By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com
Smile. It will cheer your friends and confound your enemies. That’s why Shakespeare wrote, “The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.” A smile is a universal gesture of hope and welcome, transcending language. A genuine smile is warmer than the sun, and brighter than the full moon. A face that smiles cannot help but be beautiful.
It’s not so hard. Think of a place that makes you happy, or an experience that made you laugh. Picture yourself in a comfortable, soothing place.
- Sitting on the sofa on a cold winter day, under a blanket, with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.
- Standing on a deserted beach at the Big Sur, watching the waves crashing against the rocks.
- Bowing in salat in the first row in front of the Ka’bah…
Inhale, exhale, smile. It will soothe your spirit, I promise. In fact, Mark Stibich, Ph.D, a longevity and anti-aging expert, writes that smiling improves your mood, spreads happiness contagiously, relieves stress, boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure, releases natural endorphins, and lifts your face, which makes you look physically younger.
By the way, the photo above is from Julia Pfeiffer Burns Sate Park on the Big Sur, California. It is one of my favorite places in the world. The Big Sur is a 90-mile long stretch of rugged and breathtakingly beautiful California coastline, where the 5,500 foot high St. Lucia mountains plunge recklessly into the sea. Redwoods and sequoias tower. Sea lions and otters gather by the thousands. Huge waves crash into the cliffs and rocks. Driftwood washes up onto beaches everywhere, like the remains of an ancient sunken city. The entire coastline has less than 1,000 inhabitants.
The Big Sur is the geographical end of the world, the final demarcation point of humanity after thousands of years of westward exploration. I have been to the Big Sur only three times in my lifetime, the first when I was a teenager and the last in 1998, but somehow I left a piece of my heart there. I often see that beautiful place in my mind, and it makes me smile.
Tell me, what memory makes you smile? What place warms your heart?
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Do not abuse anyone…Do not look down upon any good work, and when you speak to your brother, show him a cheerful face.” – Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 4073
And he said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet answered: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you.” He also said: “Your smile for your brother is charity.” – Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98
Imagine, not only do you get all the spiritual and health benefits I described above, but smiling is counted for you as barakah, and actually brings upon you Allah’s blessings.
“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~Mother Teresa