Posts

Being Patient Despite Financial Hardship

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat advises on how to bear the trials and hardships that one faces with patience and acceptance.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I’m a young adult and it seems my family and I have never ending financial difficulties. I feel we are all doing our best, yet we struggle even with meeting our daily needs sometimes. The fact that money controls a lot in your life is taking a toll on me.

This question can go much deeper because everyone has different circumstances but what I”m trying to get at is how do I make sure I’m being patient, pleased with, and grateful when I feel so beaten down by life.

Is there a specific dua you would recommend? At times I do get angry and discontented with my situation. and often at myself because I feel like I’m not helping out in my family financially as much as I should. What limits me is my mental illness, I can’t really function due to it. Any advice will be appreciated.

Thank you.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Everyone is tested in life. The tests are not necessarily a bad thing. Allah changes us through the tests for the better. Sometimes we feel pain because others hurt us, and sometimes our situation in general pushes us to the limit of what we can bear.

Throughout all of this one should remember the words of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, “[I am truly] amazed at the affair of the believer. Everything that happens to him is the best for him – and that is not the case for anyone except the believer! If good times come to him He is grateful and that is best for him. And if difficulties come to him he is patient and that is better for him.”

It is important to note that the one expressing wonder here in this hadith is the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. He was granted more knowledge of the reality of things than anyone else created by Allah. If he was amazed by the great consequences of the tests a believer faces in life, then we should realize that everything that happens to a believer is a gift from our Loving Lord.

Allah Makes Us Grow Through Trials

Our difficulties do not leave us as the people we were before we were tested with them. This growth is on many levels – but most importantly, it is a means of drawing closer to Allah. The key to it is patience.

Patience (Sabr), in many prophetic narrations, is connected to expecting a reward from Allah (Ihtisab). This means that one of the means to getting through a difficulty is to keep your focus on the rewards Allah has promised His believing servants. This will help you look beyond your immediate difficulties and see the bigger picture.

Maryam – the Mother of Isa

It is possible to become overwhelmed with emotions when in very difficult situations, as was the case with Sayyidi Maryam when she was giving birth the prophet Isa, Allah bless them and our Messenger, and give them all peace.

She was from a family of righteous people with prophets as relatives and ancestors. She had been known for righteousness, and had been pledged to worship in the synagogue by her mother from before her birth. She was the paragon on virtue, religiousness, and chastity. And suddenly she found herself all alone, giving birth to a child who had no father.

Imagine all her feelings, her pain, her worry, her fear of people leveling accusations against her out of ignorance, and what her family must endure because of it. All of this, combined with the difficulties of labor made her say, “O how I wish that I had died long before this, or that I was some worthless object, forgotten.” (Sura Maryam 19:23).

Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ajiba, when commenting on this verse said that it is possible to say something unbecoming when overwhelmed by a situation, but one should not stay in such a state. How? By looking at those before us, and how their trials ended up being the means of them being raised above others.

She gave birth to one of the greatest of the prophets, and someone through whom Allah will give the ultimate victory to the Muslims through at the End of Times. She attained the highest rank of iman a believer can be blessed with and was used as a role model for believing women in the Qur’an. She is fortunate to be the mother of Isa, and he is also blessed to be her son.

Where are all these virtues, and where is the pain she experienced in those fleeting moments?

Practical Steps

Keep reminding yourself that Allah – the All-Merciful – is using this test as a means of making you draw closer to Him. He has been giving you blessings all your life. In reality, if we think about matters, we live better than many kings did in the past. Just the blessing of being able to flush your waste down the toilet, and not having to haul it outside to dispose of it is something many people could not do without.

Shaykh Ahmad b. Ataʾillah advised us, “Let the pain of your tribulation be lightened by your knowing that it is He – Transcendent beyond imperfections is He  – who is the one testing you. The one from whom the blows of fate have come is the very same being who has accustomed you to Him choosing the best for you.” (Ibn Ataʾillah, al-Hikam).

If he has granted you priceless gifts such as faith, He certainly has a plan for you. Watch it unfold.

Seek Treatment

You mental issues clearly play a part in your difficulties. Seek medical treatment and try to keep the company of people who will inspire and support you. This is critical. You cannot rise if you spend time with people who kick you down.

