well as the imbalance in their mental state they are not at ease and tranquil in spiritual terms. In the following verse of the Qur'an, Allah describes the inability of disbelievers to see the proofs of the creation which are evident even in a small insect:
Allah is not ashamed to make an example of a gnat or of an even smaller thing. As for those who believe, they know it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, they say, "What does Allah mean by this example?" He misguides many by it and guides many by it. But He only misguides the deviators. (Surat al-Baqara, 26)
Deniers of the faith do not consider the truths of the faith which are before their eyes every day because their intellects are obscured by depression, anxiety and stress. Since what is important for them is gaining the greatest advantage they can in the life of this world, they set little store by anything else. They cannot understand the need for and the importance of faith in Allah because they cannot, in the true sense, see His supremacy over all the living creatures which He has created. Even if they seem to understand just a little, this understanding quickly loses its effect because they are not strong enough to put their consciences to work.
Allah tells us in the following verse of the Qur'an that even though He confronts them with proofs which point to Him, these have no effect on them:
How many Signs there are in the Heavens and earth! Yet they pass them by, turning away from them. (Surah Yusuf, 105)
They are not comfortable or tranquil in spiritual terms because of their unhappiness. This prevents them from looking at everything around them with insight and holds them back from faith in Allah. They lose the happiness sincere belief in Allah would bring them and lead miserable lives because of their own lack of intelligence.
Believers always feel happiness because they believe in Him, think about Him and try to earn His approval. In order to approach Allah more closely they think deeply about and investigate everything He has created.
For example, for a believer, looking at the boundless Heavens is a way of appreciating the power and artistry of Allah. Or when he sees a beautiful view, he considers that this beauty has been shown him by Allah and is grateful to Him for it. For the faithful, regarding everything around them as an opportunity to praise Allah ensures that they gain His approval and experience happiness more fully.