By Dr. Shadee Elmasry
There are secrets in the Quran there in plain sight. We just don't recognize them, but if we did, and we held on to them, they would transform our lives. Here is one of them. It is a Divine promise that occurs only once in the Quran. Only once in the Book do we see the phrase "so that you may become happy" (content, satisfied, pleased) (لعلك ترضى). When you see the word la'alla, what follow will be a deal Allah is offering. It's a guaranteed law of spiritual cause and effect. In this one, we're offered happiness in exchange for three things to be done daily. One is challenging and two easier.
All creatures are created with the instinct to feel good and avoid harm. Even plants will lean in all sorts of abnormal directions to get sun. All of us humans on earth are actually seeking the same thing: satisfaction, serenity, and happiness. We're all chasing a feeling. Whatever we are aiming for, we only do it because we imagine that it will produce that feeling inside of our chest. And when two or more people think the same thing will make them happy, that's where competition, envy, and conflict arises.
But since feelings are unseen within the soul, external material things can only do so much. "Stuff" does make us happy no doubt, but it's limited, short-term, and is exhausting to attain. You may never get the money or whatever you're after that you imagine will make you happy.
In contrast, the deal in Surat Taha asks us of three things we can all do and on top of that, it's guaranteed and permanent. Allah will not change His end of the bargain as long as we keep up ours.
"In the middle of the night praise your Lord, and at the edges of the day, so that you may become pleased." That's three times of ibada. The minimum is any amount of salat, dhikr, dua, Quran, for the amount of time it would take to pray two rakas (two minutes maybe?) The most challenging one is the middle of the night. But if you want to change how you feel, it's an easy price to pay.
The edges of the day is some dhikr before/after Fajr and before/after Maghrib. Minimum is the time it would take to pray two rak'as. That's three sacred times in all.
Hold this for forty days and see what happens.