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The reality of existence and its impact on achieving happiness

Man

From what is he created?!

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Dalida

A world famous Singer
Life is unbearable
Before committing suicide, she wrote her last message: “La vie m’est insupportable... Pardonnez-moi.” (“Life has become unbearable... Forgive me.”)

Allah says: {He, it is Who has created you (Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah [mixed semen drops of male and female discharge (i.e. Adam’s offspring)] then from a clot (a piece of coagulated blood), then brings you forth as children, then (makes you grow) to reach the age of full strength, and afterwards to be old (men and women), though some among you die before, and that you reach an appointed term, in order that you may understand.}(Ghâfir:67)

Yes... Man is originated from dust and worthless water, and his fate is to become a motionless corpse. Between the two states, he carries impurities in his stomach and deems dirty everything that comes out of his body. After all of that he becomes an ignorant opponent of his Lord! How disbelieving is he!! Allah says: {17. Be cursed (the disbelieving) man! How ungrateful he is! 18. From what thing did He create him? 19. From Nutfah (male and female semen drops) He created him, and then set him in due proportion; 20. Then He makes the Path easy for him; 21. Then He causes him to die, and puts him in his grave; 22. Then, when it is His Will, He will resurrect him (again).}(‘Abasa:17-22)

Yet Allah honors him over all other creatures. Did Allah not order the angels to prostrate to his grandfather Adam (pbuh), make the earth and animals submissive to him, and honor him with a mind by which he creates miracles?!! Allah says: {And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Taiyibât (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference.}(Al-Isrâ’:70)

The essence of man then cannot be understood unless these two realities are perceived together. Through this perception, the balance is made equal, and is based on the belief that everything achieved by man: glory, esteem, money, knowledge and other things, are all a flood of blessings from Allah. The Almighty says: {And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allâh. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help.}(An-Nahl:5)

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Rosemary Howe

English Journalist
The conclusive answer
“In practicing the teachings of Islam a human being discovers his human nature and his real human character, and comes to really know himself. Islam is the only religion which gives me the convincing answers to my confused questions. “

As for man himself, he is nothing but a mass of flesh and bones that is elevated by a self that he must refine and tame with beneficial knowledge and good deeds. Furthermore, in spite of his weakness and inability, Allah has honored him with qualities that qualify him to carry the trust which other creatures around him refused to carry. Allah says: {Truly, We did offer Al¬Amânah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allâh has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allâh’s Torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results).}(Al-¬Ahzâb:72)

If man fails to keep the balance between his belief of the two realities, and he either inclines towards his initial reality, seeing himself only as dirty lustful piece of flesh with no goal or target, dedicating his being to pleasures, just like that of the beasts, then he destroys his self by humiliating it. Allah says: {(..while those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as cattle eat, and the Fire will be their abode.)}(Muhammad or Al-Qitâl:12)

Or his thoughts are overwhelmed by the second reality, which will lead to arrogance, deification and tyranny, unaware that he will return to his Lord. Allah says: {6. Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.). 7. Because he considers himself self-sufficient. 8. Surely! Unto your Lord is the return.}(Al-’Alaq:6-8)

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ThomasEdison

Know your abilities
“Even though his position was minor and his works were few in the eyes of the people, yet he found himself. Edison was expelled from school, but he found himself in his inventions and his favors towards humanity were many. It is important to come to terms with yourself to be happy, and know your position and your abilities.”

This is because man must know his true worth and come to terms with it. That is why one of the most important causes of human misery lies in man not finding his self and not knowing where his position is in the society; he does not know who he is, what his status is, or what he is able to offer.

Why was he created?!

Allah created all that exists (Glorified be He) and His creating of it was not in vain. Allah says: {115. “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” 116. So Exalted be Allâh, the True King, Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne!}(Al-Mu’minûn:115-116)

He created man to worship Him according to the comprehensive concept of worship, which includes every aspect of life, even when he is playing or in pastime, and not merely the devotional rites. Allah says: {And I (Allâh) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).}(Az-Zâriyât:56)

Those who do not know this point are still tormented with this ignorance, and continue miserably in their doubt and confusion all their life. For them, worship is separated from happiness, and worship is separated from their worldly life, and the worldly life is separated from the Hereafter. Allah Almighty made everything in the heavens and the earth submissive to man. Allah says: {And has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all as a favour and kindness from Him. Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply.}(Al-Jâthiya:13)

Man should be aware that he has been given the responsibility by His true King and Lord, by Allah, to govern the earth, so as to be tested and tried. Allah says: {And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-¬Forgiving, Most Merciful.}(Al-An’âm:165)

Life

After man understands the reality of his existence, his soul longs to reflect on the nature of this life to which he was naturally disposed to cling; for it is the basis upon which stands all the pleasures and delights of this world. Moreover, it is based on the hope of attaining what one’s self wants and inclines to. What then is the purpose of life?! The aim of the creation of life and death is to test people in order to see who of them are best in their deeds. Allah says: {Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving;}(Al-Mulk:2)

That is the truth, but most people do not know it!! Yes, this is the wisdom of this world. Allah says: {Verily the likeness of (this) worldly life is as the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, so by it arises the intermingled produce of the earth of which men and cattle eat until when the earth is clad with its adornments and is beautified, and its people think that they have all the powers of disposal over it, Our Command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday! Thus do We explain the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, laws, etc.) in detail for the people who reflect.}(Yûnus:24)

Allah says: {And put forward to them the example of the life of this world, it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allâh is Able to do everything.}(Al-Kahf:45)

This life we are leading is just a corridor, and not a dwelling place. It is a bridge to reach the Hereafter, for life does not stop with the end of the world. After the departure of the soul from the body, there is the real eternal life of the Hereafter, for this worldly life is just play, amusement, pomp, glitter and boasting, as described by Almighty Allah: {Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allâh and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.}(Al-Hadîd:20)

The verse here depicts this entire worldly life in a meager and low picture that deems it contemptuous and loathsome, and directs the soul to cling to the Hereafter. This is because when life is measured with its own gauges and is weighed with its own scales, it appears great and tremendous in the person’s eye. However, when it is measured with the standards of the real reason of existence and weighed with the scales of the Hereafter it, proves to be negligible and trivial: Play, amusement, pomp, glitter, boasting and reproduction. This is the real reality behind all of this worldly life with which one is so busy and concerned. Yes... this is the reality of life in this world... It is a fact that the heart understands when it delves into the matter, searching for the truth. This is the truth by which the Qur’an does not mean to direct people to isolate themselves from the worldly life, nor neglect populating and cultivating the ground, as well as governing the earth. What is intended is to put right emotional standards and psychological values and to soar above the arrogance of transient personal belongings and their attractiveness that enchains one to earth. This worldly life is but a bridge on which creatures pass on their way to the Hereafter. This worldly life with its shortness and transience is worthless when compared to that eternity which will follow. Moreover, the infinite extension of the Hereafter is dependent on the condition with which man leads the first life. He is, therefore, in the process of a permanent test, and all the joys, pleasures and amusements, or tragedies, disasters and calamities he sees around him, these are all but for a few days that are soon to be over, and then his deeds that he did in this life will be placed on the scale to determine man’s eternal destiny; or what else will you take with you to your grave? Allah says: {And truly you have come unto Us alone (without wealth, companions or anything else) as We created you the first time. You have left behind you all that which We had bestowed on you. We see not with you your intercessors whom you claimed to be partners with Allâh. Now all relations between you and them have been cut off, and all that you used to claim has vanished from you.}(Al-An’âm:94)

Why are people oblivious of this reality?! This is what the Almighty Allah says: {They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world (i.e. the matters of their livelihood, like irrigating or sowing or reaping, etc.), and they are heedless of the Hereafter.}(Ar-¬Rûm:7)

Furthermore, what about those who are pleased with only the life of this world and do not expect that they will meet their Lord?! Allah says: }7. Verily, in Yûsuf (Joseph) and his brethren, there were Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) for those who ask. 8. When they said: “Truly, Yûsuf (Joseph) and his brother (Benjamin) are loved more by our father than we, but we are ‘Usbah (a strong group). Really, our father is in a plain error.}(Yûsuf:7-8)

What about those who preferred the life of this world?! Allah says: {37. Then, for him who Taghâ (transgressed all bounds, in disbelief, oppression and evil deeds of disobedience to Allâh). 38. And preferred the life of this world (by following his evil desires and lusts), 39. Verily, his abode will be Hell-fire; 40. But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. 41. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.}(An-Nazi’ât:37-41)

Yes; because they consider their religion a game and a source of amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world. Allah says: {“Who took their religion as an amusement and play, and the life of the world deceived them.” So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot their meeting of this Day, and as they used to reject Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).}(Al-A’râf:51)

Yes; because they seek crookedness in this life. Allah says: {Those who prefer the life of this world instead of the Hereafter, and hinder (men) from the Path of Allâh (i.e. Islâm) and seek crookedness therein - They are far astray.}(Ibrahîm:3)

