Charity. The Universal Law for Success and Happiness

Spiritual and Islamic Perspectives


Elaboration, 2019
38 Pages, Grade: 3.7 (ARE-System)

Free online reading

Table of Contents

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES

ABBREVIATION AND NOMENCLATURE

THE UNIVERSAL LAWS OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS

THE UNIVERSAL LAWS OF CHARITY

PERCEPTION OF CHARITY AND HAPPINESS IN NATURE

AL FITRAH AND AL-TAWHEED: FOUNDATION OF CHARITY

BEAUTIFUL NAMES OF ALLAH (SWT)

INNATE ABILITIES AND UNIVERSAL DUTIES

UNIVERSAL LAWS OF CHARITY FOR SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATIONS

CHARITY-BASED LEADERSHIP

HAPPINESS: NATURAL REWARD OF THE UNIVERSAL DUTY

CONCLUDING REMARKS

DUAA (SUPPLICATION)

REFERENCES

PREFACE

“Human beings, We created you all from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God-fearing of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware”

(Quran: 49:13).

Originally from Algeria, I studied in very different cities including New York City (USA: 1980-1984), Quebec City (Canada: 1990-1994) and Osaka (Japan: 1994-1996). Due to my curiosity and thirst for knowledge, I embarked on graduate studies to explore the unknown world and human nature. These living and educational experiences gave me the opportunity to learn about very different aspects of natural sciences by conducting experiments in laboratories, and also to further discover diverse facets of human nature by interacting with different cultures, religions and social backgrounds. With commitment to my Muslim heritage, my biggest challenge was to seek an understanding of differences without necessarily adopting them. My main focus has been on human attitude, and so my enquiry pushed me to cross borders in order to explore cultural practices in depth.

I noticed many similarities between human beings, since we often experience emotions for the same reasons. While practices and conventions may differ, for example some cultures use cutlery to eat, whereas others use their hands or chopsticks, the underlying motivation that unites human beings is eating to survive. Similarly, the need to communicate and express human feelings encompasses the use of many languages and dialects. The practices of faith also vary widely, which I noted in detail from visiting churches in New York City and Quebec, and temples in Japan to observe behavioural conventions in those special places. Christmas season was a particularly special time in New York City as I could feel love and happiness in the smiles of people going shopping to buy gifts for family members and friends. People at that time were more inclined to give to charity and help others, and even beggars in the streets seemed happier because they received food and money. In contrast, in Japan, beggars hide themselves away from society in isolated areas, and so one would need to specifically seek them out in order to give.

At the end of my travels, with my mind full of so many exciting experiences, I went back to Algeria to rest, reflect and consider my future. During these months in my hometown, I realized that the immersion in different cultures had caused changes within me and my thinking. As my focus is on human nature, the invisible world is of more importance than the cultural and material aspects of our existence. To develop my spiritual understanding and practices, I began to listen on a daily basis to “Tafseer Al Quran” (explanation of Quran) and “Asma Allah Al Hosna” (The Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT)) by Dr. Mohammed Rateb al-Nabulsi.

The messages contained within these resonated with lessons learnt from my travel experiences. In particular, the very fruitful and clear explanation given by Dr. Nabulsi about the importance of first knowing Allah (SWT), through His creation in order to obey Him, as it should be. From this perspective, most Muslims know and practice the five pillars of Islam: The Profession of Faith (Shahada); Daily Prayers (Salat); Alms-Giving (Zakat); Fasting during Ramadan (Saum) and Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). However, like any building or structure, these five pillars must have a foundation. According to my personal interpretation, this foundation is like the soul of Islam that helps us to know our Creator, and the five pillars are the body parts of Islam one must know in order to obey His orders. Notably, the three most important elements of the foundation of Islam are: (1) Al-Fitrah (Goodness), (2) Al-Tawheed (Law of Divine Oneness) and (3) Al-Eaql (Mind), which I will explain further.

1. Al-Fitrah can be conceptualized as an individualized, DNA-coded Quran that all human beings have at birth. Al-Fitrah can manifest as the inner voice that urges us to be kind and to help others. Considering my travel experiences, I encountered both good people and bad people everywhere. This illustrated that goodness doesn’t depend on any particular cultural or religious background.
2. Al-Tawheed refers to the non-existence of coincidence, and that the pathways of our lives do not happen by chance. We should only be concerned and worry about our relationship with Allah (SWT) regarding our daily actions. For our positive actions, we will be rewarded one way or another and our negative deeds could result in punishment.
3. For Al-Eaql, Allah (SWT) created us with five senses in order to feel the world around us and a mind to think and find His signs around us and in nature. Noticing His signs allows us to believe in Him as our Creator and thank Him for all that He has provided to us to make our life comfortable. Therefore, the universe is like a silent Quran with so many signs that show the existence and the Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT). For example, knowing that there are stars billions of light years from the Earth is certainly a sign to glorify Him. Watching the beautiful smile of a mother holding her baby is a sign of the Love of Allah (SWT) for all human beings. The beauty of nature during spring could be a sign of the magnificence of Heaven. Finally, the chilly winter or hot summer could be signs to fear the punishment of hell.

