In Pursuit of Happiness…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Allah says: “Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allāh and approval. And what is the worldly life except for the enjoyment of delusion.” ( Qur’an 57:20)

moneyHappiness or Money?

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”

I believe that money can’t buy you happiness. Sure, having a lot of money is a great thing and gets rid of the stress of financial insecurity. But real happiness can’t be bought by money. Thinking about life has led me to think about this popular belief and realise it’s completely true. Although being financially secure is one of the best things in the world, it won’t necessarily bring you happiness. Many people dream of being rich. They think of all the things they can buy with money such as big houses, fancy cars, and long vacations. People make it their goal to get into a good college to get a good job and make a lot of money. With financial security, people think they have more time to spend relaxing and being happy. There are so many success stories of people going from “rags to riches” and people try to follow their footsteps and do the same thing. Basically, we all get this idea that being rich is a great thing and it will guarantee happiness, but is it true? On the flip side, there are also people who have gone from millionaires (karor pati) to living off benefits (road pati).

 

As Muslims we are taught to rely on Allah SWT for our sustenance, Allah provides. Obviously, tie your camel then trust in Allah. I would like to narrate a passage from a lecture of an Imam from Madinah –  Shaykh Muhammad al-Mukhtar ash-Sinqitee (Allah preserve him): “The happiest of people is the one who addresses his complaints to Allah and not to his creation. The happiest of people is the one who puts his certainty in Allah and does not put his certainty in Zayd or Amr (i.e. people). If a person was in debt and your friend said I will talk to such and such a person he is wealthy. And your debt will be relieved very easily by that person. How certain will you be about your debt being settled and your hardship being removed?

But how about the King of Kings the One who has depositories of the Heavens and the Earth in His hand? How about the Most Generous, which the fullness of His Hand is not affected by the continuous spending, night and day. O Allah! Make our poorness to You, and our richness in You. Be rich in Allah, have trust in Allah. People turning away from you is indeed a blessing from Allah, He wants you to turn to Him.”

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

“Many a people with dishevelled hair are driven away from the door (but they are so pious) that if they are to swear in the name of Allah, He would definitely fulfil that.” (Saheeh Muslim)

The happiest of people are the one who says, “Ya Rabb!” – and Allah answers his supplications. By Allah! Happiness is not in wealth; if it was in wealth, the happiest of the people would have been Qaroon, but he was amongst the most unfortunate and miserable of people, “And we caused the earth to swallow him and his home.” (28:81)

Wealth is not happiness and happiness is not when you ask people and they give you. True happiness is when Allah will open the doors of heaven for you, Allah make us from them. Ameen!

It was narrated from Abū Hurayrah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) that the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) used to tie a stone to his stomach because of hunger. (Ibnul Arabi in Mu’jam)

Money only makes a person want more money – it creates greed and thrives off the desire for more and more. I heard someone recently say regarding another person who has a fulfilling business that ‘he’s lazy and not enthusiastic’ simply because he has shown a level of contentment within his business and refuses to advance it further.

Why? Because, unlike many many others, by Allah, he has resisted that monetary lust and has sukoon/peace in the amount he has. And why was he called lazy? Because unfortunately, today, many people think that the successful and admirable one is he who is able to keep the revenue rolling constantly until there is more money than one will EVER need.

Abū Saʿīd Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

“The world is sweet and green (alluring) and verily Allāh is going to install you as vicegerent in it in order to see how you act. So avoid the allurement of women: verily, the first trial for the people of Isrā’īl was caused by women. (And in the ḥadīth transmitted on the authority of Ibn Bashshar the words are:) so that He should see how you act.” (Saheeh Muslim)

 

The feeling of constantly wanting to generate money has terrible, subconscious effects on oneself. The person is in a constant trance-like mode whereby he is forever thinking about the next project that will bring him a profit and in this there is no barakah/blessings in his day for any extra Qur’an, adhkar and Islamic progression. Many so-called religious folks try justifying their love for wealth and materialism by stating companions such as Uthman Ghani (Allah be pleased with him) and AbdulRehman ibn Awf (Allah be pleased with him) who were wealthy… Dear brothers and sisters, with the wealth of Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) must come the Taqwa of Uthman as well! Scholars have also got sucked into materialism and consumerism, please see this article on scholars charging for Da’wah.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was seen by ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) with dust on his clothes from having slept on the floor. ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) wished to provide the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) with a more comfortable bed and the reply was,

“What have I to gain in this world? The like of this world is as that of a traveller who is travelling in the sun and he sits under a tree momentarily and then gets up and continues on.” (Tirmidhi)

For example, In “The High Price Of Materialism” Tim Kasser says, No matter how many fancy designer clothes, cars, or jewels they might obtain, no matter how big their house or how up-to-date their electronic equipment, the lost opportunity to engage in pleasurable activities and enjoy each others’ companionship will work against need satisfaction, and thus against their happiness.

Happiness is the most valuable aim of a human being. While the earth is getting complicated and changing day by day, almost all people are trying to have a happy and fulfilling life. During this pursuit of happiness, our relationships play a crucial role. In the pace of life, when we have encountered some stressful or disappointing situation or cases, in order to take a breath we always consult our families and fly into our family’s arms. If we have our own families and their real support, it is the most reliable way to reach happiness and relief. But sometimes people can be in a dilemma between possessions and relationships. This is the point of collapsing real happiness because when the passion of money comes to a person, he starts to abandon his family. He thinks as if money will bring them happiness and a good life. But it won’t. As Tim Kasser says in the article of Mixed Messages “a focus on materialistic values detracts from well-being and happiness. For example, when spouses spend most of their time working to make money, they neglect opportunities to be with each other and do what most interests them.” And again in Downshifting in Britain

As you can see in these sentences as long as people don’t allocate enough time for their families, there is no way to make them happy.love life

“Difficulties in managing work-life balance can have a detrimental impact on the quality of the relationships between parents and children and the parent’s responsiveness to the child, with implications for child outcomes. This is particularly important for every young child, with evidence suggesting that it is best for children if they can receive intensive parental contact for the first months (HM Treasury & DTI 2003, p 13-14).”

The word ‘happy’ is defined by the Oxford dictionary as: “Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment,” however happiness means different things to each individual person. Most people’s definition of happiness would include words along the lines of ‘love’ and ‘health’, and others may include ‘family’ ‘friends’ ‘belief’ ‘achievement’ these are all things that money does not give you. The truly happy people I’ve known have been those who were engaged in meaningful work, paid or unpaid. These people were so busy living their lives in pursuit of something larger than themselves that they had no time to wonder, “Am I happy?” They just were.

The other most important step to reach happiness is our satisfaction. Because actually, the money doesn’t make us happy, it can help us just by providing some satisfaction. When we lost our satisfaction, it means we lost our happiness and this is exactly what our possessions do. Lots of people in consumer countries and societies think that they always need more money than they have now, even if they are wealthy and rich people. In the book of Clive Hamilton, this situation is stated with this sentence: “The trouble with the rat race is, even if you win, you are still a rat.” Because of the society that they belong to, they are convinced that more money means always more happiness. So without exception, all people are trying to have more possessions to be satisfied by being able to buy what they need.

In conclusion, I believe that money provides temporary satisfaction but that is up to you to figure out how to truly be happy. You need to start with basics like enough money for food and shelter, but if you try to build on your fortune then you must keep your priorities right; friends and family first. If you lose your money, then who will be there for you to catch you when you fall from that high horse that you have been riding for so long? Your friends and family. My definition of happiness would be living a healthy life surrounded by my family and friends, yes I would need money for food and shelter but after that, how much do I really need?

Anas bin Mālik (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allāh makes his heart rich, and organises his affairs, and the world comes to him whether it wants to or not. And whoever makes the world his goal, Allāh puts his poverty right before his eyes and disorganises his affairs, and the world does not come to him, except what has been decreed for him.” (Tirmidhi)life.jpg

Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure)

24 Rabiul Thani 1440

 

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Spending to Success

By Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

Sadaqah does not decrease wealth. (Muslim)

We learn from this hadīth that no one will ever suffer financial loss due to spending in the path of Allāh ta’ālā. This principle is absolute. Financial experts and economists may not agree, but the words of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam can never be wrong. The intellect says that spending, whether in sadaqah or for worldly matters, decreases one’s wealth. It calculates that someone with £1,000 who spends £100 on helping an orphan or widow, or on building a masjid, will be left with £900, so spending decreases wealth. However, sadaqah does not decrease wealth, and the thought that it does comes from Shaytān, and is in direct contradiction to the teachings of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Shaytān’s Promise

This ploy of Shaytān has been described in the Qur’ān:

Shaytān promises you poverty, and commands you to indecency… (2:268)

When dealing with people who are not particularly religious, Shaytān scares them with the threat of poverty and tries to persuade them not to spend in the path of Allāh ta’ālā at all. The approach he takes with religious people is to persuade them to spend only what is obligatory, arguing that anything beyond that would lead to poverty. He asserts that zakāh, which is fard, is already a drain on resources, so giving voluntary sadaqah will only incur a further decrease in wealth. Furthermore, he reminds them of their other religious financial obligations, like spending on their families etc. in an attempt to discourage them from spending voluntarily in the path of Allāh ta’ālā.

Shaytān will exert his energies to stop a person spending a mere £5 towards the construction of a masjid, scaring him with thoughts of poverty, yet he will allow the same individual to happily squander £50 in the marketplace, as he has no interest in preventing him from doing so. He stops believers spending in ways that bring the pleasure of Allāh ta’ālā, and encourages them to indulge in isrāf – being extravagant and wasteful with money – as it brings the displeasure of Allāh ta’ālā.

