As human beings, one of the greatest desires in life is the search for peace.
Many psychologists argue that the greatest human drive is the search for peace, that whatever humans do, they do so seeking peace and tranquility.
Similarly, one of the names of Paradise in the Quran is Dar As-Salam (House of Peace). One of the names of God is As-Salam, the Perfect, the source of all peace. The word Islam itself is related to the word "salam" which means peace.
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said that there is a Paradise on this earth, which one needs to enter, to enter the Paradise of the Hereafter. This Paradise, he says, is the tranquility and contentment of the heart.
Contentment of the heart is a very difficult trait to have. The world around us, and things that happen to us usually make us very troubled individuals.
However, like anything in Islam, the road to tranquility is not a state of being. It is a path that has to be walked upon and deeds that need to be done in order for us to reach that station where we are at peace with ourselves.
Part of the desire to achieve tranquility has been embedded in ourselves. God put inside of us an emptiness that can only be filled by God. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim writes a profound paragraph on this.
"In the heart, there is a sense of untidiness which can only be gathered by turning to God.
And in the heart there is a sense of loneliness which can only be removed by coming closer to God.
And in the heart there is fear and anxiety, which only leaves by fleeing to God.
And in the heart there is a sense of regret, which can only be removed by being satisfied with God."
Tranquility and serenity can only arrive when we reach a position where we know the reality of our life, and the Majesty of God. It is understanding the verse of Surah Ar-Rahman (Chapter 55) where God says:
"Everything on earth will perish. But the face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honor remains." (Quran 55:26-7)
Whatever is on earth will perish. Whatever it is that makes us worried, will perish. Whatever makes us sad, will go away. Whatever makes us irritable and angry is transient.
Everything that is done without seeking the pleasure of God will just go, but that which is done seeking His pleasure and His Grace, will endure and live on. This changes our perspective on life completely.
Death, loss, heartbreak, and detachment are no longer as painful as they used to be, because at the end of the day, expectations come down to zero.
When one expects nothing, everything they get is a source of pleasure, and everything they do not get is a not something that is that troublesome.
The focus in life becomes God, Master of the Universe, not how many likes one gets on Facebook, who likes their picture, who gave a compliment, etc.
Life seems much more than these petty issues. One learns to forgive those who hurt them, cherish those who love them, and to subdue the ego, because what use is an ego for one who is going to be worm buffet six feet under the ground two days later?
Writer Jose Addison said that human beings need three things to be happy—something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. All of these can be found in this verse of the Quran:
"And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the God-conscious." (Quran 3:133)
Something to do—hasten to forgiveness.
Something to love—forgiveness from your Lord.
Something to hope for—Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth.
So, how is it that we attain tranquility?
We mentioned earlier that it is a process, and a process requires steps. There are many, so this article will hope to help one understand the beginning.
Understand who God is, and how great He is.
One who understands the greatness of God will find peace knowing that everything else is petty and small.
When we know that life is more than just the "bling bling" that we see, we understand that at all times our focus should be forward-thinking. Understanding that the next life is everlasting helps us in keeping our focus and not losing our minds over the affairs of this world.
Human beings are prone to forgetfulness and the constant remembrance of God reminds us of God at all times and places. One of the advice of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was:
Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of God.
"In the remembrance of God do hearts find rest." (Quran 13:28)
"If you are thankful, I will increase you." (Quran 14:7)
If we are thankful, God will give us more and more of everything that we have and even more. He will keep increasing us, and it will also be in the form of our tranquility.
One of the best roads to tranquility is being content with God.
It is in understanding that no matter what happens to us, God’s plan is best. When we are content with God’s decree, we will work hard, we will do our best but be content with whatever result comes our way.
God’s decree is Divine, and not always understandable to us in the here and now. Only when we look back do we understand how God’s plan was perfect. God’s plan for us is the best for us, and knowing that makes life incredibly peaceful.
May God make us people who are tranquil in life, and tranquil in death.
May God make us among those who hear this call:
"O tranquil soul, return to your Lord, pleased and pleasing to Him. Enter My Garden, Enter my Paradise." (Quran 89:26-30)
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