By Sheima Salam Sumer
September 26, 2016
A happier life starts with positive habits that you practice often. For Muslims, a happier life also revolves around our purpose to please and worship God. Here are 7 simple habits that you can start to adopt right now to be a happier Muslim.
1. Make It a Habit to Regularly Say
A'uuzu Billaahi MinashshayTaanir Rajeem
"I seek the protection of God from Satan the outcast."
Saying this Dhikr protects us from the tricks of Shaytan, 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 “SubHaanAllah wa Behamdihi SubHaanAllah il '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" (Subhan Allah i wa Behamdihi) and "Glorified is God the Most Great" (Subhan Allah il-'Azeem).
(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 counselling. "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, Insha’Allah.
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 (Rahimullah) 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 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 Alaihis Salaam 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. Some of the Salaf would feel too shy to ask Allah for their worldly needs, but following the Sunnah is better.
--From Ibn Rajab's book, "Jaami' al-'Uloom wa'l-Hukam" (1/225)
"A smile is a charity."
(The 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 Else Happy With A Simple Kind Word Or Gesture.
Serve God and associate none with Him. Show kindness to parents, relatives, orphans, the needy, the neighbouring kinsman and the neighbour who is not of your kind, the companion, the traveler in need, and to the slaves you own...
(The Holy Quran 4:36)
The 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)
Research shows that engaging in "random acts of kindness" brings more joy into your life. Random acts of kindness include giving a hug to a loved one, telling someone what you appreciate about him/her, bringing some fresh fruit to a loved one, sending a kind email to someone you care about, etc. For more ideas, visit www.randomactsofkindness.org.
6. Love Yourself!
The 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 honour 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. It could be anything that YOU really FEEL. Gratitude is an incredible way to feel connected with God because you KNOW that He gave you those things. Remember, all help is from God. Every good thing you have is from God.
This simple ritual will become a habit that brings more overall joy into your life, Insha'Allah.
...And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself...
Holy Quran 31:12)
Sheima Salam Sumer is a trained counsellor and author of How to Be a Happy Muslim Insha'Allah and The Basic Values of Islam: Alphabetically Listed with Islamic References.