WHY THEY CANNOT BE HAPPY?
We have seen that those who live in a society of ignorance derive no
enjoyment from their lives, professions or social status. The following
are the main reasons why:
They Do Not Look for Answers in the Qur'an
Not looking for answers in the Qur'an is one of the first errors made
in a society of ignorance. They see clearly that the situation in which
they find themselves is a dead end. They recognize that the lifestyle
they have adopted and the character they have assumed have not led them
anywhere; that these things have been unsatisfying and even disappointing.
In response, they experiment with other alternatives provided by the society
of ignorance, but find that these too bring them nothing. Because, one
ignorant pattern of behavior is basically no different than another. People,
places and conditions may change, but the false expectations and anxiety
remain the same; the "intellectual" and the "socialite" are both focused
on this world.
However, this earthly life is too brief to be worth becoming overly attached
to. There is nothing to be gained from this world; when a person dies,
everything he had will be taken from him. For this reason, every kind
of undue devotion to this world gives rise only to anxiety.
But, the solution has already been provided; a human being can find happiness
only when he turns to Allah. A person can be saved from his troubles only
by being Allah's friend and leading the kind of life He wills.
In the Qur'an, Allah reveals this important secret:
Those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah.
Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace. (Surat ar-Ra'd,
One who had become the friend of Allah strictly obeys the Book sent down
by our Lord to guide him. From that point on, his personality and lifestyle
are determined only by the Qur'an. Therefore, by the will of Allah, the
Qur'an can lead human beings from darkness to light:
Alif Lam Ra. This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can
bring humanity from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their
Lord, to the Path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy. (Surah Ibrahim, 1)
For this reason, there is no anxiety, discontent, worry or confusion
in the personality derived from the teachings of the Qur'an. Instead,
there is beauty, balance and faultless manners. Allah has promised such
believers that He will offer them the finest reward for the good they
So that Allah can reward them for the best of what they did and give
them more from His unbounded favor. Allah provides for anyone He wills
without reckoning. (Surat an-Nur, 38)
They Want to Gain Acceptance from other People and Not
People in a society of ignorance cannot attain happiness, nor can they
find a way out of their discontent, no matter what they do. One reason
being, that they do not live for Allah, but for other human beings. If
a person decides what is right and wrong, on the basis of what other people
will say; if he is saddened by what makes other people sad, and pleased
by what makes them pleased; if he tries to be appreciated by others and
adjusts his behavior so as not to be embarrassed, then this person is
living for others.
He then finds life difficult because everyone's expectations are different.
If we were to imagine one subjected to the whims of hundreds of other
people, then clearly he would have to work hard to please each one of
them. He would want to be animated in the presence of one, grave and sober
in the presence of another. Behavior that pleases one person would not
suit another. And, these differences would reach into the thousands. Under
such circumstances, one individual who lives for others would have to
meet thousands of different types of demands at the same time. Only in
this way could he satisfy everyone and make them appreciate him.
Allah offers an example of their anxiety in the Qur'an:
Allah has made a metaphor for them of a man owned by several partners
in dispute with one another and another man wholly owned by a single man.
Are they the same? Praise be to Allah! The fact is that most of them do
not know. (Surat az-Zumar, 29)
Essentially, there is only one way out-to submit to Allah's eternal knowledge
and intelligence. Allah is the Creator of human beings and all other things.
And it is only Allah Who knows what is best for human beings and what
they must do to be happy. He has revealed to them in the Qur'an the way
to salvation: Fear Allah alone and seek His pleasure.
Allah says, "Do not take two gods. He is only One God. So dread Me alone."
(Surat an-Nahl, 51)
Failing to do so not only makes human beings unhappy, it also a grave
sin against Allah. To seek the pleasure of other beings apart from Allah
is called in the Qur'an "ascribing partners to Allah." One who ascribes
partners to Allah chooses to worship a god other than Allah, and devoting
himself to that god. But, they will encounter disappointment in the next
world. Allah warns them so that they will not go to Hell and suffer repentance
that will bring no respite.
It has been revealed to you and those before you: "If
you associate others with Allah, your actions will come to nothing and
you will be among the losers." No! Worship
Allah and be among the thankful. (Surat az-Zumar, 66)
Allah does not forgive anything being associated with Him but He forgives
whoever He wills for anything other than that. Anyone who associates something
with Allah has committed a terrible crime. (Surat an-Nisa', 48)
Another thing that must be remembered is this: One may dedicate his entire
life to the pleasure of others, abandoning Allah; in the Afterlife, however,
it is He Who will abandon them. Everyone will be called to give account
of the things he has done, and no one's deeds will suffice to save another.
This important fact is revealed in the Qur'an:
Each of them will come to Him on the Day of Rising all alone. (Surah
You have come to Us all alone just as We created you at first, leaving
behind you everything We bestowed on you. We do not see your intercessors
accompanying you, those you claimed were your partners with Allah. The
link between you is cut. Those you made such claims for have forsaken
you. (Surat al-An'am, 94)
On that day, those fearing of being alone will ask those they called
their nearest and dearest in this life-their children, spouses, friends-to
offer ransom for them that they may escape the torment of Hell. The Qur'an
reveals this truth:
No good friend will ask about his friend even though they can see each
other. An evildoer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment
of that Day, by means of his sons, or his wife or his brother or his family
who sheltered him or everyone else on Earth, if that only meant that he
could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze. (Surat al-Ma'arij, 10-15)
In light of all the information provided in the Qur'an, we can see that
a life based on pleasing others will not just bring unhappiness; it will
also cause one to be at loss in the Afterlife. The way to escape this
is evident: Submission to Allah and living to seek His pleasure.
Because They Do Not Remember That this Life is a Trial
Another reason why those who have adopted a character type of ignorance
cannot be happy is because they forget the reason why they are in this
world. Human beings are being tested to see whether they will appreciate
the intelligence, power and other superior qualities of Allah, or become
oblivious to these truths, become caught up in this world. Allah reveals
to us the purpose of this life:
He Who created death and life to test which of you is best in action.
He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk, 2)
For this reason, Allah has permitted human beings a limited lifespan.
From the time they reach the age of maturity onward, they are responsible
for everything they believe and do. Each will be examined in the Afterlife
about whether he followed his conscience which was continually dictating
to him what is right and what is wrong. Because what a person's conscience
dictates is correct, if he does not obey it, he follows the desires of
his lower-self instead. The lower-self constantly commands a person to
do what is wrong. So, there is a constant battle trial taking place within
a person, determining whether he or she either acts on the side of his
lower-self, or on the side of his conscience.
This trial takes place at every moment of his life. It takes place in
school, at work, at home, in the street; while he is alone, or in public;
it goes on when he is sick or well; and even if he goes to the other end
of the world, he will be tested there too. There is no moment when he
is not tested. In the Afterlife, he will come face to face with everything
he has believed, said and done. He will certainly be recompensed for the
good and the evil he had done; everything will receive its due reward
and, finally, all will be sent to the place they deserve.
Forgetting that everything that happens in this world has been foreordained
as a trial hinders one from submitting Allah. In a society of ignorance
you often hear such complaints as the following: "Why did this happen?
I wish it wasn't this way" " Things aren't going well," "I'm ruined,"
"Everything's going wrong,," "If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't be in
this situation." But, the basis of them all is a lack of submission to
Anxiety and malcontent are clear results of this lack of submission.
Because they do not consider the reasons behind that which happens, people
complain when the even smallest obstacle impedes their way. As a result,
they are always mired in false concerns. However, human beings must be
satisfied with every moment Allah has created for them. Even if things
seem to be going wrong, they must behave morally and be determined to
remain faithful to Allah. Most importantly, they must not forget that
the purpose of their creation is to be tested by all these circumstances.
Those who live according to the high morals commanded in the Qur'an, are
happy and content because they know that the patience they show in all
their adversities will be turned in their favor in the world to come.