“Have you not seen that all those who are in the heavens and all those who are in the earth prostrate themselves before Allah; and so do the sun and the moon, and the stars and the mountains, and the trees, and the beasts, and so do many human beings, and even many of those who are condemned to chastisement? And he whom Allah humiliates, none can give him honour. Allah does whatever He wills”

(Quran; 22:18)

Since Allah (SWT) created the universe and human beings for the sole reason to be Muslim (which means obey Him), I tried, in this book, to find the commonality in the commandments of Allah (SWT) related to the universe and human beings. This book is predominantly based on lessons learnt from personal experiences over the duration of my travels. These lessons informed my spirituality, and encouraged me to look for the hidden forces beyond the material world. Consequently, my current knowledge and understanding has led me to realize that the hidden Hand of Allah (SWT) was guiding every event in my life, whether positive or negative. At times this has created beneficial opportunities in my life, and has also steered me away from potentially harmful situations or choices. I have come to the understanding that the foundation of Islam is fundamental to obey Allah (SWT) with love and thankfulness, which has been re-enforced by the lectures of Dr. Mohammed Rateb al-Nabulsi.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Since Allah (SWT) is the Creator and the Sustainer of the whole universe, everything in the universe obeys the universal laws imposed by Him. To consider an established scientific fact, the 2nd law of thermodynamics states that energy flows in the universe are always from “concentrated” energies to “diluted” energies. As it relates to dynamic systems, the 2nd law of thermodynamics is renamed in this book as the 1st law of dynamic systems. The 2nd law associated with dynamic systems is defined as the quantity of energy transferred. Contemplating flows in nature in a spiritual light, this book considers the 1st and 2nd laws of dynamic systems as the 1st and 2nd universal laws of charity.

Similar to the different flows of charity in the universe, there are also social and professional flows of charity and every Muslim is assigned with being part of these flows in order to obey Allah (SWT) by accomplishing the universal duties. Indeed, showing compassion to human beings, animals and vegetation is a central part of Islam. When reading the Qur’an, one cannot help being struck by the number of times charity is mentioned. For example, in relation to the 1st Universal Law of Charity, Zakat (charity) is a religious duty for all Muslims and is the Third Pillar of Islam. According to the 2nd Universal Law of Charity, a Muslim is required annually to contribute customarily 2.5% of their total savings and wealth above a minimum amount for zakat. Worshipping Allah (SWT) by obeying His Universal Laws of Charity can also encompass workplace practices and skills.

By applying the 1st Universal Law of Charity to organizations, it follows that managers at the top of any hierarchy should have the highest ability and expertise in all the necessary skills. Whereas the 2nd Universal Law of Charity posits that maximizing the efficiency of administrative flows, and the success of the organization, requires those employees with a corresponding ability to master target skills to be ranked accordingly.

Based on the fundamentals of Islam, Muslim leaders are supposed to be charity-based leaders. Finally, applying the rewards of the charity–based structure results in success for the company and happiness in the workplace.

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES

Table 1: Effects of Increasing Resistance on the Flow of Electrons

Table 2: Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT)

Figure 1: Electrical circuit

Figure 2: The 1st Universal Law of Charity

Figure 3: Heat Transfer by Conduction

Figure 4: The Water Cycle

Figure 5: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Figure 6: Universal Duties of Charity in workplaces

Figure 7: Employees Ranked According to their Skills

Figure 8: Employees Incorrectly Placed in the Ranking

Figure 9: Helping Others Makes Better Leaders

ABBREVIATION AND NOMENCLATURE

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THE UNIVERSAL LAWS OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS

“Do they not look at the sky above them, how We have built it and adorned it, and there are no rifts in it”

(Quran, 50:6)

The universe is a dynamic system where all the components move in a very organized fashion. According to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, flows in nature have a continuous predisposition to go from positions in space having “concentrated” energies to positions in space having “diluted” energies. For example, heat can be transferred only from higher temperatures to lower temperatures and fluids can flow only from higher pressures to lower pressures. Indicating the direction of flows in dynamic systems, the 2nd Law of thermodynamics is therefore redefined in this book as the first universal law of dynamic systems and can simply be written as:

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Knowing that the gradient of concentration of energies (EHigh – Elow) is the driving force of any process and taking into account the resistance to the flow caused by the fluid or solid occupying the space under consideration, the 2nd universal law of dynamic systems is defined in this book as the amount of energy that passes per unit of time through two positions of space. This law can therefore be expressed using the following general equation:

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A typical representation of equation (2) is Ohm’s law which states that the flow of electrons (i= electrical current) in an electrical circuit (Figure 1) increases by increasing the voltage (v = driving force) and decreases by increasing the electrical resistance (R). Some results related to a simple laboratory experiment are shown in Table 1.

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Figure 1: Electrical circuit (Wikipedia)

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Based on Table 1, experiment #1 indicates that the flow of electrons is maximum (i= 16 A) when the driving force is maximum (v= 80V) and the electrical resistance to the flow is minimum (5 Ω). On the other hand, experiment #2 shows that the increase of resistance to 100 Ω will decrease the flow (i= 0.8 A). According to experiment #3, without driving force (v=0), there is a cessation of flow and the system becomes static. In concordance with the 2nd universal law of dynamic systems, Ohm’s law is expressed as:

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Where: i= electrical current in Amperes, Q= number of electrons in Coulombs, t= time in seconds, R= electrical resistance in Ohms, v= difference in voltage in Volts

THE UNIVERSAL LAWS OF CHARITY

“Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and meditate on the creation of the heavens and the earth. Then cry out:" Our Lord! You have not created this in vain. Glory to You! Save us from the punishment of Fire”

(Quran; 3:191).

The Quran clearly encourages Muslim to observe and study the signs of the truth in the whole universe because signs of the existence of Allah (SWT) and His Beautiful Names are evident all around us. The universe is therefore a silent Quran where every living thing, such as the trees, animals, planets, are Muslim because they are in a state of surrender to Allah (SWT)'s will. In other words, they are fulfilling the purpose for which Allah (SWT) created them (30 facts about Islam) as Allah (SWT) says “The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts (Allah) by His praise, but you do not understand their (way of) exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving." (Qur'an 17: 44). From this Universal Truth, it could be perceived that every single thing “rich” in energy is obeying the Universal Law of Charity by offering some amount of energy to a “poorer” thing in energy (Figure 2).

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Figure 2: The 1st Universal Law of Charity (Author’s own Figure)

The 2nd law of thermodynamics is redefined in this book as the 1st Universal Law of Charity imposed by Allah (SWT) to the universe and it is related to “The Law of Divine Oneness”. The Equation (1) of dynamic systems can then be rewritten as:

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For example, based on the direction of the arrow in Figure 3, it is notable that the hot part of the metal “rich” in thermal energy (T2) is fulfilling its universal duty of charity by offering some heat (Q) to the cold part of the metal “poorer” in thermal energy (T1<T2).

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Figure 3: Heat transfer by conduction (Matt Williams, 2014).

Furthermore, the 2nd universal law of dynamic systems, which is linked to the amount of energy transferred per unit of time, is defined in this book as the 2nd Universal Law of Charity. As shown in Figure 3, k is the thermal conductivity of the metal, (1/k) is therefore the resistance to heat transfer and equation (2) can be rewritten as:

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This law determines the amount of thermal energy (richness) to be given per unit of time as charity.

PERCEPTION OF CHARITY AND HAPPINESS IN NATURE

“We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?”

(Quran; 41:53).

To relate this verse to nature, the evaporation, transportation and precipitation stages of the water cycle (Figure 4) are utilized in this book to illustrate flows of charity in nature and how nature obeys the universal laws imposed by Allah (SWT). Firstly, the direction of different flows of water in the water cycle will be aligned to the 1st Universal Law of Charity. Simple equations estimating the amount of water to be transferred per unit of time will used to explain the 2nd Law of Charity.

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Figure 4: The Water Cycle (Slamet Hartadi, 2108).

Evaporation of water using solar radiation

Allah (SWT) says: “And placed therein a hot, shining lamp “sun”

(Quran; 78:13).

At the first stage of the water cycle, evaporation requires energy from the sun, which is the driving force of the water cycle, to take place. Following the 1st universal law of dynamic systems, this process takes place because the partial pressure of water vapor at the sea level has the highest value Pw, sea and decreases slowly to its lowest value Pw, sky located in the sky. The gradient of vapor pressure (∆P = Pw, sea – Pw, sky) between sea level and the sky is therefore the “driving force” of the process. Using the convective mass transfer coefficient (kair) of atmospheric air, the rate of the process is regulated by the resistance to mass transfer (1/kair) of the atmospheric air. Based on the 2nd universal law of dynamic systems, the amount of water exchanged per unit time (WE) during the evaporation process is governed by equation (6).

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Transportation of vapor using wind power

Allah (SWT) says “It is Allah Who sends forth winds which then set the clouds in motion, which We drive to some dead land giving a fresh life to earth after it had become dead”

(Quran; 35:9).

The power of wind is therefore the second natural energy needed for the water cycle. This next stage of the water cycle is necessary to transport water vapor around the planet, in the sky over oceans and over the land. Based on the 1st universal law of dynamic systems, this phase of the water cycle is possible because the air over oceans has higher values (High) of atmospheric pressure and the air over land has lower values (Plow) of atmospheric pressure. For the 2nd universal law of dynamic systems, the amount of water transported per unit of time is controlled by the friction (Rair) caused by the atmospheric air. Similar to the evaporation process, the amount of vapor transported per unit of time (WT) could be written as:

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Precipitation of rain using earth’s gravity:

Allah (SWT) says “And of His Signs is that He shows you lightning, arousing both fear and hope and sends down water from the sky and revives the earth after it is dead. Indeed, there are signs in this for those who use their reason.”

(Quran; 30:24).

As evaporation requires solar radiation to take place and the power of wind is essential to move clouds, precipitation takes place because of earth’s gravity. Heavy clouds are able to fulfill the 1st universal law of dynamic systems because water vapor located in the clouds has the highest value (PEHigh) of potential energy and the value (PElow) of their potential energy is lowest at the ground level. The difference of potential energy is therefore the driving force of the precipitation process. For the 2nd universal law of dynamic systems, the amount of rain and snow falling per unit of time (WF) is therefore determined by the friction (Rair) caused by the atmospheric air:

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It should be noted that without the resistance of air (Rair), which controls the speed of precipitation, droplets of rain could destroy vegetation and harm people as well as animals and other living things.

C ontemplating Figure 4 from a spiritual perspective, flows of water (arrows) could be perceived as the flows of charity. Nature seems to obey the universal laws of charity imposed by Allah (SWT) as:

(1) The universal duty of the oceans (rich in water) is to use solar energy in order to generate a certain quantity of water per unit of time (WE), predetermined by Allah (SWT), to gift as charity to the dry skies (poor in water);
(2) The universal duty of the wet skies (rich in water) over the seas and oceans is therefore to use the power of wind in order to give an amount of water per unit of time (WT), predesignated by Allah (SWT), as charity to the dry skies (poor in water) over the lands;
(3) Finally, the universal duty of the heavy clouds (full of water) is to use the earth’s gravity in order to offer a portion of rain or snow per unit of time (WF), predestined by Allah (SWT), as charity to the dry land.

Allah (SWT) says “Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and leads it through springs in the earth? Then He causes to grow, therewith, produce of various colours: then it withers; thou wilt see it grow yellow; then He makes it dry up and crumble away. Truly, in this, is a Message of remembrance to men of understanding

(Quran; 39: 21).

Indeed, after the different gestures of charity enacted during a hot summer (mainly evaporation), a windy autumn (mainly transportation) and a cold winter (mainly precipitation), nature becomes colorful and thrives during a warm spring. It is a time of abundance and regeneration, with birds singing and flowers blooming, as though nature is reaping the rewards of charity, and celebrating happiness until the following summer and the new cycle of charities commences.

