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Majlis 4 Chapter 1

Al Basẖạsẖaẗ : Happiness

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA states while narrating the account of Nabi Allah Yahya AS who greeted Nabi Allah Eesa AS with an agitated and worrisome profile, whereas Eesa AS all the while stood amiably smiling with a pleasant countenance:

These kalemaat were successively followed by

The adjudication pronounced by Jibraʾeel in favour of Eesa As read as

The Arabic word اَبَشُّكُمَا is a derivative of the root word ạl Basẖ. The root word ạl Basẖ means to approach someone amiably with joy and laughter. In Arabic lexicon the noun al Basẖạsẖaẗ, another derivative of ạl Basẖ refers to different shades of meaning, where all the shades succinctly express the emotion of happiness. Al Basẖạsẖaẗ is when someone meets someone with a pleasant countenance radiating expressions of joy and a smile. Moreover, al Basẖạsẖaẗ is also asking someone something with utmost decency. In a nutshell, Al Basẖạsẖaẗ with the shades of meaning it cast are all explicit expressions of one being in a state of happiness.

Empirical evidence and scientific research shows us how beneficial smiling and happiness can be for us both psychologically and physically.

Achieving happiness was not merely the result of luck or chance. Psychologists have continued to try and define happiness.

According to psychology, happiness is about more than simply the experience of a positive mood. In order to describe happiness, psychologists commonly refer to subjective well being . In other words, happiness is “people’s evaluations of their lives and encompasses both cognitive judgments of satisfaction and EFFECTIVE appraisals of moods and emotions”.(KESEBIR & DIENER, 2008)

Psychologists study happiness as something that results from striving to achieve appropriate goals and meeting one’s fundamental human needs. Another theory suggests that well being is influenced by genes, and is associated with the personality traits that do not change over time.

From a physiological perspective, it is observed that smiling, an explicit and common expression of happiness, activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress. Neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate. They facilitate messaging to the whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, or excited. The feel-good neurotransmitters—dopamine, endorphins and serotonin—are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well.

From ancient times happiness has been sought after by people and its subjective and conceptual nature makes it very difficult to comprehend and define. One of the most profound philosophers Aristotle pioneered in defining happiness as the highest human good and the only human good desired for its self with his concept of ‘Eudaimonia’

The etymology of the ‘Eudaimonia’ is quite interesting as it derives from “eu” meaning well or good and “daimon” perfect self – so according to him happiness was an activity of the soul expressing virtue.

The branch of psychology that deals with happiness, and facilitating it, is called “Positive Psychology” .

Positive Psychology is concerned with the enhancement of happiness and well-being, involving the scientific study of the role of personal strengths and positive social systems in the promotion of optimal well-being. Positive psychologists define happiness in terms of positive emotion and pleasure, engagement, and meaning (a higher purpose) . Pathways to happiness include feeling good (emotionally), engaging, and doing good, as opposed to money and material goods in themselves. Ways of knowing that we have achieved “flow” (or the optimum state of psychological happiness) is by losing awareness of time, working effortlessly, and not thinking about your own comfort, or how you look to others.

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA states in one of his verses:

IF YOU WOULD LEAD A LIFE THAT IS MADE HAPPY, THEN IN ALL YOUR MATTERS MAKE AQL-E-SALEEM THE MASTER.

Al Muqaddas Ameer al Jamea Sayyedi Yusuf bs Najmuddin QR in his Philosophical Discourse states:

In the Fatimi view happiness is relative; it does not properly apply to the physical state of good feeling and well-being normally experienced. Neither does it cover joy and contentment arising out of the satisfaction of human desires. In the eyes of Fatimi philosophers such a state is an illusion.
Happiness merely is equated to the freedom from wants and ills. The real state of happiness is achieved, when man uses the vicissitudes of life as stepping stones towards the realization of the ultimate goal in evolution. The latter is possible when Aql-e-Saleem rules and commands.
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