(B) True Happiness

Allah says, “Whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve” (2:38). Allah has emphasized these words when He said, “But if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery. But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. He will say, ‘O my Lord! Why have You raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)?’ (Allah) will say, ‘Thus did you, when Our Signs came to you, disregard them, so will you, this day, be disregarded’” (20:123-127).

God is an individual’s Creator. In addition, it is the knowledge of Him and the relationship with Him that the soul is seeking. Hence, without this relationship, sorrow will enter into a person’s life. On the other hand, knowing Allah and establishing the proper relationship with Him will bring about true happiness.

Throughout history, scholars and pious people have tried to express the joy and contentment that enters into their hearts via knowing their Lord. A famous scholar of Islam, Ibn Taimiyyah, attempted to express the joy that he felt from his faith in Allah and the deeds he performed. He once said, “In this world there is a Paradise that whoever does not enter it will not enter the Paradise in the Hereafter.” He also said, “What can my enemies do to me? Certainly, my paradise and garden are in my chest.”115 In fact, ibn al-Qayyim, ibn Taimiyyah’s closest student who would visit him often in the citadel prison, stated,

Allah knows that I have never seen anyone having a better life than him. [This was true] even though he was in straitened circumstances and not living in luxuries and comforts. On the contrary, he was on the opposite extreme. Even though he faced imprisonment, torture and threats, he still had the most pleasurable life among the people, with the most relaxed feelings, strongest in heart and happiest of all of them. The experiencing of joy could be seen on his face. Whenever we were very fearful, feeling bad expectations and felt the earth constricting upon us, we would come to him and we only needed to see him and listen to his words that all of those emotions would leave us. Instead, we would be filled with rest, strength, certainty and tranquility. Exalted be the One who allows His servant to witness His Paradise before he meets Him.116

Of course, such a beautiful feeling from one’s faith was not restricted to ibn Taimiyyah. Ibn al-Qayyim quotes another devout Muslim as saying, “If the kings and the children of the kings knew what [felicity] we are in, they would fight us over it with their swords.” Yet another stated, “The inhabitants of this world are miserable. They leave this world and they do not taste the most wonderful aspect that it contains.” When asked what that was, he replied, “Love for Allah, knowing Him and remembering Him.” Ibn al-Qayyim also quoted another who said, “There comes some times in which I say, ‘If the people of Paradise are in a state like this, they are enjoying a good life.’”117

One author noted, “[The fruits of purification of the soul] are perpetual fruits for every times. The servant finds their taste, experiences their sweetness and moves about in its pleasures. Every time the person increases in the steps of purification, those fruits likewise increase.”118 Ibn al-Qayyim further stated,

Do not consider that Allah’s words, “Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure and indeed the wicked will be in Hell-fire” [82:13-14] are restricted only to the pleasures and hell of the Hereafter alone. Actually, it applies to their [humans’] three stages, that is, the life in this world, the life in al-barzakh [after death and before resurrection] and the life in the permanent abode [after resurrection]. Those [purified souls] are in pleasure while the others are in a hell. Isn’t pleasure only the pleasure of the heart and punishment only the punishment of the heart? What punishment can be harsher than fear, worry, anxiety and uneasiness [faced by those whose souls are not purified]? [What can be harsher than] its turning away from Allah and the abode of the Hereafter, its clinging on to something other than Allah and its being disconnected from Allah?119

115 Quoted in Muhammad ibn al-Qayyim, al-Waabil al-Sayyib min al-Kalim al-Tayyib (Beirut: Daar al-Bihaar, 1986), p. 73.

116 Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Waabil al-Sayyib, p. 73.

117 See ibn al-Qayyim, al-Waabil al-Sayyib, pp. 73. Ibn al-Qayyim also quoted ibn Taimiyyah as saying, “If you do not find any sweetness and relaxation in your heart from a [good] deed, then you should suspect your heart. Verily, Allah is grateful. That is, He must reward the doer of a deed for his deed in this world by a sweetness he finds in his heart, a stronger feeling of relaxation and a joy in his eyes. If the person does not find these things, it means that something has entered upon his deed [and made it not correct and purely for Allah’s sake].” See ibn al-Qayyim, Madaarij, vol. 2, p. 68.

118 Anas Karzoon, Manhaj al-Islaam fi Tazkiah al-Nafs (Jeddah: Daar Noor al-Maktabaat, 1997), vol.2, p. 753.

119 Muhammad ibn al-Qayyim, Al-Jawaab al-Kaafi liman Sa`ala an al-Dawaa al-Shaafi (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1983), p. 88-89.