Which nation is a happy Muslim nation?

Travel Nilanjan Hajra
Happy Muslim nation
Photo : Dreamstime

The result is out. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a very happy Muslim nation. Indeed, it is the happiest in the Islamic world. At a personal level being happy depends mostly, if not totally, on you. In Quranic terms, put simply, faith and good deeds bring ‘good life’ or happiness to human beings. It, however, takes more than individual belief and philanthropy to make a whole nation happy. This generally demands an organized effort. How happy are the Islamic nations in these Covid times? The short answer is, ‘Mixed’. While a happy Muslim nation is not a rarity at all, as is often pictured in propaganda, some certainly are lagging behind.

An organization named Sustainable Development Solution Network endeavours to get a sense of that globally every year. It’s called the World Happiness Report. The 2021 report has been out recently, which ranks 149 nations in terms of their overall happiness. In this piece, we will take a glance at the position of the Islamic world in that report.

A happy Muslim nation 

The introduction of the 9th World Happiness Report chalks out the parameters by which it measures happiness in a nation. In brief, there are six major parameters: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption. Experts determine all this through in-depth surveys. The report has ranked the nations based on average results of surveys conducted between 2018 and 2020.

By that standard, the United Arab Emirates stands ahead of all other Islamic nations in terms of cumulative national happiness. It has ranked 25. Therefore, it would not be a misnomer to call the UAE a rather happy Muslim nation.

This year’s World Happiness Report focuses primarily on the performance of nations under the stress of the Covid 19 pandemic. The UAE’s high ranking in a list of 149 nations reflects well on the nation’s ability to combat the horrible scourge.

The UAE is a federation of seven states. And its economy has grown from being a quiet backwater to one of the Middle East’s most vibrant economies.

Oil was discovered in the UAE in 1950. Before that, the nation’s economy was dependent on fishing and pearl culture. However, oil exports began in 1962. And soon the country’s society and economy began to surge ahead.

It is a traditionally conservative nation, yet the UAE is also one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf. Society and the government here happily tolerate other cultures and beliefs.

Some other Muslim nations 

Another happy Muslim nation, as per this report, is Saudi Arabia. It follows the UAE closely with a rank of 26. Its score is 6.494. Among other Islamic nations which have ranked among the top 50 happy nations in the world are, Kosovo, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, and Kuwait. Kosovo’s rank is 33 and score 6.372. Uzbekistan has ranked 42, with a score of 6.179. The other two have the following ranks and scores respectively: 45 (6.152), 47 (6.106). Each of these can be termed as a fairly happy Muslim nation.

However, some major Muslim nations are lagging behind. Malaysia, for example, is somewhere in the middle, ranking 81, and scoring 5.384. Algeria’s rank is 109 (4.887), Iraq’s 111 (4.854), and Iran’s 118 (4.721). In South Asia, Bangladesh is at 101, with a score of 5.025. And Afghanistan stands at the bottom of the list ranking 149 (2.523). It is really difficult to call any of these a happy Muslim nation.

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