One Day at a Time

Don’t worry about the next week, month, or year. Live each day with your concern being the five prayers, and thanking Allah for what you do have in them. Worrying about the long term leads to anxiety.

Part of the trick here is letting things unfold as they do. Resisting leads to pain. Let things happen. Allah will take care of you. Remembrance of Allah helps a great deal with this. Send blessings on the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, with the focus on Allah raising His rank and giving him more blessings. This will help avert your focus on your own pain.

Ask Allah

Whatever the difficulty is – financial or otherwise – the only one who can fix things in reality is Allah. Turn to Him, pray for others in a similar situation, and you’ll see a response. Even if it takes a while to come. It will come.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim.

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 


 

Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Assalamu alaikum.  For the past couple of years I’ve been noticing that AL I make enough money but its tough to make both ends meet – Its like it vanishes away, it is taking a toll on my wife and I and we stay tense most of the time about it … Is there an obligatory duty being missed ? We do regular charity at a masjid and zakat, maybe its not getting accepted ?

Answer
: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question.

You have noted that your income is not insufficient or little in terms of its amount and how much one would expect would cover their expenses, but for some unexplainable reason, it never seems to be enough for the needs of the home.  This is a sign – not of a lack of wealth, but rather of a lack of divine blessings (barakah) in that wealth.

There are things that one can do to increase the barakah of one’s wealth.  First, we need to understand the meaning of barakah, then look at ways to increase it, and end with some advice on the role of wealth in one’s life.

What is Barakah?

Barakah is a term that means an “increase” and “growth”- and also, happiness.  It is the establishment of divine goodness in something; from whence it exudes cannot be sensed by people, nor can it be outwardly quantified, nor is it limited by anything, but rather, something with barakah in it is called mubaarak, and has an unexplainable increase and benefit in it from Allah. [al-Isfahani, Mufradaat al-Qur’an]

Having more barakah in one’s wealth does not mean the dollar amount increases- rather, that the benefits seen from that limited amount increase, reach further and last longer.

Barakah in anything, especially wealth, which is a part of one’s destined sustenance from Allah Most High, can increase and decrease depending on the good and bad actions one does.

The Means of Brining Barakah Into One’s Wealth- and Life

There are many, many different means we can take to bring barakah into our wealth, and indeed, into every aspect of our lives.  The most important thing to remember is that these are only means – worldly causes that we put forth with our human efforts- but the One who gives wealth and bestows blessings in the first place is Allah Most High.

Hence, these actions are not mathematical formulae for automatic increase.  One must keep Allah at the forefront of one’s seeking in this world, and make pleasing and reaching Him the ultimate goal, rather than the increase of wealth.  Amongst the things that one can do are:

1.    Earn a lawful (Halal) and wholesome income:  Ensure that your line of work does not contravene the Sacred Law and that your wealth is lawful.  This not only includes what work you do, but who you work for and their source of income as well.  Ensure that your work is ethical and moral.

2.    Work with excellence, loyalty and honesty:  Do not take a single penny except that you duly deserve it.  Do not squander the time and resources that you employer is paying for.  Be loyal and honest at work.  Nothing reduces barakah like cheating or deception in a sale, or unethical practices like bribes. [al-Razi, Mafatih al-Ghaib]

3.    Make a good intention for Allah’s sake: purify your intention to earn for Allah’s sake, to provide for your family, to not have to borrow and ask from others, and to do works of good for others.

4.    Avoid interest in all its forms, as much as possible.  This includes taking it, or paying it out.  If you must pay it due to a debt, work as hard as possible to pay it off in a short time then resolve not to enter into it again.