AL FITRAH AND AL-TAWHEED: FOUNDATION OF CHARITY

“Allah wants to lighten your burdens, for man was created weak”

(Quran; 4:28).

Mirroring movements and processes in nature, people could also be considered as to be functioning as dynamic systems taking busy highways and roads on a daily basis to travel to their social and professional activities. However, in contradiction to the fact that all cycles in nature follow the same pattern, people are born free to make choices and weak with a range of needs to satisfy in life (Figure 5). Striving to satisfy physiological needs, security, connection to other human beings, esteem and reaching one’s full potential are the motivations (driving forces) behind all human social and professional activities.

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Figure 5: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (McLeod, S. A., 2018).

For example, in terms of esteem, students go through an educational path to prepare for their career. In a quest to achieve security in life, we prioritize earning money, whether through business or being an employee for a company. To meet their psychological needs, people become consumers in markets and shopping centers and they spend time with family members, friends and neighbors for a sense of love and belonging. According to self-actualizing (Figure 5), individuals who are highly creative, demonstrate a capacity to resolve dichotomies inherent in ultimate contraries, such as life versus death and freedom versus determinism (Ann Reitan, 2018).

In general, e very individual has a certain motivation to accomplish a specific activity but some obstacles could also appear and the activity may not be achieved. By analogy with dynamic systems (equation #2), displacement of a person to undertake an activity could be rewritten as:

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If we take shopping as an example of activity to satisfy physiological needs, every person has a motivation (driving force) to spend money in order to buy goods, defined as utility. On the other hand, the amount of money spent depends also on personal income. In general, when income is lower, less spending occurs. Therefore, applying equation (9) for shopping, the movement of a person could be expressed as (Zin Eddine Dadach, 2019):

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The proposed equation (10) indicates that shopping increases proportionally with the utility, as the driving force, and decreases with the inverse of personal income as the resistance. For a group of people, the sum of individual movement for a specific activity is considered.

In relation with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (Figure 5), the ultimate goal, or self-actualization, of every Muslim is the willingness to enter Paradise. Allah says “Surely those who believe (in the truths revealed in the Book) and do righteous deeds their Lord will guide them aright because of their faith. Rivers shall flow beneath them in the Gardens of Bliss (Quran; 10:9). This eternal reward therefore carries the obligation to fulfill the universal duties of charity in all the social and professional activities. Turning to consider compliance with the Universal Laws of Charity, Zakat (charity) is a religious duty for all Muslims as it is the Third Pillar of Islam and an example of the 1st Universal Law of Charity. The 2nd Universal Law of Charity requires that customarily 2.5% of a Muslim's total savings and wealth above a minimum amount known as nisab is donated for zakat annually (ISLAMCITY, 2018). In addition to this obligation, Muslims are also invited to give whatever they can as Allah (SWT) says “They ask thee what they should spend in charity. Say: Whatever you spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever you do that is good, Allah knows it well" (Quran; 2:215).

The concept of charity is not limited to simply helping those less fortunate by giving them money or food to survive, but encompasses acts of charity such as offering assistance and time to relatives as well as those who are unwell to comfort them and perhaps add some joy to their life, or enhance it in some way. Being kind and considerate towards relatives, neighbors and coworkers is also a verbal act of charity. To advise us in these acts, Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) teaches us that: "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 then said: "Even your smile for your brother is a charity" (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98).

Allah (SWT) created human beings weak but, with his infinite mercy, He also equipped them with Al-Fitrah as guidance for positive and negative actions. Islam is often called the religion of “Al-fitrah” (Goodness) because its laws and its teachings are in full harmony with the normal and the natural inclination of the human beings to believe in and submit to Allah (SWT) (Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, 2005). “Al Fitrah” could be interpreted as a DNA-coded Quran that every human is imprinted with from birth. Therefore, in a similar way to nature, all human beings are preprogrammed to give charity and help others. This hypothesis is further supported by new research findings in the field of human biology, which show that we may be born to be sociable and have the urge to help (Nicholas Wade, 2009). Looking back at my travel experiences, this is a rational explanation for goodness not necessarily being related to culture or practice of religion.

Al-Fitrah could also be considered as the inner voice that guides every new-born and child. However, when we grow up, a second voice emerges to compete with the first naïve one and adults become more selective in helping others and tend to become more selfish. They are more attracted by material comfort to enjoy life, competition between people becomes more prevalent, and crimes and wars are globally evident daily. Regarding this second voice, Allah (SWT) says “After the matter has been finally decided, Satan will say: "Surely whatever Allah promised you was true; as for me, I went back on the promise I made to you. I had no power over you except that I called you to my way and you responded to me” (Quran; 14:22). Based on this verse, following the hidden voice of Satan is the reason for disobeying Allah (SWT). In order to warn us, Allah says “Allah does not lay a responsibility on anyone beyond his capacity. In his favor shall be whatever good each one does, and against him whatever evil he does (Quran 2: 286). Based on this verse, by following Al-Fitrah , Allah (SWT) will give a reward or send someone to recompense us. On the other hand, if one follows the voice of Satan (bad deeds), Allah (SWT) will retaliate with punishment, or send someone to correct us or just forgive us.

