No matter how relative the definition of happiness and its pursuit be, the general agreement is on the fact that if one is able to reduce stress and the factors that cause it, then one can actually have a shot at achieving happiness. Therefore, the pursuit of happiness and the refraining from stress go hand in hand.
People read different kinds of books in order to combat with their stress and try to achieve happiness. For a Muslim, the things are quite simple. All he or she has to do is to follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the instructions of Quran to keep stress at bay and pave way for happiness. The lines below give some tips that can help a Muslim be happy and at the same time if he or she is stressed, then get relief from it as well.
PLEASURE OF ALLAH:
The major problem behind stress and the barrier to happiness is that we as humans do thing for pleasing others. All we ever want to do is to go for things that we think could please others and when they aren’t pleased as we expect them to be, it brings disappointment which then leads to stress and keeps the happiness away from us. The approach of a Muslim should be that of pleasing Allah Almighty. The reason why one should strive to seek the pleasure of Allah is the fact that only He is the One who returns exponentially and any effort done in His way does not go unrewarded. In Quran, Allah Almighty says:
“The believers, men and women, are Auliya of one another; they enjoin Al-Maruf, and forbid from Al-Munkar; they perform As-Salat, and give the Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Allah has promised the believers – men and women, – Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of Adn. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme success.” (9:71-72)
In these ayah, Allah Almighty calls His pleasure as the supreme success. Therefore, if a Muslim strives on the way of Allah, lives Islamic way of life, then the supreme success or the true happiness will befall upon Him and all the worries will definitely keep away. Hence, striving for the pleasure is far better than striving for worldly pleasures that bring stress and depression.
The other and perhaps the most subtle element that keeps happiness away from us opens the doors of stress is us being not grateful for what we have and prying on other people and always being contemptuous and jealous of what they have. When we are not grateful for what we have then actually we are not appreciating what we have and if one cannot appreciate what he or she has then how possibly can they think of having more. Regarding being grateful, Allah Almighty says in Quran:
“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless, verily! My punishment is indeed severe.” (14:7)
From this ayah of Quran it is clear that those who are grateful for what they have are the ones who get more from Allah Almighty. Moreover, being grateful shows contentment in a person, which is the greatest ally on, can have in achieving happiness and defeating stress. Therefore, being grateful is what can make a person happy in both present and future.
THINK OF YOUR SOUL AS WELLl:
The problem with the ideals of happiness that we have at present are primarily based upon material things. We presume that money could bring us happiness, or if we were rich we would have less stress. Similarly, the progression in career, better social standing and so on are some factors which we consider as factors that could bring us happiness. The real happiness comes from the soul, if you are satisfied within then you will be happy with the outside world as well. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in one of His hadiths:
“True enrichment does not come through possessing a lot of wealth, but true enrichment is the enrichment of the soul.” (Bukhari)
Therefore, in addition to living the life of this world, a Muslim must also work upon enriching his or her soul so that the achievement of happiness could become easy and the worldly pursuits that cause stress should be avoided.
One of the major stress inducing factors at present is comparing one’s self with others, especially with the ones who are above us. When we compare ourselves with others who are better than us, we go into a complex and instead of appreciating what we have we start fretting over the things that others have, thus causing depression and keeping us away from happiness. First of all a Muslim should never indulge in worldly comparisons as everyone has his or her own relation with Allah and the blessings also vary depending on the relation. However, if a Muslim is to make comparison then he should make the comparison with the ones who are below him or her in whatever entity the Muslim is comparing. Regarding this comparison, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in a hadith:
“Look at those below you (less fortunate than you), and don’t look at those above you, for this is better.” (Muslim)
When a Muslim will compare him or herself with the less fortunate ones, then they will surely develop a feeling of being grateful and would feel happy and content for what they have instead of being worried about what others have and they cant get.
DON'T EXPECT FROM OTHERS:
Another factor that hurts the most, brings stress into life and breaks the relations that bring happiness is the expecting from others. We as humans tend to expect from other people and when we set high expectations from them, and when those are not fulfilled we feel depressed and dishearten. As humans we ought to depend on each other, however, the best one are those who set their expectations with Allah who would compared the means for those expectations to be fulfilled. Prophet (PBUH) said in a hadith:
“O Allah, give me enough of what You have made lawful to suffice me from what You have made unlawful, and enrich me by Your bounty giving me independence from all other than You.” (Tirmidhi)
Thus, when a Muslim sets expectations with Allah, then He surely does fulfill those expectations. Therefore, instead of setting expectations with people, a Muslim must turn towards Allah, ask for every thing from Him, and depend on Him only. This way expectations will be fulfilled and stress will remain at bay.
WORK ON PHYSICAL FITNESS:
There is no denying the fact that methods like Quran recitation can bring peace and solace to a person, however, the peace of soul and heart needs to be complemented with a peaceful body as well. If the body is not healthy then it will fall prey to all sorts of illnesses and health issues, which boost the stress and keep a person from enjoying happiness. Therefore, a Muslim must try to work on physical fitness and keep the body healthy so that it resists stress better and is able to enjoy happiness in general and occasions of happiness in particular. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in one of His hadiths:
“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both.” (Muslim)
LISTEN AND RECITE QURAN
Without any doubt, listening to Quran in heart touching recitation brings happiness and peace to both mind and soul. Also, reading the words of Allah reveals many secrets upon the recite. Therefore, if you are in quest for happiness, start listening and reading the Holy Quran. This will surely help you attain a level of satisfaction and happiness you desire. Further, You can also attend Quran tutoring classes at Quranreading.com where experienced teachers teach especially designed courses to help improve quran reading and understanding skills of the muslim students.
In short, a Muslim can easily fight and resist stress while at the same time be happy, if he or she starts acting upon the instructions of Quran and try making Islam a part of their daily lives. If this habit is developed then a Muslim will be more content and remain happy for whatever Allah has given him or her and this gratitude will lay the foundation for further happiness and joy.