A Thinking Person’s Guide
to the Truly Happy Life
by H.R.H Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad
JULY 2019 - BOOK OF THE MONTH FOR AA PLUS
Our theme of the month is Positivity and although happiness and positivity are not the same, they’ve been used interchangeably, a lot! This book discusses fundamental questions such as “what is happiness”, “why is happiness”, “when is happiness”, “where is happiness” and “who is happy” - themes that I'm excited to discuss with you ladies!
Discussion #1 - Islam and Happiness
by Aida Azlin
This is the first few lines taken from the second part of the book on "Happiness" (pg 59):
The religion of Islam is meant (in principle at least) to lead to happiness. God says to the Prophet Muhammad SAW in the Quran:
Ta Ha / We have not revealed the Quran to you that you should be miserable. (20:1-2)
Right from the beginning, I already had to pause reading because 1) Surah Taha is my fav Surah and yet I've never really pondered upon this Ayah! 2) When Allah SWT told Rasulullah SAW that Him revealing the Quran to Rasulullah SAW is not supposed to make him despair / miserable, I thought "OMG, that is SO SO RE-ASSURING!" It's re-assuring because when Rasulullah SAW first found out that he will be a Messenger or a Prophet, he SAW was not like "YASSSS! I'M A MESSENGER!", instead he SAW was overwhelmed / nervous / even petrified (so much so that he SAW ran back home to Sayyidah Khadijah RA) by the sheer responsibility and weight of this new role that he SAW had been given.
I relate to this on so many levels because there has been many times when I'd be incredibly afraid to take on a new responsibility or to seize an opportunity because I doubt myself. But when I reflect back to this Ayah, Allah SWT is trying to say that when He gives us any task or challenge, He's trying to tell us that we are more than ready for it. It doesn't matter if we think we aren't, Allah says we are. And that task or challenge that He's presenting us with, should not cause us distress. In fact, it should make us happy that we've been chosen by Allah, for that particular role, Ma Sha Allah.
Remembering that Allah has specifically chosen us to go through any particular situation because He knows we are ready for it, is one of best ways to be more positive. And whatever it is He is presenting us with, it should not make us distress or miserable, because He is the One who loves us most. He tests us from a place of Love, not from a place of Punishment. This comforting thought just makes me sooooo positive and happy!
What about you? How do you find positivity and happiness through Islam or through the Quran? What feelings does it evoke when you read the first few lines of the book that I just shared?
Discussion #2 - Define Happiness
by Aida Azlin
H.R.H Prince Ghazi wrote, "So anyone interested in the pursuit of Happiness should take note: happiness is giving, not taking, nor having, nor enjoying."
How would you define "happiness"? Do you agree that happiness is in giving? What do you think you have to "give" to attain happiness?
Something that I thought was also interesting is that the author wrote that this concept of giving is best understood by "mothers, doctors, nurses, caregivers, aid workers and teachers. They are often among the happiest people because they exhaust themselves in giving."
I am neither a mother, doctor, nurse, caregiver, aid worker nor a teacher, but I do have to say that I am happiest when I serve. When I give my time and attention to people I care about, to the Sisters in my community, and in that sense, I do feel happiest when I give!
Now it's your turn! Please share with me your thoughts on what you think "happiness" is. Do you agree with what the writer says?
Discussion #3 - Why is there Happiness?
by Aida Azlin
I wanted to discuss the next part of the book where the author discusses "Why is there happiness?" and his thought really fascinated me.
He said, "God created the world for His Mercy and obviously happiness is part of that." - This made me smile because it made me realise that no matter how "crazy" this Dunia is, Allah created it to show His Mercy to us and part of that Mercy is us being able to feel a sense of happiness!
The author also wrote that the supreme kind of happiness is actually "a state of being with God" - and now that I think about it, instances where I'm most at peace, where I'm most happiest, is when I'm with Allah, when I'm closest to Him; and that makes perfect sense to me.
Now it's your turn - tell me, how easy is it for you to remember Allah when you feel happy? Do you feel happiest when you are in a "state of being with God"? What are your thoughts on the author's answer of why is there happiness? Let me know what are you thoughts!
PS: This book is notttttt as easy to read as I thought!!!!
Discussion #4 - When is Happiness?
by Ida Ali
I'm here to discuss the next question that the author asked, which is, "When is happiness?". His answer to this is: through proper time-management.
Specifically, our private time-management - how we spent our leisure time. Do we spend it on indulging in our pleasures and entertaining ourselves? Or do we spend it on giving?
For comparison sake, the author shared how our Prophet SAW used to divide his time at home into three parts: For God, for family and for himself.
But what haunts me from my short reading session about time-management is these words by Al-Ghazali:
Your time should not be without any structure, such that you occupy yourself arbitrarily with whatever comes along.. A person who leaves himself without a plan as animals do, not knowing what he is to do at any given moment, will spend most of his life fruitlessly. Your time is your life, and your life your capital: through it you make your trade, and through it you can reach eternal bliss, and nearness to God, Most High.
In summary, happiness is found if we know how to manage our time carefully and find the balance between all our roles and responsibilities. Although only 2.5 pages short, this chapter is enough to give me a #realityslap. *cries*
What are your thoughts about this section of the book? Do you agree that time-management is the key to happiness? How do you ensure that you use your time correctly?
Discussion #5 - Where is Happiness?
by Aida Azlin
I’m excited to share with you the next chapter of the book where the author discusses where is happiness. He writes that happiness can only exist if there is justice and I’ve never really thought about happiness in that way but as I read the points that he laid out - about how we are only happy if our rights are being met - it makes sense!
According to Muslim scholars, every human being has the right to these 5 things:
1) the right to life
2) the right religion
3) the right to family, procreation and honour
4) the right to reason or mind (to think for oneself)
5) the right to property
Should any of this rights be taken away from anyone, justice will not be served and one’s happiness is thus threatened.
What is even more interesting for me, is that the author writes Islamic scholars like Imam al-Ghazali have gone through every single commandment in the Quran and traced them back to these 5 fundamental rights! Subhanallah 😮
But what really blew me away is when the author shares how Allah Himself punishes injustice wherever it occurs, even when inflicted on people who do not believe in Him.
Rasulullah SAW said in a Hadith, “beware of the prayer of someone who has been wronged - even if he or she be a disbeliever - for there is no veil between it (the prayer) and God” (Ahmad)
This Hadith is remarkable because even if a disbeliever were to pray when wronged, Allah listens to this prayer!!!
So now here I am thinking - have I ever been unjust to anyone? 😭😭😭😭
Share with me your thoughts on this ladies, and may we never cause injustice to anyone including animals, the environment, properties and our time in this dunia, Amin!!!!
Discussion #6 - How is Happiness?
by Ida Ali
Today's chapter discusses on the 'action' part of Happiness - namely, what do we give and how do we give - since happiness comes from 'uninterrupted giving'.
My favourite part of the chapter has to be the section where the author elaborates on the Etiquette of Giving. Do you know that there's a whole passage in the Quran that talks about how to give? It's in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 261 to 267.
Below, the author briefly elaborates on the verse of 'giving' into 5:
Give without pride and if possible, anonymously
Give the recipient their dignity through a kind word and forgiveness, so that they feel loved
Never mention the charity again, so that the recipient is never embarrassed
The giving should never come with reproach or injury, so that the recipient is never humiliated
The gift itself should be what we ourselves value and love, and not what we would never take for ourselves, to ensure that our giving is sincere.
Ma Sha Allah, such beautiful gifts in giving! You can see then that in giving, both the giver and the recipient benefits and, these lead to double the happiness! Share with us what you think about this question and chapter! Do you feel more motivated to give after reading this? <3
Discussion #7 - Who is Happy?
by Aida Azlin
We've reached the final chapter of our first Book of the Month and in this chapter, the author discusses the topic of "Who is Happy?"
There is a beautiful part where he wrote:
"People who are 'strengthened' with spirit are called God's 'friends' (awliya in Arabic). Because of their spiritual vision, they love God constantly, and so can give without interruption. These are the people who finds true happiness in this life and the next, and God knows best."
When I pondered upon this, I thought, how amazing would it be if we are the friend of Allah? Can you imagine being BFF with the One and Only? The One who owns the entire Universe, the One who knows everything and anything, and the One who is the Source of Love, Mercy, Compassion, Kindness and Happiness? That just gave me goosebumps right there!
But we can only be a friend of Allah if we can constantly give. So it goes back to the idea of how we should consistently serve and give, and only then can we be happy! Happiness in Islam then, is something not selfish or self-serving, instead, it is something that stems from generosity and love!
Here's my question for you ladies - what do you think you can give more of, and to whom, so that you can be from the people who are happy + in Sha Allah, be a friend of Allah? Share with me your thoughts + answers, I'd love to know!