Where Does a Believer Find Happiness?

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad Fayez Awad


Where does a believer find his/her happiness?


Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon His noble messenger, his family, and all his companions.


Happiness is that feeling all creation strives for; some attain it, others miss it, and yet others are in between. Happiness is an internal affair, invisible and intangible, not bought or sold, but rather a gift from Allah bestowed upon whom He wills among His servants. Out of His grace, He has made causes for its attainment that one must endeavor to secure. The greatest of these causes is for one to be convinced that no one among the creation can grant him happiness; rather, it is a personal feeling nourished by external actions.

Happiness, a word light on the tongue, dear to every human heart, is an internal feeling of tranquility, peace of heart, openness of chest, and ease of conscience sought by everyone in their life. Many think happiness lies in wealth and riches, others imagine it in owning a luxurious house and an expensive car; some believe it’s in having many children and grandchildren or attaining a high social status or the highest positions, while others think it lies in marrying a woman of wealth, beauty, and charm. People differ in what they love.

يا متعب الجسم كم تســـعى لخدمته : : : أتعبت جسمك فيما فيه خسران
أقبل على الروح واستكمل فضائلها : : : فأنت بالروح لا بالجسم إنسان

“O you who toil for your body, how much you strive for its service; you tire your body in what entails loss.
Turn to your soul and complete its virtues, for you are by soul, not by body, a human.”

These worldly pleasures are fleeting; those who live for them and seek nothing beyond will not taste true happiness and will have no share in the Hereafter. Happiness is not in accumulating wealth, or else Qarun would have been happy; it is not in seeking high office or position, or else Haman, Pharaoh’s minister, would have been happy; and it is not in worldly pleasures that soon pass away. True happiness lies in obeying Allah and avoiding His disobedience, which leads to eternal success:

“Whoever is spared from the Fire and is admitted into Paradise will (indeed) triumph.” [Quran, 3:185]

This is achieved by walking on the straight path in this life, following the noble Messenger, fearing Allah, and being mindful of Him in private and in public, in the unseen and the witnessed. By this, a person achieves success and happiness.

ولست أرى السعادة جمع مال : : : ولكن التقي هو السعيد

“And I do not see happiness in accumulating wealth, but indeed, the pious is the truly happy one.”

Essence of Happiness

Only a few people truly understand the essence of happiness and work towards it, making their life in this world a bridge to the Hereafter without allowing the world and its adornments to distract them from the ultimate goal. Allah (Most High) says,

“Whoever desires (only) this worldly life and its luxuries, We will pay them in full for their deeds in this life—nothing will be left out. It is they who will have nothing in the Hereafter except the Fire. Their efforts in this life will be fruitless and their deeds will be useless.” [Quran, 11:15-16]

And He also says,

“Whoever desires the harvest of the Hereafter, We will increase their harvest. And whoever desires (only) the harvest of this world, We will give them some of it, but they will have no share in the Hereafter.” [Quran, 42:20]

To achieve happiness in life, one must adhere to the causes that lead to happiness and a good life in both this world and the Hereafter, including:

1. Faith and Righteous Deeds

Allah (Most High) says,

“Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will surely bless them with a good life, and We will certainly reward them according to the best of their deeds.” [Quran, 16:97]

He also says,

“Whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray (in this life) nor suffer (in the next). But whoever turns away from My Reminder will certainly have a miserable life, then We will raise them up blind on the Day of Judgment.” [Quran, 20:123-124]

Thus, a good life is for those of faith and righteous deeds, whereas those who indulge in sensory pleasures without faith and righteous deeds live in constriction and misery because happiness revolves around the heart’s contentment. True as the saying goes:

لبيت تخفق الْأَرْوَاح فِيهِ … أحب إليّ من قصر منيف
وَلبس عباءة وتقر عَيْني … أحب إليّ من لبس الشفوف

“A home where souls flutter with joy is dearer to me than a splendid palace,
And wearing a cloak that satisfies my eyes is dearer to me than luxurious garments.”

Indeed, a believer who hopes for what is with Allah, even if constricted in this world and tested, feels immense happiness through their faith and righteous deeds.

