All Posts By

Ibrahim Isa

Contentment is a Sign of Wealth

By | Further Reading, Generosity and Contentment | No Comments

If people become content with the little they have, then there will be no poor or deprived persons among them. If a person is content with what Allah, The Almighty, has given him, he will be powerful and in no need of others, even if he does not possess a lot in this life.

Ash-Shaafi‘i  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “I knew that contentment is the core of richness, and I adhered to it, so I never stood at anybody’s door, or begged anyone. Consequently, I became rich without a dirham, passing by people as if I were a king.”

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) advised his Ummah (nation) to have contentment when he said:

 “If you are content with what Allah has given you, you will be the richest person.” 
He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would supplicate Allah the Almighty, saying: “Allaahuma qanni‘ni bima razaqtani wa baarik li feeh wakhluf ‘ala kulli ghaa’ibatin li bikhayr [O Allah, make me content with what You have provided me, bless it for me and grant me good thing in compensation for whatever I miss].” 

A person who is content with what Allah, The Almighty, provides for him, will enjoy tranquility, satisfaction and peace of mind as he does not long for what others have or desire what he does not possess. Accordingly, Allah, The Almighty, as well as people, will love him, and the following Hadeeth of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would apply to him:

“Do not incline to the worldly life and Allah will love you. Have no desire for what people possess, and people will love you.” 

Moreover, a person cannot reach the degree of the thankful unless he becomes content with the provision that he receives. This meaning is indicated by the saying of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) to Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him:

“O Abu Hurayrah! Be pious, and you will be the most worshipping person. Be content, and you will be the most thankful person. Love for people what you love for yourself, and you will be a [true] believer.” 

A content person, therefore, has a virtuous self as he does not hurt his pride for the sake of a worldly gain that will soon vanish. Such people are the ones whom Allah, The Almighty, praised in His Saying (which means):

{[Charity is] for the poor who have been restricted for the cause of Allah, unable to move about in the land. An ignorant [person] would think them self-sufficient because of their restraint, but you will know them by their [characteristic] sign. They do not ask people persistently [or at all]. And whatever you spend of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.} [Quran 2:273]

Also, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) gave us glad tidings as he said:

“Successful is the person who adopted Islam, has been provided with what is just sufficient for his needs, and been made content by Allah with what He has given him.” 

‘Umar ibn Al- Khattaab  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “Greed is [in essence] poverty and despair [of what others have] is richness. Anyone who despairs of [i.e. does not long for] what is possessed by others, becomes in no need of it.”
An amazing story in this regard is mentioned in the book of Al-Ihyaa’,

Al-Khaleel ibn Ahmad Al-Faraaheedi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him refused to be the private tutor of the son of the ruler of Al-Ahwaaz. He brought out dry bread to show the messenger of the ruler, and said,

“As long as I find this, I am in no need of Sulaymaan [the ruler]. Then, he said some poetic verses which mean, “Inform Sulaymaan that I enjoy ease and richness, although I have no wealth.
I keep my pride as I see no one die of hunger, or remain in the same state all his life.
We realize that poverty lies in souls not in properties, as does richness.”

Indeed, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was truthful when he said:

“Richness is not the abundance of wealth; rather, it is self-contentment.” 

O Allah, make us content with what You have given us and make us the most contented people of what You have decreed to us of provisions!

Credits: islamweb.net

Material Means of Sustenance – Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab al-Wassaabee

By | Further Reading, Generosity and Contentment | No Comments

The tenth door is Material Means : The Sheikh says from those means are those material means like for instance being a farmer, a merchant or a manufacturer – any means from the material means as long as you don’t destroy yourself. You were not created for the purpose of the Dunya.

You were created for the purpose of Allaah (azza wa jal) i.e for the purpose of worship and the most important thing is satisfaction and continence, i.e self-control with regards to passions and seeking self-sufficiency from Allaah and satisfaction in Him.

And you know that some people only have a motor and Allaah made his sustenance from that –– the sustenance of his family, that one motor. And some of them a donkey, and some people from villages have only one donkey and he spends from that for his whole family. Some a camel, some an ox —- he tilts for the people and supports the family. And for some of them an electric tool, or pliers and support from this a whole family.

