Wealth, appearance, children, house, and talents - you
must be content with your share in these things:
(So hold that which I have given you and be of the
grateful.) (Qur'an 7: I44)
Most Islamic scholars and pious Muslims of the early generations
of Islam were poor; needless it is to say, then, that they did not have beautiful
houses or nice cars. Yet, despite these disadvantages, they led fruitful lives,
and they benefited mankind, not by some miracle, but because they used all that
they were given, and spent their time in the correct way. Hence they were
blessed in their lives, their time, and their talents.
On the contrary, there are many people who have been
bestowed with wealth, children, and all forms of blessings, yet these blessings
have been the very reason for their misery and ruin. They deviated from what
their inborn instincts were telling them, namely, that material things are not
everything. Look at those that have obtained degrees from world-renowned
universities, and yet they are paragons of obscurity. Their talents and
abilities remain unused. Meanwhile, others who are limited in the scope of
their knowledge have managed to make mountains out of what they have been
given, benefiting both themselves and society.
If you are a seeker of happiness, be satisfied with
the looks Allah has favored you with, with your family situation, with the
sound of your voice, with the level of your understanding, and with the amount
of your salary. Certain educators go further than this by saying that you
should imagine being contented with even less than you actually have now.
Here for you is a list of those who have shone from
our Islamic heritage despite each being challenged by various disadvantages:
'Ataa ibn Rabah was a world-renowned scholar of his
time. He was not only a freed slave and snub-nosed, but he was also paralyzed.
Al-Ahnaf ibn Qays was famous among the Arabs for his
singular level of patience. He achieved that fame despite being emaciated, humpbacked,
with crooked legs and a fragile frame.
Al-A'mash was among the most famous scholars of hadith
in his time. He was a freed slave, he had bad eyesight, and he was poor. His clothes
were ripped, his appearance was disheveled, and he lived in straitened
ln fact, every Prophet was at one time or another a
shepherd. Dawood (David) was a blacksmith, Zakariah (Zacharia) a carpenter, and
ldrees (Enoch) a tailor; and yet they were the best of mankind.
Therefore your value is in your abilities, good deeds,
manners, and contributions to society. Do not feel grief, then, over that which
has passed you by in life in terms of good looks, wealth, or family; and be
content with what Allah has allotted for you.
(It is we who portion out between them their
livelihood in this world.) (Qur'an 43: 32)
Remind yourself of Paradise, which is as wide as are
the Heavens and the Earth.
lf you are hungry in this world, if you are sad, ill
or oppressed, remember the eternal bliss of Paradise. lf you do this, then your
losses are really profits and the hardships you face are really gifts.
The most wise of people are those that work for the
Hereafter, because it is better and everlasting. And the most foolish of
mankind are those that see this world as their eternal abode - in it reside all
of their hopes. You will find such people to be the most grief-stricken of all
when faced with calamity. They will be the most affected by worldly loss simply
because they see nothing beyond the insignificant lives that they lead. They
see and think only of this impermanent life. They wish for nothing to spoil
them in their state of felicity. Were they to remove the veil of ignorance from
their eyes, they would commune with themselves about the eternal abode - its bliss,
pleasures, and castles. They would listen attentively when they are informed
through the Qur'an and the Sunnah about its description. Indeed, that is the
abode that deserves our attention and merits our striving and our toiling, so
that we may achieve the best of it.
Have we reflected at length about the description of
the inhabitants of Paradise? Illness does not befall them, grief does not come
near them, they die not, they remain young, and their attire remains both
perfect and clean. They are in a beautiful home. In Paradise is found that
which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has imagined. The
rider travels under a tree in Paradise for one hundred years and yet he still
does not reach its end. The length of a tent in Paradise is sixty miles. Its
rivers are constant, its castles are lofty, and its fruits are not only close-by,
but are also easily picked.
(Therein will be a running spring. Therein will be
thrones raised high, and cups set at hand, and cushions set in rows, and rich
carpets [all] spread out.) (Qur'an 88: 12-16)
The happiness of Paradise will be absolute. So why do
we not contemplate this fact?
lf Paradise is our final destination - and we ask
Allah for Paradise - then the hardships of this world are less heavy than they may
seem, so let the hearts of the afflicted ones find solace.
O' you who live in poverty, or are afflicted with
calamity, work righteous deeds so that you shall live in Allah's Paradise.
(Peace be upon you, because you persevered in
patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!)
(Qur'an 13: 24)