The Gift (Sunnah) of a Smile

It is only selfishness that breeds poverty of the heart, the mind, the soul and the physicalThe Gift (Sunnah) of a Smile


By Hwaa Irfan


Her smile never fails to catch me from wherever or however I am – do not know who she is or anything about her. Yet such a smile deserved recognition, not that it has never been recognized, but it was the only common language that we had. So the opportunity arose from nowhere, when instead of a smile a deep concern veiled her face, alone in the belief that she was totally alone as no one else was in sight. So I took the opportunity to present myself and discovered that her name is  Israa’, which only served to add to the magic of her smile. With the few words I had to communicate to her the importance of her smile, her smile returned. It is precious I told her, because whatever concern I had, when I see her smile, for that one moment I am unburdened.

This is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed (SAW), a tradition, a practice, that no matter what one’s position is, the only thing that it costs are the worries, the concerns, and our bad state of health caused by those worries and concerns. In fact, Prophet Muhammed’s (SAW) smile was described as his laugh. Israa’s smile is like the night journey from earth to heaven, away from the cares of this world, to the promises of another – we can’t all have our hearts bathed in the waters of Zam Zam by Angel Gabriel/Jibril, but a smile can bath someone’s heart so that from our descent we can ascend again.

I seek refuge in the Face of Allah the Munificent
and in Allah’s perfect words
which neither the righteous nor the disobedient overstep
from the evil of what descends from the heaven
and the evil of what ascends to it
and the evil of what is created in the earth
and the trials of the night and the day
and the visitors of the night and the day
except the visitor that comes with goodness,
O Beneficent One!

Say: a`udhu bi wajhillahi al-karim
wa bi kalimatillahi al-tammat
al-lati la yujawizuhunna barrun wa la fajir
min sharri ma yanzilu min al-sama’
wa min sharri ma ya`ruju fiha
wa min sharri ma dhara’a fi al-ard
wa min sharri ma yakhruju minha
wa min fitani al-layli wa al-nahar
wa min tawariq al-layli wa al-nahar
illa tariqin yatruqu bi khayrin ya rahman

At this the devil fell dead on his face and his firebrand went out.

Said by Prophet Muhammed (SAW) mounted on Buraq

Smile Though Your Heart is Aching…

Sometimes it can be very difficult to remember to smile when one is burdened by concerns, but Egyptians have mastered this charity regardless of the difficult times they have had, and are still having. Much scientific research has revealed that a smile has the ability to simulate the actual emotions transferring the feeling of well-being. In fact for the recipient of a smile, the more self conscious one is the better. A 1998 study by Kleinke, Peterson, and Rutledge discovered that the more self conscious one is the greater the change towards a more positive mood, because self conscious people are more in touch with themselves, which makes them more responsive to visual cues.

An expert in the science of the smile is Dale Jorgenson of California State University. Jorgenson told Richard Manly,

“One smile isn’t going to make much of a difference all by itself,” said Jorgenson.

“It takes repeated exposure. For instance, in my research, I’ve shown people photos of smiling people from different ethnic groups. Attitudes become more positive with many exposures to smiling faces. That is true regardless of whom they’re looking at. Whatever the initial attitudes, in the end, when they’ve seen members of any group smile at them a lot, they like them a lot more than if they only got one or two smiles or none at all.”

Jorgenson also found that being frowned at has the opposite effect, and although he does not touch upon it, so can a smile mask have the same effect on the smiler – in other words, the smile has to be genuine.

“The fact we recognize facial expressions almost universally as implying certain things offers evidence about how useful they are”

“We are happy to see somebody smile but our interest fundamentally is in knowing whether they are happy with us. As long as we have to make decisions about whether people are friends or foes, we need a way to do it quickly and easily and from a distance. Facial expressions represent a quick and simple way of knowing these things.”

I’ve thought about this quite a bit and how I’ve been affected by what I’ve found,”

“It has reinforced one of my guiding principles that we really are in charge of our destinies. We do have influence over the things that happen to us by virtue of our actions. Smiling is a case in which a simple act can have profound effects on the kinds of experiences we have with other people and how they treat us.”



Manly, R. “Go Ahead and Smile.”


Related Topics:

Laughter the Best Medicine in Depressing Times

Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees