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The Meaning Of Happiness In Islam

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion


From an Islamic point of view, happiness is expressed by the word sa'adah. Shaqawah, which normally conveys the sense of profound suffering and distress, is the word opposite to sa'adah. Two aspects of life are linked to the word sa'adah: the hereafter (ukhrawiyah) and the universe now (dunyawiyah). The word sa'adah has a strong association with both the realm of the afterlife and the present. In the case of

Hereafter, sa'adah means the sense of the supreme type of happiness, which is eternal contentment and joy, the greatest vision of God, offered to those who, in earthly life, have honestly dedicated themselves to serve God by obeying His orders and refusing His prohibitions. In other words, they follow the values of Islamic instructions & teachings. On the other hand, the present existence is related to three factors: ( 1) the self (nafsiyyah), such as intelligence and good moral behavior; (2) the body (badaniyyah), such as good health and safety; and (3) factors outside the self and the body (kharijiyah), such as wealth and other qualities or attributes. It is clear from the clarification above that happiness influences not just our secular and daily life; it can not, in reality, be isolated from the metaphysical facets of our lives as understood and directed by religion. This universal life is founded from the revelation of Al-Attas.

In order to get a better interpretation of the sa'adah in Islam, it is important to recognize the shaqawah first, according to Al-Attas. The basic sense of great (grief, pain, sadness, spirit roughness) is expressed by Shaqawah.

The sense of shaqawah in its different conjugated forms such as shaqaa, yashqa, tashqa, shaqiyy and shiqwah are also partly related to the afterlife in the interpretation of the Quran, partly to this universe and some also to both. Both of them definitely refer to those who turn away from God and reject His instructions, according to Al-Attas.

In brief, it is clear to us that shaqawah adds suffering to the lives of human beings. This feeling of 'desperation' will happen to someone who disregards God's commands and still behaves in a manner that God has forbidden. This sense of desperation will happen to someone who disregards God's orders and often disregards them.

On the contrary, al-Attas (1995 ) argues that the sa'adah means that if a man honestly submits himself to God by pursuing His instructions and commands in his self-consciousness, he will then be given boundless peace & happiness. This can be accomplished by the noble sense of iman or religion (faith) that will take him from the very real universe in which he resides and continues in the afterlife to absolute satisfaction.


The definition of pleasure is interpreted differently by Western & Greek scholars. Thus, it is noteworthy to examine some of the Western views on this idea in order to better analyze the idea of pleasure. It is worth beginning with the opinions of Aristotle, Arius, and Epicurus, some of the Greek philosophers. Aristotle describes happiness (eudaimonia) as doing well and doing well and finding eudaimonia as the absolute final end, according to Annas.

As for Arius, he describes happiness as the highest or the greatest or the most important thing in one's life. And Annas offers his reformulation of the ethics of Aristotle. He assumes that because the final good is not the satisfaction of physical and external rewards, but life according to morality, happiness is, thus, an operation (energeia) in harmony with morality in acts which, as one may wish, are favoured. Through adding to it as current, bodily and external products are considered beneficial of happiness; but those who assume that they fulfill (sumpleroun) pleasure do not realize that pleasure is life and life is the satisfaction of behavior (sumpepleratai). No physical or external goods is an action in itself or an operation in general.

For Epicurus, pleasure is the good life that can be attained by resisting suffering and wishes beyond one's intrinsic needs for things. The possessions to be found in life are physical enjoyment, mental happiness and harmony. Annas (1993 ) argues that happiness is simply a joy that proposes a man’s final end. For that purpose, we do not prefer every pleasure, but often we skip over many pleasures, when greater irritation follows from them for us and we evaluate many pains superior to pleasures, when greater joy continues along for us while we tolerate the pains for a long time. Because this joy is the primary objective and is inherent to us. Therefore, any joy because of having nature that is common to us (oikeian) is a positive thing, but not all discomfort is necessarily normal to stop. Both these problems should, however, be judged by weighing together and looking at the pros and cons, for we use the positive as a negative thing on certain occasions, and the poor as a positive on the other side.

It is equally important for us to explore how some Western scholars assess and reformulate the idea of happiness that they have learnt from ancient Greeks. According to Brad Art, happiness is a symbol of deliberate joy and lack of suffering. Pleasure is the only desired goal. Another definition of happiness is: 'Happiness is the best thing in life, the finest of our goods. It's different from the other products we're shooting at; it's not another source, but the way we deliberately seek those other ends, and then it can be referred to as the usage we make of those ends. Since happiness is our own pursuit, it is something that we do, and so it is up to us. The above mentioned definitions of happiness pleasure are drawn from both the philosophers of Greece and Westernism. Indeed, they have their own views on happiness. However, they tend to narrow the idea of happiness only to the life of today. Currently, since most of them do not believe in life after death, they are reluctant to speak about the reality of pleasure after death. This is, from the point of view of Islam, the most faulty argument of Western thinkers or scholars’ regarding the idea of happiness.

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Avoiding them to explore the idea of success in the light of the afterlife would not address the questions and concerns that threaten the idea. This may be the contributing factor why Westerners in their interpretation of the meaning of ethics are still restricted. Observing it from an Islamic point of view they tend to be 'lost' about ethics, and this feeling of 'lost' is one of the variables that appears to keep them from pursuing the notion of happiness in its full potential. Al-Attas makes an assertion about their 'fear' of addressing the 'happiness' idea after death. He argues that in the case of contemporary Western philosophy, which does not know if there is such a thing (death) and how we are going to be responsible for it, this is notably so. The ancient Greeks sought to get away from it by saying that after you die there is nothing, you are only done, you are non-existent, but even that did not mean happiness and peace, either. It generates suspicions, it causes confusion, and so it does not solve the problem. Philosophers do not like to speak about these problems.

Death-there is still little understood about it. Right now should they want to test death and make people consider it as normal, but they don't want to handle it like that ... The terror of those who deny the teachings of God is something that they can't get rid of. And when they claim to believe that there is no such thing, it is always nagging. They can not avoid the fact that the concept of happiness, as far as Islam is concerned, is not just in this world, it persists, even though they succeed in pretending, and so you can have fake happiness in this universe.

There are four groups of means (wasa'il) for happiness, according to al-Ghazali, which man will use in his life to attain happiness. There are four types of virtuousness in each of these four instruments. In truth, the total number of means therefore amounts to sixteen. However, not all of these methods are similarly important to satisfaction. In other words, they have their own roles, some are good, and some are required for happiness to be accomplished.

The four groups of means are (1) the bodily ‘goods’ (al-fada’il al-jismiyya), (2) the ‘goods’ of the soul (al-fada’il an-nafsiyya), (3) the ‘goods’ of divine grace (al-fada’il at-tawfiqiyya), and (4) the external ‘goods’ (al-fada’il al-kharijiyya). The good of the soul consists of good conduct (husn al-khuluq) and faith (iman). Faith is thus broken into revelation knowledge and functional belief knowledge. Often, confidence is considered a synonym for wisdom. It is split into temperance and righteousness as of decent conduct.

This is because the suppression of desire and anger is involved in temperance and justice and it is on this suppression that the acquisition of all good traits depends (Al-Ghazali, 2015). Then it is possible to divide the four possessions of the soul into two minor parts: faith or understanding and the soul's praiseworthy attributes. Those two are the closest ways to finding happiness. Since action ('amal) will accomplish the enhancement of the soul by positive qualities, the closest means to happiness appears as knowledge and action. As for physical possessions, fitness, strength, long life and elegance are noted. Physical possession is also an important way of obtaining satisfaction, identical to the former, since the rewards of the soul can’t be entirely obtained without it.

It is clear how the former and the physical are integrated with each other. Without sound health and sufficient physical strength from bodily ownership, ownership of the mind, which consists of information and action, can’t be followed with ease. Men will achieve greater happiness in their lives through this mix. Income, influence, family and noble birth are the advantages which are external to the body. In helping men to find happiness in their lives, each of these elements has its own function. In other words, in his worldly relations, they improve man's proper conduct and thereby give him greater chances to plan for happiness. Let's use wealth as an example. The owner would be free from the duty to acquire the essentials of life by acquiring productive resources. He will, in turn, spend much of his time gaining information and putting it into effect.

As for a noble birth, it does not mean the birth of a wealthy man. Currently, it involves being born into a religious family that cultivates piety and wisdom. One who is born in such a family, according to al-Ghazala, will inherit characteristics of good nature from his father, and this concept of a noble birth is a real sense to happiness. Godly guidance (hidaya), divine guide (rushd), divine leadership (tasdid) and divine support (ta'ad) are the virtues of divine grace. The aim of these advantages is to merge physical possessions and external advantages with that of a spirit. The two former qualities will not generate the latter without these advantages. The attempt of a man to achieve happiness will be disrupted as this happens. On the contrary, if the four groups of these advantages or possessions are completely working, then men will comfortably find happiness in their lives.


The four groups of means are (1) the ‘goods’ of the soul (al-fad’il an-nafsiyya), (2) the bodily ‘goods’ (al-fad’il al-jismiyya), (3) the external ‘goods’ (al-fad’il al-khrijiyya), and (4) the ‘goods’ of divine grace (al-fad’il at-tawfiqiyya) (Quasem, 1978, p.58).

This essay has discussed briefly but comprehensively the meaning and experience of happiness. From the discussion, the conclusion that could be derived is that that there is no end in happiness. The inference that may be taken from the debate is that there is no limit to satisfaction. In reality, one can achieve satisfaction for the rest of one's life, both in earthly and secular life as well as in the afterlife.

In reality, the Vision of God, the finest end of paradise, will be given to him in the hereafter. It is clear that Islam offers such an exclusive way for man to find peace in his life, with respect to the means to peace. This route encompasses the external and inner actions of man. It also serves to affect the destiny of man immensely. This suggest that if practiced scrupulously, the conduct and behavior of man would be improved to a higher merit.

In short, he's going to find himself honoured by the laity and blessed by Heaven. There is no question that these elements will lead those who practice them to the love of God with respect to knowledge and action, which are the primary means of happiness. Moreover, the vision of Allah in the afterlife would be given to him. It should be considered as a respectable Muslim among those who follow these elements. This is because in the Qur'an and Hadith, they truly do what God and His messenger have told them.

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The Meaning Of Happiness In Islam. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from
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