Steps to Attain Internal Satisfaction!
Posted April 10, 2011on:
Steps to Attain Internal Satisfaction!
The Quran guidance to inner peace 5 steps to attain inner peace
1-What is inner peace?
The topic of inner peace addresses a universal need. There is nobody on this planet that does not desire inner peace. It is not a desire that is new to our time. Rather, it is something that everybody has been searching for throughout the ages, regardless of color, creed, religion, race, nationality, age, sex, wealth, ability or technological advancement.
People have taken a variety of different paths in trying to achieve inner peace, some through accumulating material possessions and wealth, others through drugs; some through music, others through meditation; some through their husbands and wives, others through their careers and some through their children’s achievements or technological advancement and modernization. And the list goes on.
So the reality is that all of these have not brought inner peace and tranquility. Rather in spite of the comforts that modernization has brought us, we are further away from inner peace than our ancestors were.
Inner peace is for the most part of our lives very elusive; we never seem to get our hands on it.
Many of us mistake personal pleasures for inner peace; we achieve elements of pleasure from a variety of things, be it wealth, sexual relations or other than that. But these do not last, they come and go. Yes we have personal pleasures from time to time and we are pleased with various things from time to time, but this is not inner peace.
True inner peace is a sense of stability and contentment which carries us through all the trials and difficulties of life.
2- Life is full of struggles
“Verily, I have created man in toil (struggle).” (Quran 90:4)
This is the nature of our lives; we are in struggle, ups and downs, times of difficulties and times of ease.
It is a life full of tests as God says:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient ones” (Quran 2:155)
Obviously there are some obstacles which prevent us from attaining peace. So first we have to identify the obstacles in our lives which prevent us from achieving inner peace and develop a strategy to remove them.
If we look at the obstacles in life, we can put them under a variety of headings: personal problems, family issues, financial dilemmas, work pressures and spiritual confusion. And there are many issues under these headings.
3- Obstacles that are beyond our control
We have to be able to distinguish which obstacles are within our control and which ones are beyond our control. What we perceive as obstacles beyond our control, the reality is that they are not. Things like skin color, height or physical conditions are the things that God has destined for us in our lives, they are not really obstacles, but we have misinterpreted them as being such.
These are all things that were and are beyond our control. We did not choose which family to be born in to; we did not choose which body for our spirit to be blown into – this is not our choice. So whenever we are confronted with these kinds of ‘obstacles’ then we just have to be patient with them and realize that, in fact, they are not really obstacles. God told us:
“…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. God knows but you do not know.” (Quran 2:216)
So the obstacles that are beyond our control, we may dislike them and we may want to change them (and some actually spend a lot of money trying to do just that).
Inner peace can only be achieved if the obstacles that are beyond our control are accepted by us patiently as part of God’s destiny.
Know that whatever happens which we had or have no control over, then God has put in it some good, whether or not we are able to grasp what is good in it; the good is still there. So we accept it knowing that God does not put a burden on humans that they are not able to bear.
“On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns……” (Quran 2:286)
4- Obstacles that we can change:
To remove these obstacles we have to focus mostly on self-change and this is because God says:
“Verily! God will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of good within themselves…” (Quran 13:11)
Anger for example, is an area which we have control over. We can even develop patience, unlike the common idea that some people are just born patient.
A man came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and asked what he needed to do to get to Paradise, so the Prophet(sal Allahu alahi wa salam) told him:
“Do not get angry.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
So we have to focus mostly on self-change and develop better character
The Prophet(sal Allahu alahi wa salam) gave us advice on how to deal with the material world by saying:
“Do not look to those above you who are more fortunate, instead, look to those below you or less fortunate…”
This is because no matter what our situation is, there are always those who are worse off than us. This should be our general strategy with regards to the material life. We seem to be obsessed with it; gaining all we can in this world seems to be the main point that most of us focus our energies towards. So if one must do this then they should not let it affect their inner peace.
While dealing with the material world we should not keep focusing on those who are better off than us otherwise we will never be satisfied with what we have.
The Prophet(sal Allahu alahi wa salam) said:
“If you give the son of Adam a valley of gold he would want another one.” (Saheeh Muslim)
We cannot achieve satisfaction in the material world if we are chasing after it in such a way; rather, we should look to those who are less fortunate, this way we will remember the gifts, benefits and mercy that God has bestowed upon us with regards to our own wealth, no matter how little it may seem.
5-Accepting Allah in our hearts
There is another saying of the Prophet Muhammad(sal Allahu alahi wa salam) which helps us in the realm of the material world to put our affairs in their proper perspective. The Prophet(sal Allahu alahi wa salam) stated:
“Whoever makes this world his only goal, God will confuse his affairs and place poverty before his eyes and he will be able to attain nothing from this world except for what God has already written for him…”
“Whoever sets the Hereafter as his goal, God gathers his affairs for him, gives him richness of (faith in) the heart and the world will come to him grudgingly and submissively.” (Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan)
Such a person attains richness of the heart. Richness is not about having a lot of wealth, but richness is having wealth of the heart, and what is wealth of the heart? It is contentment, and this is where the peace comes from, when a person submits themselves to God, and this is Islam.
The inner peace is accepting Islam in our hearts and living by the principles of Islam. So God will put richness in a person’s heart and this world will come to him submissively, on its knees and humbled. Such a person will not have to chase it.
If we do this we can achieve inner peace, and Allah informed us of this in the Quran, a precise step to take in order to attain inner peace, and Allah says:
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Quran 13:28)
In summary, the search for inner peace involves recognizing the problems that we have in our lives, recognizing our obstacles, recognizing that inner peace will only come when we identify those obstacles and understand which of them we can change and that we focus on those obstacles we can change, the ones which are related to our self.
If we change our self then Allah will change the world around us and give us the means to deal with the world around us. Even though the world is in turmoil God gives us inner peace within it.
Whatever happens (beyond our control) we know that it is Allah’s destiny and that it is Allah’s trial and we know that ultimately it is for our good and has good in it. God created us in this world and the world as a means to attain Paradise and the trials of this world are for our own spiritual growth.
If we can accept all this, accepting God in our hearts then we can find inner peace.!
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