Every age has its defining genius, every culture its own Aristotle, Leonardo or Goethe. For classical Islam, one of those figures is unquestionably Ibn Sina or Avicenna (his Latinized name). A marvelous man by whose eighteenth birthday his fame as a physician was so great that he was summoned to treat the dying Samanid king of Bukhara (976-97 A.C) when all the talented court physicians had given up hope of his recovery. To the great astonishment of all, he was given the privilege of using the court's remarkable library which was the highest award for his future successes.
It is hard to describe Avicenna in any word but superlative. He wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived. His intellectual achievements encompassed not only medicine, but philosophy, law, science, music, poetry, mathematics, and statecraft. Even his life was the stuff of legends.
The only source of information for the first part of Avicenna's life is his autobiography, as written down by his student Juzjani. Now let's have a glimpse at his life in his own words:
“My father Abdullah was from Bukhara. Bukhara at that time was one of the greatest cities in Persia. He was appointed as a Samanid governor married to my mother Setareh, and I was born there in 980 A.D. They called me Hussain, some years later my father was posted to Bukhara, where I received my early education in literature and Quran. From the very beginning I made such remarkable progress in my education that at the age of 10, I had completely memorized the Quran. Abu Abdullah al Natili, a leading philosopher of his time, visited Bukhara and stayed at our home. I learned logic, geometry, and astronomy from him. I soon surpassed my teacher and studied medicine, physics, and metaphysics by myself and mastered all these subjects before I was 17 years old. Then, I started writing at the age of 21”.
Ibn Sina's chief work is the monumental "Al-Qanun," which is over one million words in length, in medicine. The instructions of this book were Europe's pharmacopeia for five centuries after his death. Al-Qanun discusses the whole field of medicine in an attempt to codify all the existing medical knowledge.
Another important work, a commentary on the work of Aristotle, was designed to set out the philosophies of ancient Greeks. Al Kitab ash-Shifa (the book of healing) is the most extended treatise on philosophy ever written by a single man.
In the end, the repeated travels and exacting political and intellectual preoccupations of Ibn Sina deteriorated his health. He was suffering from colic, and he made some extraordinary efforts towards his treatment.
He became bedridden in Hamadan (Iran), and died at the age of 57 in 1037 A.D., being the victim of a disease in which he was a specialist. His grave in Hamadan is yearly visited by a large number of admirers.
As one of the historians said, Avicenna is like a meteor, which flashed across the sky, illuminating the whole world with his brilliance, and in whose afterglow we still perceive the world around us.
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.
One of the most discussed words nowadays among politicians, humanitarians, thinkers, and social researchers is the word peace. It’s one of the favorite ideas among Christians and Muslims. Many of the religious activists try to publicize peace as a social manner and act. Islam, as the last religion of Allah, is a religion of peace, as its name is taken from the word Salaam, meaning peace in Arabic.
On the other hand, Jesus Christ (PBUH) is the other most-followed prophet in the world and one of the chosen ones in Allah's regard. But what is the stance of Islam toward Jesus Christ (PBUH)? Does Islam believe Jesus (PBUH) to be a peace-loving prophet? Here, we are going to bring you some verses of the Holy Quran in praise of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and his peace-loving character.
Believing in a peace-loving God, he treated all the people, whether innocent or sinful, young or old, with mercy and kindness. His amiable attitude not only included human beings but also animals whom he deeply cared for. Thus, wherever he went, he brought peace and blessing to the people, as he puts in this verse of the Quran:
“He has made me blessed, wherever I may be” (19:31)
The holy Quran always refers to Jesus (PBUH) as the embodiment of a dutiful and devoted child concerning his mother, Saint Mary. When it narrates the story of his birth and the disbelief of the Jewish sages, the Quran says that Jesus (PBUH) started talking while he was a newborn in his mother’s arms. He told everyone about the mission Allah had given him and then said:
“…He has enjoined me to [maintain] the prayer and to [pay] the zakat as long as I live, and to be good to my mother, and He has not made me self-willed and wretched.” (19:31-32)
Accordingly, one of the missions Allah has given Jesus (PBUH) is to be kind and respectful toward his mother, which is one of the manifest signs of a peaceful and loving character.
When Jesus Christ (PBUH) started spreading the message of Allah to human beings, he began to advise people to be truthful followers and described his mission as follows:
“When Jesus brought those manifest proofs, he said, ‘I have certainly brought you wisdom, and [I have come] to make clear to you some of the things that you differ about. So be wary of Allah and obey me.” (43:63)
Based on this verse, he was there to clarify the ambiguities and to bring wisdom. And that was all he did; he never used anything, but words of Allah and miracles inspired him to lead people toward what is right.
Virgin Mary was about to find out about Allah’s blessing upon her in bestowing her with a son, without any man touching her and the angels said:
‘O Mary, Allah gives you the good news of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, distinguished in the world and the Hereafter and one of those brought near [to Allah]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and adulthood and will be one of the righteous. (3:45-46)
Also, in another verse of the Quran, Allah refers to Jesus Christ (PBUH) besides other prophets as such:
“And Zechariah, John, Jesus, and Ilyas—each of them among the righteous.” (6:85)
Allah refers to Jesus Christ (PBUH) in the verses above, as his word and one of the righteous ones. But who is a Righteous person? A person characterized by, proceeding from, or following accepted standards of morality, justice, or uprightness and virtues . So, a righteous person is one who is upright, and free from sins or guilt, which ultimately leads one toward peacefulness.
Finally, the Holy Quran and Islam, as the religion of peace, admire prophet Jesus (PBUH) as the word of Allah and send peace and blessing upon him. In this verse of the Quran, Jesus addresses himself and says:
“Peace to me [Jesus] the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised alive.” (19:33)
Just as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) who, according to the Quran, was sent as a mercy to humankind (21:107) and perfect moral virtues, Jesus Christ (PBUH) was also sent to accomplish the same mission; as the prophets before him were also after spreading this peaceful message. Thus, Muslims who believe in all the prophets as the best role models, do not doubt in the peace-loving character of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the blessed son of Mary.
- Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000,3,6,7,9,11,14