Attaining Happiness and Removing Stress

Imām ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Saʿdī

With a plethora of theories and perceived self-help remedies to ‘mental health’ floating around today, an important advice from an Imām of the past.
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Imām ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Saʿdī (d. 1376 AH) said: “From among the means of attaining happiness and removing stress [in the future] and sadness [about what has already transpired], is to proactively remove all conduits of despair and to work for the attainment of that which brings about happiness. This is achieved through forgetting about the calamity that has occurred. For truly such things cannot be reversed. The realisation that busying the mind with those calamities is both an exercise in futility and an attempt to achieve the impossible, and as such will lead to idiocy and mania. Thus, an individual must make a concerted effort to stave off such thoughts from infecting his heart. He must also strive to stop worry from plaguing his heart. For it is only the fallacy of poverty, fear, or some other calamity that he imagines will befall him in the future. He must realise that matters of the future are unknown. Whether those matters are good or evil, or attaining what he hopes for or being afflicted with hardship. For all these things are in the Hands of [Allāh], the Exalted in Might, the Wise. The servants [of Allāh] have no control over these affairs except that they proactively work for the attainment of goodness and to fend off that which causes them harm.”

 Source: Al-Wasāʾil al-Saʿīdah li al-Ḥayāt al-Saʿīdah: 41

 Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: February 3, 2022
Edited: May 27, 2022

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