His Most Perfect Blessing Is to Give You Just Enough (Ibn Atta)

In his well-known book, Al-Hikam (Words of Wisdom), sheikh Ahmad Ibn `Ataa’illah As-Sakandari says:

His most perfect blessing on you is to give you just enough, and to deprive you from what will cause you to do wrong. When you have less to be happy with, you will have less to be sad about.

This stage of our journey to Allah relates to the issue of providence and how to understand it correctly. The Prophetic hadith that says: “The little that suffices is better than the abundant and distracting”, has been re-worded by the Sheikh in this word of wisdom.

The Sheikh says: “His most perfect blessing on you is to give you just enough, and to deprive you from what will cause you to do wrong”.Allah the Almighty may give a believer just enough, not more or less. When this happens, it is a perfect blessing from Allah. If Allah gives abundant providence to someone, there is a risk of that person transgressing boundaries. Allah says:

{Nay, but a human does transgress all bounds.

Because he considers himself self-sufficient.

Verily, to your Lord is the return of all.} (Al-`Alaq 96:6-8)

Allah also tells us about our human nature in the following verse:

{If Allah were to enlarge the provision for His Servants, they would indeed transgress beyond all bounds through the earth; but He sends (it) down in due measure as He pleases.} (Ash-Shura 42:27)

This is a universal law pertaining to human nature; if Allah grants us abundant providence, we will do wrong. Thus, Allah {sends (it) down in due measure as He pleases.}.

Allah, in His infinite knowledge, knows that if He gives a certain person wealth, that person will not do wrong. So, He gives him wealth. At the same time, He knows that if He gives him power, he will do injustice to people. Therefore, Allah does not grant him power, and vice versa.

This applies to different kinds of giving and depriving. Whatever you are given is from Allah’s bounties on you and He is protecting you, even from yourself. So, do not look only at what you are deprived from and wish to get something that might cause you to do wrong because “the little that suffices is better than the abundant and alluring”, as the Prophet peace be upon him said.

Then the Sheikh says: “When you have less to be happy with, you will have less to be sad about”. Feeling joyful is not denounced in Islam. Allah says:

{Say: “In bounty of Allah and in His mercy-in this, then, let them rejoice.} (Yunus 10:58)

A believer feels happy for the bounties that Allah bestows on him. However, feeling miserable for what you miss is not the right thing to do. Allah says:

{[Know this,] so that you may not despair over whatever good has escaped you nor exult unduly over whatever good has come to you.} (Al-Hadid 57: 23)

If you feel happy for worldly gains, you should know that this life will come to an end. The Arabic statement goes: If what you have had lasted with the person before you, it would not have reached you! Allah says:

{All that lives on earth is bound to pass away.} (Ar-Rahman 55:26)

Therefore, if you have less to be happy with, then there will be less to be sad about. It is out of Allah’s bounty that He gives you just enough so that you will not be sad for missing things which you do not need. If you have enough food, drink, and providence, this is a perfect blessing from Allah and you should thank Allah for that. Allah has a perfect wisdom in giving and depriving and that He wants the best for you and you should be satisfied with that.

About Dr. Jasser Auda
Jasser Auda is a Professor and Al-Shatibi Chair of Maqasid Studies at the International Peace College South Africa, the Executive Director of the Maqasid Institute, a global think tank based in London, and a Visiting Professor of Islamic Law at Carleton University in Canada. He is a Founding and Board Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, Fellow of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of India, and General Secretary of Yaqazat Feker, a popular youth organization in Egypt. He has a PhD in the philosophy of Islamic law from University of Wales in the UK, and a PhD in systems analysis from University of Waterloo in Canada. Early in his life, he memorized the Quran and studied Fiqh, Usul and Hadith in the halaqas of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. He previously worked as: Founding Director of the Maqasid Center in the Philosophy of Islamic Law in London; Founding Deputy Director of the Center for Islamic Ethics in Doha; professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Alexandria University in Egypt, Islamic University of Novi Pazar in Sanjaq, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the American University of Sharjah. He lectured and trained on Islam, its law, spirituality and ethics in dozens of other universities and organizations around the world. He wrote 25 books in Arabic and English, some of which were translated to 25 languages.