During the course of your life, you have met a great many people. As well as those you encounter every day in person—your family, friends and your colleagues at school and work—you see dozens of people from all over the world in the newspapers and magazines. And on your TV screen, you watch the behavior of hundreds more.
Think for a moment about these individuals you recall in your memory. Try to call to mind facial expressions and conversations you have grown accustomed to since your childhood... the comments some have made about their lives, their concerns and worries and the ways they express them... the remarks that colleagues repeat daily, and what others say amongst themselves about their families and financial problems.
Try to recall in your mind's eye the people you've seen in the street, waiting at a bus stop, trying to battle their way home through dense traffic, or being splashed with rainwater by passing cars.
Remember the images of actors in TV programs, those who act the part of happy people, seemingly enjoying themselves in front of the cameras and who claim to the press that they're friends but behind one another's backs, say unbelievably bad things. Think about their spiritual state and the state of those unable to protect themselves from jealousy, hatred, rivalry or other such emotions—and who, while trying to entertain others because it is their job to do so, betray their own unhappiness in everything they do off-stage and off-camera.
Examine the lives of people who have attained the highest possible worldly rank, who have enough money to buy whatever they want whenever they choose, who live in the finest houses and own the latest model cars, who wear the most expensive clothes and who—because of their achievements— are most respected and listened to in their community.
When you carefully consider all these people, you will come across a very important truth. Whatever their circumstances may be, there is one significant feature they have in common: The great majority of people lead unhappy lives.
The goods and property they own, the jobs they perform, and their loved ones are not enough to make these people happy in any real sense. These people's lives are ruled not by happiness, tranquility, pleasure and joy, but by negative emotions like melancholy, pessimism and hopelessness. A great part of most people's time is spent in this mood. When compared to true happiness, those moments when they are capable of being happy are fleeting and extremely shallow.
Sometimes, too, they may be driven to deceive both themselves and those around them. Yet deep inside, they are experiencing a secret sorrow that prevents them from taking pleasure in all the good they see around them.
So why are these people unhappy? Why do they suffer such deep inward sorrow and lead lives that lack tranquility?
The reason why they suffer from sorrow and feel unhappy even in the best of circumstances is because they live at a distance from Allah. Allah grants people happiness only through faith, and only in this way it is possible to take full pleasure in the beautiful things of life. So long as no sincere faith in accordance with the Qur'an exists, it is impossible to achieve true happiness by any means whatsoever.
This book will highlight this important truth and call on people to live out true and sincere faith. It will explain that people really create with their own efforts the systems that prevent them from being happy and enjoying life's blessings, and which plunge them into sorrow. It will make it clear that the only way to be protected against secret unhappiness is to believe in Allah with a sincere heart. It will remind the readers that so long as people do not achieve this sincerity towards Allah, they cannot experience real happiness by any means whatsoever—and that the secret sorrows of this world may well turn to eternal torment in the Hereafter.
In a verse of the Qur'an, Allah tells us that those who find happiness and salvation are the faithful:
It is the believers who are successful. (Surat al-Muminun: 1)