Allah (SWT) has revealed His Beautiful Names repeatedly in the Holy Quran and in the sayings of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) primarily for us to understand who He is in order to help us rely on al-Tawheed easily. If al-Tawheed is applied properly, Muslims will be only concerned about their relationship with Allah (SWT) and take responsibility for their actions as Allah (SWT) says “His is the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and to Him are all matters referred (for judgment)” (Quran; 57:5). Those who understand that we are all connected to each other and to Allah (SWT) by the different flows of charity, follow al Fitrah and adopt Al Tawheed in order to show kindness to others and be closer to Allah (SWT). It is therefore essential that thoughts, feelings and actions are for the good, for we "reap what we sow" (Parikshitt Sai , 2013). Allah (SWT) says “and as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will give them in full their rewards and grant them extra from His bounty." (Quran, 4: 173).

BEAUTIFUL NAMES OF ALLAH (SWT)

“The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on Him by them; but shun such men as use profanity in His names: for what they do, they will soon be requited”

(Quran; 7:180)

Knowing the meaning of the beautiful names of Allah (SWT) will certainly help us give charity and obey His orders, during our social and professional activities, with love and thankfulness. Moreover, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows their meaning will enter to Paradise.” (Sahih Bukhari 50:894). Muslim should therefore make the effort to learn about Allah (SWT) through His Beautiful Names. The ninety nine Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT) are presented in Table 2.

Table 2: The Beautiful Names of Allah (SWT) (99 Names of Allah in Islamic blog)

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INNATE ABILITIES AND UNIVERSAL DUTIES

“Observe how We have given superiority to some over others; and indeed the Hereafter is the greatest in rank and the highest in excellence”

(Quran, 17:21).

Aligning with the way Allah (SWT) formed the universe with different “gradients” of pressure, temperature, altitude and concentrations of different substances, people are also created with different “gradients” of wealth including finances, material elements, health, appearance, intelligence to learn and the ability to master different skills. Therefore, similarly to these various types of “gradients” that make the universe dynamic by generating different natural flows, this innate “gradient” of abilities and skills between people is indispensable to create different many types of roles within society, such as an engineer or doctor, for people to help each other. Each job requires specialized knowledge, skills, and capabilities to adequately fulfil the role, and people will select careers which complement the majority of the characteristics they were born with. For example, surgeons, doctors and nurses contribute different skills and abilities in the treatment of sick people, and together they form a comprehensive or full treatment plan for the patient. They are all integral to the whole, and could be visualized as each being a spoke in a wheel, and all parts are required to form the whole. Similarly, researchers, experts, engineers and technicians are all vital, based on their abilities, in the different branches of natural sciences. Professors and lecturers are essential in universities and teachers are needed in primary and secondary schools. Finally, laborers are also required in industry to carry out physical labor in order to build infrastructures. Allah (SWT) says on this “"It is He who has appointed You vicegerent on the earth and exalted some of you in rank above others, so that He may test you by means of what he has given you…" (Quran; 6:165). The teachings of this verse posit that our duty in life is to apply all the capabilities that Allah (SWT) has provided us with to assist others.

While mosques are places to worship Allah (SWT) by offering prayers, Muslims can also show their devoutness by practicing the laws of Charity during their social and professional activities. Allah (SWT) says “And had Allah so willed, He would surely have made you one single community; instead, (He gave each of you a Law and a way of life) in order to test you by what He gave you. Vie, then, one with another in good works. Unto Allah is the return of all of you” (Quran; 5: 48). For example, as shown in Figure 6 and in concordance with the charity in dynamic systems (Figure 2), the universal duty of an engineer (rich in skill) is to offer expertise (charity) to properly solve technical problems. The universal duty of a doctor (rich in skill) is to treat patients adequately and provide them with the proper diagnosis and treatment (charity). The universal duty of a teacher (rich in skill) is to impart knowledge (charity) and enable students to learn.

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Figure 6: Universal Duties of Charity in workplaces (Author’s own Figure)

M oreover, in order to properly practice the 2nd universal law of Charity, Muslims are tasked with fulfilling the requirements and responsibilities of their role or job to the best of their ability, as Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) said “Allah loves, when one of you is doing something, that he [or she] does it in the most excellent manner” (Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf, Dawr Al-Qiyam Wal-Akhlaaq Fi Al-Iqtisaad Al-Islaami. Maktabat Wahbah, 1995). For the case of teaching, what students learn could represent the “flow of information” from the teacher (the source of knowledge). The “Flow” of information could be approximately represented by the Final Grade Point (FGP) which could be assumed to be a direct measure of student performance ( Zin Eddine Dadach, 2013). Since, student having a low Cumulative Grade point Average (CGPA) present a higher “Resistance” to receive the information, (1/CGPA) could be considered as the resistance for learning. In analogy with equation (2) of dynamic systems, the flow of information (knowledge received) could be described as (Zin Eddine Dadach, 2013):

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Based on the saying of prophet Muhammad (PBUH), educators will do their job in the most excellent manner by maximizing the motivation (driving force) of students by selecting the most appropriate teaching strategies. The students will then make the most of the “flow of information” (charity) for highest possible performance (FGP).

Finally, since Allah (SWT) asks human beings to obey His universal duties of charity, He is also the provider of our wealth, including salary as Allah (SWT) says ““And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision [rizq], and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.” (Quran: 11:6).

UNIVERSAL LAWS OF CHARITY FOR SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATIONS

“Whoever submits himself completely to the obedience of Allah and does good will find his reward with his Lord. No fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve”

(Quran, 2:112).

