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.2012-01-21 14:25:55