2. Kindness to Creation through Words and Deeds

Allah eases worries and sorrows for His servant through acts of kindness, treating you as you treat His creation. Ibn Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said,

“Whoever is gentle with the servants of Allah, Allah will be gentle with him. Whoever is merciful to them, He will be merciful to him. Whoever benefits them, He will benefit him. Whoever covers their faults, He will cover his. And whoever withholds his kindness will have Allah’s kindness withheld from him. And Allah will deal with him in the same manner he deals with His creation in this world and the Hereafter.” [Ibn Qayyim, al-Wabil al-Sayyib]

Allah (Most High) says,

“There is no good in most of their secret talks—except those encouraging charity, kindness, or reconciliation between people. And whoever does this seeking Allah’s pleasure, We will grant them a great reward.” [Quran, 4:114]

3. Engaging in Beneficial Work or Knowledge

This distracts the heart from worries arising from nervous tension and forgets the causes of distress, thereby increasing happiness and vitality.

4. Focusing Entirely on Today’s Work

Avoiding fears of the future or regrets about the past improves one’s current day and effort. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“Be eager for what benefits you, seek help from Allah, and do not be helpless. If something afflicts you, do not say, ‘If only I had done that, it would have been like this.’ But say, ‘Allah decreed it and what He willed has happened;’ indeed, ‘if’ opens the door for the work of Satan.” [Muslim]

5. Remembering Allah Often

This is among the greatest means to bring peace to the heart and remove worries and sorrow. Allah Almighty says,

“Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” [Quran, 13:28]

6. Looking at Those Who are Less Fortunate

Not looking at those who are above you in terms of wealth and health, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“Look at those below you and do not look at those above you, lest you belittle the favors Allah has bestowed upon you.” [Muslim]

Through this perspective, one realizes the abundance of blessings in health, provision, and beyond, easing worries and increasing joy and gratitude for Allah’s favors.

7. Striving to Eliminate Causes of Worries and Seeking Causes of Joy

This involves forgetting past dislikes that cannot be changed, understanding that dwelling on them is futile and impossible, and thus striving to prevent one’s heart from pondering over such thoughts.

8. Strengthening the Heart and Ignoring Illusions and Fantasies

Bad thoughts can lead to fear, diseases, and other negative effects. When a person surrenders to these illusions, it results in worries, sorrows, heart and physical diseases, and nervous breakdowns.

9. Reliance and Trust in Allah and Hope in His Grace

This removes worries and sorrows and brings strength, relief, and happiness to the heart.

10. Comparing One’s Current Difficulties with the Abundance of Blessings

Whether spiritual or worldly, this comparison will reveal the multitude of blessings one enjoys, bringing peace and contentment to the soul.

11. Contentment with Divine Decree

This brings tranquility and peace of mind as one realizes that what has befallen them was never going to miss them, and what has missed them was never meant to befall them. Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“O young man, be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. Know that what has missed you was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to miss you. Know that if the creation were to gather together to benefit you with something that Allah had not decreed for you, they would not be able to do so. And if they were to gather together to harm you with something that Allah had not decreed against you, they would not be able to do so. If you ask, then ask Allah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship. Know that the pen has dried with what will occur.” [Hakim; Tirmidhi; Ahmad; Abu Ya‘la; Tabarani]

This contentment is the greatest treatment one can use to attain happiness, as it is a common denominator among the happy. They are content with their situation, enjoying it as it is, without desiring anything else.

12. Salam

True to its name, offering peace in greeting to your brother or anyone else is a prayer for their safety and a path to happiness, as it fosters a sense of security among people. Only a true believer, in whom faith is deeply rooted, practices this following the guidance of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who instructed us to spread peace among ourselves. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace among yourselves.” [Muslim; Ibn Hibban; Abu Dawud; Tirmidhi; Ahmad]

13. Doing Good and Volunteering

Reported by Abu Dharr, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“Do not belittle any good deed.” [Tirmidhi]

Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“The most beloved deeds to Allah, after performing the obligatory duties, is bringing joy to a fellow Muslim.” [Ibid.]

Thus, one should not underestimate any act of kindness or goodness, helping the needy, relieving the distressed, visiting the sick, guiding the seeker, listening to the deaf, giving charity to the needy, and performing any act of kindness within one’s capacity.

14. Maintaining Kinship Ties

Undoubtedly, maintaining kinship ties is among the greatest acts of kindness, surpassing the previously mentioned cause in its obligation and being a source of wealth and longevity. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“Whoever would like his provision to be increased and his life to be extended should uphold his ties of kinship.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Indeed, expanding one’s provision is among the greatest pursuits of a person, and if we were to say that one of the greatest causes of unhappiness today is the fear of poverty and need, we would be correct. Therefore, by maintaining your kinship ties and fulfilling their rights, you bring joy to them and happiness to yourself. Moreover, maintaining these ties leads to other sources of happiness, such as smiling, fulfilling needs, spreading peace, enjoining what is good, spreading knowledge, and other joyful actions that come from gathering with relatives and kin.

15. Maintaining Congregational Prayers, Especially the Fajr Prayer in Its Time with the Congregation

Jundub ibn Abdullah reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“Whoever performs the Fajr prayer is under the protection of Allah, so do not be the cause for Allah to demand you from His protection for anything, lest He seizes you and throws you into the Hellfire.” [Muslim]

Imagine the state of a person under Allah’s protection and care!

Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“Whoever makes the Hereafter his concern, Allah will place richness in his heart, bring his affairs together, and the world will come to him reluctantly. And whoever makes the world his concern, Allah will place poverty before his eyes, scatter his affairs, and he will not receive from the world except what has been decreed for him.” [Tirmidhi]

Indeed, this is for those who rise for the Fajr prayer with the Hereafter as their concern and strive for it.

16. Persistently Remembering Allah, Especially When Exiting the Home

The primary causes of distress, anxiety, and constriction are from Satan. When a person begins their day with the remembrance of Allah. As reported by Ka‘b al-Ahbar, If the first thing they utter upon leaving their home is:

“In the name of Allah, I place my trust in Allah, and there is no power nor strength except with Allah.” The devils then say to each other, “This servant has been guided, preserved, and sufficed, so there is no way for us over him,” and they disperse away from him. [‘Abd al-Razzaq; Ibn Abi Shayba]

The remembrance of Allah (Most High) is the tranquility of hearts. Allah (Most High) says,

“Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” [Quran, 13:28]

The greatest of this remembrance is the Quran, which is a cure for what is in the breasts, a mercy for the believers, healing their psychological and physical illnesses for those who believe in it and follow its guidance. It is observed that those most afflicted with psychological diseases are those who do not hold the Quran in high esteem, whereas those least affected by distress and psychological diseases are the scholarly devout and the bearers of the Quran.

17. Seeking Forgiveness Frequently

Frequent istighfar diminishes sins, which are among the greatest causes of misery and constriction of the heart.

18. Attending Circles of Remembrance, Knowledge Assemblies, and Quran Study Groups

These gatherings are blessed with the descent of tranquility, the encompassing of mercy, the forgiveness of sins, and being mentioned by Allah among those with Him. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“No people gather in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, without tranquility descending upon them, mercy covering them, the angels surrounding them, and Allah mentioning them among those who are with Him.” [Muslim; Abu Dawud; Tirmidhi]

19. Advising Muslims, Enjoining Good, and Forbidding Evil with Gentleness and Tenderness

Witnessing wrongs and not denouncing them affects the observer, causing heart constriction. This is part of the misfortune of sins, with the least level of denouncement being that in the heart.

20. Observing the Conditions of People Around You

To realize there are those in more severe trials than you, which calms the soul, relieves distress and turns one towards benefiting from what Allah has bestowed and being thankful for the well-being granted.

I ask Allah, Glorious and Exalted, to grant us success in acting upon these causes so that we may live a good life in this world and attain the paradise of our Lord in the Hereafter.

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our Master and Prophet Muhammad, his Family, and his Companions.

[Shaykh] Dr. Muhammad Fayez Awad.

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Fayez Awad, born in Damascus, Syria, in 1965, pursued his Islamic studies in the mosques and institutes of Damascus. A graduate of the Islamic University of Medina in 1985, he holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Bahauddin Zakariya University in Pakistan.

He has extensive experience developing curricula and enhancing the teaching of various academic courses, including conducting intensive courses. Shaykh Awad has taught Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Quranic sciences, the history of legislation, inheritance laws, and more at several institutes and universities such as Al-Furqan Institute for Islamic Sciences and Majma‘ al-Fath al-Islami in Damascus.

He is a lecturer at the Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih Waqf University in Istanbul, teaching various Arabic and Islamic subjects, and teaches at numerous Islamic institutes in Istanbul. Shaykh Awad is a member of the Association of Syrian Scholars, a founding member of the Zayd bin Thabit Foundation, a member of the Syrian Scholars Association, and a member of the Academic Council at the Iman Center for Teaching the Sunna and Quran.

Among his teachers from whom he received Ijazat are his father, Shaykh Muhammad Muhiyiddin Awad, Shaykh Muhiyiddin al-Kurdi, Shaykh Muhammad Karim Rajih, Shaykh Usama al-Rifai, Shaykh Ayman Suwaid, Shaykh Ahmad al-Qalash, Shaykh Muhammad Awwama, and Shaykh Mamduh Junayd.