Thursday 22 October 2020

The Virtue of Contentment and Thankfulness

Man by nature is restless, greedy, thankless and never contended with what he has been blessed with. And he is never in a state of having accepted one's situation, always eyeing what others have or blessed with. Even believers, despite having faith in Allah, fall prey to these evil desires and are seen lamenting of having been given less for their efforts while complaining that others have more even if they tried less. This even happened in the times of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ when dishing out their share from Zakat and spoils of war.

For such discontented and thankless people, the following 59th verse of Surah 9. At Tauba was revealed:

وَلَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ رَضُوۡا مَاۤ اٰتٰٮهُمُ اللّٰهُ وَرَسُوۡلُهٗۙ وَقَالُوۡا حَسۡبُنَا اللّٰهُ سَيُؤۡتِيۡنَا اللّٰهُ مِنۡ فَضۡلِهٖ وَ رَسُوۡلُهٗۙ اِنَّاۤ اِلَى اللّٰهِ رٰغِبُوۡنَ
Would that they were content with what Allah and His Messenger gave them, and were to say: "Allah suffices for us, and Allah will give us out of His bounty and so will His Messenger. It is to Allah alone that we turn with hope."

Talking of the discontented and thankless, it is being said it would have been much better for them if they had been content with their share of the spoils which the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave them and what they earned by the grace of Allah and with the prosperity Allah had bestowed on them. It would have been good for them to adopt this attitude: “Sufficient is Allah for us,” for they ought to have known that they would receive their due shares besides the Zakat collections out of the wealth that would come to the state treasury, just as they were receiving their shares previously.

“Indeed to Allah we are suppliants” means we give our attention to Allah and His grace and not to the world and its worthless riches and we desire to obey His will: we direct our expectations and hopes to Him and we are content with what He bestows on us.

In fact more the people gain the trivial goods of this life, the greater becomes the hunger and the consequent burning of their hearts. Moreover, there is no end for worldly desires and greed. But as for those who seek God, the more they turn to Him, the greater is their peace of mind. This means that a search for the divine or a supreme Deity is inherent within human nature and the innermost yearning of a human being. The real and ultimate goal of a person's life.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This honorable Ayah contains a gracious type of conduct and an honorable secret. Allah listed; contentment with what He and His Messenger give, trusting in Allah alone, by saying; (and they had said: Allah is sufficient for us), and hoping in Allah alone, and He made these the indications of obedience to the Messenger , adhering to his commands, avoiding his prohibitions, believing his narrations and following his footsteps.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "what God has given them, and His Apostle": a typically Qur'anic construction meant to bring out the fact that the real giver is God, and that the Apostle is His instrument. Although this passage relates, primarily, to the hypocrites at Medina and the historical situation obtaining at the time of the expedition to Tabuk, the import of these verses goes beyond the historical occasion of their revelation, describing as it does "the attitude and mentality of hypocrites of all times, and everywhere" (Manar X, 567). Consequently, we may assume that the reference, in this context, to "God's Apostle" is not confined to the person of the Prophet Muhammad but implies, metonymically, the Law of Islam as revealed through him - and, thus, to every government that holds authority by virtue of that Law and rules in accordance with it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Selfish men think that charitable funds are fair game for raids, but the Islamic standards on this subject are very high. The enforcement of such standards is always unpopular, and even the Holy Prophet was subjected to obloquy and slander for his strictness to principle. In doubtful cases, claimants who are disappointed should not blame the principles or those who enforce them, but put their trust in Allah, whose bounties are unbounded, and are given to all, whether rich or poor, according to their needs and their deserts. For every one it is excellent advice to say: deserve before you desire.
Now in the backdrop of the above quoted verse, just look around or even peep inside, and we will find much of discontentment and less of thankfulness. In fact the more one is given, more greedier one becomes. That is why we find wealthy and well normally miser for they do not want to share and part with their wealth. And there are many a poor, who are rich at heart and even for one morsel of food, their hands are raised, thanking Allah for the blessing. 
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has been quoted as saying: "If the son of Adam (the human being) were given a valley full of riches, he would love to have a second one; and if he were given the second one, he would love to have a third, for nothing satisfies the belly of Adam's son except dust (of the grave). And Allah forgives he who repents (turns) to Him." (Saheeh Bukhari-Vol 8:book 76)
If all believers start to being contended and share even a fraction of what is given to them, the world would be much happier place to live in. The contentment that comes by sharing is really soul satisfying. It is for this reason, contentment and the pursuit of contentment is the central thread of Islam and believers have been asked many a times in the Qur'an to follow a simple and contended life and being thankful what they have been blessed with.

May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
| Reference: | 1 | | 2 | 3 | 4  | 5 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Qur'ān officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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