Assalamualaikum. Today, I want to share with you the 53rd verse from Surah An-Nahl (16:53) – “And whatever you have of favor – it is from Allah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help.”
As humans, we often overlook that whatever blessings or wealth we have is from Allah. We think that if we work for what we want, we will definitely get it, be it wealth, success or even having children.
This is not to say we won’t be rewarded for the difficulties and hardships we face while looking into our own and our family’s needs with regards to wealth, as long as the work itself is not haram. But we should use it as a means to fulfill a goal, which is the worship of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, because spending hours working for the sake of acquiring extra wealth will only be at the cost of our ibadah to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
As Muslims we should not justify our actions as “work is a form of ibadah”, when we forget the other important pillars and compulsory worship when doing so.
Eating with the intention of having strength for the sake of fulfilling acts of obedience to Allah, is a form of worship, but does it mean that eating becomes a major aspect of our lives? No.
Having sexual relations with your spouse, with the intention of keeping chaste and pure, is also considered worship but this does not mean that a person remains persistent in this matter, neglecting prayers, and other obligatory duties.
Similarly, striving in our job and seeking halal earnings, is all worship, but does it mean that we constantly engage ourselves in this, so much so that it hinders us from congregational prayers, our relationships with other people, learning about Islam and worshipping Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
For example, if one job is enough for you, there is no need for a second; if one shift suffices your needs, don’t take on another in overtime, and if you are able to cut the number of hours you work, don’t hesitate. This is intended for the self-employed and those who can control their hours. It is not meant by this that people should evade their duties at work, as this is Islamically impermissible.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah Almighty said: O son of Adam, busy yourself with my worship and I will fill your heart with riches and alleviate your poverty. If you do not do so, I will fill your hands with problems and never alleviate your poverty.”
The explanation of this in Fayd al-Qadir, a scholarly piece of work, is: “Free yourself of your interests in order to worship Me and do not busy yourself in earning that which exceeds your needs and the needs of those under your care.”
We have to beware that we do not busy ourselves in acquiring beyond what we need because in this way we will be establishing our worldly life but destroying our Hereafter.
It is a reminder for me, still running madly after the world and by so doing placing difficulties and hardships upon myself, embarking upon projects, one after the other, which I can possibly do without.
Even in the path of deen, act upon those things which are obligatory, before the acts that are good but not required. Obligatory actions are also of different levels of importance, so give preference to the most important of them first, and then to the next in importance. Only then move on to the good and recommended actions, giving precedence to that which is most important amongst them.
It is also recommended to start with yourself before inviting the members of your family on the path. Then, attend to your spouse, before your neighbour and your companions, so that they can help you in bringing up the children. Because they are the ones who will pray for you when you pass on.
At the end of the day, Islam is a practical religion. None of us have the leisure to sit around doing nothing all day, every day, and we must also not make being productive at every moment of every day as something to aim for. Our rezeki is in the hands of Allah. What’s in ours is to prioritise what will bring us to our end goal – which is Jannah – faster. May Allah have mercy on us all.