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Guide Posts CHEERFULNESS (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) “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 radiates 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 their daily lives 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. Worldly 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 truth may appear absurd but it is, an absolute fact. Furthermore they serve to test our mettle and to strengthen our characters. 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 tidings to the steadfast, who when a misfortune overtakes therii,do not lose heart, but affirm: 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 also mercy, and it is these who are rightly guided.” (2: 156-158). Let us turn to the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). He encountered all kinds of adversities but always carried his smile with him: “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 GUIDE POSTS 3 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 ofthe 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 difficult 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 caring of their burdens. ” (Introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad). Cheerfulness was one of the traits of the Holy Prophet’s magnetic personality. Again it has been said of him: “He met everyone cheerfully and courteously.” (Hussain bin Ali). “Every time he saw me he smiled.” (Jareer bin Abdullah). It has already been stated that life is full of ups and downs. It is not smooth going all the way so let us take heart from the following lines: “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!” “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.” 4 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Let us strive to maintain a cheerful and smiling countenance taking further inspiration from the following exhortations delivered by Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad 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 with my pleasant face and cheerful manner and when he got off the train at Amritsar he said: ‘If you get two hundred missionaries like yourself you will succeed in winning us over. I tried hard to provoke you but you kept smiling.’ ” “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, therefore, 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 nor time but the smiling countenance worked wonders. In short I am trying to tell you that a cheerful manner creates a deep impression.” We read in the Bible: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22). A deep-down smile works wonders. 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!” GUIDE POSTS 5 It has been truly said that a smile is a curve that can set a lot of things straight. The following literary extracts are stimulating pointers: “Give every living soul you meet the best smile you have ever smiled in your life, 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 living. When I begin to do this I find I become more welcome everywhere. ” (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 C. D. Larson). “When addressing a person, never speak without a slight 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 its 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 with them. Greet people with a smile. ” (Psychology Magazine, April 1971). “It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash, and the memory of it sometimes lasts for ever. None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits. It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign offriends. It is restto the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone until it is given away!” (Frank Irving F1etcher). Enjoy the delightful description of Charles Dickens: “He smiles so brightly it seems to spread light and happiness all around him.” (Life of Charles Dickens. Vol12. by J. Foster). We are now able to appreciate fully the value of a smiling countenance. It drives away the clouds of gloom and radiates heart-warming sunshine.