Bashir Ahmad Orchard
At the beginning of every year millions of people wish one another a happy and prosperous new year which raises the question as to what is meant and understood by happiness and prosperity? No doubt various interpretations exist but for most people it is limited and restricted to the acquisition of worldly benefits and achievements of one kind or another such as good health, financial security, matromonial contentment, friendships, success in studies, business, profession, legal affairs, acquisition of propoerty, etc.
Certainly the attainment of worldly aspirations leads to material prosperity and a measure of happiness which should be properly appreciated. They are, indeed, blessings for which one should be ever grateful to God as pronounced in the Holy Quran:
Be grateful to Allah for whoso is grateful, is grateful for the good of his own soul. (31:3)
There is, however, the experience of spiritual happiness and prosperity which far excels that of worldly satisfaction. It is this kind of happy prosperity which one should seek to attain. While it comes only through the Grace of God, He has provided ways and means by which one may recieve this gift from Him. It is the way of God that He helps those who help themselves and the Holy Quran is full of instructuions for the guidance of the spitritual wayfarer which includes the following points that should be given practical attention:
It is they who follow guidance from their Lord, and it is they who shall prosper. (31:6)
Here we are informed that prosperity depends on observing the comandments and guidance of God,
But he who repentrs and believes and does righteous deeds, maybe he will be among the prosperous. (28:68)
The spiritial wayfarer should contantly seek forgiveness for his sins and shortcomings and perform righteous deeds in order to become a propserous servant in the sight of God.
Verily, he truly prospers who purifies himself. (87:15)
A further requirement for attaining spiritual propserity and happiness is self-purification in thought, word and deed. It is true that no one is perfect but one should strive and be ever watchful in maintaining one’s conduct and attitude towards everybody and everything free of blemish. One should eradicate all feelings of resentment, malice, jealousy, impatience, pride, revenge, envy, injustice, scorn and all kinds of ill-feelings towards others. On the other hand, one should cultivate feelings of love, kindness, sympathy, forbearance, humility, patience, charity, justice, courtesy, helpfulness, understanding and other pleasing virtues. It has been truly stated:
He alone is happy who is free from hatred and malice and has his passions under controil. (Bhagwat Gita)
The spiritual happiness experienced through Divine realizatiuon cannot be described aadequately in words although it fluctuates in intensity according to the nature and depth of experience. Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih III, once told the writer that he felt as if Every cell in his body was aglow. another person has explained his feeling as that of A steady glow which is light and warmth in all my being, while yet another person described his experience as Joy which transcends every sweetness.
Happy and prosperous is the person, who through the Grace of God, is the recipeint of this experience whether it be to a greater or lesser degree.
Review of Religions
No. 1 Vol. LXXXVII