Guide Posts No.1 – Cheerfulness

43 Guide Posts No. 1 Bashir Ahmad Orchard CHEERFULNESS I have not seen anybody who smiled more than the Holy Prophet. (Abdullah bin Harith) Nobody likes a grouser. One steers clear of his presence for he exudes an atmosphere of depression. Everybody would like to be happy but most people do not know the secret of happiness, and even if they do they fail to experience it in daily living due to lack of attention to the principles involved. No doubt there are degrees and qualities of happiness but real joy is not a momentary or temporary experience but one which permanently pervades the mind and soul despite the onslaught of multifarious problems and afflictions. Many a martyr has suffered death with a serene and blissful countenance.. Worldy affairs never run smoothly. Every kind of affliction — great or small — is a blessing in disguise, for within them lie the seeds of greater benefits and advantages awaiting to be nurtured. This t ru th may appear absurd to the uninitiated but it is an absolute fact. Furthermore, they serve to test our mettle and strengthen our characters. The folk who might complain but don’t, Who suffer loss, yet smile; Who get more knocks than pence, but still Will go the second mile — These are the folk who, come what may, Find much to sing about each day. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “We shall surely try you with somewhat of fear, and hunger, and loss of wealth, and lives, and of the fruits of your labour and sometimes your dear children will die; then give glad tidings to the steadfast, who when a misfortune overtakes them, do not lose heart, but aff i rm: We belong to God and are His servants and to Him shall we return. It is these on whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy, and it is these who are rightly guided.”(2:156-157). REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 44 Let us turn to the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him). He encountered all kinds of adversities but carried his smile with him at all times as revealed in the following extract taken from an introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad: “The Holy Prophet, throughout his life, had to encounter a succession of bitter experiences. He was born an orphan, his mother died while he was still a small child and he lost his grandfather at the age of eight years. After marriage he had to bear the loss of several children one after the other, and then his beloved and devoted wife Khadija died. Some of the wives he married after Khadija’s death, died during his lifetime and towards the close of his life he had to bear the loss of his son Ibrahim. He bore all these losses and calamities cheerfully, and none of them effected in the least degree either his high resolve or the urbanity of his disposition. His private sorrows never found vent in public and he always met everybody with a benign countenance and treated all alike with uniform benevolence. On one occasion he observed a woman who had lost a child occupied in loud mourning over her child’s grave. He admonished her to be patient and to accept God’s will as supreme. The woman did not know that she was being addressed by the Holy Prophet and replied: ‘If you had ever suffered the loss of a child as I have, you would have realized how diff icult it is to be patient under such an affliction’. The Prophet observed: ‘I have suffered the loss not of one but of seven children’ and passed on. Except when he referred to his own losses or misfortunes in this indirect manner, he never cared to dwell upon them nor did he permit them in any manner to interfere with his unceasing service to mankind and his cheerful sharing of their burdens.” This was one trait of his magnetic personality. Again it has been said of him: He met everyone cheerfully and courteously. (Hussain bin All) Every time he saw me he smiled (Jareer bin A bdullah) It has already been stated in different words that life is full of ups and downs. So — Life’s grim for you? Do not complain — Your face should hide your heart; For others find the going hard: They too must play a part. Your courage high, your spirit gay, Meet trouble in a splendid way! Keep cheerful. Keep smiling. Absorb and practise the following wonderful 45 GUIDE POSTS — C H E E R F U L N E S S exhortations pronounced by Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad in an address to the young men of the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam: “You should get in the habit of thinking hard and training yourself in the art of talking with a smiling face. If you are abused return the compliment with a cheerful laugh. I remember an incident of the days when I was a student in the Government College, Lahore. We had holidays and I was on my way to Qadian. A very sharp-tongued opponent of the Movement shared the carriage with me. He hurled abuse at me from Lahore and I kept answering back with smiles. He had been impressed by my pleasant face and cheerful manner and when he got off the train at Amritsar he said: ‘ I f you get two hundred missionaries l ike yourself you will succeed in winning us over. I tried hard to provoke you but you kept smil ing. ‘ “You should set an example. It becomes infectious. It is the duty of a khadim (servant of God) to smile and laugh. To become a khadim, there- fore, keep a smiling countenance. It is the first requirement.” “The first born son of my eldest daughter was a very handsome baby but it died at birth . . . When I approached her to console her I found her smiling. It gave me immense pleasure and I told her there and then that Allah would give her a son who will live long. Allah did grant her a second son.” “In my recent tour of Africa I met and shook hands with five to six thousand Ahmadies in the course of a single function. I was told that scores of Ahmadies were greatly surprised that I greeted everyone with a smile. It cost me neither money or time but the smiling countenance worked wonders. In short I am trying to tell you that a cheerful manner creates a deep impression.” The Bible states: A merry heart does good like medicine (Proverbs 17:22) A deep-down smile makes you feel good. It enriches both the giver and the receiver. It refreshes the weary and cheers the discouraged. It costs nothing but gives much. It is infectious and magnetic: I often wonder why it is That people smile at me. I’m very glad they do, Because it cheers me up you see. I wonder why folk smile at me? This question got me beat — Unless it is because I smile at everyone I meet! REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 46 The following literary extracts are charged with bright energy to help wing us on our f l ight to the land of smiles: “Give every living soul you meet the best smile you have ever smiled in your l i fe , even your own wife and children, and see how much better you feel and look. It’s one of the best ways I know to stop worrying and start l iving. When 1 begin to do this I find I become more welcome every- where.” (How I Learned the Secrets of Success in Selling by Frank Bettger.) “Wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. Look on the sunny side of everything.” (As a Man Thinketh by Larson.) “When addressing a person, never speak wi thout a s l ight smile or a beam of goodwill in your eyes.” (Success, Power and Personality by L.S. Clarkson.) “Look pleasant, smile and speak kindly and cheerily to everyone you meet.” (Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism by Dumont.) “Smile readily and frequently. The face suddenly becomes alive when i t ‘ s owner smiles. Women become more beautiful and men more handsome. A smile does to the face what the sunshine does to the countryside. Train yourself to smile more. Don’t wait for people to smile at you. Smile when you meet people, smile when you leave them, and as much as possible when you are wi th them. Greet people with a smile.” (Psychology Magazine, Apri l , 1971) What a delightful description we read of Charles Dickens: “He smiles so br ight ly it seems to spread light and happiness all around him.” (Life of Charles Dickens. Vol 2 by J. Foster.) We are now able to appreciate fully the value of a smiling countenance. It drives away the clouds of gloom and welcomes in the sunshine. Let every day be a challenge to spread around your smile; and you wil l f ind that life becomes much more worth while. The Philosophy of The Teachings of Islam IT IS AN E N G L I S H Trans l a t i on of the paper wr i t t en by H A Z R A T M I R Z A G H U I . A M A H M A D Til l – P R O M I S E D MESSIAH tor the great Re l ig ious Conference held at Lahore , Pakis tan in December, 1896. It conta ins about 200 pages of learned d i squ i s i t i ons on the f o l l o w i n g five subjec ts f r o m a M u s l i m point of view, v i / . , 1. The phys ica l , moral and sp i r i t ua l cond i t ions of man. 2. The state of man in the l i fe hereaf te r . 3. The real object of man’s exis tence and the means of i t s a t t a i n m e n t . 4. The e f f e c t of action in the present life and the l ife to come. 5. The sources of D i v i n e knowledge. The paper con ta ins an exposi t ion of I s l am, such as is not met w i t h by any other book h i t h e r t o publ i shed on I s l a m in any language. I t is in f a c t a comprehens ive commen ta ry of the Holy Quran, t h r o w i n g on i ts teachings and doctr ines a l ight such as never before shed. 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