It is therefore essential that we do muhāsabah (self assessment) at every step in case our approach to spending is actually lowering our value in the eyes of Allāh ta’ālā, curbing our spiritual and religious progress and pleasing Shaytān.

Allāh ta’ālā’s Promise

…And Allāh promises you forgiveness from Himself and Abundance; and Allāh is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (2:268)

While Shaytān promises only one thing, poverty, Allāh ta’ālā promises two: forgiveness and an increase in wealth. The first of these is a blessing that secures success in the hereafter, and the second brings ease in the world.

If £1 is spent in the path of Allāh ta’ālā, the minimum He will give in return to the giver is £10, a tenfold increase. Thereafter, Allāh ta’ālā increases the return by whatever multiple he wishes, up to seven hundred times and beyond, depending on the level of sincerity with which sadaqah is given and the difficulties borne by the giver. Someone who only has £100 and gives £1 makes a bigger sacrifice than someone who has £1,000 and spends £1; if the latter is rewarded tenfold with £10, the former will be rewarded with even more.

The Return on Sadaqah

In fact, Allāh ta’ālā has appointed an angel who supplicates night and day:

O Allāh, bestow a [good] return on the spender. (Al-Bukhārī)

The manner in which Allāh ta’ālā, through His wisdom, gives this return can take a number of forms:

1) Allāh ta’ālā rewards the giver with an actual increase in wealth, either straight away or after some time.

2) When someone who is well-off spends in sadaqah, Allāh ta’ālā may not give the return to him, but instead He may give it to a needy member of his offspring in the future.

3) By giving sadaqah Allāh ta’ālā protects the giver’s remaining wealth from future loss, and this is a return in itself. For example, a person was going to suffer a loss of £1,000, but by giving £200 sadaqah he is protected from that loss. He has, in effect, been given £800.

Become a Skilled Spender

Moreover, Allāh ta’ālā will reward the person in the hereafter too and will multiply his reward according to the same principles mentioned above, i.e. if a person spends £1 , Allāh ta’ālā will reward him for spending at least £10, and thereafter more according the level of sincerity and sacrifice.

Allāh ta’ālā uses a beautiful example to illustrate how He multiplies the reward for spending in His path:

The example of those who spend in the way of Allāh is just like a grain that produced seven ears, each ear having a hundred grains; and Allāh multiplies [the reward further] for whom He wills. Allāh is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (2:261)

Allāh ta’ālā compares the reward of spending in His path to planting a single grain, which produces a plant bearing seven hundred grains. Allāh ta’ālā repays a person who spends with sincerity in His path and patiently bears any difficulties involved, by giving a reward in the hereafter equal to having spent seven hundred times the amount that was actually spent. Further, at a time of His choosing He rewards the giver with seven hundred times the original amount in this very world. And that is not all: Allāh ta’ālā gives even more when He wills.

Allāh ta’ālā’s use of a similitude in this verse, instead of just saying that He will give a seven-hundred-fold reward, provides us with a number of important lessons related to spending in the path of Allāh ta’ālā:

1) A seed will only germinate and grow if the ground it is sown in is fertile. Similarly, sadaqah will only produce reward and an increase in wealth if it is spent on a proper and deserving cause.

2) The seed must not be rotten but must be healthy and sound. Similarly, the wealth given in sadaqah must not be harām, but must have been acquired by halāl means.

3) The person sowing the seed must be proficient in planting. He must know how to plough the ground, how deep to sow the seed, how to water it etc. Similarly, the person giving sadaqah must be proficient in the masā’il related to spending.

So sadaqah will only produce a seven-hundred-fold harvest when the ‘ground’ and the ‘seed’ are sound and the giver is a competent ‘farmer’. And it is only then that sadaqah will be a true investment for the future.

May Allāh ta’ālā grant us all the ability to spend in His path and earn the vast rewards He has promised in both worlds. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 18 No. 5, May 2009)

Burma: Where Were the Muslims?

By Khalid Baig
 jeremy-bishop-295475.jpg
Just imagine the year is 2100 CE, long after we are all dead. A school child is studying Muslim history of the last century. He finds extremely disturbing events that took place at the beginning of that century. More than a million people were persecuted with murders, expulsions from homes, and dishonoring of Muslim women. The most disturbing fact is that it was not that Muslim armies fought and lost; these were simply one-sided battles with armies of murderers, rapists, and thugs victimizing innocent and helpless people.
Where were the Muslims, he wonders. He finds that despite a successful effort by their adversaries to reduce their numbers through birth control, there were still 1.2 billion of them in the world. They were on all continents, in all countries. More than 50 countries in the world had majority Muslim populations and Muslim rulers. Did they have no armies or weapons? Actually, they had big armies and lot of weapons. One country was even a nuclear power and had successfully developed ballistic missiles that could hit faraway targets. Another Muslim country with a big army was just next to the troubled area. Some of the countries were very rich. Together, they had sufficient resources to stop the atrocities.
Maybe they did not get the news of the tragic events in time. Actually, they did have good communication equipment. Although they did not really control that equipment and those controlling it used to color and distort things a lot, yet Muslims everywhere were able to hear and see the horrors faced by their fellow brothers and sisters as they were taking place. They saw their plight, they heard their cries, but not a soldier moved from the Muslim world to help those whose lives, honors, and properties were being trampled simply because they were Muslims.

 

Maybe they had become totally indifferent to the plight of their fellows. Maybe they had lost their faith— no, lost their soul — so they just did not care. Actually, despite all their problems, individual Muslims all over the world were still deeply concerned about their fellows. They talked about them. They raised money for them. They prayed for them. They desperately petitioned whoever they thought could help.
Then what was happening? The student is perplexed. As he continues to dig through historical accounts, he finds something curious. As the massacres were continuing in Burma, a big army assembled by Saudi Arabia was busy attacking Muslims in Yemen.
Their enemies had certainly done their part in igniting the flames of those internecine wars, but they had tried that throughout history. The intriguing development that facilitated this fiasco was a strange new ideology that had gripped the Muslim world. The devastating ideology was that of the nation-state. According to it each Muslim country was an independent nation. And so they became. Each with its own national flag, national anthem, national days, and national interests. As Muslim governments took legitimacy from the concept of nation-state, they owed their allegiance to it also — when they did not owe their allegiance to their foreign masters. In the halls of power, the ummah died. Muslim leaders did talk about the ummah but only as a remote, ceremonial entity. The governments and armies were there to protect the national boundaries and national interests; nobody looked after the boundaries or interests of the ummah.
The murders, arsons, and dishonoring of women in Kashmir was not the concern of anyone except Pakistan and that only because the area was a strategic source of Pakistan’s water. If it were not for the “national interests,” Pakistan would have nothing to do with them either. The brutalization of Muslims in Palestine was not the concern of anyone except the Palestinians themselves. Even Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa had become Palestinian problems. Burma was responsibility of no one, because it did not exist at all on the new maps of national interests.

 

It was a bizarre ideology, exported by the colonial powers so their hold would remain strong even after they had formally given up the colonies. But in those strange days people normally had one of two reactions to most anything that came from their former colonial masters; they either welcomed it, thinking it would bring them progress and happiness, or they became resigned to it thinking it inevitable. However, the ideology of nation-states was exactly opposed to the Islamic idea of one ummah and life was torn between the conflicting concepts. Hajj symbolized the dichotomy. It was the annual reminder that Muslims are one people, as believers from all over the world wore the same two-sheet dress, circumbulated the same Ka’ba, making the same commitment “O Allah I am here”. It had also been turned into a reminder of the most important belonging of a pilgrim: his passport. Without that certificate of belonging to a nation-state no one could perform Hajj or even move from one point to another in the sacred land.
The student finally understands the ideological trap that guaranteed the tragedies of Burma and Bosnia and Kosova and Iraq and Afghanistan and … and… an endless list. But he cannot figure out why did Muslims of the period allow themselves to be so trapped. Did they not remember the Qur’anic declaration, “The Believers are but a Single Brotherhood.” [AlHujarat, 49:10]. Did they not remember the Qur’anic command, “Hold fast together the Rope that Allah has extended for you and do not dispute among yourselves.” [Aale-Imran, 3:103]. Did they not remember the hadith, “Muslims are one body. If any part of the body is suffering the whole body feels the pain.” Did they not know that the devastating idea of nation-states was actually the idea of creating permanent divisions in the ummah?  What was going through their minds? Why did they allow themselves to be imprisoned in the cage of that stinking nationalism?
He gives up. History is so full of intrigues!
Post Script:
People have been asking why Pakistan is indifferent to the plight of Burma’s persecuted Muslims plight.
This is the wrong question to ask. For Pakistan is not indifferent. It has extended its hand of support —- to, yes, the Burmese government. 
“The governments of Pakistan and Myanmar are now in “advanced negotiations” to licence-build the JF-17, a single-engine multi-role fighter jet, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, an independent defence news agency, reported.”
What is more, they are quite proud of this achievement.
“According to PAC chairman Air Marshal Javaid Ahmed, the first sale of Pakistan-made jets to a foreign nation has been a “milestone in the country’s aviation history.”

Of course this was nearly two years after the report that showed strong evidence of genocide of Burma’s Muslim by its government.

(In 1999 I wrote Kosova: Where were the Muslims. Nearly two decades later it is the same story. This article is an adaptation of the earlier article).