This does not mean, however, that man should neglect this life and give up populating and cultivating the earth with knowledge and work, and live instead in austerity, waiting for his death. Rather, the best way to deal with the world is as Allah says: {But seek, with that (wealth) which Allâh has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of legal enjoyment in this world, and do good as Allâh has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allâh likes not the Mufsidûn (those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupts).}(Al-Qasas:77)

Allah also says: {And whatever you have been given is an enjoyment of the life of (this) world and its adornment, and that (Hereafter) which is with Allâh is better and will remain forever. Have you then no sense?}(Al-Qasas:60)

With such an integrated vision, life becomes, in the eyes of man, a dear treasure that he must invest, for in essence life is not worthy of any more attention than that given to realizing that it is a bridge to eternal happiness. As for the joys and diverse types of pleasures he encounters, these are only the enjoyment of life and its adornments. Allah says: {Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allâh has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers, etc.) with Him.}(Âl-’Imrân:14)

Allah also says: {Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds (five compulsory prayers, deeds of Allâh’s obedience, good and nice talk, remembrance of Allâh with glorification, praises and thanks, etc.), that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope.}(Al-Kahf:46)

Its pleasures should also not be hated, if properly used. Allah says: {Say (O Muhammad [sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam]): “Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allâh which He has produced for his slaves, and At-Taiyibât [all kinds of Halâl (lawful) things] of food?” Say: “They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) exclusively for them (believers) on the Day of Resurrection (the disbelievers will not share them).” Thus We explain the Ayât (Islâmic laws) in detail for people who have knowledge. }(Al-A’râf:32)

With this understanding, a Muslim embarks upon a journey in life through all its pleasures with a confident pace, after being certain that all the pleasures he experiences and possessions he has are not his to keep. He is, therefore, constantly seeking to enjoy them without extravagance, with an internal faith that what he possesses is in the grip of his hand, not in his heart, and that whether he misses or attains these pleasures in this world is nothing for him to worry about. Allah says: {22. No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allâh. 23. In order that you may not be sad over matters that you fail to get, nor rejoice because of that which has been given to you. And Allâh likes not prideful boasters.}(Al-Hadîd:22-23)

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Mike Tyson

World famous Boxer
Ask and the Qur’an will answer
“I studied the Qur’an and found that it contains the answers to all the questions in life.”

He, thus, enjoys these pleasures, amusements and adornments, and is also rewarded by Allah for that. For him this worldly life is linked with the Hereafter. For him the joys of the body are linked with the joys of the soul, and the happiness he gets from worldly pleasures with internal complacent happiness and tranquility.

The universe

A Muslim moves in his reflection to the third and final point in his understanding of his existence. This is the universe which contains all the creatures that it surrounds. He starts his reflection from the subsequent verse: {Say: “Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth,” but neither Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) nor warners benefit those who believe not.}(Yûnus:101)

He then goes on to examine dozens of verses that invite him to reflect on Allah’s creation and the excellence of His work; to come to a conclusion which is similar to what he obtained from his previous reflection on the fact of his existence and his life. He will discover that his understanding of the universe must also be based on recognizing two complementary facts:

First: that Allah made most of what surrounds man subjugated to him; since raising man’s status over other creatures is not confined only to enjoyment of some advantages, it rather goes beyond that to making these other creatures subjugated to man so as to serve him and achieve his well-being. Allah says: {See you not (O men) that Allâh has subjected for you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and has completed and perfected His Graces upon you, (both) apparent (i.e Islâmic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.) and hidden [i.e. One’s Faith in Allâh (of Islâmic Monotheism) knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc.]? Yet of mankind is he who disputes about Allâh without knowledge or guidance or a Book giving light!}(Luqmân:20)

The Almighty also says: {And He has subjected to you the night and the day, the sun and the moon; and the stars are subjected by His Command. Surely, in this are proofs for people who understand.}(An-Nahl:12)

He also says: {He it is, Who has made the earth subservient to you (i.e. easy for you to walk, to live and to do agriculture on it, etc.), so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the Resurrection.}(Al-Mulk:15)

A Muslim will find in many a verse impressive proofs that Allah made this universe subjugated to man and granted him a special place in it. In that fact there is a gentle indication that man must get along with this universe, and an introspection that discourages him from feeling worried about what disasters and cataclysms he might face. Nature is then not in a constant challenge with weak humans, and humans also are not in a constant struggle to overcome the tyranny of nature.

As for the second reality, it is that the universe has not yet revealed to man all its secrets. Despite it being subjugated to him and his empowerment over it, yet a range of other components are still absent from human realization or beyond his control. This is because this universe is abuzz with angels and jinn, and might also contain other creatures which are not recognized by man or of which he has no knowledge. The existence of man in this universe is no more than a small negligible speck when compared with the greatness of this vast universe.

With these two realities, the view of a Muslim of this universe becomes comprehensive. He is fully aware of his unique status among all creatures, as Allah has made him the center of existence and to whom most other existing creatures are subjugated. He is, at the same time, aware of the reality that some doors are impenetrable for him, and that his amazing abilities, no matter how powerful they are, will not open those doors.

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Martin Lings

English Thinker
The religion of humanity
“I found myself , which I had missed all my life, in Islam. I felt at that moment that I was human for the first time, because it is a religion that takes the human being back to his nature, as it is consistent with human nature.”

As for the relationship between man and those around him, it is disciplined by rules of elevated taste and extreme politeness. People who live in a state of chaos in their relationships are in misery, weariness and hardship. They suffer from this because their relationships are unbalanced and undisciplined, for they are based on selfishness, envy, doubt, conspiracy and suspicious scrutiny... All of that makes a man unhappy and unsatisfied, and makes him tense and always on the defensive, suffering from severe, permanent and ongoing tension. So what will be his source of comfort and happiness?! Allah says: {34. The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allâh ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. 35. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of the happiness in the Hereafter i.e. Paradise and in this world of a high moral character).}(Fussilat:34-35)

He is undoubtedly a happy man, the one who organizes his life and relationships on the principle of rights and duties by carrying them out excellently; by being lenient when asking for his rights and by pardoning his opponents. Affection is the highest level of treatment among humans, for being affectionate means showing love, intimacy and passion, which is the normal, natural disposition of humans.

Man's reconciliation with himself and the universe

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Vincent Montiere

French Thinker
The religion of honor and good morals
“For this I chose Islam, to feel at ease in its spaciousness and shades... Yes, I embraced Islam to feel and realize that I have embraced a religion that does not separate between the body and the soul, or between the self and the body. It is sufficient for me that Islam is a pure religion that calls for having and demonstrating good ethics; it calls for the dignity of man and for upholding such dignity. It is for that reason that I testified that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. And with that I shall meet my Lord. “

With this belief, man reconciles with his Creator, himself and the universe around him. Firstly, he is aware of the reality of his servitude to Allah Almighty, and carries out the necessary duties related to that. Secondly, he is aware of the value of himself as a creature honored by Allah by making other creatures subjugated to him. He descended to earth to be tested on it before returning to Paradise, which was created for him, for he is in charge of populating and cultivating this earth. Allah says: {He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein, then ask forgiveness of Him and turn to Him in repentance. Certainly, my Lord is Near (to all by His Knowledge), Responsive.”}(Hûd:61)

He is also charged with taming his self to take from the desires what is within the constraints of the Shari’ah and the limits of his needs. If we were able to reach such an integrated understanding of the Almighty Creator, the self and the universe, it is then our right to wonder about the practical result that can be derived from the application of this concept. Having realized this truth, man will intuitively conclude that happiness in the world of this life and in the Hereafter depends on the satisfaction of Allah and complying with His commands, as well as keeping to His limits... This results from balancing the demands of the body and those of the soul; and the demands of the individual and those of the group between the act of working for the life of this world and also the Hereafter. Happiness in this world remains- no matter how great it may be- incomplete, because this life of this world is an abode of diligence, work and tests, and the next abode is where there will be reckoning, and he who is a winner in that abode will win complete and have eternal happiness. Allah says: {21. Their Lord gives them glad tidings of a Mercy from Him, and that He is pleased (with them), and of Gardens (Paradise) for them wherein are everlasting delights. 22. They will dwell therein forever. Verily, with Allâh is a great reward.}(At-Taubah:21-22)

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Marshila Michelangelo

An Italian lady who embraced Islam
The bliss of Islam
“Never is there a worldly grace ever enjoyed by man greater than that of being happy and contented after being guided to Islam by Allah: to see, through the light of Islam, the truths of the world and the Hereafter and to distinguish between right and wrong, and the way of happiness from that of misery. I prostrate myself gratefully to Allah, for this great grace He endowed me with, which flooded my being with true happiness and made me stand in the shade of this great fruitful tree, which is the tree of Islamic brotherhood and the Islamic family.”

For humanity to be happy, feel reassured and live a good life in this world and the Hereafter, it is necessary to have faith and to do virtuous deeds. Allah says: {Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).}(An-Nahl:97)