5.    Give thanks for what you have been given: Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “And if you all give thanks [to Me, for what I have bestowed on you], I shall surely increase you.” [al-Qur’an 14:7]  Thank Allah with your tongue, your heart, by using His blessings for good purposes, and by obeying and worshipping Him. [al-Alusi, Ruh al-Ma’ani]

6.    Give in charity, both yourself and your wife: this includes the obligatory charities (Zakat, Sadaqatul Fitr and the Qurbani for those with sufficient wealth), but also optional charity to good causes.   The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Charity does not reduce wealth.” [Muslim, Sahih]  The physical amount outwardly decreases, but the remaining amount attracts barakah so that the actual benefit from it is not less. [al-Nawawi, Sharh Muslim]

7.    Be God-conscious and increase in piety:  Allah Most High says, “Whosoever is conscious of Allah, He makes for them a way out [of any difficulty] and provides for them sustenance from whence they cannot not conceive.” [al-Qur’an, 65:2-3]

8.    Place your full trust in Allah Most High:  Know that Allah is providing for you and sustaining you at each moment.  Do not worry constantly and have fear- this is from the Shayton, who tries to instill fear of poverty, while Allah offers bounties [al-Quran 2:268].  Allah Most High says, “…and whosoever puts their full reliance on Allah, then He is sufficient for them.” [al-Quran, 65:3]

9.    Establish prayer (al-salah) in your home: work to establish the obligatory prayers amongst your family, and encourage extra optional (nafl) prayers as well.  [al-Biqa’i, Tafsir]

10.    Read Qur’an in the home: the reading of Surah al-Waqi’ah is known to prevent poverty in a house.  It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed, the house in which the Qur’an is recited- the goodness [in it] increases…” and in another version, “things are made easier for its family.” [Ibn Kathir, Tafsir]

11.    Be generous and give gifts: this means giving people around you things that they love, from the things that you love.  Start with your immediate family, and relatives, and neighbors.  Become more generous and open-handed, and try to fight the urge to be stingy.

12.    Be obedient, dutiful and respectful to your parents: this is a means of increase in one’s lifespan and sustenance.  [al-Sha’rani, Lawaqih al-Anwar al-Qudsiyya]

13.    Keep up family ties and do good to relatives: it is mentioned that the barakah comes in the act of enjoining family relations only when it is combined with piety and God-fearingness [Ibn Hibban, Sahih]

14.    Do not lie or say false oaths [Ibn Hajr, Fath al-Bari]

15.    Give a little more than what you owe people when selling or paying someone [al-Munawi, Sharh Fayd al Qadeer]

16.    Try to work starting in the early part of the day:  Preferably, try do become productive after Fajr and do not sleep through the early part of the day.  Try to work in mornings, as the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) prayed, “Oh Allah, give barakah to my Ummah in their early-morning work.” [Ibn Majah, Sunan]

17.    Eat together: the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “…Gather together to eat your food, and say Allah’s name over it (bismillah) and you will be blessed in it,” [Abu Dawud, Sunan] and “Eat together, all of you, and do not separate individually, because the barakah is in the group.” [Ibn Majah, Sunan]

18.    Invite the pious to eat from your food: the Prophet (peace be upon him) made dua’ for his host that pious people eat from his food, as it attracts barakah.  It also promotes good company that changes the atmosphere of the home.  [al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra]

19.    Ask Allah’s forgiveness often in your home and elsewhere through saying “astaghferallah”. [al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al Imaan]

20.    Be easy-going, of kind nature, and forgiving to others: this includes from your spouse and family, to even those who do you wrong.  This should spur you to heal relations with anyone you or your family may have a rift with.  [al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadeer]

21.    Do not be wasteful and extravagant, nor overly-attached to worldly things: this includes finishing all of one’s food and living in moderation. [ibid]

22.    Finally, ask Allah Most High to bless you with wealth: when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked to pray for young Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), the first thing he prayed for was wealth, amongst others things [Bukhari].  Ask Allah to put the wealth in your hand, and not in your heart.

There are countless more ways to attract barakah into one’s life and earnings, mentioned in the vast Islamic primary sources as well as the wisdom of the scholars and righteous.  We will suffice with what has been mentioned above.

The Reality of Financial Difficulties

When a Muslim’s finances are tight, this is a test from Allah Most High.  It is a mercy in disguise because through something as worldly as wealth, Allah causes us to turn towards Him in earnestness.  It teaches us patience and contentment, and results in forgiveness of sins and reliance on Allah.

However, the general rule of thumb to attract blessings is always the same.  When we attach our hearts to Allah Most High and submit to Him completely, and make Him our sole goal and purpose and not the blessings, then the barakah will enter our lives from all sides without us having to worry about it.

Wasalam,

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani