Defining Happiness

I have been away for nearly 8 months and haven’t really written something thought-provoking. I can blame the never-ending circle of daily routine for that. Since my last writing, life has changed a lot and for good Allhumdullilah! I feel more focused and  energised.

I have been meaning to write something for a few weeks now. Lots of thoughts have come and gone but nothing has stuck.

Today, while going to office I witnessed a mother and her 5-year-old kid playing. The kid was asking for a chocolate as if his life depended on it. The mother was hesitant on giving him the chocolate bar. A point came when the kid started crying so loud that all the passengers started noticing what was going on. Suddenly, the mother handed him the chocolate bar and the happiness amidst the flowing tears of the kid was evident. He was ecstatic as if he had found everything he had wished for. That innocent, happy face of the kid remained with me for the rest of the day and I started thinking about Happiness, Content, Satisfaction, Peace and the thought stayed…

What is Happiness? Have we really ever stopped and thought about it, what is real Happiness? Is it money? Is it social status? Is it lineage? Is it a good life, freedom from suffering, flourishing, well-being, joy, prosperity and pleasure?

There are many answers to this question. Defining happiness can seem as elusive as achieving it. We want to be happy, and we can say whether we are or not, but can it really be defined, studied and measured? And can we use this learning to become happier? Psychologists say yes, and that there are good reasons for doing so. Positive psychology is “the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive.”

Mustafa Kamal Mahmoud Husayn, an Egyptian scientist and a prolific author once said;

“I feel happy because I am an average man with an average income. My health is average, my standard of living is average and I have a little of everything, which means that I have a lot of motivation, and motivation  is life. The motivation in our hearts is the true warmth of life, the basis on which we evaluate our happiness”. I pray to Allah that He may bless the reader of these lines with an average life, and give him a little of everything…this is a good prayer, I swear by Allah the Almighty”

This is called contentment, and contentment means having enough, having a little of everything and a great deal of spiritual energy.

“…And if you count the favour [Blessings] of Allah, you could not enumerate them…” (Quran 14:34)

I, or for that matter any of us cannot really define in words what true happiness is, we can only feel it. For us a beautiful day, a happy, content, peaceful day is the day on which we have control of our affairs and our affairs do not control us. It is the day on which we control our desires and we are not controlled by them like slaves. Some of these days I can remember and will never forget. Every day on which I manage to save myself from the vicious circle of worrying about what I can and cannot do is a wonderful day. How wonderful is the day on which I was hesitating whether to do a deed for which people would praise me or a deed for which no one would praise me, and no one would know about it, so I forsook the praise of people and was content  to do an action which I will remember for as long as I live, but which no one will hear about?

How wonderful is the day on which I felt that my pockets were filling with money but my conscience was devoid of dignity, so I decided that I would rather be penniless and have a clear conscience?

These days are wonderful, and the most wonderful thing about them is that my worldly gain on these days is very small but the fact I gained self-respect from my actions far outweighs that, and what I gained on such days is great !

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