Happiness, Materialism and Suicide
Right from time immemorial, happiness is one concept that has baffled and tantalized us as humans. Now, in the 21st century, with all the sophisticated and advanced technology that we have, happiness eludes a majority of the world’s population. Billions of people are not only miserable with their lives, millions are taking the bizarre but sure exit of suicide. Suicide rates in various parts of the world reflect the emotional problem that the human race is facing and our struggle in not only understanding but achieving happiness as well.
In a thoroughly materialistic world as today, the definition of happiness for many will mean having billions of dollars in the account, possessing flashy cars such as the Bugatti Veyron or the Mercedes CLK Roadster. For some, ultimate happiness is becoming a popular and widely famous celebrity, the likes of Hollywood megastars who have huge followership around the world. For some others, happiness is when they are on vacation to a cosy island resort somewhere in the Pacific or the Carribean.
However, experience and reality have shown that having bales upon bales of money does not guarantee happiness and this is based on the fact that there are many miserable millionaires. Not too long ago, a frustrated German billionaire and one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet took his own life by standing in front of a moving train. He was crushed to death.
Fame and popularity have also been shown not to guarantee happiness at all. As a matter of fact, the opposite is usually the case. Musicians, actors and sportsmen are some of the most popular and famous personalities on the planet but we also know that most of them are far from being happy. They suffer in silence and are depressed, some try to manage the condition by taking to drugs while some try to hook up with partners but these usually end in painful and bitter divorce, leaving them further depressed.
Michael Jackson is idolized as the undisputed king of pop and one celebrity that needs no introduction but it is glaring that he led a turbulent life and was an unhappy man until he died, bitter at the betrayals and disappointments –not even his fame and wealth could bring him peace and tranquility. Apart from Jackson, Hollywood is replete with stories of many actors who reach the peak of their fame only to be plagued with sadness and depression.
Thus, if being a billionaire or a popular celebrity does not guarantee success, then what does? If having the latest technology gadgets such as iPads and Blackberrys does not make one happy, where can one derive joy? Before this can be answered, it is imperative to look at life as a whole. Happiness means different things to different people but it is also universal in the sense that being happy means being contented and having a feeling of true joy.
The mistake that most of us make today is that we look at happiness from a physical angle forgetting that it has a spiritual component. Man has a soul and unless the soul is nourished with a strong relationship with the Creator, man will be unhappy. And that is where Islam comes in. In Islam, happiness is defined as being a gift from Almighty Allah (SWT). It is only Allah (SWT) that can grant real happiness, and the failure of man to achieve real happiness on his own is a reflection of this truth. We were placed on earth by His Might and Power and we cannot be truly happy unless we go back to the Source of All –and that is Almighty God.
You cannot be a happy person when your spirituality is diminished. God tells us in the Holy Quran:
[box_dark]‘Now surely the friends of Allah, they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and guarded (against evil):They shall have good news in this world’s life and in the Hereafter; there is no changing the words of Allah; that is mighty achievement (10:62-64).’[/box_dark]
To attain true happiness, one has to strive for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) by worshipping Him truly and with all submission. The arrogance of man and adherence to materialism have only brought nothing but sorrow and widespread frustration and misery.
By turning our backs on the words and admonition of Allah (SWT). The Holy Quran states:
‘And whosoever follows Allah’s guidance, on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.’
Without any iota of doubt, happiness is an important ingredient in our lives and without it, nothing means much to us –cars, fame, money or whatever material possession that we have. For years, philosophers have pondered on happiness, what is means and how to achieve it. The conclusion that most of them have reached is that happiness is almost unattainable without having a solid relationship with the Creator, and that is true, as all that is on the earth is nothing but vanity.
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola is a 23-year-old Nigerian writer, editor and motivational speaker. A recipient of the 2009 CHD/Ford Foundation Essay Writing Prize, he is passionate about learning about his deen and spreading the knowledge.