QANAA’AH (Contentment)

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QANAA’AH (Contentment)


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 (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), 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.

Imam Ash-Shafi‘ee 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 (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) gave advice to have contentment of heart to one of his Sahaabah, Hadhrat Abu Zarr in the words, which means:

يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ تَقُولُ كَثْرَةُ الْمَالِ الْغِنَى

“O Abu Dharr! Do you say an abundance of possessions is wealth?”

I said:



The Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said:

تَقُولُ قِلَّةُ الْمَالِ الْفَقْرُ

“Do you say a lack of possessions is poverty?”

I said:



The Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) repeated this three times, then he said:

الْغِنَى فِي الْقَلْبِ وَالْفَقْرُ فِي الْقَلْبِ مَنْ كَانَ الْغِنَى فِي قَلْبِهِ لا يَضُرُّهُ مَا لَقِيَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَنْ كَانَ الْفَقْرُ فِي قَلْبِهِ فَلا يُغْنِيهِ مَا أَكْثَرَ لَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَإِنَّمَا يَضُرُّ نَفْسَهُ شُحُّها

“Wealth is in the heart and poverty is in the heart. Whoever is wealthy in his heart will not be harmed no matter what happens in the world. Whoever is impoverished in his heart will not be satisfied no matter how much he has in the world. Verily, he will only be harmed by the greed of his own soul.” (Tabaraani)

The Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) would supplicate Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Almighty, saying:

اَللّٰھُمَّ قَنِّعْنِیْ بِمَا رَزَقْتَنِیْ وَبَارِکْ لِیْ فِیْہ وَاخْلُفْ عَلٰی کُلِّ غَائِبَۃٍ لِیْ بِخَیْرٍ

(Allaahuمma qanni‘ni bima razaqtani wa baarik li feehe wakhluf ‘alaa kulli ghaa’ibatin li bikhair)

“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 (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), 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 (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Almighty, as well as people, will love him, and the following Hadeeth of the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) would apply to him:

ازهد في الدنيا يحبك الله، وازهد فيما عند الناس يحبك الناس

“Have no desire for this world, Allah will love you; and have no desire for what people possess, and the people will love you.” (Ibne Maajah)

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 (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) to Hadhrat Abu Hurairah:

كُنْ وَرِعًا تَكُنْ أَعْبَدَ النَّاسِ وَكُنْ قَنِعًا تَكُنْ أَشْكَرَ النَّاسِ وَأَحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ تَكُنْ مُؤْمِنًا

“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.” (Ibne Maajah)

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 (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Almighty, praised in His Saying:

لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الَّذِينَ أُحْصِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ ضَرْبًا فِي الْأَرْضِ يَحْسَبُهُمُ الْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَاءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ تَعْرِفُهُمْ بِسِيمَاهُمْ لَا يَسْأَلُونَ النَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ [البقرة: 273]

“)Your charities should be preferably meant) for the needy who are confined in the way of Allah, unable to travel in the land. An ignorant person takes them as free of need because of their abstinence. You know them by their appearance (from begging). They do not beg people importunately, and whatever good thing you spend, Allah is All-Aware of it.” (Al-Baqarah 2:273)

Also, the Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) gave us glad tidings as he said:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَرُزِقَ كَفَافًا وَقَنَّعَهُ اللَّهُ بِمَا آتَاهُ

“He is successful who has accepted Islam, who has been provided with sufficient for his want and been made contented by Allah with what He has given him.” (Muslim)

Hadhrat ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab 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 ul Uloom”, Al-Khaleel ibn Ahmad Al-Faraheedi refused to be the private tutor of the son of the ruler of Al-Ahwaz. 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 Sulaiman (the ruler). Then, he said some poetic verses which mean: “Inform Sulaiman 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 (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) was truthful when he said, as reported by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah:

لَيْسَ الْغِنَى عَنْ كَثْرَةِ الْعَرَضِ وَلَكِنَّ الْغِنَى غِنَى النَّفْسِ

“Richness does not lie in the abundance of (worldly) goods but richness is the richness of the soul (heart, self).” (Bukhari & Muslim)

O Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)! 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!