At times, I like to close my eyes and imagine his face, ﷺ (peace be upon him). I like to imagine what he looked like, the shape of his eyes and the color of his skin. Without fail, one thing always finds its way into my imagination, and that is his beloved smile. Never have I imagined him without it on his face, and it’s always one that is purely genuine. He was a man of truth, and his inner state was the same as his outer state. He smiled, because he was happy.
Today, everyone wants to be happy, but we don’t always realize that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) wants us to be happy too. We don’t realize that the Prophet ﷺ encouraged genuine happiness. When someone begins to become “religious” often times the people around him or her start to notice a loss of something very essential: their smile. The person may begin to dive deep into texts and rulings, they may begin to look around and see all the injustices that surround us and that we ourselves commit and find no choice other than grief and sadness. Yes, there are sad things in this world, devastating actually, but that doesn’t mean we need to be constantly in grief. The Prophet ﷺ himself said, “The best of all deeds is that you bring happiness to your Muslim brother, pay off his debt or feed him bread.” With that being said, how can someone who is constantly unhappy, bring happiness to anyone else?
We know that we should constantly look up to our beloved messenger to see how we should be living our lives, so let us take a moment and ponder:
- The Prophet ﷺ said “When you smile to your brother’s face, it is charity.”
- Jareer Ibn Abdullah said, “I have not seen the Prophet, since I embraced Islam, without a smile on his face. I saw him smiling when he could not see me and he was smiling in my presence.”
- Abdullaah Ibn Haarith said, “I never came across a person who smiled as much as the Prophet. The Prophet regarded smiling with a brother as an act of charity.”
Now, we know that this religion is a religion of truthfulness not hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a discrepancy between the inner and the outer. Truthfulness, on the other hand, is inner and outer harmony. Thus in seeing that our beloved constantly smiled and encouraged us to do the same, we know that he is asking us to exercise more than simply our facial muscles. He wants our hearts to smile. When our hearts smile, so much more happens than simply curled lips. Through a smile that comes from the heart, happiness is spread. Through a smile that comes from the heart, many pains can be forgotten. This religion wasn’t sent down to us to make us robotic and cold. Rather it was sent down as a benefit to us, a benefit to those around us, and to liven our cold hearts and encourage happy hearts. And when one’s heart is happy, so many of the tasks we deem difficult or stressful begin to become easy and fruitful.
So next time you find yourself slipping into a downward slope of sadness, stop. Close your eyes, and imagine his face. Imagine his beautiful eyes and his soft skin. And once you have done that, imagine his beautiful heartfelt smile. Open your eyes, and rather than focusing on the dreary side of things, pick out smile-worthy things that are right before your eyes. And be happy, genuinely happy. It’s Sunnah!