Is it OK to Seek a Better Career & Luxurious Life?

14 July, 2020
Q My family is very career driven, and I have always been advised by my parents to continuously develop my skills so that I can continuously move on to better and higher paying jobs.As I learn more about Islam, it seems that Allah gives no value for wordly accomplishments. As far as my Islamic knowledge goes, it seems like the effort and time that I put into bettering my career will be of no value to me on judgement day.I understand that we are rewarded for seeking out enough sustenance to survive, but what about when we already have a comfortable life? Does Allah reward us for seeking more of his bounty when we already have enough to live a comfortable life, or does he dislike it?

Answer

Short Answer:

  • Is it OK to Seek a Better Career & Luxurious Life? The more we have the greater our responsibilities and obligations. Islam emphasises unity in Islam, we are part of the Muslim Ummah. Allah does not set a limit providing we are grateful to Him, and our means are Halal.
  • We should interact with society. Those that have more, Allah has given them for a reason. They should show their gratitude to Allah and accept their responsibility to do more for their society and the Ummah. This is the caring and sharing aspect of Islam that is such an important aspect for each one of us.

………….

Thank you for your question. It is a very important one. This is because many people view materialistic benefits in isolation. The solution is to see them as part of the Islamic way of life.

Is it OK to Seek a Better Career & Luxurious Life?

Let us be clear, there is nothing wrong with being career driven unless it is exclusive. We should have goals and objectives and a way to measure how well we are doing, but this should not just be financial rewards.

As a person progresses in their career they accept greater responsibilities. Similarly, the wealthier a person becomes the greater his responsibilities and obligations become.

Just think, did you make progress solely on your own efforts, or, did Allah create the situation(s) to enable you to progress, and who gave you your inherent potential and capabilities, etc? 

Purpose in life

What is our purpose in life? To worship Allah.

 “I did not create jinn and humans except to worship Me ….” [Qur’an 51:56]

What is Worship?

If your answer is the five pillars of Islam, you are, sadly, only partly correct. As a definition of worship would be something like: Any action, done solely for the sake of Allah (right intention), following the legal ways of the Prophet pbuh, is an act of worship.

If we were to study the life of Muhammad pbuh we would understand his concept of worship. He is our role model.

So, worship can cover all our actions as, actions are according to our intentions. The five pillars of Islam form the basics of our training to worship. 

It is related by Umar ibn Khattab that he heard the Messenger of God say,

“Actions are only according to intentions, and to each only what he intended. Whoever emigrates towards God and His Messenger, his emigration is towards God and His Messenger; whoever emigrates for the attainment of a worldly goal or in order to marry a woman, then his emigration is only towards what he emigrated to.” [Bukhari/Muslim] 

Discussion

I think we can now see that if one’s ‘vision’ is restricted to this world , then our actions are also restricted to this world. 

However, if we give our actions a spiritual dimension, that is, we do them for Allah, then the benefit is directed to the next life as well as to this life.

In a similar way, if we think in terms of money, or a person becoming richer as s/he earns more in monetary wealth, is s/he only becoming wealthy in this world? What is their standing in the next world? If we become richer or make progress in our career we should be grateful to Allah. It is Allah Who makes all things possible. 

Wealth 

There is nothing un-Islamic about being wealthy providing the means were halal. With wealth comes responsibility and obligations.

Better career? Responsibility with wealth

The first responsibility with wealth is Zakat, the purification tax on the accumulated increased wealth for one year less the expenditure for that year.   

This is one of the pillars of Islam, but it is not the complete picture. Sadaqa or charity is the general method. People who have more can help those that have less is the general principle.

Allah encourages His servants to spend in His Way. Allah says:

“Who will lend to Allah a good loan which Allah will multiply many times over? Ii is Allah ‘alone’ Who decreases and increases wealth. And to Him you will ‘all’ be returned.” [Qur’an 2:245]

When this verse was revealed, Abu Ad-Dahdah Al-Ansari said:

`O Allah’s Messenger pbuh! Does Allah ask us for a loan?’ 

The Prophet said, Yes, (O Abu Ad-Dahdah.)  He said: `Give me your hand, O Allah’s Messenger’ and the Prophet placed his hand in his hand. Abu Ad-Dahdah said, `Verily, I have given my garden as a loan to my Lord.’

He had a garden that contained six hundred date trees; his wife and children were living in that garden too. Abu Ad-Dahdah went to his wife and called her:

`Umm Ad-Dahdah!’ She said: `Here I am.’ He said: `Leave the garden, because I have given it as a loan to my Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored.’ She said: `That is a successful trade, O Abu Ad-Dahdah!’ She then transferred her goods and children. The Messenger of Allah said: “How plentiful are the sweet date clusters that Abu Ad-Dahdah has in Paradise!”

These are examples of Spending in the way of Allah – lending unto Allah “a beautiful loan”.

Why is it a loan? We can think of it like this, when we give, it should be with the right hand. We say, fi sibilillah – in the way of Allah.

It is as if Allah covers our hand/gift and multiplies it from 10 to 700 times (or more) before it reaches the recipient.

Then, on the Day of Accounting it will be there with our good deeds and Allah will recompense us for that loan.

So, spending in the way of Allah builds up an account for us in the next life with Allah. Each entry is not on a one to one basis as Allah may bless our deed and multiply it many times.

Those people who do not understand this are really in loss. May Allah guide each one of us to the truth and beauty of Islam, Ameen.

Summary

The more we have the greater our responsibilities and obligations. Islam emphasises unity in Islam, we are part of the Muslim Ummah. Allah does not set a limit providing we are grateful to Him, and our means are Halal [see the story of Qarun: Qur’an 28:76-81, 29:39]

We should interact with society. Those that have more, Allah has given them for a reason. They should show their gratitude to Allah and accept their responsibility to do more for their society and the Ummah.

This is the caring and sharing aspect of Islam that is such an important aspect for each one of us. Just think of the rewards, with Allah, that a beautiful loan will receive in the next life for the giver. The more we have, the more we can give; the greater the rewards here, and in the Hereafter in sha Allah.

May Allah help each one of us to become aware of our responsibilities and obligations, to fulfil them and, in so doing benefit others in this life, and ourselves in the next life, Ameen.  

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

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About Daud Matthews
Daud Matthews was born in 1938, he embraced Islam in 1970, and got married in Pakistan in 1973. Matthews studied physics and subsequently achieved Chartered Engineer, Fellow of both the British Computer Society and the Institute of Management.He was working initially in physics research labs, he then moved to computer management in 1971. He lived and worked in Saudi Arabia from 1974 to 1997 first with the University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran,and then with King Saud University in Riyadh. He's been involved in da'wah since 1986.