Since the dawn of intellectual reasoning, religious and spiritual leaders, philosophers, academics, writers and thinkers have been asking the same fundamental question of what is ‘happiness’. Aristotle describes ‘happiness’ as the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. In a different era, across space and time, Mahatma Gandhi asserts that “…happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”. Contemporary perception views ‘happiness’ as having all material wants and needs in abundance, but it is only recently that a United Nations study contends otherwise. Material well-being has correlations to ‘happiness’ but it is not the cause of happiness. Abu Hamid al-Ghāzali, in his Alchemy of Happiness, articulated the essence and path, not to mere happiness, but to true happiness. This paper examines this timeless masterpiece by al-Ghazāli and seeks insights and relevance for the Islamic nation.
Keywords: Islamic Nation, Islamic Governance, Ghazlian Alchemy, The Alchemy of Happiness, Sharī’ah Law
Al-Ghazāli in Mashhad Al-Allaf, The Objectives (Maqasid) of the Islamic Divine Law, vol. 1 (1997).
Al-Ghazāli, The Alchemy of Happiness.
Al-Islam.org. “Lesson 11: The Incomparability of the Divine Attributes.” Accessed 10 October 2015. http://www.al-islam.org/god-and-his-attributes-sayyid-mujtaba-musawi-lari/lesson-11-incomparability-divine-attributes.
Al-Islam.org. “Lesson 13: The Boundless Knowledge of God.” Accessed 10 October 2015. http://www.al-islam.org/god-and-his-attributes-sayyid-mujtaba-musawi-lari/lesson-13-boundless-knowledge-god.
Headey B, and Wearing A. Understanding Happiness: A Theory of Subjective Well-being. Melbourne: Longman Cheshire Pty Limited, (1992).
Mizan al-Hikmah, hadith 12223 [Urdu trans.]
Overview, “World Happiness Report.” Accessed 15 October 2015. http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/1791.
Richard, Grossman. “Revoking the Corporation.” Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation 2, 1996.
Spirkin, Alexander. Dialectic Marxism. 1983. https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/index.html.
Understand the Quran Academy. “How Sura Ad-Duha Can Change Your Life.” Accessed 10 October 2015. http://understandquran.com/how-sura-ad-duha-can-change-your-life.html.
Veenhoven R. Conditions of Happiness. The Netherlands, Dordrecht: Kluwer, (1984).
World Happiness Report. “World Happiness Report 2013.” Accessed 15 October 2015. http://worldhappiness.report/.