Why They Cannot Be Happy?
We have seen that those who live in a society of ignorance derive no enjoyment from their lives, professions or social status. The following are the main reasons why:
They Do Not Look for Answers in the Qur’an
Not looking for answers in the Qur’an is one of the first errors made in a society of ignorance. The majority of these people see clearly that the situation in which they find themselves is a dead end. They recognize that the lifestyle they have adopted and the character they have assumed have not led them anywhere; that these things have been unsatisfying and even disappointing. In response, they experiment with other alternatives provided by the society of ignorance, but find that these too bring them nothing. Because, one ignorant pattern of behavior is basically no different than another. People, places and conditions may change, but the false expectations and anxiety remain the same; the “intellectual” and the “socialite” are both focused on this world.
However, this earthly life is too brief to be worth becoming overly attached to. There is nothing to be gained from this world; when a person dies, everything he had will be taken from him. For this reason, every kind of undue devotion to this world gives rise only to anxiety.
A human being can find happiness only when he turns to Allah. A person can be saved from his troubles only by being Allah’s friend and leading the kind of life He wills.
In the Qur’an, Allah reveals this important secret:
Those who believe and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace. (Surat ar-Ra‘d, 28)
One who had become the friend of Allah strictly obeys the Book sent down by our Lord to guide him. From that point on, his personality and lifestyle are determined only by the Qur’an. Therefore, by the will of Allah, the Qur’an can lead human beings from darkness to light:
Alif Lam Ra. This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring humanity from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the Path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy. (Surah Ibrahim, 1)
For this reason, there is no anxiety, discontent, worry or confusion in the personality derived from the teachings of the Qur’an. Instead, there is beauty, balance and faultless manners. Allah has promised such believers that He will offer them the finest reward for the good they do.
So that Allah can reward them for the best of what they did and give them more from His unbounded favor. Allah provides for anyone He wills without reckoning. (Surat an-Nur, 38)
They Want to Gain Acceptance from other People and Not from Allah
People in a society of ignorance cannot attain happiness, nor can they find a way out of their discontent, no matter what they do. One reason being, that they do not live for Allah, but for other human beings. If a person decides what is right and wrong, on the basis of what other people will say; if he is saddened by what makes other people sad, and pleased by what makes them pleased; if he tries to be appreciated by others and adjusts his behavior so as not to be embarrassed, then this person is living for others.
He then finds life difficult because everyone’s expectations are different. If we were to imagine one subjected to the whims of hundreds of other people, then clearly he would have to work hard to please each one of them. He would want to be animated in the presence of one, grave and sober in the presence of another. Behavior that pleases one person would not suit another. These differences would reach into the thousands. Under such circumstances, one individual who lives for others would have to meet thousands of different types of demands at the same time. Only in this way could he satisfy everyone and make them appreciate him.
Allah offers an example of their anxiety in the Qur’an: Allah has made a metaphor for them of a man owned by several partners in dispute with one another and another man wholly owned by a single man. Are they the same? Praise be to Allah! The fact is that most of them do not know. (Surat az-Zumar, 29)
Essentially, there is only one way out—to submit to Allah’s eternal knowledge and intelligence. Allah is the Creator of human beings and all other things. And it is only Allah Who knows what is best for human beings and what they must do to be happy. He has revealed to them in the Qur’an the way to salvation: Fear Allah alone and seek His pleasure.
Allah says, “Do not take two gods. He is only One God. So dread Me alone.” (Surat an-Nahl, 51)
Failing to do so not only makes human beings unhappy, it also a grave sin against Allah. To seek the pleasure of other beings apart from Allah is called in the Qur’an “ascribing partners to Allah.” One who ascribes partners to Allah chooses to worship a god other than Allah, and devoting himself to that god. But, they will encounter disappointment in the next world. Allah warns them so that they will not go to Hell and suffer repentance that will bring no respite.
It has been revealed to you and those before you: “If you associate others with Allah, your actions will come to nothing and you will be among the losers.”
No! Worship Allah and be among the thankful. (Surat az-Zumar, 65-66)
Allah does not forgive anything being associated with Him but He forgives whoever He wills for anything other than that. Anyone who associates something with Allah has committed a terrible crime. (Surat an-Nisa’, 48)
Another thing that must be remembered is this: One may dedicate his entire life to the pleasure of others, abandoning Allah; in the Afterlife, however, it is He Who will abandon them. Everyone will be called to give account of the things he has done, and no one’s deeds will suffice to save another. This important fact is revealed in the Qur’an:
Each of them will come to Him on the Day of Rising all alone. (Surah Maryam, 95)
You have come to Us all alone just as We created you at first, leaving behind you everything We bestowed on you. We do not see your intercessors accompanying you, those you claimed were your partners with Allah. The link between you is cut. Those you made such claims for have forsaken you. (Surat al-An‘am, 94)
On that day, those fearing of being alone will ask those they called their nearest and dearest in this life—their children, spouses, friends—to offer ransom for them that they may escape the torment of Hell. Allah reveals this truth in the Qur’an:
No good friend will ask about his friend even though they can see each other. An evildoer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment of that Day, by means of his sons, or his wife or his brother or his family who sheltered him or everyone else on Earth, if that only meant that he could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze. (Surat al-Ma‘arij, 10-15)
In light of all the information provided in the Qur’an, we can see that a life based on pleasing others will not just bring unhappiness; it will also cause one to be at loss in the Afterlife. The way to escape this is evident: Submission to Allah and living to seek His pleasure.
Because They Do Not Remember That this Life is a Trial
Another reason why those who have adopted a character type of ignorance cannot be happy is because almost all forget the reason why they are in this world. Human beings are being tested to see whether they will appreciate the intelligence, power and other superior qualities of Allah, or become oblivious to these truths, become caught up in this world. Allah reveals to us the purpose of this life:
He Who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk, 2)
For this reason, Allah has permitted human beings a limited lifespan. From the time they reach the age of maturity onward, they are responsible for everything they believe and do. Each will be examined in the Afterlife about whether he followed his conscience which was continually dictating to him what is right and what is wrong. Because what a person’s conscience dictates is correct, if he does not obey it, he follows the desires of his lower-self instead. The lower-self constantly commands a person to do what is wrong. So, there is a constant battle trial taking place within a person, determining whether he or she either acts on the side of his lower-self, or on the side of his conscience.
This trial takes place at every moment of his life. It takes place in school, at work, at home, in the street; while he is alone, or in public; it goes on when he is sick or well; and even if he goes to the other end of the world, he will be tested there too. There is no moment when he is not tested. In the Afterlife, he will come face to face with everything he has believed, said and done. He will certainly be recompensed for the good and the evil he had done; everything will receive its due reward and, finally, all will be sent to the place they deserve.
Forgetting that everything that happens in this world has been foreordained as a trial hinders one from submitting Allah. In a society of ignorance you often hear such complaints which indicate a corrupted moral understanding: “Why did this happen? I wish it wasn’t this way” “ Things aren’t going well,” “I’m ruined,” “Everything’s going wrong,” “If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be in this situation.” But, the basis of them all is a lack of submission to Allah.
Anxiety and malcontent are clear results of this lack of submission. Because they do not consider the reasons behind that which happens, people complain when the even smallest obstacle impedes their way. As a result, they are always mired in false concerns. However, human beings must be satisfied with every moment Allah has created for them. Even if things seem to be going wrong, they must behave morally and be determined to remain faithful to Allah. Most importantly, they must not forget that the purpose of their creation is to be tested by all these circumstances. Those who live according to the high morals commanded in the Qur’an, are happy and content because they know that the patience they show in all their adversities will be turned in their favor in the world to come.