Organizations are social units of people, including a management structure that determines relationships between different activities and members, which subdivides and assigns roles, responsibilities, and the authority to carry out different tasks (Business Dictionary, 2019). Identical to the patterns of flows in nature that are generated by a “gradient of energy”, there are also administrative and technical flows of information and interactions between employees at all “levels of the hierarchy”. In order to maximize the quality of interaction between company employees, the objective of workforce management (WFM) is to facilitate the ranking of all members of the hierarchy to match their skills and abilities, so that their full potential is realized and productivity is optimized. This strategy enables the reduction of internal frictions within interaction in the hierarchy, and eases the efficiency of corresponding flows. It should be noted that if employees are incorrectly ranked, their abilities may limit them, for example they could misunderstand advice and instructions from management. Or employees under their supervision may have higher abilities and skills to troubleshoot solutions to problems, and so they could be criticized or their instructions contested. Traci Moxson elaborates that “it’s clear that the time has come for organizations to put substance behind the phrase ‘people are our most important asset’ and genuinely deliver right skills, right place, right time!” (Traci Moxson, 2014).

This book proposes the application of the two Universal Laws of Charity, imposed by Allah (SWT), in order to optimize the workforce management in companies. For the 1st Universal Law, there is a need to have a gradient of skills similar to the gradient of energy in nature. For this purpose, managers at the top of the hierarchy should have the highest of abilities and expertise in all the needed skills (rich in energy) and employees at the bottom of the hierarchy should have the lowest abilities and skills to perform the duties (poor in energy). Regarding the 2nd Universal Law, for the highest efficiency of the company, employees with intermediate skills and the abilities to master the skills ( rich in skills) should be in the appropriate rank of the hierarchy in order to be able to give proper advice and instruction, as well as guidance (charity) to employees (poor in skills) under their supervision. In analogy with equation (2), the efficiency could be described as:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Based on this equation, if every employee is in the right position, the efficiency at each level of the hierarchy will have positive values. Therefore, by analogy with experiment #1 (Table #1) and by comparing Figure 7 to Figure 2, it can be inferred that the application of the two universal laws of charity in any organization will result in the highest technical and administrative flows, that is the smoothest and most efficient.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 7: Employees ranked according to their skills (Author’s own Figure)

Those in leadership such as managers and supervisors face the challenge of directing employees towards achieving objectives and goals for the success of the company. However, as shown in Figure 8, some employees (poor in skills) in positions of authority and more responsibility could be in the position of having to provide leadership to subordinates in the ranking who are equipped with higher skills (rich in skills) . Consequentially, these managers will not be able to fulfill their universal duty of advising or helping employees under their supervision.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 8: Some employees incorrectly placed in the ranking (Author’s own Figure).

Based on equation (11), the inefficiency could be described by the negative values of efficiency as described by equation (12):

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In other words, similar to experiment # 2 (Table #1), the negative values of equation (12), caused by employees incorrectly placed within the ranking system, are similar to adding extra resistance (Figure 8) and decrease the efficiency and quantity of the administrative and technical flows within the hierarchy. This is caused by failure of the employees in the wrong rank to understand or learn properly from their supervisor, or being ill-equipped with the necessary skills to give advice or assistance to employees under their supervision who may be well-equipped with higher skills. Both have the potential to directly affect the overall performance of the company in a negative way.

CHARITY-BASED LEADERSHIP

“On the Day when We call every people with their leader. Whoever is given his record in his right hand—these will read their record, and they will not be wronged one bit”

(Quran, 17:71).

Equally important as the skills and positioning within the hierarchy, the leadership of employees under their supervision is problematic for managers. Eight recognized leadership styles are evident in the literature, namely: (a) Democratic, (b) Autocratic, (c) Laissez-faire, (d) Strategic, (e) Transformational, (f) Transactional, (g) Bureaucratic and (h) Servant (Kendra Cherry, 2018; Braden Becker, 2018; Sendjaya, Sen; Sarros, James C., 2002). In addition to style of leadership, the characteristics which are suggested as highly desirable in managers are: (a) confidence (b) honesty (c) communication skills (d) empathy (e) optimism (f) encouragement (g) intuition (h) acting as a role model (QURAN READING, 2018). It’s been widely found in research that helping employees under their supervision to succeed (Figure 9) could also make managers better leaders. Mary Kay Ash reiterates “We need leaders who add value to the people and the organization they lead; who work for the benefit of others and not just for their own personal gain. Leaders who inspire and motivate, not intimidate and manipulate; who live with people to know their problems in order to solve them and who follow a moral compass that points in the right directions regardless of the trends” (Kent Julian , 2018).

Figure is not part of this book due to copyright issues.

Figure 9: Helping Others Makes Better Leaders (Elizabeth Hopper in Approachable Leadership).

A position of leadership in Islam is an onerous responsibility, and a duty not everyone is qualified for. Accountability in leadership is a trust answerable to Allah (SWT) as Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) said “One who exercises his authority and power in an unjust way will not enter Paradise” (Ahmed; Ibn Majah; Tirmidi). The Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) exemplifies the teachings of Allah (SWT) in all areas of life. “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Quran; 33: 21). He models leadership distinctiveness as the greatest reformer and leader and can be observed to exhibit the personification of morality, honesty, truthfulness, understanding of others, and enlightening effective commanding[17].

According to the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), these are some important characteristics that Muslim leaders should follow in order to properly fulfill their universal duties:

1. Muslim leaders should be obeyed by followers as Allah says “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination” (Quran 4:59).
2. At the same time, Muslim leaders should not show signs of superiority as Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) said “Allah isn’t pleased with the slave who distinguishes between himself and his companions, and considers himself better than others”[15].
3. Being a leader by remaining a servant, and maintaining humility, as Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) was always amongst his people: teaching, helping and guiding them. He never pursued comfort or a higher position over his people (Theresa Corbin, 2017).
4. Muslim leaders should show empathy as Allah (SWT) says about Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) ““There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.” (Quran; 9: 128).
5. Islam promotes shared responsibility as Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock” (Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6719, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1829)
6. Muslim leaders should also be approachable as Allah (SWT) says: “So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them….”(Quran; 3:159).
7. Leaders of the Islamic faith are advised to share decisions-making with employees as Allah says “and consult them in the matter” (Quran: 3.159)

All the above traits are necessary for Muslim leaders to be charity-based leaders by offering their skills and knowledge to employees under their supervision as Allah (SWT) says: “And We made them into leaders to guide people in accordance with Our command, and We inspired them to good works, and to establish Prayers and to give Zakat (charity). They worshipped Us alone” (Quran; 11:73).

