Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Most of the things we do (if not all), we do to satisfy some need of ours or other. We work to earn money, we earn money to get food and shelter and all the other comforts of this life. We watch TV to satisfy our need for entertainment. We get married to satisfy our need for love. Sometimes people do silly things to feel satisfied – they take drugs and drink alcohol, and the next morning they wake up more miserable and dissatisfied than ever. But they still do it again the next week just hoping that even if for a few hours, they will get some kind of satisfaction, even if they have to pay a terrible price later on.
But despite putting so much time and energy to get satisfaction from life, we never really achieve that complete satisfaction that we seek. All kinds of businesses target this insatiable need for satisfaction of human beings. The more you have, the more you want. And yet, there are people in the world who are satisfied, content, peaceful and happy. How do these people get there? What is the secret of satisfaction? I am not really qualified to answer such a profound question, but what I can do is share with you the quest which I myself have undertaken.
Step 1: Accept the fact that you are born with the urge for seeking continued pleasure. The Prophet (saws) said,
If the son of Adam were given a valley full of gold, he would love to have a second one; and if he were given the second one, he would love to have a third, for nothing fills the belly of Adam’s son except dust. And Allah forgives he who repents to Him. [Sahih Bukhari]
Even more important, we need to realize that this urge for more is something put inside us by Allah (swt) Himself, and therefore it cannot be something ‘bad’, something evil. If we accept this crucial fact then we can come to terms with our nafs.
Step 2: Realize the fact that this urge is never going to be completely satiated in this world. This pleasure seeking urge is inside us because we were not made for this world, we were made for Jannah. Our mother and father came from a place where they could give this urge full reign (excepting that one tree). Every one of our needs will be satiated, we will get whatever we want, but not here. We just need to wait up a bit.
يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُo ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً o فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي o وَادْخُلِي جَنَّتِي.
[To the righteous it will be said], ‘O reassured soul, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], and enter among My [righteous] servants and enter My Paradise.’[89:27-30]
That is the time when we will get ultimate satisfaction, our souls will be completely content, forever.
Step 3: Make that place of ultimate satisfaction your goal. Do everything that is necessary to get there, because the process itself can be satisfying. When we keep away from wrongdoing and obey all of Allah’s orders, we can have hope in our hearts that we are qualified for Paradise, and that hope will make us peaceful.
Step 4: Shift your focus from what you don’t have to what you have. This will help us become grateful, instead of constantly longing for things that other people have. The Prophet (saws) said,
Look at those who are lower than you and do not look at those who are higher than you. That is more likely to prevent you underestimating the blessing of Allah on you. [Agreed upon]
Also Allah said in the Quran:
And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing. [4:32]
Once we realize how much Allah has already given us, and how much He promises to give us in the Hereafter, we can become grateful. Allah has indeed promised us:
If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe. [14:7]
Step 5: Remember Allah much.
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured. [13:28]
Notice that the word tatmainna used here has the same root as mutmainnah mentioned above in the ayaat of surat Al Fajr. This special satisfaction can be found only in truly connecting with Allah and seeking His pleasure.
*In order to understand Quranic words, learn Arabic at UQ Academy. Start with our course Learn 50% of the Quran in 9 hours.