Smile : What I learnt from a former prisoner


Omar Khadr was released on bail. About a week ago. He emerged out of the court smiling broadly.

He was a 15 year old when he was imprisoned. Then tortured. Kept away from seeing his family. 13 years later, at 28, he is released.

What I find hard to imagine is how after passing through all of this he is able to smile so broadly. Imagine passing your teens and most of your twenty’s in a prison. Away from the outside world in a four sided room. What’s more is that there was always a smile on his face, on the photos that emerged during his imprisonment.

Is our life more hard? When we have the freedom to move in and out of our house. Meet people at our own free will. Eat and drink as we please.

The point here is not to revere an ordinary human being (May Allah سبحانه و تعالى bless him) . But to learn from an example who exists in this present world. Someone whom we can see with our very own eyes.

Our prophet ﷺ went through a lot more. He was stoned and chased away in Taif. He lost his most beloved wife, Khadijah   رضي الله عنها (Allah is pleased with her), lost several children. He was injured on battlefields. Yet,

Narrated Abdullah bin Harith Ibn Jaz:
“I have not seen anyone who smiled more than the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.”

Many of us are aware of this hadith. But even then, when some of us are afflicted with trials, we lose our smile. And some of us do not put enough effort to practice this sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ.

” … Then Allah’s Messenger ﷺ looked towards us and laughed until his molar teeth became visible… ”
[Sahih Muslim]

“The laughter of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was not but smiling.”

So let us remove that frown from our faces and flash our brightest smile.


Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both [jinns and men] deny?
{Surat Ar-Raĥmān 55 : 13}

Write down the blessings that Allah  سبحانه و تعالى  has bestowed upon you. Look at them when you feel depressed and alone.
Once when I was feeling down, I wrote down, on a diary, How Allah سبحانه و تعالى guided me to Islam. The many blessings that He bestowed upon me before and after the guidance. It lifted my spirits.

 And Allah is full of bounty to the people, but most of the people do not show gratitude.
{Surat Al-Baqarah 2 : 243}

Trials and Tests

Staying sad and depressed does not improve the situation. Rather it worsens it. Smiling in the face of tribulations lightens the burden. Indeed it does take an effort to force a smile in such a situation. But it surely is rewarding.

Do not compare

Allah سبحانه و تعالى told us not to have a desire for the things with which he has favored some of mankind over others.

Do not wish for that which We have favored some of you over others …
{Surat An-Nisā’ 4 : 32}

Because these favors are tests which come with great responsibilities. They are not a result of man’s strivings and as such should not be a source of great pride. Allah   سبحانه و تعالى will not give us a reward for having them, but instead we will be held to account for how we used them.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessings of Allah.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah]


Yes. Never underestimate the power of dua

Anas bin Malik [may Allah be pleased with him] narrates, saying:
“I used to often hear the Prophet ﷺ supplicating with these words:
‘O Allah, I seek refuge in You from sadness, grief, helplessness, laziness, being stingy, overwhelming debt, and the overpowering of men (Allāhumma innī a`ūdhu bika minal-hammi wal-ḥazani wal-`ajzi wal-kasali wal-bukhli wa ḍala`id-dain wa qahrir-rijāl).’ ”


Boost your productivity

Ahmed Ameen said in his book Fayd Al-Khatir:

“People who are always smiling not only make their own lives more joyful, but what is more, they are more productive people in their work and have a greater ability to live up to their responsibilities. They are more prepared to face difficulties and to find expedient solutions for them. They are prolific workers who benefit themselves and others.”

Smile, for it causes light heartedness. It brings the believers closer to one another. It brings comfort to the soul.

Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said :
“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, … ”

However smiling is to be done in moderation. It should neither be done in a mocking or jeering fashion. Nor should we exaggerate in our laughter.

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“Do not laugh a lot. Much laughter kills the heart.”
[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

Finally to sum it up. I will quote ‘Aidh ibn Abdullah Al-Qarni from his book, which I highly recommend for anyone who is going through any kind of trial in life, La Tahzn (Don’t Be Sad):

“The truth is that the principles of Islam are based on moderation and on good measure. whether it is in matters of belief, worship, manners, or conduct. Islam does not condone a rigid, frowning expression, nor does it condone a constant playful giddiness; rather what it does promote is seriousness when it is called for, and a reasonable level of light-heartedness when it is called for.
Bearing a gloomy mien and a frowning countenance are marks of a lowly character, a troubled nature, and hot-headedness.”

Abu Darda رضي الله عنه  said,
‘I make it a practice to laugh in order to give rest and comfort to my heart. And the noblest of people, Muhammad ﷺ, would laugh, sometimes until his molars became visible.’



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