10 Steps to Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Each and every human being instinctively is in pursuit of happiness. Whether he/she is a child or an adult, a Muslim or a non-Muslim, and this is the fact. In order to achieve this true and eternal happiness, one must comprehend what this emotion really is. Happiness, according to the Oxford dictionary is ‘feeling, causing, or giving pleasure’ and it is being ‘satisfied’. It is essential to understand the psychology of happiness to know how much control we have over it. James Montier, a renowned global equity strategist studied behavioral psychology and concluded in his research ‘The Psychology of Happiness’ that psychologists have found that happiness is comprised of three components:
1. About 50% of individual happiness comes from a genetic set point. That is, we’re each predisposed to a certain level of happiness. Some of us are just naturally more inclined to be cheery than others.
2. About 10% of our happiness is due to our circumstances; demographic factors, age, gender, ethnicity and geographic factors. It also includes personal history and life status.
3. The remaining 40% of an individual’s happiness is derived from intentional activity, from discrete actions or practices that we choose to do.
As humans we have no control over our genetic set-point, and hardly any control over our circumstances. This 50% of happiness in Islam is called ‘ridha bi al-qadha’ (being content with our lot in life). This means that as believers if we truly love Allāh and trust Him, we are satisfied with what He Has decreed for us. The Messenger would supplicate with words that would highlight the importance of satisfaction with our fate; therefore we too should make the effort to recite these supplications:
“I am pleased with Allāh as my Lord, with Islam as my religion, and with Muḥammad as my Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).” [Abu Dawud]
“O Allāh, make me content with what you have provided me, send blessings for me therein, and place for me every absent thing with something better.” [Bukhāri]
“O Allāh, I seek refuge with You from knowledge which does not bring benefit and from a heart which is not fearful and from a self which is not content and from a supplication which is not answered.” [Muslim]
Thereafter, the main conclusion to be drawn from Montier’s research is that we can only…
Read the entire article at MuslimMatters.org.