By Sheima Sumer
A happier life starts with positive habits that you practice regularly. For Muslims, a happier life also revolves around our purpose to please and worship Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Here are 7 simple habits that you can start to adopt right now to be a happier Muslim.
1. Make it a habit to regularly say:
أعوذُ بِٱللَّهِ مِنَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِ ٱلرَّجِيمِ
A’uuthu Billaahi MinashshayTaanir Rajeem
“I seek the protection of Allah from Satan the outcast.”
Saying this dhikr protects us from the tricks of Shaytan, who wants us to feel unhappy and negative. The next time you are feeling any negative emotion, please say this amazingly useful dhikr of Allah (swt).
2. Another great dhikr to make a habit out of:
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ ، سُبْحَانَ اللَّه الْعَظِيم
SubhaanAllah wa Bihamdihi SubhaanAllahil ‘Azeem
Glorified is God and praised is He, Glorified is God the Most Great
This dhikr will earn you many blessings, as stated in the following hadith:
Two statements are light on the tongue, weigh heavily in the balance, and are loved by the Most Merciful One: “Glorified is God and praised is He” (Subhaanal-laahi wa bihamdih) and “Glorified is God the Most Great” (Subhaanal-laahil-‘Adheem).
(Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3467)
By constantly doing this dhikr, we will be pleasing Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) more, which is our main purpose in life. Also, when we remind ourselves to say this dhikr, we are becoming more mindful of our thoughts. This increased awareness of thoughts leads to a more peaceful state called “mindfulness” in counseling. “Mindfulness” is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”
So, when you train yourself to be more “mindful” of your thoughts (so that you remember to say this dhikr), you will be more “mindful” in general and will have more control over your thoughts, insha’Allah.
3. Ask Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) for a happier life:
Please do the obvious thing that we often forget to do! Make duaa to Allah for a happier life! Admit that only He can truly help you! Ibn Rajab (رَحِمَهُ الله) wrote:
“… Allah likes His slaves to ask Him for everything that is in their spiritual and worldly interests such as food, drink, clothing etc, and to ask Him for guidance and forgiveness.” In the hadeeth Thabit Al-Bunani narrated that the Messenger of Allahﷺ said: ‘Let one of you ask his Lord for his every need, until he asks Him for salt, and asks Him for the strap of his sandal when it breaks.” (Hasan (Darussalam): Jami` at-Tirmidhi; Book 48, Hadith 244) It says: “Let one of you ask his Lord for everything that he needs, even a lace for his shoe if it breaks.”
Some of the salaf used to ask Allah in their prayers for everything, even salt for their dough and food for their sheep. In al-Israa’eeliyyaat, it is narrated that Musa (عليه السلام) said: “O Lord, I have some worldly needs but I feel too shy to ask You. He said: Ask Me even for the salt for your dough and food for your donkey.
Whatever a person needs, if he asks Allah for it, then he has demonstrated his need of Him, and that is something that Allah loves. Some of the salaf would feel too shy to ask Allah for their worldly needs, but following the Sunnah is better.” Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam (1/225)
“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity”
(Jami at-Tirmidhi 1956, Grade: Hasan)
Not only will you be following the Sunnah, but smiling more will make you feel happier. Studies show that smiling improves your mood, strengthens your immune system, decreases stress, and makes those around you feel happier too!
5. Make someone else happy with a simple kind word or gesture:
وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ
“Serve Allah and associate none with Him. Show kindness to parents, relatives, orphans, the needy, the neighbouring kinsman and the neighbour who is not of your kind, the companion, the traveler in need, and to the slaves you own…”
Did you know that the Prophet ﷺ said:
Every good deed is charity. Verily, it is a good deed to meet your brother with a smiling face, and to pour what is left from your bucket into the vessel of your brother.
(Tirmidhi 1970, Grade: Sahih)
Research shows that engaging in “random acts of kindness” brings more joy into our lives. Random acts of kindness include giving a hug to a loved one, telling someone what you appreciate about him/her, bringing some fresh fruits to a loved one, sending a kind email to someone you care about, etc.
For more ideas, visit www.randomactsofkindness.org.
6. Love yourself:
Make choices that support your happiness (within the boundaries of Islam, of course).
Example: Does it support your happiness to become angry or upset about what others do to you? Or is it in your best interest to be calm and rational when facing difficult people or situations?
When you truly love yourself, you start making choices that benefit you. You won’t react to problems so negatively because you realise that those negative reactions harm you.
You won’t compare yourself to others because you honour your uniqueness.
Loving yourself also means that you forgive yourself for your mistakes and shortcomings. No person is perfect, so treat yourself with some compassion.
7. Every night before you go to bed, think of 3 things that you are thankful for:
Every night, think of at least 3 things that you are feeling grateful to Allah for. It could be things specific to that day or general things, but it should be GENUINE. One thing that I am always grateful for is the health of my children. It could be anything that YOU really FEEL. (I originally read this simple activity in the book “Happy for No Reason” by Marci Shimoff). Gratitude is an incredible way to feel connected with Allah because you KNOW that He gave you those things. Remember, all help is from Allah. Every good thing you have is from Allah.
This simple ritual will become a habit that brings more overall joy into your life, insha’Allah.
وَمَن يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ
… And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself …