A happier life starts with positive habits that you practice often. A happier life also revolves around our purpose to please and worship God.
By Sheima Salam Sumer
1. Make it a habit to regularly say:
A’uuzu Billaahi MinashshaiTaanir Rajeem
“I seek the protection of God from Satan the outcast.”
Saying this dhikr protects us from the tricks of Shaitan, who wants us to feel unhappy and negative. The next time you are feeling any negative emotion, please say this amazingly useful dhikr of God.
2. Also make it a habit to say “SubhaanAllahi wa Bihamdihi Subhaan Allahil ‘Azeem” whenever you remember to say it.
This means: “Glorified is God and praised is He” and “Glorified is God the Most Great”. This dhikr will earn you many blessings, as stated in the following hadith:
Two statements are light on the tongue, weigh heavily in the balance, and are loved by the Most Merciful One: “Glorified is God and praised is He” (Subhaanal-laahi wa bihamdihi) and “Glorified is God the Most Great” (Subhaanal-laahil-‘Adheem).
(Recorded in Al-Bukhari (7/168), Muslim (4/2072))
You will be more pleasing to God, which is our main purpose in life.
Also, when you remind yourself to say this dhikr, you are becoming more mindful of your thoughts. This increased awareness of your thoughts leads to a more peaceful state called “mindfulness” in counseling. “Mindfulness” is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”
So when you train yourself to be more “mindful” of your thoughts (so that you remember to say this dhikr), you will be more “mindful” in general and will have more control over your thoughts.
3. Ask God for a Happier Life!
Please do the obvious thing that we often forget to do! Make dua to God for a happier life! Admit that only He can truly help you! The Muslim scholar Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy upon him) wrote:
…..Allah likes His slaves to ask Him for everything that is in their spiritual and worldly interests such as food, drink, clothing, etc, and to ask Him for guidance and forgiveness. In the hadeeth Thabit Al-Bunani, narrated that the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: “Let one of you ask his Lord for his every need, until he asks Him for salt and asks Him for the strap of his sandal when it breaks.” (Hasan Jami` at-Tirmidhi; Book 48, Hadith 244)
Ibn Rajab continues: “It (this hadith) says, “Let one of you ask his Lord for everything that he needs, even a lace for his shoe if it breaks.” Some of the Salaf (the pious forefathers who were among the first three generations of Muslims) used to ask Allah in their prayers for everything, even salt for their dough and food for their sheep. In al-Israa’eeliyyaat [reports from Jewish sources] it is narrated that Moosa (pbuh) said: “O Lord, I have some worldly needs but I feel too shy to ask You.” He said: “Ask Me even for the salt for your dough and food for your donkey.” Whatever a person needs, if he asks Allah for it, then he has demonstrated his need of Him, and that is something that Allah loves. (From Ibn Rajab’s book, “Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam” )
“A smile is a charity.”
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as recorded in Bukhari
Not only will you be following the Sunnah, but smiling more will make you feel happier. Studies show that smiling improves your mood, strengthens your immune system, decreases stress, and makes those around you feel happier too!
5. Make Someone Happy with a Simple Kind Word or Gesture.
Serve God and associate none with Him. Show kindness to parents, relatives, orphans, the needy, the neighboring kinsman and the neighbor who is not of your kind, the companion, the traveler in need, and to the slaves you own. (Quran 4:36)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said:
The little matters of courtesy that look easy to you and which you take lightly will be very important on the Day of Judgment. (at-Tirmidhi)
6. Love Yourself!
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said:
“None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Bukhari)
We often focus on the love for others mentioned in this blessed hadith, but this hadith is also saying that we should already love ourselves. If you truly love yourself, you want good for yourself. You make choices that support your happiness (within the boundaries of Islam, of course). Example: Does it support your happiness to become angry or upset about what others do to you? Or is it in your best interest to be calm and rational when facing difficult people or situations?
When you truly love yourself, you start making choices that benefit you. You won’t react to problems so negatively because you realize that those negative reactions harm you. You won’t compare yourself to others because you honor your uniqueness.
Loving yourself also means that you forgive yourself for your mistakes and shortcomings. No person is perfect, so treat yourself with some compassion.
7. Every Night Before You Go to Bed, Think of 3 Things that You are Thankful For.
Every night, think of at least 3 things that you are feeling grateful to Allah for. It could be things specific to that day or general things, but it should be genuine. One thing that I am always grateful for is the health of my children. Gratitude is an incredible way to feel connected with Allah because you know that He gave you those things. Remember, all help is from God. Every good thing you have is from God.
(Sheima Salam Sumer is a trained counselor and author of How to Be a Happy Muslim Insha’Allah and The Basic Values of Islam: Alphabetically Listed with Islamic References. For more details, see her website www.howtobeahappymuslim.com)