The Source of True Happiness and Inner Satisfaction
Hazrat Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah) was a pious servant of Allah Ta‘ala and a contemporary of the great Muhadditheen, Hazrat Sufyaan bin Uyainah and Hazrat Fudhail bin Iyaadh (rahimahumallah). Initially, he was inclined towards the luxuries of the world and was not committed to Deen. However, Allah Ta‘ala blessed him with divine tawfeeq (grace) to repent and reform his life. Hereunder follows the story of his repentance:
Once, Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah) was engrossed in futility, drinking wine and listening to music. While engaging in these sins, he missed his zuhr, asr and maghrib salaahs. When each salaah time set in, one of his slave girls came to him and reminded him to perform his salaah. However, due to his indulgence and engrossment in drinking and entertainment, he did not pay any attention to her reminder.
Finally, when the time of esha salaah had also elapsed and the night was over, his slave girl took a burning ember from the fire and placed it on his foot. When the burning ember touched his foot, he shouted out in pain and asked her, “What are you doing!?” The slave girl replied, “When you are unable to tolerate a burning ember of fire from this world, then how will you tolerate the fire of Jahannum?” When he heard this advice from his slave girl, he was immediately moved to tears. This was the turning point in his life. He thus turned to Allah Ta‘ala in repentance and performed the salaahs which he had missed. He then reformed his life and gave up the life of sin. He sacrificed his wealth in the path of Allah Ta‘ala and began to lead a life of simplicity, sufficing on little wealth of the world.
After reforming his life, on one occasion, Hazrat Sufyaan bin Uyainah (rahimahullah) and Hazrat Fudhail bin Iyaadh (rahimahullah) visited him. They had found him leading a life of complete simplicity which conformed to the sunnah. Hazrat Sufyaan (rahimahullah) asked him, “It is mentioned in the Hadith that when one sacrifices something for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, then Allah Ta‘ala grants him something far better in return. What has Allah Ta‘ala granted you in exchange of all that you have sacrificed?” Hazrat Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah) replied, “Allah Ta‘ala has granted me true happiness and the contentment of the heart.” (Kitaabut Tawwaabeen libni Qudaamah pg. 122)
Each person is searching for true happiness and the contentment of the heart. Some people search for it in the material possessions, palatial homes and sporty cars. Some search for it in holiday resorts, tourist attractions and amusement centers. Others search for it in sports, recreation and entertainment. However, Allah Ta‘ala has placed true happiness and the contentment of the heart in His love and remembrance.
The love of Allah Ta‘ala is the source of true happiness and the contentment of the heart. In the Qur’aan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala says, “Behold! It is only through the remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala that hearts find satisfaction (and happiness).” (Surah Ra’d v. 28)
When one ponders over the human being, one realizes that Allah Ta‘ala has created him with two dimensions. The first is his physical body which comprises of his external form, and the second is his spiritual body which comprises of his soul (rooh).
As for the physical body of man, then Allah Ta‘ala created it from soil. Hence, the physical body requires the physical things of this world (e.g. food, drink, clothing, home, car, etc.) for its sustenance and nourishment, fulfillment and satisfaction. As for the spiritual body of man (the rooh), then since Allah Ta‘ala did not create it from the earth, but rather created it in the Heavens, its sustenance and nourishment, fulfillment and satisfaction is acquired through heavenly actions. These heavenly actions refer to the commands of Shari‘ah (e.g. salaah, zakaat, fasting, etc.) which serve as spiritual food for the soul.
When a person performs salaah, fasts, gives sadaqah, recites the Qur’aan Majeed and engages in other acts of ibaadah, then his soul receives the spiritual food which Allah Ta‘ala has created as its sustenance and nourishment. Hence, his soul (spiritual heart) is illuminated with the noor of Shari‘ah and he perceives a sense of happiness and fulfillment.
On the contrary, when a person engages in evil deeds and sins such as misusing the eyes, consuming haraam, stealing, committing zina, oppressing people, carrying out shameless actions, gambling, etc. then his heart loses the light of imaan and is covered in the darkness of sins. As a result, he perceives a sense of misery and emptiness and his soul lacks true happiness and fulfillment.
The great saint and sage of his time, Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) once mentioned the following:
Acquiring true happiness is not based on possessing abundant wealth. Rather, acquiring true happiness is based on acquiring the contentment of the heart and soul. This contentment of the heart and soul can only be acquired through fulfilling the commands of Shari’ah and strengthening one’s relationship with Allah Ta‘ala.
If a person is steadfast on Deen and fulfills the commands of Shari‘ah, then even though he does not possess a lot of the world, he will find inner happiness and satisfaction. On the contrary, if a person is not firm on Deen, then despite possessing a lot of the world, his heart will lack true happiness. (Malfoozaat Hakeemul Ummat 23/88-89)