Simple, daily habits to make you happy
In the current state of this world, it is common that majority of us often feel sad, unaccomplished or just “not right”. Here are some daily habits to make you happy from the sunnah. May Allah ﷻ protect us from feeling sad and make these habits easy for us to implement.
1. Giving Salaams
In modern society, we are often too busy on our phones, or just uninterested in our immediate surroundings. When you greet someone first, with a smile (which is also sunnah, double reward!) and give them salam (peace and blessings) it could very easily make the other person feel significant, happy and welcome. It takes seconds to say, and the reward is immediate. Greeting others sows seeds of friendship and love, and can dispel any weakness/discomfort felt in the heart. Even if you aren’t on the best terms with the other person, or if they are a complete stranger, hostility can quickly turn into friendship due to this simple greeting.
A man asked the Prophet ﷺ, “What Islamic traits are the best?” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Feed the people, and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know.”
When should we give salaams? Well, almost always!
The following hadith specifies who should say it first:
Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
‘A rider should greet a pedestrian; a pedestrian should greet one who is sitting; and a small group should greet a large group (of people).”
2. Make A Habit of Praying The Duha Prayer (forenoon prayer)
The duha prayer is a Sunnah Mu’akkadah (confirmed sunnah) which means that those who offer this prayer receive immense amounts of rewards and blessings, but there is no sin for those who don’t pray it. The virtue of this prayer is life changing, uplifting and of tremendous benefit to those who implement it daily.
The time of Duha begins when the sun completely rises and ends approximately 15 minutes before Thuhr prayer. The most preferred time to offer this prayer is when the sun has reached the highest point (known as zenith). This prayer is offered in sets of two raka’at, and can be prayed until 12 raka’at are completed.
“In the morning charity is due from every bone in the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s glorification is an act of charity. Every utterance of praise of Him is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Oneness is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Greatness is an act of charity, enjoining good is an act of charity, forbidding what is disreputable is an act of charity, and two rak’ahs which one prays in the forenoon will suffice.”
The above hadith highlights the importance and status of Duha prayer, and praying as little as two raka’at will be considered as charity on behalf of every joint in your body. This prayer is also a sign of sincere gratitude towards Allah ﷻ.
3. Voluntary charity (Sadaqah), even in small amounts
Charity differs from zakat, which is a compulsory yearly donation of a specified amount towards those in need. Sadaqah, charity, is voluntary, and can be given at any time and in any amount. Although this isn’t obligatory, its virtue and reward is profound, and benefits your wealth, health and your status on Judgement day.
Charity is not limited to the poor. It can be given to all those in need; family members, orphans, widows, friends and even projects that benefit islam (i.e. the building of a mosque).
First and foremost, charity saves you from the pitfall of greed and arrogance. By voluntarily giving from your money, you are consciously understanding the blessings that Allah ﷻ has given you. By physically seeing the hardships and difficulties that others endure, you are given the opportunity to contemplate the power of Allah ﷻ, and how he can change your situation and blessings in a heartbeat.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“Look at those who are lower than you (financially) but do not look at those who are higher than you, lest you belittle the favors Allah ﷻ conferred upon you.” Agreed upon.
Moreover, sadaqah breaks social and economic barriers. The scope of charity is so extensive that the poor, who may not have any tangible goods, can give sadaqah. This can be done through various means, including a smile, kindness and good conduct. In short, every good deed is considered a charity.
“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.”
Muhammad (SAW) also said that charity will benefit us on the day of judgement. On the day of resurrection, there will be no shade except the one that Allah ﷻ provides. For those who give charity, with sincerity, Allah ﷻ will provide them with shade and shelter on the day of judgement. Ones sacrifice in this life will firectly become protection for them in the next life.
The Prophet ﷺ said,
“Seven are (the persons) whom Allah would give protection with His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but that of Him (i. e. on the Day of Judgment, and they are): a just ruler, a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah; a person whose heart is attached to the mosques; two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah; a man whom a beautiful woman of high rank seduces (for illicit relation), but he (rejects this offer by saying):” I fear Allah” ; a person who gives charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the right hand does not know what the left has given: and a person who remembered Allah in privacy and his eyes shed tears.”
An important point to remember is that charity in no way decreases your wealth, rather, it provides blessings and subsequently can increase it! This has been exemplified in the following verse and hadith:
“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing”
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Two angels descend every morning, and one says: ‘O Allah, give him who spends something, in place of what he spends.’ The other one says: ‘O Allah, give destruction to him who withholds”.
4. Forgiving those who have wronged you
No one is born perfect, and we all make mistakes. Forgiveness, even towards ones greatest enemy, is an important Islamic teaching that we must all strive to implement.
A believer in the Holy Quran is described as;
“Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive…”
Just as we have strong faith in God’s ability to forgive our transgressions, we must similarly base our relationships with people on forgiving those who wrong us. To forgive is not easy, especially when you may be oppressed in certain situations, and it requires trust in Allah, that all the hardships you endure will be rewarded in this life and the next. This has been confirmed in the Quran where Allah ﷻ says:
“And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah . Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers.”
Allah ﷻ says:
“And if you punish [an enemy, O believers], punish with an equivalent of that with which you were harmed. But if you are patient – it is better for those who are patient. And be patient, and your patience is not but through Allah. And do not grieve over them and do not be in distress over what they conspire.”
Part of forgiving others, is to have tawakkul, trust in God’s plan, and the fact that Allah knows of your situation and of how you are feeling, at all times. Our beloved prophet Muhammad ﷺ was mistreated, abused and humiliated, yet he was also the most forgiving person, especially towards those who persecuted him. He would often make dua for those who have wronged him, asking Allah ﷻ to guide them. This kindness and patience lead a lot of people to convert to Islam!
Justice is always needed to ensure the maintenance of social order, but forgiveness is additionally required to reinstate good relations between people, and to heal wounds. Just as Islam places a great emphasis on justice and punishment to those who transgress, it equally highlights the importance on mercy, forgiveness and kindness.
5. Be Optimistic
In the 21st century, it is easy to feel distressed and worried about yourself, your family or even the Ummah as a whole. However, part of being a Muslim, it to have trust in Allah ﷻ plan, and to understand that life is not a steady ride. It will have its ups and downs, and whenever something bad happens, we have to be patient and optimistic. Through optimism, we can have a clearer understanding certain situations, why it happened and how we can avoid bad situations from happening again.
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”
Remember The Mercy of Allah ﷻ
Through optimism, we remember the mercy of Allah, and that everything that has happened and is going to happen, is in the control of Allah.
Say: “Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us; He is our protector.” And upon Allah let the believers rely.”
Through optimism, we recall that this dunya (world) was not made for us, we are like travellers, and our true reward will be in the afterlife, where all our hardships will be forgotten as soon as we’re admitted into paradise.
“And be patient, and your patience is not but through Allah . And do not grieve over them and do not be in distress over what they conspire.”
When we think about our mission on this earth, and our reward, we are reminded to be optimistic of our future. Remind yourself of all the blessings Allah has bestowed you with; your wealth, health, family, friends etc. Place your trust and reliance completely with Allah, and he will bless you in every way possible.
“And (He) will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.”
6. Visiting the sick
To visit someone that is sick, is a right of a Muslim. This has been narrated by Abu Huraira who said:
“Six are the rights of a Muslim over another Muslim. It was said to him: Allah’s Messenger, what are these? Thereupon he said: When you meet him, offer him greetings;when he invites you to a feast accept it. When he seeks your council give him, and when he sneezes and says, ” All praise is due to Allah,” you say Yarhamuk Allah (may Allah show mercy to you) ; and when he fails ill visit him; and when he dies follow his bier.”
Among the many righteous deeds one can perform, visiting the sick is one of the best. It is of great benefit to both the sick and the visitor. The visitor should supplicate for the sick, and ask Allah ﷻ to cure them, grant them patience and increase their reward. Further, the visitor should remain positive, remind the sick person of their rewards and give them glad tidings.
The one who visits, is reminded of the blessing of their own health, and to be thankful for it. The reward obtained for visiting the sick is substantial.
“I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say:
‘Whoever comes to his Muslim brother and visits him (when he is sick), he is walking among the harvest of Paradise until he sits down, and when he sits down he is covered with mercy. If it is morning, seventy thousand angels will send blessing upon him until evening, and if it is evening, seventy thousand angels will send blessing upon him until morning.’”
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said:
“He who visits the sick continues to remain in the fruit garden of Paradise until he returns.”
The Prophet ﷺ said,
“Free the captives, feed the hungry and pay a visit to the sick.”
May Allah ﷻ protect us from feeling sad and make these habits easy for us to implement.