Human beings are created with a nature that takes pleasure in beauty, and with a desire to live in happiness and in well-being. Therefore, it is a completely natural human desire to be rid of unpleasant situations as quickly as possible, or to turn them into pleasant ones. In fact, being of a peaceable of mind and a healthy spirit are important factors for the health of the mind, as well as the body.
However, when people act according to their feelings, desires and passions, without regard for the Qu’ran’s teaching, they become oppressed by sadness, worry and fear. When one has no understanding of the nature of fate, and of what it means to put one’s life in Allah’s (God’s) hands, and complete submission to His will as taught in the Qu’ran, he is in a state of constant struggle with the anxiety that arises from not knowing what will happen to him or to those close to him at any given time.
Whereas, if he lives his life according to the religion that Allah has chosen for him, and according to the moral canons of the Qu’ran, he will never experience this anxiety or any other such difficulty. Allah proclaims this truth through His messengers when he says:
… all those who follow My guidance will not go astray and will not be miserable. But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one … (Surah Ta Ha: 123-124)
As stated in the above verse, many people turn away from Allah’s reminder and, as a result, live an anxious and unhappy life. Moreover, since they lead their lives based on the superstition that life is led by chance, they feel regret by regarding as set-backs and bad luck those very things that could be to their future benefit.
Their minds are continually agitated by the fear of being fired and ending-up poor, of being cheated or becoming sick. When they hope for adulation they worry they will be ridiculed; when they hope for loyalty, they fear of being confronted with ingratitude.
They become pessimistic when they consider the possibility of receiving bad news at any moment, or that someone might say or do something unpleasant to them. Even in their happiest moments, they live with the anxiety that they cannot make the moment last forever; their life is really a nightmare. In a verse, Allah reveals the state of anxiety in which those who disregard the Qu’ran live:
When Allah desires to guide someone, He expands his breast to Islam. When He desires to misguide someone, He makes his breast narrow and constricted as if he were climbing up into the sky. That is how Allah defiles those who disbelieve. (Surat al-An’am: 125)
It is natural that those without religion should feel disturbed and without peace of mind, because they spend their lives in the company of those without the good moral qualities of the Qu’ran, such as love, compassion, mercy, self-sacrifice, loyalty and humility. To live in a system full of deceit and harm, in which people do not help each other without expecting something in return, where friendships are pursued with expectations of profit, where even simple mistakes one commits is met with an angry response, and where everyone treats the other unjustly, gossiping and not saying what they really think, is a cause for unhappiness for a sentimental person.
However, if such a person were to live in an environment that was to their liking, it would change little. Even if there was much happening around them they should feel happy about, such emotional people would find a way to see them in a negative light.
Because they view every little thing in such a way, it does not matter if the weather were hot or cold, rainy or windy; they turn whatever it is into something to complain about. We could illustrate, with pages of examples, how these people find excuses to feel dissatisfied at every opportunity. It is a manifestation of what Allah says in the following verse, “Let them laugh little and weep much, in repayment for what they have earned.” (Surat at-Tawba: 82) In another verse, He reveals the behavior of the disbeliever, who becomes “Desperate when bad things happen.” (Surat al-Ma’arij:20)
Another essential reason for the unhappiness felt by those without faith is the fact that their plans do not turn out as they expect. For example, an emotional person prepares a meal for her husband and is disappointed when she does not get the reaction she expected. She saves money to buy her friend a present, but again she is sad because she thinks she wasn’t as happy with the gift as she had hoped.
She buys a house, but again she feels sad because she thinks the painter has not mixed the colors well. The possible reasons for being unhappy are endless. The defeat of a favorite football team, getting a few points less than expected in an examination, being late for work, a traffic jam, breaking a pair of glasses, losing a watch, getting a stain on a favorite suit or dress at a party-everything can become an excuse for being unhappy.
A person who assesses a situation superficially and reacts emotionally to it cannot foresee how, if something were to happen to him, that it might in a later stage turn out beneficially for him. Consider, for example, a person dejected because he missed his bus; how does he know that that bus will not be in an accident a moment later?
Maybe Allah determined he miss the bus as part of his fate so that he would escape the accident. Let us consider another example: a driver misses an exit that he is very familiar with and gets on the wrong road. Assessing the situation from his superficial level of understanding, he becomes angry at himself, his joy evaporating because he will have to drive farther. However, it was Allah who made him take that road; as in every occurrence, this too was his fate.