Most people are aware of GDP, which stand for Gross Domestic Product, a common indicator of how an economy of a country is performing. More specifically it is the market value of final goods and services produced within a year or other given period of time. A complementary yet conflicting concept that emerged later is Gross National Happiness (GNH) developed by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s. Citizens Programme for Human Development is an NGO in Bangladesh, first NGO implementing GNH (Gross National Happiness) in the country under the Sufi doctrine.

“Gross National Happiness (GNH) measures the quality of a country in a holistic way. It believes that the development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development compliments each other.”

The concept maintains that the progress of an economy should not solely depend on how much of something is being produced and how much money is being made out of it, because the happiness and emotional wellbeing of the people those are a part of an economy is also important. The basic economic models derive from unlimited demands with limited resources; however, the Sufi doctrine enforces the need to limit these demands through the process of internal healing and sacrifice. Wealth does not always equal to happiness.

CPHD spokesperson explained: “GNH believes that money cannot buy happiness. GNH believes money is great until you overcome the poverty level and then it is not so great. In the developed countries at the age of 44 most people are successful, they have a family, home, a decent job so there is no reason to them not to be happy. The reason why they are unhappy is because they are running after money. It is like a treadmill where we are running but staying at the same place and at one point we get tired of running.”

GNH concept discourages and condemns negative feelings such as jealousy and envy of other people’s progress. The concept of GNH gives three indicators and they are Meaning, Control and Earned Success, the focus lies in the uplifting of one’s own moral and ethical behavior to achieve holistic happiness that does  not depend on external stimuli such as someone else’s failure. A strong connection between GNH and spirituality becomes obvious, upon which CPHD shed light upon through the example of Spiritual Ideology of Sufism. The five pillars of Sufism correspond with the three indicator of GNH.

Learn more about the concept, at:

Spiritual Ideology

Sufism is the branch of Islam th1551760_1393595034229455_2011143952_nat supports and believes that a person can find his/her existence or inner self in this lifetime through a proper guidance. In the path of Sufism, the seeker is a pupil (Murid in Farsi) who needs to find a teacher (Pir in Farsi) the enlightened one in order to grow in this divine field. Allah said in Quran, “ ma kajabal fuyal mara aa” meaning “what the qalb (heart) of awli (Representative) has seen is not false.” For that reason, the seeker cannot find out the Creator alone as he/she is ignorant. Hence, for the purification of seekers heart and to go near the Creator it is mandatory to have a teacher or PIr.

Practices in Sufism

There are many ways or practices in Sufism but in Nakshbandi-Mujaddedi Tariqah there are mainly five pillars and those are: Zikr, Raabeta, Shughl, Muraqabah, Muhasabah.

Zikr is the first pillar and it means to remember God by reciting His divine names all the time. Zikr is to practice consciousness of the Divine Presence of Love.

Allah said in his verse: “ o fi unfusikum afala tufsirum” meaning “ My signs are inside your body.”

Raabeta is the second pillar that is to remember the image of the Pir. The seeker must remember the image of his/her teacher in order to achieve the love of the Creator. It is a very important pillar because the seeker is ignorant and helpless without the teacher or Pir who is the bridge between him/her and Allah.

Muraqabah or meditation is the influential pillar in Sufism as it is the process to purify the heart through divine meditation. Purifying the seeker’s heart is an integral part in this field as it has been stated in the Hadith Jibril:

“The principle has it’s roots in the Prophet’s definition of ihsan (excellence) which is directly related to Heart-Knowledge: Excellence is that thou shouldsh worship God as if thou sawest him; for if thou seest Him not, yet seeth thou.”

Shughl or work is to keep the seeker busy all the time in the spiritual exercise to attain the final goal or to achieve the divineness of Allah.

Muhasabah is the last pillar of Sufism. The meaning of Muhasabah is self- auditing. The seeker needs to analyze him/herself every night to sort out the goodness inside him/her and to get rid of all the evil that restrains him/her from achieving the Creator.

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