Happiness is Submission to God Alone
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This type of mind-set would help us learn from the tests that God sends our way in order to maintain a good relationship with God.
We can be tested with the material things of this world. It’s very natural that we are attracted to the material things of this world, but we know they are just the blessings that God gives us in this life. If we keep this in proper perspective, we will improve our relationship with God. Even Solomon with all his wealth was put to the test by God through his horses (38:31-34). He realized they distracted him from his worship of God. He submitted to God’s will and was blessed with even more material wealth.
You should know that your money and your children are a test, and that God possesses a great recompense. — 8:28
Chasing after material things or “keeping up with the Joneses” is one of the easiest ways to stay miserable. The constant comparison and determination to have better things than others keeps our focus on exactly that—others—not God. Just think, if this was the true measure of happiness, then, when a disaster strikes out the possessions of someone with more or better things than we have, it would increase our happiness. What a terrible thought, but the Quran indicates there are people like this.
When anything good comes your way they hurt, and when something bad happens to you they rejoice. If you steadfastly persevere, and maintain righteousness, their schemes will never hurt you. God is fully aware of everything they do. — 3:120
Happiness does not equal success in this life either, and we may be tested with it also. If our status in life were the measure of happiness, then only the richest, most famous or strongest people among us would be happy. But we know that isn’t true. In the story of the
two men with gardens, given in the Quran (18:32-44), one man clearly says that he is more prosperous than the other. But he didn’t factor God into his success. He ended up sorrowful and lamenting all that he had done in vain. While the other man realized that God was the true source of success, even though he had less to start with.
Adorned for the people are the worldly pleasures, such as the women, having children, piles upon piles of gold and silver, trained horses, livestock, and crops. These are the materials of this world. A far better abode is reserved at God. — 3:14
What is our goal in this life? Is it to get an education, then a job, then a big house, get married, have children, put money in the bank, find a nice retirement place and await our death? Are these our goals?
God wants us to perfect our relationship with Him. He will surely test us through our weak points and try to show us what our defects are so that we can learn from them. God says in the Quran that if we are looking for these types of things, God will give them to us in this world. But if we look for success in the Hereafter, God will provide for us both in this life and in the Hereafter.
Whoever seeks the rewards of the Hereafter, we multiply the rewards for him. And whoever seeks the materials of this world, we give him therefrom, then he receives no share in the Hereafter. — 42:20
In order to check if we are trying to please God alone, we need to examine what we strive to do and the motives behind the striving. Is God the most important thing in our life? Do we strive to do all five of our daily prayers? Do we willingly give our obligatory charity? Do we try hard to make it to the Friday prayer and study the Quran? Do we force ourselves to be with the believers to please them or please Him?
Are we careful to observe God’s laws around the believers, only to break them with other people? We’re with God 100% of the time no matter who else we’re with. Do our actions often have to be justified with excuses and exceptions to God’s commandments? Do we talk to promote kindness, tolerance and justice in others, without putting them to practice ourselves?
Do we speak up to others because we honestly want to share our thoughts and understanding with them or do we just want to show off to them? Do we discuss ideas to try to learn with those around us or just to put them down with our knowledge? Who do we try to impress the most—our spouse, our family, our friends, our co-workers, our boss? Do we really have things in order and try to set God as our priority?
Inform the hypocrites that they have incurred painful retribution. They are the ones who ally themselves with disbelievers instead of believers. Are they seeking dignity with them? All dignity belongs with God alone.— 4:138-139
O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of God's signs, that they may take heed. — 7:26
God controls the minds and hearts of the people. He is the one who puts love, respect, and understanding between us and those around us. But we have to make God our priority first, working hard to be righteous and to do things that are pleasing to Him first before all others.
We are all familiar with what is commonly known as “mid-life crisis.” For those who give priority to this life, happiness seems to increase
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