Happiness is not something we are born with; it is something we create through our actions. We have been taught to believe that happiness comes from external sources such as wealth or luxury. But what if there was another way? What if happiness could come from within?
We are social beings and the question of knowing why we humans think and behave in a certain manner is definitely one of the most intriguing things for a thinking mind. Despite rapid advancements in science and technology, humans are faced with challenges on social, economic and moral fronts. Most people still struggle to find true happiness. Question is why? Let’s think about this.
Materialism & Happiness
If you ask a common man what will keep him happy, you can expect answers like: lots of money, big mansion, fancy cars, hot vacations etc. Do material benefits always result in human happiness? The answer is a No.
A study of happiness among the millionaires revealed that though money gives you financial security, it can’t necessarily get you loving families, great friends, or enriching hobbies or activities that bring you true happiness in life. The study ends with a statement that we may well remember
India ranked 136th among 146 countries in Happiness Index
According to the World Happiness Report 2022, which is sponsored by the United Nations Index, India ranked 136th among the 146 countries.
Finland topped the list in the “Happiness Index”, followed by Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland. Top 7 spots went to Nordic or Scandinavian countries, which are called “Happy countries”.
Are “happy countries” really happy?
The Nordic countries top the polls as the happiest in the world, but the study conducted by Happiness Research Institute shows that a significant minority of young people are unhappy and are struggling or suffering.
This might leave you confused and there will be the big question – what can make a person happy? The answer lies in understanding human nature.
Why understand human nature?
Human beings are complex creatures, and therefore to understand what can make humans happy, we must understand their nature. If we cannot understand man, we cannot understand how man should live. Many scientists, thinkers, philosophers and religious heads made attempts to unravel the mystery of human nature to find the source of happiness and bliss.
Attempts to understand human nature
In the search for understanding human nature, some concentrated on the physical aspects like the body and its form and shape. So they came to certain conclusions which were body-centred. They concluded that as long as the bodily needs are met, man can achieve happiness.
Some viewed man from the occupation he once followed or the role he played in the society, and thought of him as an animal subjected to evolution. So, they concluded that the more successful a person, the more happy and content he becomes.
The thought of some other thinkers fell on the human belly and they related everything with it. They found that the matters related to the stomach were most important and decided that hunger was the cause of all problems. They thought that once this problem was solved, everything would be alright and man could achieve happiness.
Some viewed man and life through sexuality and believed it to be the most important thing. They declared that the whole human activity is sex centered and if the restrictions imposed on sex were removed, man can achieve happiness.
Some others gave undue importance to spirituality and disregarded the body and its needs. They felt starving the body enriches the soul and will pave for happiness.
Attempts to unlock happiness – success or failure?
As one can see, none of the attempts above really capture the real essence of human nature. Their attempts can be likened to the blind men who tried to understand the elephant in their own partial ways. They arrived at certain conclusions which were imperfect and filled with errors.
Failure to understand human nature correctly is failure to identify a viable solution to the “happiness problem”.
Who can tell us about human nature?
God. Yes, only God can tell us about human nature.
The manufacturer knows best about the product he manufactures. To give an example, vehicles work best with the oil, spare parts etc recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Even if it is a simple thing like air pressure of the wheels, we follow what the manufacturer says. One might ask why? It is our vehicle. We own it and we use it. Why not use it the way we want? Why not change the air pressure of the wheel depending on our mood that day?
We would not try changing it based on our whims and fancies, because we trust that the vehicle maker knows what is best for the vehicle. We trust the manufacturer of the products even for trivial things. How is it rational to make decisions about our lives without looking for guidance from our creator, God Almighty?
God, Our creator, knows the exact human nature and has prescribed a way of life which guarantees us peace and happiness. Going away from the guidance of God, has consequences and leads to discontentment and unhappiness.
Every individual must possess the basic awareness to understand the meaning, objective of his existence and how he should live in this world. This awareness can be achieved only through the divine message from God.
The comprehensive way of life revealed by God to human beings to guide him to achieve peace and happiness in this world and in the life after death is called Islam. Islam is NOT a new religion founded by Prophet Muhammad. Islam is the same way of life that God revealed to mankind through all His Prophets. Prophet Muhammad is the last and final Prophet sent by God to whole of humanity.
God says in His final book of guidance to the whole of mankind, the Quran:
We saw that man has made several attempts to unlock the secret to happiness. Why not make a sincere attempt to see if Islam can give you the keys to unlock eternal happiness? We request you, a seeker of happiness, to read the teachings of Islam, a way of life that comprehensively addresses all the aspects of human life.