The Holy Qur'an

THE QURAN AND MODERN SCIENCE

CONSISTENT OR INCONSISTENT?

24 TRUE HAPPINESS (Louis of Granada) • (Louis of Granada was Spam’s most popular spiritual writer in the 16th century and was constantly in demand everywhere as a preacher. His books have been translated into twenty-five languages. We produce some extracts from his writings on his viewpoint about True Happiness. -Editor) Having seen how wretched and deceitful is the happiness of this world, it remains for us to consider that true happiness can be found only in God. If worldly men understood this well, they would not pursue mundane pleasures as they do. No creature can enjoy perfect happiness until it attains its ultimate end, that is the last perfection that is due to it according to its nature. Until it arrives-at this state, it is necessarily restless and discontented, •as is anyone who feels a need for that which he yet lacks. Now what is the ultimate end of man, the possession of which constitutes his complete happiness Undoubtedly it is God, who is man’s first beginning and last end. Moreover, if God alone is man’s last end and true happiness, it is impossible for man to find true happiness outside of God. As the glove is made for the hand and the scabbard for the sword, and they serve for no other purpose than for which they were made, so the human heart, created as it is for God, cannot find rest in anything outside of God. In Him alone is it content; without Him it is poor and needy. In order that you may understand this truth more clearly, consider the needle of a compass. The needle has been touched with a magnet and as a result it always points to the north. Observe how restless this needle is and how it fluctuates until it points to the north. Once this is done, the needle stops and remains fixed. So also, God created man with a natural inclination to Himself, and as long as man is seperated from God, he remains restless, even though he possesses all the treasures of the world. But once he has turned to God, he finds repose, as does the needle when it turns north, for in God man finds all his rest. Hence he alone is happy who possesses God, and he will be the closer to true beatitude who is closej to God, they are the more happy, although the world does not understand their happiness. TRUE HAPPINESS 25 Much more is required to make a thing perfect than to make it imperfect, for perfection requires that a thing be completely perfect but imperfection requires only one defect. Moreover, perfect happiness requires that man has all that he desires, and if only one thing is missing, this may contribute more to his unhappiness than all the other things to his happiness. I have seen people in high places and with great possessions who inspite of these things were most unhappy because they were made more wretched by the lack of something they yet desired and could not obtain than they were made happy by all that they had. However much a man may have, it will not give him satisfaction as long as he is tormented by a desire for something. It is not the possession of many things that makes a man happy, but the satisfaction and fulfillment of all his desires. St. Augustine explained this beautifully when he wrote: “To my way of thinking, no man can be called truly happy who has not attained what he truly loves, whatever be the thing that he loves. Neither is he happy who does not love what he possesses, although the thing itself possessed be very good. For he who yet desires something he cannot obtain, remains wretched and tormented; he who desires that which is not worth desiring, deceives himself; and he who does not desire what deserves to be desired, is sick, from this it follows that our happiness consists in the possession and love of the supreme good and apart from this no man can be happy.” If you look upon the grandeur of their state and the splendour of their homes, you will think they are the happiest of men, but if you approach more closely, you will find they are quite different from what they appear to be. If we cannot find true happiness in this world but only in God, why do we not seek it in Him “Encircle the earth and the sea where you will,” says St. Augustine, “Wherever you go, you’will be miserable if you do not go to God.”