Muslim and Iranian philosophers
Jahidh (in Al-Hayawan) admits that the spiritual pleasures of the soul (quantitatively or qualitatively) are much higher than the sensory pleasures. It can be concluded from his writings that happiness is reaching the spiritual pleasures and attaining the perfection of the knowledge and recognition, because achieving such knowledge and facts creates such a pleasure in the man's soul that the sensory pleasures are lowly and weak when compared with it (Bureau of Houzeh and university cooperation, 1998).
Farabi states that one should originate and create the virtues in himself in order that he may reach happiness. It means that one should acquire those Properties that make his recognition such that he reaches to happiness. We can call these properties as the beautiful morality (disposition) and mind power. Creating the beautiful morality and mind power is the way of reaching. to happiness. Mind power here means those soul's properties that cause man's recognition to be good and consistent with the reality, if a person acquires the ability of desisting from the superficial Pleasure of the ugly deeds, or finds the ability of choosing the average and mean. then he has been nearer to the good morality (Fosul Montazeah). Man is usually looking for sensory pleasures and suspects that these pleasures are the aim and perfection of the life because such pleasures satisfy his urgent needs. Since the sensible pleasure is easier to be understood and easier to be reached, they debar humans from many virtues and those things which lead man to happiness. While considering the ultimate and coming pain of abominable conducts and indecorous acts will debar man from their immediate pleasure, and considering the ultimate and coming pleasure of the beautiful deeds, makes man to endure their immediate pains, thus, the motive of abominable conducts will be suppressed and the motive for beautiful and good deeds will be facilitated and firmed, and the way to man's happiness will be made easier (Bureau of Houzeh and university cooperation. 1998).
Farabi is of the opinion that reaching the true and real happiness is possible in the Hereafter. He differentiates the real happiness from the imaginary happiness and says that the imaginary happiness is acquired when possessing such things as wealth, esteem. etc. Farabi puts much emphasis on the society in reaching and leading humans to happiness. The perfection of happiness is only possible through possessing moral virtues; therefore, those whose knowledge does not cause them to be purified, they will not achieve happiness in this world or in the Hereafter. Farabi introduces happiness as the greatest virtue and the most complete aim. He divides the pleasures into two categories: intellectual and sensory. He believes that the intellectual pleasures are higher than the sensory pleasures. The sensory pleasures make man nearer to animal and object inclinations. The power which helps mankind in differentiating between these two kinds of pleasures is philosophy and logic. - Man can be aware of the real essence of truth and falseness using logic to reach the truth. Thus, the first stage to reach happiness is acquisition of logic so that man's intellect may reach its peak of perfection (Attanbih Assaadah).
Ibn Muskuwaih defines the pleasure as the sensation and comprehension of the desirable thing. He considers the intellectual pleasures as higher than the sensory pleasures and says that many a man has disregarded and dispensed with the sensory pleasures in the way to reach the intellectual pleasures. He believes that the happiness of every creature is in that the creature attains the aim for which it has been created. lbn Muskuwaih admitted Aristotle's theory concerning man's happiness and stated that man's happiness is in the perfection of both his body and his spirit (soul); thus, the perfection of body or the perfection of the spirit (soul) alone is not sufficient for the happiness of human beings, but man's happiness is possible in this world (Beheshti, Abujafari, & Faghihi, 2000).
Any being is dependent upon the highest aspects of the distinctive acts of that being, when these are considered from the point of view of its completion or perfection. The happiness of man will depend therefore upon the highest aspects of his actions, (Sharma, 2001).
Ibn Sina (Avicenna) believed that happiness is divided into two groups: real or true happiness and figurative happiness.
True or real happiness is in obtaining the happiness in the Hereafter, that is to acquire the eternal grace of God and reach to the divine bounties. Achieving to such happiness is the desirable and innate aim of mankind and so it is the best for all of human beings. However, figurative happiness is not an innate and inherent aim for humans; rather, it is only called happiness by some people, that some of them think and imagine that happiness is in reaching the sensory pleasures and superintendence in worldly affairs. but the wise do know that happiness is not found in the fleeting and corrupted things. Ibn Sina was of the opinion that intellectual pleasures cannot he compared with the sensory pleasures, but intellectual pleasures can only be comprehended and understood by those who have purified their souls from all kinds of sins and vices.
Avicenna (Ibn Sina) defines (in the Esharat and Tanbihat) pleasure as comprehension of and reaching to that, which is considered as perfection and virtue for the perceptive. He believes that the internal Pleasures, particularly the intellectual pleasures, are higher than the sensory pleasures.
Avicenna says that the main reason of some people's disinterest to acquisition of rational idea is the involvement of their souls to perceptible things that debar their attention to the rational ideas, and as long as an individual does no pay attention to the rational ideas, no enthusiasm will be created for him.
He also says [in Rasael] that so some people suspect that happiness is the reaching to sensory pleasures and worldly superintendence, but the wise know that none of the sensory pleasures can be considered as happiness, because all of them are along with deficiencies and adversities. Ibn Sina admits that the real happiness is a thing that is inherently desirable and is chosen for itself, therefore, it is higher than those things which are chosen for other things. Happiness is in the highest things that human beings are looking for, thus guiding people to happiness is considered as the highest guidance. Avicenna says in "Shafa & Najat" that the real happiness is in that man attains the perfection in speculative and practical powers. An individual, who observes moderation in the three Powers; sensual, indignation, contrivance, and therefore obtains the Virtues of chastity, courage and wisdom, will be adorned with the virtue of justice that is the comprehensive of the three virtues, and this is the perfection of the practical power. The perfection of the speculative power is in this fact that the rational system and complete form are created in man and he transforms in to a rational world in brief. Avicenna believes that happiness is in achieving the intellectual pleasures, and since these pleasures have different ranks, happiness will also have different ranks (Bureau of Houzeh and university cooperation, 1993).
In his short essay of "science of the Dispositions", Ibn Sina begins by acknowledging that God is "the One Who enriches the soul of the man who is devoted to His virtues and the means whereby he may acquire then for himself . "It is a requisite in human life ", he continues, "that he who would attain perfection must seek happiness in this world and in the next. It is incumbent upon him, moreover, to perfect his power of discernment by means of many sciences, each of which is explained fully in books that enumerate the sciences. He must perfect his power of action also in accord with the virtues, whose fundamental qualities are purity, courage, wisdom, and righteousness. Furthermore, he must avoid the vices which are directly opposed to these virtues". However, when he undertakes to give the opposites of righteousness, he first enumerates the many virtuous qualities that are included in the comprehensive term "righteousness", such as generosity, frugality, nobility, tranquility, steadfastness, etc Both alFarabi and Ibn Sina maintained that the soul has a longing or love for what is above and yearns thus for its own final absorption into the one. Ibn Sina pictured the moment when evil would be razed and the soul of man would look once more upon the Invisible, the triumphant moment when "it is filled with joy, and having become purified from the stain of all flesh, and more aware of the inner meaning of all things, it returns whence it came .... Through the exercise of reason what is potential within the soul reaches actuality, through the enlightening influence of the Universal Soul, in accordance with the degree of receptivity within the Soul and its state of Preparedness, which is the result of virtues" (Sharma, 2001).
Ghazzali believed that man's real happiness is the result of knowledge and that the highest knowledge is the knowledge and recognition of God. because the happiness of everything is in these things in which there is man's pleasure and comfort, and the pleasure of everything is in those things consistent with his nature, and this consistency is in those things they have been created for (Kimia-e-Saadat)
Ghazzali says that man's happiness is in the recognition of God, His worship and servitude, and the following of the religion is the way of happiness.
Ghazzali believes that no pleasure is like the pleasure of the spiritual vision of God.
Human beings can achieve the pleasure of recognition of God when they are free from overweening, self-glorification, and over-ambition, and when worldly matters do not destroy their inner beings and do not destroy their hearts eSaadat).
Ghazzali believes (in Kimia-e-Saadat) that the ultimate degree of man's happiness is the reaching.), to God, and this position is really his paradise, and he has been created for reaching this status and position.
Ghazzali (in Kimia-e-Saadat) puts much emphasis on this fact that man should seek the truth of his soul, should come to know what is his happiness, in which thing is his happiness, and what is his misfortune, and in which thing is his misfortune.
Thus, the soul or heart's pleasure is in what is its property and what it is created for. It means the cognition of the truth of the affairs, and the highest cognition is the cognition of God and those things which are related to Him. Those who can reach the cognition of God that have known themselves, i.e., have reached the cognition of themselves, and following the religion is the way to happiness, because man himself is unable to recognize the truth because of his sensuality.
Ghazzali (in Kim ia-e-Saadat) believed that man's happiness relates to his soul or that the heart's happiness is in the cognition of God, and this cognition is obtained through the cognition of make and inventiveness of the exalted God. The reason that Ghazzali has such an opinion is that he believed that happiness in everything is where pleasure and comfort lie, and the pleasure of everything is in what is consistent with its nature that was created for it.
