The glimpses of joy in the life of man are generally manifested in the euphoria of worldly success. But this success is in reality a mirage, because man, driven by his ambitions and desires, will never come to satisfaction. He continues to spend the rest of his life pandering to the wants of the self, seeking an everlasting joy which he will never attain.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: "If the son of Adam had money equal to a valley, then he will wish for another similar to it, for nothing can satisfy the eye of Adam's son except dust. And Allah forgives him who repents to Him." Yes indeed, dust referring here to death, is the ultimate truth of a heedless person, realizing then that none of the accumulated wealth and toys can help him. "But those who disbelieved - their deeds are like a mirage in a lowland which a thirsty one thinks is water until, when he comes to it, he finds it is nothing but finds Allah before Him, and He will pay him in full his due; and Allah is swift in account." (24:39).
Such people endure nonstop emotional swings from glimpses of joy down to devastating depressions, completely heedless of the big true picture. The Words of the Most High describes in the most eloquent of speeches, such ill attitude of man, "Man does not weary of asking for good (things), but if ill touches him, he gives up all hope (and) is lost in despair. When we give him a taste of some Mercy from Ourselves, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say, "This is due to my (merit): I think not that the Hour (of Judgment) will (ever) be established; but if I am brought back to my Lord, I have (much) good (stored) in His sight!" But We will show the Unbelievers the truth of all that they did, and We shall give them the taste of a severe Penalty. And when We show favor to man, he withdraws and turns away, but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications." (41:49-51).
The true obstacle from attaining true and everlasting peace and joy is the ignorance and the negligence of the true wisdom behind receiving gifts and being deprived from them. The believer transcends his focus to understand that the Sole Giver and the Sole Preventer is Allah and that receiving or not receiving should not be the elements which govern the mood of peace and joy.
Some people are longing to have a child, others are dreaming of a position to attain or a fortune to win or a fame to get, hence after a long wait despair fills the heart with bitterness and pain. But the believer, certain of the absolute mercy of Allah, is confident that in the preventing of his want, there might be indeed a giving, a favor, a gift. Submitting then to the will of Allah and striving to attain contentment is the path that brings back the peace to the heart.
The believer also understands that the showering of gifts might be in reality a withholding of those true favors which lead to the pleasure of Allah, a leading astray in an envelope of giving, as Allah reminds us in Surat Al-An'aam: "Before thee We sent (messengers) to many nations, and We afflicted the nations with suffering and adversity, that they might learn humility. Then why, when Our punishment came to them, did they not humble themselves? But their hearts became hardened, and Satan made attractive to them that which they were doing. But when they forgot the warning they had received, We opened to them the gates of all (good) things, until, in the midst of their enjoyment of Our gifts, on a sudden, We called them to account, when lo! they were plunged in despair! (6: 42-44).
The true path of liberation resides in believing and living the message contained in the following Ayah: "Say: "In the bounty of Allah. And in His Mercy, - in that let them rejoice": that is better than the (wealth) they hoard." (10:58). Liberate then the heart from the effects of the ups and downs of giving and withholding and strive to tie it to the bounty of Allah, the Qur’an, His Mercy, and the Iman (faith); true joy will be found and preserved endlessly!
However, sincere believers, ambitious by nature, keep aiming for higher levels of understanding and therefore higher ranks of closeness to Allah. They are aiming to receive the gift of Fahm (understanding) that the true giving is to understand the wisdom in the withholding. At this level the believer witnesses the absolute beauty of the attributes of Allah in the times of giving and witnesses the absolute highness and glory of Allah in the times of withholding, thus this is when the true taste of sweetness of the Ubudiya (servitude) is savored.
O! Allah, guide us to such servitude!