In a world that we are faced with many unexpected and horrifyingly inhuman incidents on a daily basis, one might wonder, how is it possible to be Happy? How can we attain inner peace? Are we born to suffer or to enjoy our lives? Security, justice, and welfare are three basic needs of every human being to have a better and happier life in Islam [xii]. However, providing these three factors is partly the responsibility of the government and the authorities of the society. And it partly depends on each individual.
In a previous article, we considered the ways that can help us overcome depression, anxiety, and stress in detail. Here we want to explore Islamic guidelines for a happier life.
One of the first factors in feeling happy in life is to be healthy. Many of us don’t even think about this blessing. When we lose it or find our physical strength not to be as before, then we realize how precious it was.
Islam recommends us to take care of our bodily health through having a healthy diet, eating less, observing personal hygiene, having enough sleep [iii], keeping a regular plan for visiting doctors and going for a checkup [iv], etc.
To have a happier life, you should balance your time between the activities that you do as your responsibility (e.g., your job, your housework, etc.) and the time that you need to rest and have fun [v].
Enjoying from lawful (Halal) fun is highly recommended in Islam. Since it is an opportunity to gather strength and energy to go back to our daily activities [vi]. As a result, we would become more satisfied and happy with our life.
Some recommended fun activities in Islam are horse-riding, shooting, swimming, knitting, telling jokes, traveling [xiii], etc.
Sometimes even looking at a beautiful scene or breathing a pleasant smell can cheer us up. So, for example, dedicating a time to explore nature can be a good idea to revive ourselves and bring hope and happiness to our life [vii]. According to Imam Kazim (AS): “Three things enlighten the eye: looking at greenery, flowing water, and a beautiful face” . Obviously, here “enlightening the eye” means freshening the soul and revitalizing the mind.
One of the places in which one can find his/her inner peace and feel happy and relaxed is the family. One of the main reasons that marriage is so much recommended in Islam [viii] is because of this relaxing effect that it will have on both husband and wife. Talking to the spouse and sharing feelings with each other can relieve the soul from everyday stresses and misfortunes.
Seeing a familiar and friendly face is always heart-warming. So, it is a good idea to visit your relatives or invite them to your house, for example, once a week. When you talk to your friends and family and spend time with them, even for a few hours, you will forget about your everyday issues. Even better, you may find solutions to your problems by sharing them with your relatives and friends.
This was among one of the most common manners of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) [xi] as well as the twelve Imams. Once, Imam Ali (AS) appeared to be depressed. A person enquired the reason, and he answered: “It’s been seven days that I did not have any guests in my house”.
Positivity and kindness act like a boomerang. You spread the goodness and in return, receive goodness. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) puts: “When goodness resides in you, your heart finds assurance. But, when sin enters your soul, your heart becomes full of doubt and restlessness”. Usually, when we do a good thing, we feel better about ourselves, and that makes us happier with our life. We feel useful and as a result more hopeful.
Moreover, being good-tempered and having a positive attitude toward other people is another characteristic that in the long run, will help us experience a happier life [xiii]. Sometimes, when we let go of grudges and empty our heart and mind from the anger and hatred we feel, we experience a feeling of blissful peace and relief [xiv].
Also, avoiding some immoral behaviors such as lying, backbiting, unlawful (Haram) relationships, not controlling the glance when seeing a non-Mahram, etc. will bring us a life of positivity and peacefulness [xv].
Another way to reach happiness and satisfaction is to talk to the creator of the world, the merciful Allah. Worshiping and praying Allah is always recommended in times of hardships [ix]. Since it will remind us of the One who is present all the time and we can rely on, no matter how big our problem is. So, this feeling of security will relieve our soul from any anxiety, and we will become happier and feel more at peace.
On the contrary, some activities may momentarily make us feel happy. Since they don’t have any benefit for our mind and soul, they will finally make us even sadder and more depressed. These are:
1. Occupying yourself with pointless activities and debauchery
2. Repeating the same mistake or sin (no matter how fun it may seem) over and over again
3. Engaging in aimless talks and conversations
4. Keeping company with corrupt and indecent people
5. Being irresponsible toward your commitments
6. Losing opportunities and wasting time 
7. Being highly concerned about financial issues [x]
These and many other guidelines help us in reaching a peaceful life. However, we should note that being happy is not a sudden revelation, but a gradual process. It takes time and effort and requires determination. It is the result of so many factors such as physical health, marriage, keeping company with nature, traveling, having fun, praying, having a good job, etc. Many of these factors have been highly recommended in Islamic sources and narrations (Hadith), as prerequisites for a happier life. Happiness does not come around easily and suddenly; it is on us to bring it around.
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “Two blessings are unknown among people: safety and health” .
Imam Sajjad (AS) said: “ O’ Allah, hearts don’t find peace except with your remembrance and souls don’t reach peacefulness except with seeing you” 
[iii] Imam Reza (AS) said: “[Enough and on-time] sleep, strengthens the body” .
Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “Sleep brings peace to the body, speaking brings peace to the soul, and silence brings peace to mind” 
[iv] Imam Ali (AS) said: “Whoever conceals his/her illness from a doctor, has betrayed his/her body” .
[v] Imam Kazim (AS) said: “ Try to divide your daily routine into four parts: one for supplicating to Allah, one for providing life expenses, one for keeping company with reliable and pure-hearted friends, and one part for enjoying from lawful (Halal) fun” .
[vi] Imam Ali (AS): “ The times of joy and cheerfulness are best opportunities for revitalizing body and soul” .
[vii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “Looking at nature would bring happiness, joy, and liveliness.”
[viii] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “There is no dearer and more valuable foundation in Islam for Allah, other than marriage [and family]” 
[ix] “O you who have faith! Take recourse in patience and prayer…” (2:153)
[x] Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “ I looked for the peace of heart and found it in having less money” .
Imam Ali (AS) said: “Whoever contents with what he/she has, will reach comfort and harmony, and have a better life” 
[xi] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Make every day a new day if you can. Meaning that, give presents to each other and make bonds with each other, for the sake of Allah.”
[xii] Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “ There are three things that every person needs to have; these are security, justice and welfare” 
[xiii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “ In order to reach greatness, travel outside your homeland, since there are five advantages of it: ‘ relieving sadness, gaining money and knowledge, getting familiar with [other] lifestyles and having the chance to accompany with great figures” .
[xiii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “ Being optimistic toward others, results in the peace of heart and decency of religion” 
[xiv] Imam Ali (AS) said: “ The one who is good-tempered, will have a better and more decent life” 
[xv] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Truthfulness brings peace and lying brings stress and anxiety” .
Imam Ali (AS): “The one who lowers his/her gaze [in front of a non-Mahram] will find peace in his/her heart” .
- Fattal Neyshaburi, Rawdat al-wa'izin wa basirat al-mutta'izin, p.472.
- Bihar al-Anvar, vol.59, p.141.
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p. 484.
- Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-'uqul, p.409.
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p. 319.
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasā'il al-Shīʿa, vol.20, p.60.
- Javadi al-Amoli, Mafatih al-Hayat, pp. 135-137.
- Bihar al-Anvar, p.103.
- Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol. 12, p.174.
- Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Shahrashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol.2, p.73.
- Qadi Nu'man, Da'a'im al-Islam, vol.2, p.326.
- ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-'uqul, p.320.
- Usul al-Kafi, vol.8, p.19.
- Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih, vol.4, p.402, Hadith no. 5865.
- Bihar al-Anvar, vol. 91, p. 151.
- Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol.8, p.115.
- Ibn Abi al-Hadid, An Interpretation of Nahj al-Balaghah, vol.20, p.299, Hadith no. 415.
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p.253, Hadith no. 5322
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p.299, Hadith no. 6774.
- Abu l-Qasim Payandeh, Nahj al-fasaha, p.548, Hadith no.1864.
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p. 260, Hadith no.5555.
Human beings by nature are social creatures, in need of companions and friends. Most of our lives depend on interactions with others, and man is therefore compelled to live in society and with other individuals. Friendship in Islam is considered one of the Divine blessings through which one overcomes loneliness and solitude.
Islam has placed tremendous importance on sociability and friendship. In the Quran [i], great emphasis has been placed on the concept of friendship because maintaining good company plays a pivotal role in shaping the life of the individual and it influences the path that will be chosen in life. Likewise, the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his Ahl al-Bayt (AS) on different occasions had clearly stated its importance, criteria for choosing a friend, characteristics of a good friend and the rights of a friend .
Friends are an integral and important part of our social life as they contribute greatly to the development of one’s personality and they affect many aspects of our lives. Islam, in complete harmony with man’s nature, deals extensively both in the Quran and the narrations (Hadiths) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) with the issue of friendship in Islam.
In the Quran, Allah says:
“On that day, friends will be one another’s enemies, except for the Godwary.” (43:67)
The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) while explaining the impact of friends says:
“Man is influenced by the faith of his friends. Therefore, be careful of whom you befriend.”
Similarly, the commander of the faithful; Imam Ali (AS) says:
“Try to have as many as possible true friends, for they are the supplies in joy and the shelters in misfortunes” 
Islam attaches great emphasis on the choice of a friend to be selected in life. For this purpose, it is expected that one should employ his/her judgment in a manner free from emotion and try to set aside the criterion for assessing his/her real worth. “One must know his/her inadequacies and weak points, his/her ideas, feelings, dislikes and infirmities. Ultimately, one must discover the human merits and desirable qualities that he/she carries in the depth of his/her spirit so that one may benefit from his/her outstanding virtues.”
Therefore, for the great good or bad influences friends can have on the characters and personality of each other, it is important for every man of reason to choose friends that are characterized by good mannerism and behavior.
Meanwhile, in accordance with the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his Ahl al-Bayt (AS), a Muslim must avoid certain sets of people as friends: transgressor, hypocrites, foolish, liar, sinful, stingy, and disregardful to his/her relatives. Similarly, non-Muslims should not be taken as intimate friends or allies .
However, there is no hindrance for a boy having a girl as a friend or vice versa, so far as the Islamic regulations (such as the Islamic Hijab, avoidance of indiscriminate touching, etc.) are observed and they avoid any sinful act.
In Islam, the followings are some of the characteristics to be looked forward to in a friend:
Uprightness and well mannerism
Following some narrations (Hadiths) , friendship entails certain trusts and duties. The one who observes them is a true friend while one who breach them is unworthy of friendship in Islam. Here are some of the rights of friends:
Respecting them and their personality 
Rendering material supports in the time of need 
Advising them when they need your advice 
Forgiving their shortcomings 
Concealing their lapses and faults from others 
Visiting them when they are sick 
Participating in their funeral when they die
Concisely, friends are integral parts of our social life, and it is important to be selective in the choice of companions and friends. The righteous ones who lead one to righteousness in this world and prosperity in the Hereafter should be considered as friends.
In contrast, hypocrites and ill-mannered individuals who are sources of plights in this world and in the Hereafter should not be taken as friends. Similarly, Islam teaches the Muslims to observe certain matters in friendly relations. This is because immoderation in this regard may lead to deplorable consequences and bring regret and pain.
[i] (9: 71), (25: 27-29), etc.
- Al-Amidi, Ghurar al-Hikam, P. 177; Mustadrak Wasa’il, Vol. 5, chapter 42
- Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 74, P. 192.
- Mahdi as-Sadr, The Ahlul-Bayt; Ethical role models, P. 290.
- Mujtaba Musavi Lari, Ethics and Spiritual growth, P. 211.
- (3: 28); (4: 144); (5: 51); (9: 23) etc.
- Imam Ali Zayn al-Abideen, Treatise on Rights, Right 33 (The right of the companion)
- Kulayni, Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, P. 198, Hadith No: 8.
- Al-Amidi, Ghurar al-Hikam, P. 775
- Ibid, P. 707
- Allamah Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 16, P. 233, Hadith 35
- Kulayni, Al-Kafi, Vol. 3, P. 173.
Going through the history of the world, one can realize that women have always played significant roles in society. When men and women accompany each other, and each party plays its own role to the fullest, miracles start to appear. And as we are going to discuss the role of women, it is good to recollect that the patience of a woman in nurturing a child is no different from her patience and tolerance in nurturing and training her husband and her whole family. That is why when a mother is taken away from a family, putting it again together as a healthy family is a hard job.
When Allah wants to give examples of good and bad role models for non-believers and believers in the Quran, he mentions four women:
“Allah cites an example of the faithless: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of our righteous servants, yet they betrayed them. So they did not avail them in any way against Allah … Allah cites an example of the faithful: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, ‘My Lord! Build me a home near You in paradise, and deliver me from Pharaoh and his conduct, and deliver me from the wrongdoing lot.’ And Mary, daughter of Imran, who guarded the chastity of her womb, so We breathed into it of Our spirit. She confirmed the words of her Lord and His Books, and she was one of the obedient.” (66: 10-12) [i]
Now that we have discussed the central role of women in many significant events, we would like to study the role of women in the important event of Karbala, in about 1400 years ago.
When we discuss the role of women as mothers, sisters, wives, or daughters, we never mean to neglect the vital status of women as individuals. Of course, a woman should have a strong, self-built character as an individual to be able to influence and train others and manage different situations.
The fact that faithful women's names who were present while, before and after the event of Karbala have remained in history is due to their characters. They were strong to some point before the day of Ashura and represented their strength and beauty within the hard situations of the day of Ashura and after that.
To be able to represent such an astonishing character, a woman needs to have developed her character in the following dimensions: individual, spiritual, social, political and cultural, while having a high status of knowledge and wisdom at the same time. This type of woman is of the kind who can observe the event of Karbala and see it a blessing from Allah. The famous few words of Lady Zainab (AS) after witnessing all the cruelty and brutality of the enemies of her brother shows it very well: “I did not see anything but beauty.” 
When women read about the character of those women who were present in the day Ashura with Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions or women whose names have remained in history for their well-being, they may think that those women were extraordinary and not every woman can be like them. But reading the history and commemorating the events of Karbala is to show us that we can all become astonishing characters, only if we follow the orders of Allah, the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and his household.
An example of those ordinary women whose name has remained in history is Habib Ib Mazahir’s wife. What made her special was the right choice she made based on the teachings of her religion and obeying the commands of her Imam; Imam Hussein (AS). Thus, when her husband tested her by saying that he was not going to join the army of Imam Hussein (AS) as he was an old man, she blamed him and reminded him of the status of the Imam based on what she had learned from the Quran and narrations. 
Therefore, all women who read and obey the rulings and advice of the Quran can reach the highest levels of faith and spirituality.
The vital role of mothers in the event of Karbala is to be studied many years before the incident occurred. That is when the soldiers of Imam Hussein (AS) were just born and were being nurtured and trained by their mothers to become great servants of Allah and to recognize the truth from the wrong in a critical situation.
The first one of them was Lady Fatimah (AS), Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) daughter, who brought up her children in a way to be the greatest leaders of all times.
The second Fatimah that should be mentioned here is Fatimah bint Hizam. She was a knowledgeable and pious woman and a few years after the martyrdom of Lady Fatimah (AS) Imam Ali (AS) married her. She gave birth to four sons, and therefore she was called Ummul-Banin (Mother of Sons). His eldest son was Abbas ibn Ali (AS); the commander of Imam Hussein (AS) forces. All her four sons were martyred while defending Imam Hussein (AS); the Imam of their time. 
The role of those mothers who were present in Karbala and encouraged their sons to fight and defend their Imam should not be neglected. Lady Zainab and Umm-e Wahab are among the most significant ones.
Also, the behavior of Lady Robab, who lost her six months old baby and never mentioned it before her Imam and husband can be an excellent lesson for all the women in the world.
One of the most significant moments when women nag their men is when they feel insecure for any worldly reasons. It is less probable for women to complain to their men when they find them spiritually at risk. In such situations, the faithful woman would find ways of preparing her husband for growth and spiritual improvement where nagging won’t work. But if men put the worldly belongings of a woman at risk, the woman would usually fight against him.
However, in Karbala, Imam Hussein (AS) and his followers gave everything in the way of Allah, including their life. But those specific women who were with them, not only encouraged them to do so, but also supported them and promised to follow their true path after them.
One of these outstanding women was Wahab’s mother; Umm Wahab. Wahab was a Christian and was traveling with his mother and his newlywed. They met Imam Hussein (AS) on the way and were informed of what was going on to the household of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). So Umm Wahab tells him that she will not be satisfied with him until he joins and defends Imam Hussein (AS). Wahab joined Imam’s army and fought until he was martyred. When he was laid in the middle of the battlefield, his mother sat at his body, cleaning blood and dust off his face, where the enemy attacked her, and she was also martyred in the way of Allah. 
Such women can be great role models for all women in the world to support their husbands if they find them on the right path or even to guide them to the right path.
In the event of Karbala Lady Zainab (AS) was present as a sister and a mother, while for some specific reasons, she was not accompanied by her husband [ii]. Imam Hussein’s (AS) daughters were also present in Karbala.
The leading roles that they played in the event of Karbala were to encourage and support men to defend their leader, to take care of the sick and the wounded ones, to stay together and take care of women and children.
When they were captured and were being taken from city to city, the women were careful not to let children take any charity from people, as charity is forbidden for the household of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). They also kept reporting the true events that went on in Karbala, and before and after that, to increase the awareness of people about the truth. 
When they returned home, they narrated the event of Karbala to the next generations, by giving speeches, saying poems, and mentioning the events wherever they could.
Commemorating the aims of Imam Hussein (AS) in confronting the corrupt rulers of his time was a tradition that started by faithful women of his time, and should be continued to help us realize the true path from the wrong path.
[i]The above verses show that in the same way that women can help developing the spirituality of the individuals, the family, and society they can also lead them towards decadence and corruption
[ii] Search history for “Why lady Zainab’s husband was not present in Karbala?”