Aug
4
2012

The serenity and happiness inside the believer

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

When Allah mentions someone He bestows him with happiness, optimism and tranquility:

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Generous brothers, we start this sermon with what Allah said:

(…And establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater)

[29:45]

First, prayer enjoins self prohibition; this self restraint is considered innate in religion, yet the deterrent has external origins:

(and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater)

Some scholars said that:

the remembrance of Allah is the greatest component of Salat (prayer)

however, Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) says:

the remembrance of Allah to you when you pray is greater than your remembrance of Him in the same prayer, since when one worships Him he fulfills the duty of worshipping, while when Allah remembers you, He grants you peace

(So which of the two parties has more right to security, if you should know? * They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided)

[6:81-82]

.. Allah grants you success, He grants you happiness, He grants you optimism, He grants you a strong personality, He grants you a clear vision, and He bestows light in your heart.

Serenity is one of the fruits of Salat (prayers):

Among these endowments that Allah grants, comes the object of today’s sermon: Allah’s remembrance in prayers grants you serenity. What is serenity? This word came in the Quran in several verses, the most prominent of which are:

(It is He who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith)

[48:4]

Allah said also:

(Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest)

[48:18]

The sermon today is about serenity being a product of Salat

There is no happiness without serenity and no serenity without faith.

Serenity is the ultimate objective of a sane life:

Serenity is the ultimate objective of a sane life; this serenity flourishes and thrives without any help from money or materialistic resources. You might be poor, yet Allah bestows you with serenity so that you achieve happiness even if you lose everything else, and you fall into misery by losing it even if you owned everything else. Serenity doesn’t need good health either; one could suffer sicknesses yet Allah bestows serenity in his heart.
O kind brothers; this serenity does not belong to anybody so that he can claim holding or releasing it. However, any human being could afford it if he would pay the price for it.
The greatness of this religion, the religion of all mankind, the religion of any human, is that there is no division into castes. There is no elite, and this serenity is for everybody. The only condition is paying its price. Without serenity, any blessing will turn into a curse: money is a blessing that can turn into a curse if it is possessed by a person deprived from serenity. At the same time, every hardship surrounded by serenity can turn into a blessing: a serene person can sleep comfortably on a thorn-covered bed, while a troubled person won’t find comfort in a silk-covered bed.
A serene person perceives the hardest matters as lenience and ease while a non serene person sees the easiest matters as hardship and distress. The fight of fears and dangers along with serenity ends up as security and peace while an easy journey without serenity turns to ruins and desolation.

Serenity for the prophets:

This serenity is not pricey for the seeker, whoever he might be, regardless of time and space, in any state or outcome. Abraham (peace and blessings upon him) found it in the fire; Yusuf found it in the well the same way he found it in the jail; Yunes found it in the whale’s stomach in three shadows; Moses found it in the sea, when he was a child deprived from any strength and protection; the sleepers found it in their cave while they missed it in their houses and castles; our prophet peace be upon him and his companion (Abu-Baker) found it in the cave when they were followed by their enemies; and every believer is meant to find it whenever he turns to his lord giving up in everything else except Him, and whenever he turns only to His door apart from all the other doors.

The serenity of the soul is the first source of happiness:

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When Allah bestows serenity on the believer, He extends his livelihood; then at once living becomes a delightful pleasure, prosperous and abundant. It becomes profusion in this worldly life and provision for the hereafter. However, without serenity, even an extensive provision can become a source of anxiety and fear or envy and hatred, and it could be accompanied by deprivation (out of avarice or sickness) or by ruin (out of intemperance or disregard).
A serene believer granted with posterity would see it as a beautiful adornment of this worldly life and a source of delight, rejoice and multiplication of the reward in the hereafter. But, if Allah holds his mercy, posterity becomes scourge, glumness, sufferance, misery and wakefulness in the night and exhaustion in the day.
A serene believer would consider health and wellness as a gift and blessing from Allah with which he lives a good life. However, a non serene person will turn this gift into a curse by spending it in what destroys the body, corrupts the soul and amplifies evil till the Day of Judgment.
With serenity, wealth and power are a tool of reform, a source of security and a modality of saving the good deeds. Once the serenity is taken out, wealth and power turn out to be a source of anxiety, tyranny, despotism, abomination and hatred. They no longer allow their holder to reach a peaceful resort, and they become a means through which a huge place in hell fire is guaranteed.
A serene soul is the first source of happiness; however, how could it be reached when it’s not the fruit of intelligence, knowledge, health, strength, money, wealth, celebrity, power… or anything else from the blessings of this worldly life.