HAPPINESS: NATURAL REWARD OF THE UNIVERSAL DUTY

“And that He it is Who causes people to laugh and to cry”

(Quran, 53:43).

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines happiness as a state of wellbeing or contentment; a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Even though happiness is perhaps one of the most important states to achieve or experience in life, science still cannot quantify or rationalize it. One supposition is that we reach a state of happiness through materialistic comfort or when we become rich, powerful, or popular. According to a survey conducted in 1957, 35 percent of Americans were "very happy". However, in 1991 with more a comfortable life in terms of materialism, only 31 percent said the same. Meanwhile, depression rates have soared (Imam Kamil Mufti. 2018). The Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) expounds that "True enrichment does not come through possessing a lot of wealth, but true enrichment is the enrichment of the soul" (Saheeh Al-Bukhari).

In order to support their dependents, most people go to work for financial compensation. As a result, work is often seen as source of stress and happiness is sought in other life activities like hobbies or sports for relaxation. Some disciplines however, such as psychology, neuroscience, and leadership and management studies support that it is possible to find happiness in workplaces. Based on the literature (Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, 2018), these are some proposed strategies to find happiness at work: (1) Purpose (2) Engagement (3) Resilience and (4) Kindness. Due to Al Fitrah, human beings will experience happiness when they do or witness kindness and will feel discomfort when they do or witness bad actions. Good actions appear to bring our soul closer to Heaven and we feel happy. On the other hand, bad actions seem to bring our soul closer to Fire and we feel discomfort. Therefore, every single one of Allah (SWT)’s commandments aims to bring happiness. This applies to all aspects of life, worship, economics, and society. Allah (SWT) says” Whoever works righteousness - whether male or female - while he (or she) is a true believer verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).” (Quran; 16:97). On the other hand, Muslims who choose not to follow the Universal Laws by refusing the universal duty of charity will experience constant discomfort and unhappiness during their life as Allah (SWT) says “As for him who was a miser and behaved with aversion (to Allah) and denied the Truth of goodness, we shall facilitate for him the way to Hardship” (Quran; 92: 8-10).

According to the literature related to happiness in Islam (Imam Kamil Mufti, 2018), the lasting happiness could be the result of the following good deeds and right attitudes during our social and professional activities:

1. Focusing on our own personal achievement instead of comparing ourselves to others leads to greater satisfaction as Allah (SWT) says” “Do not strain your eyes in longing for the things that we have given to some groups of them to enjoy, the splendor of the life of this world through which we test them. The provision of your Lord is better and more lasting.” (Quran; 20:131).
2. Keep smiling! as one of Prophet Muhammad’s companions said, “Since the day I accepted Islam, the Messenger of God would never meet me without a smiling face” (Saheeh Al Bukhari).
3. Make friends and treasure family as Allah (SWT) says ““Worship God and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet). Verily, God does not like those who are proud and boastful.” (Quran; 4:36).
4. Be grateful as Allah says ““Therefore, remember Me (God) and I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” (Quran; 2:152)
5. Charity as Allah (SWT) says “Say: “Truly, my Lord blesses the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and also restricts it for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in God’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.” (Quran; 34:39).
6. Focusing on wealth and purchasing material objects can have major side effects such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Prophet Mohamed said “Be happy, and hope for what will please you. By God, I am not afraid that you will be poor, but I fear that worldly wealth will be bestowed upon you as it was bestowed upon those who lived before you. So you will compete amongst yourselves for it, as they competed for it and it will destroy you as it did them” (Saheeh Bukhari).
7. Being Patient during times of hardship and pain as Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) said “Indeed amazing are the affairs of a believer! They are all for his benefit. If he is granted ease then he is thankful, and this is good for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres, and this is good for him” (Saheeh Muslim).

The wisdom of being in a state of happiness is therefore to follow the inside voice of Al Fitrah, the sayings of the prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and the Quran as guidance in order to have inner peace and live with lasting happiness. In comparison to the elated atmosphere of spring, the reward for the Muslim who obeys the universal laws of charity imposed by Allah (SWT) is without doubt lasting happiness. This fact is supported by MRI scans, which demonstrate a “warm-glow effect” in the reward centers of the brain, so it follows that employees who are helpful in their workplace are much happier. Research has also been conducted in the form of experiments in which a group of people are given money, with half of them instructed to spend it on themselves and the other half required to spend it on other people. Contrary to their own expectations, the half who spent the money on others consistently get more pleasure out of the experience than their non-altruistic colleagues (Dunn, Elizabeth et al. 2008).

CONCLUDING REMARKS

“Alif, Lam, Mim, This is the Book of Allah, there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the pious, for those who believe in the existence of that which is beyond the reach of perception, who establish Prayer and spend out of what We have provided them, who believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, and have firm faith in the Hereafter. Such are on true guidance from their Lord; such are the truly successful”

(Quran 2; 2:5).

In conclusion, following the teachings of Islam and striving to please Allah (SWT) is a constant duty in this short life to prepare ourselves for the everlasting life in Heaven Incha Allah. The wisdom of achieving a state of happiness in the short duration between birth and death and deserving the Eternal Paradise is to:

1. Follow Al-Fitrah to do good deeds and prohibit bad deeds,
2. Adopt Al-Tawheed to always improve our relationship with Allah (SWT)
3. Utilise Al-Eaql in order to find the signs of Allah (SWT) around us.

