Seeking Happiness in a Mirage

A wise person once declared: “Nobody goes down a path of destruction except believing that it is a path to happiness.”

Many of us are simply looking to be happy. However, in the process of seeking happiness (and not always knowing the consequences of seeking it in the places we looking) we only find ourselves incurring harm and greater unhappiness upon ourselves. Hence, the Qur’an reminds us that “If the truth were in accordance with their desires, the heavens, the earth, and everyone in them would disintegrate” (Mu’minun, 23:71).

Don’t I, or others,reflect upon what is truly good for us? Yet people–unknowing of what direction we should take in life–have only our desires to lead us. At times we may even feel enslaved to our base passions and ego which appear to be the only thing moving us forward.  Yet, don’t we know that if our desires are given free reign over our souls they will only mislead it.  Of this God says: “The deeds of disbelievers are like a mirage in a desert: the thirsty person thinks there will be water but, when he gets there, he finds it is nothing” (Light; 24:39).

Worse than “finding nothing” is finding only pain, loss, or becoming even more disoriented on one’s path. Such an experience may feel like we are covered by “shadows in a deep sea covered by waves upon waves, with clouds above–layer upon layer of darkness” (Light; 24:40).

But wherever God wills, there is His Light.

Darkness and disorientation is not a healthy state in life, and it need not be a permanent one. We may feel at times like we are traveling a path of happiness, only to later discover that it was but a mirage, or worse, a path of self-destruction. However, in each journey we have something to learn, and perhaps our life is full of too many journeys to count. I pray that in each journey I learn something about the true path to happiness. Along the way, I also pray that I am learning how to further surrender my base desires for the desire of One whose sustaining power and merciful nature is the true source of my happiness.

…and tie your camel

One day a man approached the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and asked whether having trust in God meant that a believer should not tie their camel (to prevent the camel from running away). The Prophet, peace be upon him, said in reply, “Trust in God and tie your camel.” Of the many lessons that can be derived from this is that while we have complete trust in God, we must also take the means He has provided for us to obtain success in this life. The same is the case in protecting one’s self and one’s property.

justJust last night I experienced something that made me think of this man and his question. There have been near my home several car burglaries so I made sure to make my roommate’s car (that I have been left to manage in his absence) extra safe. I removed anything from the vehicle that might tempt someone to break in to steal it. I hid the GPS unit, put some items in the trunk, and even moved all the quarters and dimes that inevitably pile up out of sight. I then parked the car underneath a street lamp, and, of course, locked it.

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