Some of them have 3, 4, 5, items in his possessions, he sells and spends on his family. And others have miswaak and he spends on his family. And another has perfume of antimony (khul) and he spends on his family. So it is more a means that you work by.

As you would say : ‘O Allaah this is the dua and it is upon You to answer it.’ In the same way you say : ‘O Allaah this is the means and it is upon You to provide for me.’

You don’t depend upon the means. Because if you depend upon the means and only the means then you would have depended or put your trust in other than Allaah — and this is not permissible. This is a mere means. If it wasn’t for the fact that Allaah ordered us to take towards the means, we would have not taken towards it. However, it is an order of Allaah and look at Maryam (alaihissalam) while she was in her post-natal bleeding, Allaah says to her :

‘And shake the trunk of the date palm towards you and it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. ‘

In this state of pregnancy while being weak and with that He still said : ‘Shake the trunk of the date palm towards you.’ There must be working by the means. Work by the means. We are not dervishes — people that do nothing. We are Muslims and people of daleel and people of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. We work by the means — in a safe correct means that which does not come in conflict with the deen. i.e. the means is not something unlegislated by Allaah.

One person who might say, ‘we steal’ and this is a means. The other may say, ‘we fornicate’ and this is a means. Another sells intoxicants and says ‘this is a means.’ These means are unlegislated, forbidden. Or asks for bribes or robs or plunders and says ‘this is a means’ or cheats and deceives and says ‘this is a means.’ No, there must be with regards to the means that they have to be legislated from what Allaah has made halaal, not being any disobedience in it, not having any opposition to the deen of Allaah. He mentioned the ayah :

‘And shake the trunk of the date palm towards you and it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. ‘

The sheikh reiterates that every time he entered the mihrab — the praying place of the private room, he (Zakariya) found her (Maryam) supplied with sustenance even though Allaah told us this about her. He found with her sustenance. He (Zakariya) said : O Maryam, from where did you get this? She said : From Allaah. Verily, Allaah provides sustenance to whom He wills without limit.

And at that time Zakariyya invoked his Lord. If you work with the legislated, trusted means, you are trusting in Allaah (subhana wa ta’ala) and by Allaah your rizq will come to you, no doubt. And I have put forward for you examples and Allaah puts forward parables for the people so they can reflect. I said to you : a person spends on his family by selling ‘miswaak and that one spends on his family by being a seller of oil, and that one a seller of ghee and that one a seller of honey and that one is a seller of wheat. He sells wheat and that one is a ‘bazzaar’ and he sells seeds.

The books of biographies are filled with this, that of our pious predecessors. And that one is ‘al-Kayyaal’ — he has a scale and he weighs things for people and they pay him and that one fixes shoes, nails it and ties it. Up until now all what I mentioned is present and it is a sign from the signs of Allaah and ar-Razzaaq, He is Allaah (azzawajal) and you may very well find that a person who fixes shoes is in a state of self-contentment than a big merchant and a big manager. Or a ‘sayy aathi’ —- the one who fixes watches and sells watches.

You may very well find him in a state of contentment. He has 4 watches in his possessions and he sells it, goes home and is comfortable. You may not find this self-contentment with a merchant or a big manager. Each one of them — his head is filled with problems and he doesn’t find comfort in his sleep and is not patient, and is not resting. Everything is preoccupation and stress and a lot of them become victims to diabetes, cancer and asthma.

The other one is comfortable i.e the one who sells honey, wheat, watches etc. He is content with himself. He is not concerned with taxes or he is not concerned with the rent of a store or show room. And the most important thing is self-contentment.

From : Means of Sustenance: Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab al-Wassaabee. May Allaah reward the sister who Transcribed from the Audio 

Credits: abdurrahman

Reconciling Contentment versus Ambition

By | Further Reading, Generosity and Contentment | No Comments

There seems to be an age old struggle between two forces in people’s mind that is hindering many from achieving their full potential; this is the apparent contradiction between being ambitious versus being content. Both qualities are well respected and even encouraged to have, however when they are brought together in one person’s mind or heart, there seems to be a conflict.