Adopting and accepting this foundation of Islam in our hearts and our minds encourages us to obey Allah (SWT) in all our social and professional activities and practice the five pillars of Islam with love and thankfulness. To practice thankfullness to Allah (SWT), we should also be grateful for the skills and abilities we have been blessed with. Comparable to experiment #3 (Table #1), if people were born with exactly the same characteristics, there would be no “gradient” in inborn wealth and therefore no driving force for any social or professional activity, and therefore life becomes static ( directionless and pointless).

Just as the different gestures of charity in nature create balance between all parts of the earth, charity between humans and nations will certainly make our societies more stable and peaceful.

If companies properly apply the universal laws of charity by giving each employee a suitable position, leaders at all levels of the hierarchy will fulfill their universal duty by helping and sharing their knowledge with employees under their supervision. This practice will enable and facilitate efficient administrative and technical flows at all levels of the organization, thereby ensuring success for the company. Moreover, the ultimate reward bestowed on charity–leaders is happiness, which allows them to create a prosperous environment in the workplace. As a result, happy employees will be optimistic and see the future with more possibilities. Employees who are happy also have also lower health problems, make fewer mistakes and have less accidents. It has also been established that happier workplaces are more successful because they are more efficient and have less turnover.

DUAA (SUPPLICATION)

O Allah, we beg You to make best our achievements, to make best our acts, to make best our deeds, and to make best our inside and our outside. We beg you to put us on the highest level in Heaven.

Amen.

REFERENCES

1. 30 facts about Islam: https://www.30factsaboutislam.com/the-meaning-of-muslim/

2. Electrical Circuit in Wikipedia

3. Matt Williams, The Science of Heat Transfer: What Is Conduction?; Universe Today (2014).

4. Slamet Hartadi, Water Cycle For Kids Clipart, Public on 25 Jan, 2018.

5. Zin Eddine Dadach, 2019; Effects of marketing, bank loan and credit debt on consumer’s spending: Mathematical models based on an engineering concept, Grin Publishing.

6. McLeod, S. A. (2018, May 21). Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html.

7.. Ann Reitan (2018), PSYCHOLOGY & PSYCHIATRY 3 : Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization, More or Less Actualized http://www.brainblogger.com/2013/01/08/maslows-theory-of-self-actualization-more-or-less-actualized/

8. Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi (2005); The Human “Fitrah”: The Religio Naturalis Of Man, Bismika Allahuma; Muslim Responses to Christianity and Anti-Islam Polemics.

9. Nicholas Wade, (2009); We May Be Born With an Urge to Help, Science, New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01human.html

10. ISLAMCITY: Zakat explained in http://everything.explained.today/Zakat/

11. Parikshitt Sai ( 2013), Universal Laws 1. The Law of Divine Oneness, https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/universal-laws-1-the-law-of-divine-oneness

12. 99 Names of Allah in Islamic blog : https://99namesofallah.name/

13. Zin Eddine Dadach, 2013; Quantifying the effects of an active learning strategy on the motivation of students., International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 904–913, 2013

14. Business Dictionary. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/organization.html

15. Traci Moxson, (2014); THE RIGHT PEOPLE, IN THE RIGHT PLACE, AT THE RIGHT TIME; ICMI, Published: April 02, 2014.

16. Kendra Cherry, What Is Democratic Leadership? Characteristics, benefits, drawbacks, and famous examples, Verywell mind, October 23, 2018.

17. Kendra Cherry, Autocratic Leadership: Key Characteristics, Strengths, and Weaknesses of Autocratic Leadership, Verywell mind, October 22, 2018.

18. Braden Becker, The 7 Most Common Leadership Styles & How to Find Your Own, Hubspot, May 2018 https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/leadership-styles.

19. Sendjaya, Sen; Sarros, James C. (2002-09-01). "Servant Leadership: Its Origin, Development, and Application in Organizations". Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. 9 (2): 57–64. doi:10.1177/107179190200900205. ISSN 1548-0518.

20. QURANREADING (2018) : Top Leadership Qualities of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) : http://www.quranreading.com/blog/top-leadership-qualities-of-the-holy-prophet-muhammad-pbuh/

21. Kent Julian (2018); 10 Great Leadership Quotes for Helping Others Grow in Live it Forward. https://liveitforward.com/10-great-leadership-quotes-for-helping-others-grow/

22. Elizabeth Hopper, Helping Others Makes Better Leaders (5 Tips to Grow Others) in Approachable leadership. https://approachableleadership.com/helping-others/

23. Theresa Corbin, Muhammad (PBUH)- Prophet, Leader, Servant, About Islam (02 November 2017).

24. Imam Kamil Mufti (2018), Happiness in Islam (part 1 of 3): Concepts of Happiness, https://www.islamreligion.com/articles/435/happiness-in-islam-part-1/

25. Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas (2018), The Four Keys to Happiness at Work, Greater Good Magazine: Science-based insights for meaningful life.

26. Dunn, Elizabeth et al (2008). "Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness", Science 319.

38 of 38 pages

Details

Title
Charity. The Universal Law for Success and Happiness
Subtitle
Spiritual and Islamic Perspectives
Course
Chemical Engineering
Grade
3.7 (ARE-System)
Author
Year
2019
Pages
38
Catalog Number
V492484
Language
English
Notes
This document to replace the document v492410. I just completed the list of contents.
Tags
Thermodynamics, Spirituality, Islam
Quote paper
Dr. Zin Eddine Dadach (Author), 2019, Charity. The Universal Law for Success and Happiness, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/492484

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