Belief in Allah and the Day of Judgment is the only source of serenity

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Serenity has only one source, which is the belief in Allah and the Day of Judgment; it’s the deep truthful belief that is untroubled by doubt and uncorrupted by duplicity. It’s a belief combined with a proper way of action. We have evidences for that in the actual present, and the rich history, and in what every fair person might find tangible in oneself and in the others around him.
Life taught us that the most anxious, narrowed, turbulent, futile and lost, are the ones deprived form the grace of faith and from the comfort of certainty.
Their life is tasteless even if it’s full of delights and flavours. They don’t grasp its meaning and don’t seize its goal. I heard a story about one of the five greatest architects who designed the first bridge of Istanbul crossed by 300 000 cars daily. During the opening ceremony, that architect threw himself in the Bosporus and died. A letter was found in his room where he wrote: “I tasted everything in this life and found it tasteless, and so I wanted to taste death.”
O brothers, this is a telling story: a man without a life objective is futile even if he was rich, strong, healthy, handsome; smart… the life of this kind of man is pointless and unsustainable. Allah, may He be glorified, forbids for this life to provide man with a lasting happiness; rather, it provides people with a decreasing happiness.

Serenity is a fruit from the tree of faith and monotheism:

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O brothers, this serenity is one of the fruits of the tree of faith that produces its fruit all the time by permission of its Lord. It’s a blessing sent by Allah upon the hearts of the believers so that they plant firmly when people might shake, they show content when people are malcontent, they are confident when people might be doubtful, they are patient when people might be despondent, they are forbearing when people show agitation, and they are measured when people are hasty. Because you are a Muslim connected to Allah, you enjoy features that only Allah knows, mainly moral features: confidence in Allah’s satisfaction, confidence in his love, confidence that if this worldly life was worthy a mosquito wing Allah wouldn’t allow a disbeliever to take a sip of water from it, and confidence that Allah promised you a garden as wide as the heavens and earth:

(Then is he whom We have promised a good promise which he will obtain like he for whom We provided enjoyment of worldly life [but] then he is, on the Day of Resurrection, among those presented [for punishment in Hell]?)

[Chapter 28:61]

Serenity is a light from Allah and a relief from Him:

O brothers! This serenity is a light from Allah and a relief to which resorts the fearful, in which the anxious finds comfort. It entertains the depressed, appeases the tired, strengthens the weak and guides the confused one. This serenity is a window that Allah opens upon Paradise to the believers among his servants, a window from which the heavenly breeze blows, the light shines, and the fragrance emerges. It’s a foretaste of what the believers offered as good deeds, and a preview of what is awaiting them as pleasures and delights. In this worldly life is a paradise, which if one doesn’t enter, he won’t get into the eternal Paradise. It is the Paradise of the proximity to Allah, and serenity comes along with that same proximity. What can my enemies do to me? To answer this question one of the scholars said: “My garden is inside me (in my chest); if they would banish me, my journey will be tourism, if they would jail me, my solitude will turn into a spiritual retreat, if they would kill me, my death will be martyrdom”.. After that, the scholar asked a rhetorical question: “Then what can my enemies do to me”. Allah says in the Quran:

(And admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them)

[47:6]

He has made it known to them in their life while they had a peaceful, secure, faith-based and relieved living.

The sources of serenity for the believer:

1. The believer is guided to his innate nature:

My generous brothers, the first reason of the serenity of the believer, is that he was guided to his inner nature which is consistent, harmonic and responsive to the bigger nature of the creation. Thus, the believer lives with himself in peace and agreement, not in war and conflicts, and he lives with the people around him in transparency and cooperation, not in solitude and enmity. The details of the divine approach go accordingly with the details of the inner nature. When you reconcile with Allah, you reconcile with your own nature; there’s such a mess in the heart that couldn’t be put together except by turning back to Allah. Every wealthy, smart, strong or handsome person has emptiness in the heart that cannot be filled in except by faith in Allah and the connection with him. There’s such a mess in the heart that can’t be fixed except by going forward to Allah; and, there is such desolation in the heart that can only be cleared by the companionship of Allah; and, there is such grief in the heart that only can be chased away by the knowledge of Allah; and, there a is a anxiousness in the heart that can’t be overcome except by gathering oneself around Him and turning back to Him; and, in the heart there are flames of sorrows that only contentment and patience can extinguish; and, there’s a destitution in the heart that can only be filled by love, repentance, remembrance, and a truthful sincerity.
The human nature keeps on feeling disturbed and eager till it finds Allah; once it believes in him and turns back to him, then it gets relieved from its exhaustion. It gets irrigated from its thirst, it becomes secure from all fear, it senses the guidance after loss, it feels settlement after a long confusion, and it rests after uncertainties.
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O generous brothers! Humans are amazing creatures; they were made out of a fist of the earth’s mud, and a blast of Allah’s Spirit. Thus, focusing on the materialistic component and undermining the spiritual one is actually not doing justice to the human nature, and the one who feeds his materialistic needs (the mud) but starves the spiritual part cannot claim that he is giving to the human nature what it deserves. He has actually deprived that nature from one of its essential dimensions.
This nature can be covered by layers from the rust of misconceptions or the dust of lusts. That nature can deviate or be defiled by following assumptions and caprices, following blindly the tradition of the forefathers, and blindly obeying the rulers and the power holders. One might also catch the disease of arrogance and vanity so that he considers himself self-sustaining and not dependent on Allah. However, the genuine human nature fades but never dies, and it dives but never drowns. Thus, if one is subjected to overwhelming hardships and trials with no perspective of being helped, the superficial misleading layer would vanish, leaving place for the deep potential nature.

2. A believer has a clear objective and a paved way:

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Generous brothers, the disbeliever lives in this worldly life dispersed between several concerns and pulled to various purposes. Thus, he’s always in an internal conflict and he’s confused between the various instincts, and which one to satisfy: the instinct of survival or the instinct of the genus. He’s confused between pleasing his own desires or the society in which he lives, and he’s also confused about which part of the society should he please. Here is the story of the Old man, his father and their donkey. This story highlights that without serenity, without a connection with Allah, and without believing in the Day of Judgment, humans are bewildered: an old man rode a donkey and his son was walking beside him, so the old man was blamed by women of having no mercy upon his son. Thus, the old man let his son ride and he walked behind, but the boy was criticized by the men around, who thought he was disrespectful. So, both the old man and his son decided to ride the donkey but they were condemned by animal lovers, so they both walked ahead of the donkey and there they were subjected to the mockeries of the children. So what’s the resort? Is it actually to carry the donkey so that they may please everyone? Without faith or serenity or methodology or a goal or a divine revelation or prophetic statement – without certainties or constants or principles or right visions the human being is in loss. And now, humanity is lost, the same way it’s depicted in the Arabic poetry:

Everyone is pretending the ownership of Leila’s heart
though Leila never gave her heart to anyone

O brothers, the believer is relieved from all concerns, and he limits all the goals into just one which he takes care of and to which he diverts all efforts: this goal is the satisfaction of Allah, with which he doesn’t care about the satisfaction of the people or their discontent, making his creed what the poet said:

If your amiability is fulfilled then everything is of a lesser importance
and everything above this ground is nothing but dust;
I hope you will sweeten in a bitter life
and I hope you are satisfied even if people are not;
and I wish that the relationship between us has solid foundations
even if my relationship with the people is nothing but ruin…

O brothers, a part of the dexterity of the believer is that he condensed all concerns into just one which is the pursuit of the path that leads to Allah’s satisfaction, and he’s the one asking for Allah’s guidance several times in Salat (guide us to the righteous path); it’s only one straight way.

(And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteousَ)

[6:153]

Truth is always one while forgeries are multiple. The short life p can comprehend the one truth but never all those forgeries, thus make the truth a reference and a standard for everything.
O brothers! There’s a huge difference between two men, one who knew his goal and how to reach it and another who’s blindly floundering and walking without an aim. The latter one doesn’t know where he goes and where he’s heading to:

(Then is one who walks fallen on his face better guided or one who walks erect on a straight path?ِ)

3. Feeling the company of Allah:

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O my generous brothers! In the depth of the Man there are hidden calling sounds, and pressing questions, waiting for an answer that dissipates anxiety and comforts the soul. What’s the existence? What’s the reality of this worldly life? What’s the reality of the universe? What’s the reality of Man? From where? To where? And why? These questions find a deep, harmonic and satisfying answer in the religion.
O my generous brothers! The believer that is connected to Allah is living in His companionship. If Allah is with you, who is it that that can be against you? But if Allah is against you, who is it that can claim being with you? That feeling of companionship is priceless. The scholars used the following verse regarding the general companionship:

(And He is with you wherever you are)

[57:4]

However, there’s a specific companionship to the believers, the pious ones, the truthful ones.

Serenity is your source of happiness even if you lose everything:

O my generous brothers! If one knows Allah and holds tight to his path, he seals his connection with him. This connection needs righteousness. That doesn’t mean that the believer doesn’t make mistakes; the believer makes mistakes but never keeps on making them. The believer is a regretful sinner, and he repents as soon as he commits a sin. Thus, if one holds tight to the path of Allah after knowing Him then his relationship with his lord is sealed and out of this established relationship comes serenity. Serenity is actually the biggest divine bestowal since it makes you another kind of man: optimistic. You feel you’re on the right path, and that you already live what Allah promised you in the hereafter.
Thus my dear brothers, the religion has forms and truths. If you perform the prescribed prayers, that’s a form of the religion, but if you tighten the connection with Allah in that same prayer, this is the ultimate purpose. If this connection is fulfilled, the serenity will be revealed, and this serenity is a source of inexhaustible happiness; however, the lack of serenity is a source of endless misery.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds

Prepared by: Noora Al Sharabi

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