Khajeh Nasir Tusi considers happiness as the aim of moral purification, that he says happiness is the aim of , human soul's perfection. He believes that the cognition of God is the highest knowledge, and reaching to this highest position is the highest happiness. He considered happiness as the result of virtue, and virtue as the result of the purification of man's different natural respects the perfection of man's potential powers. Khajeh said that happiness consists of wisdom, chastity, and justice. He believed that the final happiness (man's happiness in the Hereafter) is the desirable aim of life. Evidence of this is obtained through observing religious teachings. He divided happiness into three categories: spiritual, physical, and social (Akhlag-e-Nasari, 1985). Khajeh Nasir Tusi defines pleasure as comprehension of all that is compatible with the soul and it is considered as virtue, perfection and happiness. He divides the pleasures into two categories: sensory and intellectual. The Sensory pleasures, such as eating, drinking and sleeping, etc. are comprehended by man through apparent senses. These pleasures have been created in mankind. Some people suspect that the sensory pleasures are the aim of happiness, while the intellectual pleasures are not comprehended through apparent senses, and in spite of being stable, cannot be achieved easily. Khajeh Nasir introduces the intellectual pleasures as more important than the sensory pleasures are. He considers (in Akhlag- e- Naseri) man's happiness as the ultimate aim of man from his soul's purification, refinement and perfection. Man's happiness is not for reaching the sensory pleasures; rather, it is the pure pleasures free from all sorts of pains. Thus, man's happiness is based upon his soul's happiness and it, in turn, is based on achieving wisdom, courage, chastity and justice. There is a firm and deep relationship between happiness and virtue and perfection. Khajeh Nasir divides man's happiness into three categories: spiritual, physical and social. Soul's happiness is when man recognizes the essence of his inner being and he adorned and well managed with divine morality and disposition and when he reaches the stable pleasures. This happiness is obtained through learning ethics, logics, mathematics, natural sciences, divine sciences and acting to God's commandments. Physical happiness is achieved when the body's organs arc healthy.
Social happiness is concerned with the social system of the nation, government, living affairs and population.
Man's happiness is meaningless without soul happiness because until man's essence is unknown and until it is not adorned and well-managed with divine morality and does not reach God and eternal pleasures, man cannot achieve happiness Khajeh Nasir has distinguished the real happiness with two important characteristics :
1) Happiness is a pure pleasure and is not mixed with any pain. A happy man (who has reached happiness) never becomes sad and gloomy, and never regrets. Such a pleasure will be obtained whenever man achieves God's nearness and never commits an action contrary to God's will
2) The real happiness is a constant, stable, and unchangeable fact, and therefore it is not affected by the vicissitudes of time and the changing of the people's conditions and different problems and calamities, because an individual who has attained happiness does not desist from moderation and is not hindered or detained from his other personal aspects because of engagement in a practical aspect of his personality. He endures firmly the difficulties and hardships and does not lose his security (Beheshti, Abujafari, & Faqhihi, 2000).
Khajeh Nasir (in Akhlag-e-Naseri) believes that it is up to man to know which things cause his happiness and which things cause his frustration. Khajeh puts much emphasis on this fact that it is up to man to know himself. From the viewpoint of Khajeh Nasir, a happy man is the one who reaches the goal he has been created for.
Mahdi Naraghi and Ahmad Naraghi consider the absolute happiness as the most ultimate and highest goal of education. Naraghi believes that the highest rank of happiness, which is called "the truth of happiness", or "the true happiness" is the true knowledge and good morality that are inherently desirable for man. Naraghi also considers love and acquaintance with God, that are acquired through obtaining true knowledge and good morality, more deserving for happiness, although true knowledge, good morality, piety, etc. are all considered as virtue and happiness.
Naraghi (in Jame'ossa'adaat) says that achieving the perfection of happiness or absolute happiness is possible in the light of continual purification of one's properties and powers. It means that all of the individual's properties and behaviors should become good and deserving such that different events and conditions cannot destroy them. In other words, the real happiness is achieved when one reaches a position of perfection and spirituality on which no factors can change his outward or his interior. In this position, man becomes a manifestation of God and His dispositions and his deeds become similar to God's deeds, and beauties and goodness are done by him without external motives. Naraghi admits that happiness lies in intellectual pleasures, and he believes that if one wants to reach the true and real happiness, he should really enjoy moral education so that his intellectual power may be reinforced, because moral education causes his intellect to be dominant over his other powers, and his soul to be purified from abject moral qualities and to be adorned with beautiful human and angel -related dispositions.
This is both an instrument and tool for reaching the eternal happiness and can also be considered as a worthwhile go in itself (Jameossadat & Me'rajossaadah).
Naraghi believes that happiness can have two aspects: scientific and practical, so the way to reach it requires science and practice (action); therefore, an inner transformation needed for reaching happiness, that is the moral education from the viewpoint of Naraghi, should also be mixed with mysticism (Baheshti, Feghihi and Abujafari, 2001).
Tabatabaei, one of the greatest philosophers and thinkers of Iran, believes that happiness is reaching to a state that one has been created to achieve it. Therefore, the real and main aim of mankind is the reaching to happiness. Human beings and all other creatures have been naturally guided to this aim and have also been created in such a manner, and have been equipped with the things consistent with that aim. Tabatabaei considers man's intellect and intelligence or man's nature as a standard and criterion for a happy life. If humans follow the way that God's prophets have introduced to them, they will become happy in this world and in the Hereafter (Tafsir al-Mizan interpretation).
Adapted from the book: "Foundations of Happiness"
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