John Lim

Abstract


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