Human beings are created with a nature that takes pleasure in beauty, and with a desire to live in happiness and in well-being. Therefore, it is a completely natural human desire to be rid of unpleasant situations as quickly as possible, or to turn them into pleasant ones. In fact, being of a peacable of mind and a healthy spirit are important factors for the health of the mind, as well as the body. However, when people act according to their feelings, desires and passions, without regard for the Qu’ran’s teaching, they become oppressed by sadness, worry and fear. When one has no understanding of the nature of fate, and of what it means to put one’s life in God’s hands, and complete submission to His will as taught in the Qu’ran, he is in a state of constant struggle with the anxiety that arises from not knowing what will happen to him or to those close to him at any given time. Whereas, if he lives his life according to the religion that God has chosen for him, and according to the moral canons of the Qu’ran, he will never experience this anxiety or any other such difficulty. God proclaims this truth through His messengers when he says:
… all those who follow My guidance will not go astray and will not be miserable. But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one … (Qur’an, 20:123-124)
As stated in the above verse, many people turn away from God’s reminder and, as a result, live an anxious and unhappy life. Moreover, since they lead their lives based on the superstition that life is led by chance, they feel regret by regarding as set-backs and bad luck those very things that could be to their future benefit. Their minds are continually agitated by the fear of being fired and ending-up poor, of being cheated or becoming sick. When they hope for adulation they worry they will be ridiculed; when they hope for loyalty, they fear of being confronted with ingratitude. They become pessimistic when they consider the possibility of receiving bad news at any moment, or that someone might say or do something unpleasant to them. Even in their happiest moments, they live with the anxiety that they cannot make the moment last forever; their life is really a nightmare. In a verse, God reveals the state of anxiety in which those who disregard the Qu’ran live:
When God desires to guide someone, He expands his breast to Islam. When He desires to misguide someone, He makes his breast narrow and constricted as if he were climbing up into the sky. That is how God defiles those who disbelieve. (Qur’an, 6:125)
It is natural that those without religion should feel disturbed and without peace of mind, because they spend their lives in the company of those without the good moral qualities of the Qu’ran, such as love, compassion, mercy, self-sacrifice, loyalty and humility. To live in a system full of deceit and harm, in which people do not help each other without expecting something in return, where friendships are pursued with expectations of profit, where even simple mistakes one commits is met wit h an angry response, and where everyone treats the other unjustly, gossiping and not saying what they really think, is a cause for unhappiness for a sentimental person.
However, if such a person were to live in an environment that was to their liking, it would change little. Even if there was much happening around them they should feel happy about, such emotional people would find a way to see them in a negative light. Because they view every little thing in such a way, it does not matter if the weather were hot or cold, rainy or windy; they turn whatever it is into something to complain about. We could illustrate, with pages of examples, how these people find excuses to feel dissatisfied at every opportunity. It is a manifestation of what God says in the following verse, "Let them laugh little and weep much, in repayment for what they have earned." (Qur’an, 9:82) In another verse, He reveals the behaviour of the disbeliever, who becomes "Desperate when bad things happen." (Qur’an, 70:20)
Another essential reason for the unhappiness felt by those without faith is the fact that their plans do not turn out as they expect. For example, an emotional person prepares a meal for her husband and is disappointed when she does not get the reaction she expected. She saves money to buy her friend a present, but again she is sad because she thinks she wasn’t as happy with the gift as she had hoped. She buys a house, but again she feels sad because she thinks the painter has not mixed the colours well. The possible reasons for being unhappy are endless. The defeat of a favourite football team, getting a few points less than expected in an examination, being late for work, a traffic jam, breaking a pair of glasses, losing a watch, getting a stain on a favourite suit or dress at a party-everything can become an excuse for being unhappy.
A person who assesses a situation superficially and reacts emotionally to it cannot foresee how, if something were to happen to him, that it might in a later stage turn out beneficially for him. Consider, for example, a person dejected because he missed his bus; how does he know that that bus will not be in an accident a moment later? Maybe God determined he miss the bus as part of his fate so that he would escape the accident. Let us consider another example: a driver misses an exit that he is very familiar with and gets on the wrong road. Assessing the situation from his superficial level of understanding, he becomes angry at himself, his joy evaporating because he will have to drive farther. However, it was God who made him take that road; as in every occurrence, this too was his fate.
And again, not getting the job he really wanted is an occasion for an ignorant person, to feel unlucky and dejected. Such a person regards getting the job as definitely the best thing for him, and not getting it as his greatest loss, whereas, a person who has faith that God is his friend and protector will know that God approved the result for his good, and he will submit to it with pleasure and satisfaction. Perhaps the work environment would have damaged his health; perhaps it was necessary for him not to take that job because a greater opportunity was about to come to him.
And finally, if a person were to get into a car in the morning and it didn’t work, he will, in his ignorance, regard it as a great misfortune, but actually the car didn’t work because God designated it so, and some benefit was to come from the situation. The person in this situation may not see the reason behind the occurrence, but whether he sees it or not, he must be pleased with God.
People call it misfortune when something happens against their wishes, whereas it is best for the event to happen in this particular way because it was determined by fate. If God were to show them the reason behind what they call misfortune, and for which they feel frustrated, and the benefit that ultimately comes from the things that otherwise upset them and make them anxious or angry, they would understand just how misguided they were in being sad, and their feelings would turn to joy and delight. If a person’s fate were to be revealed to him in its entirety, and the so-called misfortunes were to be seen for the part they play in it, he would never again feel regret for that which happens to him.
Therefore, the wisest thing to do is to live a life of submission to God. Be that as it may, it remains to be said that everyone already lives in submission to God, whether they realise it or not, but it is necessary that an individual be conscious of this in his life. Believers who are possessed of such a consciousness live secure with peace of mind, observing with a contented spirit the unravelling of the fate that God has determined for them, as peaceably as one might watch a film. They know that, as the Prophet Mohammed said, "Wealth is not in vast riches but wealth is in self-contentment."