More importantly, this dilemma has infected the ummah with the disease of laziness; some say Alhamdulillah, I’m content with what I have, why should I be ambitious and strive for more?” I translate this into: “I can’t be bothered to do anything, I just want to live within my comfort zone.”

As you can expect, this mind-set is dangerous for the Ummah’s growth.

InshaAllah in this article we will try to help resolve this dilemma and show you that being ambitious and being content are two faces of the same coin and that in fact to become a truly successful ProductiveMuslim, you need to have both!

How?

Let us firstly explore both concepts from a linguistic point of view. Let’s look at synonyms of both words:

Ambition: drive, determination, enterprise, initiative, eagerness, motivation, resolve, enthusiasm, zeal, hunger, commitment, a sense of purpose; aspiration, intention, goal, aim, objective, object, purpose, intent, plan, desire, wish, design, target, dream.

Contentment: Contentedness, content, satisfaction, gratification, fulfilment, happiness, pleasure, cheerfulness; ease, comfort, well-being, peace, equanimity, serenity, tranquility.

As you can see, from a definition point of view, there isn’t much of a contradiction between the two concepts. The states of being “ambitious” and “content” seem to serve different aspects of our drive to be the best – one is driving us (ambition), the other is making us enjoy the ride (contentment)!

Where does the contradiction lie?

The contradiction lies in our misunderstanding that being content, means not wanting to achieve more; and that being ambitious to achieve more, is a sign that you’re not content. This is definitely not the case.

So how can we resolve this idea?

Let us look into the Quran and Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) to answer this dilemma:

Regarding ambition, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says in the Quran what means:

“And those who pray, “Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.”[Surat 25 Al-Furqan, Verse 74]

And our Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“The distance between every two levels [of Paradise] is like the distance between the sky and the Earth, so if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is the last part of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise.”
[Bukhari, Book #93, Hadith #519]

And in numerous places throughout the Quran, we are told that to achieve Jannah we have to

1) Have imaan and
2) Do righteous works

We can now understand that we should be ambitious, however this ambition is to serve the person’s ultimate goal and that is to gain Allah’s pleasure and entering the highest part of Jannah.

Regarding contentment, Allah says in the Qur’an what means:

“Nor strain thine eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to parties of them, the splendour of the life of this world, through which We test them: but the provision of thy Lord is better and more enduring.” [Surat 20 Taha, Verse 131]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said what means:

“Riches does not mean, having a great amount of property, but riches is self-contentment.”

(Sahih Bukhari, Book #76, Hadith #453)

The above clearly demonstrates that contentment should be related to the dunya matters and can be reconciled with being ambitious in this life.

The following hadith narrated from Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) expresses this balance between ambition and contentment succinctly:

“People say that I have narrated many Hadiths (the Prophet’s narrations). Had it not been for two verses in the Qur’an, I would not have narrated a single Hadith, and the verses are: “Verily those who conceal the clear sign and the guidance which We have sent down.. (up to) Most Merciful.” (2:159-160). And no doubt our Muhajir (emigrant) brothers used to be busy in the market with their business (bargains) and our Ansari brothers used to be busy with their property (agriculture). But I (Abu Huraira) used to stick to Allah’s Apostle, content with what will fill my stomach and I used to attend that which they used not to attend and I used to memorize that which they used not to memorize.” (Book #3, Hadith #118)

This example of Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) shows that he was ambitious enough to memorize the ahadith of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), yet he was also content with his restricted provision in this world.

So in summary, to resolve the dilemma is as follows:

Be content with your provision in this dunya. But be ambitious about your akhirah and never be complacent about your good deeds done for Allah. Aim to achieve more in order to please Allah, in your own practice of Islam and in your service to the Ummah – strive for more (sincerity, quality, quantity).

Don’t be afraid to be ambitious for our Ummah in this dunya, and for yourself in the akhirah.

Credits: ProductiveMuslim