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Contentment: Sign of a True Believer

– “How much money do you have?’’

– “I have millions.”

– “Do you want more?”

– “Yes, I do.”

– “How many children have you got?”

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– “I have three.”

– “Do you want more?”

– “Yes, I do.”

Think of the “how many” and “how much” questions you can ask someone and his expected answers. The answers are very normal. You know why?

Because it is natural that people want to be richer, healthier, and more famous than others. If one has a Land Cruiser car, he aims for a Jaguar. If he has one house, he wants to have a second then a third. It is very rare to find someone who would answer: “No. I do not want … I am happy with what I have.”

But such an answer is expected from someone who has a degree of faith in his heart.

Belief is the driving power that makes you feel content with things that have been destined for you. Through belief, one can enjoy the blessings of this life and earn Allah’s pleasure in the world to come.

Contentment is a sign of a true believer. When one is afflicted with catastrophes and shows patience and contentment and does not complain about his sufferings; be sure that he is indeed a true believer.

By this, we are not saying that those who want to be richer, healthier, more famous, etc. are not believers. But they lack the complete understanding of belief. Contentment does not mean that you do not feel the pains and trials of this life. You feel them, but you do not complain about them.

The virtue of contentment is closely connected with the virtue of putting trust in Allah. When one shows contentment with what he has got and does not foster envy or hatred towards others, he is certain that Allah will not let him down and there is a great reward awaiting him.

Allah’s Contentment with His Servants

Muslims are required to accept Islam and follow its teachings as their way of life. They are also commanded by Allah to enjoin what is good and forbid what is bad. In addition, Muslims are to denounce associating others with Allah. Once Muslims fulfill Allah’s commands and obligations, Allah will be satisfied with them and He will bestow His mercy and pleasure upon them.

Allah’s Pleasure as a Reward

We read in the Quran what gives the following meaning:

{God will say, ‘This is a Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness. They will have Gardens graced with flowing streams, there to remain for ever. God is pleased with them and they with Him: that is the supreme triumph.’} (Al-Ma’idah 5:119)

In another verse we read what means:

{Their reward with their Lord is everlasting Gardens graced with flowing streams, where they will stay forever. God is well pleased with them and they with Him.} (Al-Bayyinah 98:8)

It is reported that Allah will call the people of Paradise in the Hereafter saying: (Enter Paradise; whatever you see in it is yours.” They would say: “O Lord, You have bestowed upon us (favors) which You did not bestow upon anyone else in the world.” He would say: “There is with Me (a favor) for you better than this.” They would say: “O our Lord! What is better than this?” He would say: “It is My pleasure. I will never be angry with you after this.) (Sahih Muslim)

The Quranic verses and the Prophetic Hadith speak for themselves. Allah’s pleasure is the highest reward for Muslims in Paradise.

A very clear evidence for this is the verse which reads:

{God has promised the believers, both men and women, Gardens graced with flowing streams where they will remain; good, peaceful homes in Gardens of lasting bliss; and–greatest of all–God’s good pleasure. That is the supreme triumph.} (At-Tawbah 9:72)

Benefits of Contentment

With contentment one feels inner peace and spirituality increases. When one fosters contentment, he loves others and would be loved by others. He does not compare himself with those who are in better conditions, but rather he remembers those who are in worse conditions.  For example, if someone is one-handed, he should be content and remember those who do not have hands at all.

If the spirit of contentment prevails in a society, there would be no place for greedy people who foster discontent. Contentment and patience earn one Paradise in the Hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“Allah will not accept other than Paradise for a believing person who is afflicted with the death of his beloved one from among the inhabitants of the world and shows patience.” (Al-Nasa’i)

Contentment will get you closer to Allah in this world and the world to come. If one is content, he will not suffer psychological problems such as depression, worries, anxiety, etc.   When you feel discontent, Satan will find his way to your heart. But with contentment, Satan’s way will be blocked and you will be busy with the things that please Allah.

Examples of Contentment

Prophet Zakariah (peace be upon him) used to pray to Allah to grant him a child who will be well pleasing to Allah. We read in the Quran what means:

{… to be my heir and the heir of the family of Jacob. Lord, make him well pleasing [to You].} (Maryam 19:6)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to pray to Allah saying:

“I ask you to grant me contentment after You decree my destiny.” (Al-Tabarani)

The story of Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) is an example of contentment. Prophet Yusuf was put to many trials; his brothers threw him into the hidden depths of a well. He was put into prison because of a false allegation. He never complained to Allah, but he showed patience. Allah rewarded him for his contentment by giving him a standing as he became the second man in Egypt.

At the end of the story when his dream came true, what did he say? A man in his position would have mentioned the trials he went through. On the contrary, he looked at the good side of the trials and said:

{Father, this is the fulfillment of that dream I had long ago. My Lord has made it come true and has been gracious to me– He released me from prison and He brought you here from the desert– after Satan sowed discord between me and my brothers.} (Yusuf 12:100)

When Abdullah ibn Mutraf, one of the Companions, died, his father came out of the house in his best clothes. When he was asked why he wore such clothes, he answered: “Why should I be sad? Allah has promised me three things, each of them is better than this life and what it contains.”

Allah says:

{ … Those who say, when afflicted with a calamity, ‘We belong to God and to Him we shall return.’ These will be given (1) blessings and (2) mercy from their Lord, and (3) it is they who are rightly guided.} (Al-Baqarah 2:156-7)

A friend of mine has been married for almost 8 years now, but has not yet had any children. Whenever I ask him about it, his answer is always: “Alhamdullilah” (Thanks and Praise be to Allah). They are leading a very happy and peaceful life because they are content with what Allah has destined for them.

How to be Content

Here are some tips on how to obtain contentment:

–    Do not cry over spilled milk. Whenever you miss a job, for example, do not feel embarrassed. Be sure that the money that you were supposed to earn from that job is not yours; it is somebody else’s. Your provision (rizq) will come to you through another channel.

–    Refine your heart. Think always of the things that will draw you nearer to Allah. Leave out the trivialities.  You have a purpose in life.

–    Think of the rewards awaiting you in the Hereafter. Allah says:

{Whatever things you have been given for the life of this world are merely [temporary] gratification and vanity: that which is with Allah is better and more lasting– will you not use your reason?} (Al-Qasas 28:60)

–    Think always of the present day. Do not worry about the future. Be content with what you have today.

–    Look at the positive aspects of each calamity. For example, if someone is involved in a car accident which he survived and you ask him about it, he will tell you that the car has been damaged and it needs a lot of money to fix. So, he will think first of the damaged car and forget that he survived the accident and he is still alive.

–    Finally, the key to happiness is this sentence: “Allah willed what will happen, and whatever He wants will come to pass.” By this you are acknowledging the authority and power of Allah, and you are declaring your acceptance of His Divine Decree.

(From Discovering Islam archive)

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.