The Doors of Good Are Beyond Counting (Purifying our Hearts at U of T Session 8)

In our eighth session with Shaykh Faraz at the University of Toronto studying Imam Haddad’s poem of counsel, we had a beautiful evening with so many wonderful gems. Masha’Allah it’s a gift having these classes so accessible for us on campus, and we hope that these notes can be a small complement to those who could not make it. As always, these notes are not complete, but we hope they are of benefit.

Spiritual Living. Provision. Wealth. Poverty. Trials. Navigating the World of Means.

Adab of Wealth: If people turn to you, answer their need. Realise that the wealth you have is from Allah, and there are adab related to it. One’s rizq is from Allah.

1)   Provision and Giving

Rizq (provision) is all from Allah. Rizq is not just material wealth. Rizq is material and also spiritual. Not just wealth. Allah facilitates means for us to benefit even in our worldly life. From Allah’s provision. Allah grants us certain aptitudes. Called provision because Allah apportioned if for you. Perhaps the least significant of one’s provision is one’s material provision and the most fleeting of them. Very limited role in acquiring it and not much we can do to retain it. Basis of wealth is that it comes and goes. Any attempt to secure it is delusion. There are other types of provision. Allah provides us at the level of our limbs, provides us health, provides us all  kinds of worldly means. Also your family. You did not choose them, they came to you from Allah. Your background. Your society. The aptitudes that He granted you. The inclinations that you have and the temperament that you have, all from Allah. Realise that ultimately that whether you have wealth or not, ultimately not that significant if you consider all that you do have.

Allah provides to bodies and also provides rizq to the aql through knowledge and understanding and thought and contemplation and reflection. This is intellectual provision. All gifts from Allah. Allah also provides us provision for nafs for the inclinations and desires that we have. For the appetites. Those inclinations from the rizq of Allah. All from what Allah has granted. Can turn to Allah through them.There is the rizq of hearts. Seeking Allah’s pleasure. Rizq for souls.  All that from the rizq of Allah. Sometimes rizq comes to you directly, sometimes rizq is evident and sometimes is there and not evident.

2 Adab of Rizq

1)   Seeing it from Allah so you recognize and appreciate it. Then try to express gratitude in appropriate way.

2)   If see from Allah, should have concern of sharing it with others. Creation has rights over you, how do you share this with others?  That applies to all that one has. Tangible and intangible. Have to choose right way of expressing that.  How do you express that concern of giving? Look at the prophetic example for what would be the appropriate way of giving.  What one is giving is not merely one’s wealth.

Reminder: Verse 57:7.  Believe in Allah and His Messenger and spend out of that in which He has made you successors. For those who have believed among you and spent, there will be a great reward..

Directly related to belief.  Those of you who believe have great reward from Allah. This is not specific merely to wealth. Theme in Qur’an of linking giving with faith. Above all, an expression of thankfulness and trust in Allah and with respect to others, an expression of care for them.

Numerous Hadiths Exist About the Virtues of Giving

  • Among them, Prophetic promise that “Allah says, spend and I will spend on you. Give and I will give to you.
  • 57.11, 2:274. 92:5-11.  2:237..and other verses.
  • The one who gives is close to Allah. No one is diminished by giving.

Note

  • Tested in many areas of life, if give, Allah expands your provision.
  • Gifting books makes you rich. The same amount in gifting books, is greater in benefit than the same amount given in wealth. One of the things to be considered in giving, to give in the most beneficial way so consider circumstances

Generosity has many different manifestations. Many different things that cause one to have the motive, inclination of giving.

Six Inclinations for Giving

1) First one, to see Allah’s rights over yourself and your wealth. Who are you? You are the servant of Allah and He has commanded you to give. Giving is tricky. Some giving is obligatory. The danger is that many of the rights that Allah has over our wealth is non quantifiable. You don’t have to give individually to support any particular project, but societally you do. Part of generosity is the sense that Allah has this sense over you.

2)  Characterizing oneself with traits of Allah’s Names. Be the servant of the One who has these qualities.

3) To seek Allah. Seek with what Allah has granted you the next abode. The next abode is meeting Allah and one’s eternal station with Allah.

4) Fourth impulse of generosity is recognizing the rights of people over you. The one who is concerned goes beyond the bare minimum. And the thing about relationships is that they cannot be quantified.  Although the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)  gave us keys. Like he told us that when you cook something, make extra sauce and share with your neighbour.

5) sincere concern for others.  Reality of religion is seeking good when it comes to the other. One has the concern.

6) thankfulness to Allah. When see rizq from Alah, want to deal with blessing in way that is pleasing Allah

Wealth Management

  • Have to look at different faculties one has and aptitudes. Like one’s attention and how one directs it.
  • Early Muslims used to do wealth management. Not how to maximize wealth but how to make eternal investment through work, earnings, investing, for eternal rewards
  • Many Muslims would divide wealth in thirds: third for themselves and family (living expenses), third save for future (future needs) and third (direct toward charity). But charity would look at how to maximize for benefit.
  • Zakat: different kind of need that one has at some level responsibility for. Shafi school, need to give zakat to different individuals in different categories.
  • Same principle need to be considered in other things. For ex: time. How much of your time should be for other people?
  • Good sometimes to sit down and think what has Allah given me and make mental map and think what do have.  Helps to put things in context.
  • True wealth is wealth of spirit. (Hadith)

Consideration is not religious preference or own inclinations,  but consideration is what is most pleasing to Allah. Sometimes immediate religious inclination is a form of stinginess and weakness. This second guessing puts oneself in awkward position where thinking what will people do. Sincerity is both not doing things for people but also not leaving things for people.

Time:

  • time isn’t linear and incremental. If you do the right thing, Allah will place barakah in time, Barakah is the secret in increase.
  •  It’s also deceiving oneself because you actually have a lot of hours in the week. Say can’t go the mawlid because  you have to study. But actually what are you doing? On Facebook. Looking up frying pans.
  •  Be generous and attentive with times.
  •  Important because so many people disconnected from friends and family.

Allah promises it and all kind of studies show it that this kind of good grants contentment.  Good to give directly, many of us give distantly.

Trials

  • What is hope? Seeking desired outcome while taking the means to attain it.
  • Be watchful of adab and of the response.
  • Sometimes Allah opens doors but we don’t notice.
  • Sometimes haeve to ask yourself, what is Allah telling me in my situation? But don’t wallow in confusion.
  • Act with yaqeen and certitude. Act with knowledge. Knowledge that shows you to the way of the pleasure of Allah.
  • Sins prevent worship (ie- rude to mother, don’t wake up for fajr)

Reality of trials (bala’a)

  • Trials are an opportunity to express your thankfulness to Allah.
  • In all trials key thing is what is the right response.
  • Thinking about the situation that you’re in won’t help. Worrying and saying “oh my God I don’t have a job” will not get you a job.
  • One of the adab of poverty is contentment and hope. Longing for desired outcomes and taking the means to get them. Actually very empowering. Studies show people who been out of job for a while lose hope because their hope was attached to their qualifications and their aptitudes. But believer doesn’t lose hope because he or she is attached to Allah.
  • Believer neither reliant or dependent on means. Attachment is to Allah. Direct yourself to what seems most pleasing to Allah in the circumstancs you’re in.
  • In both things, in divestment from means or moving towards means question is what is most pleasing to Allah. One of the benefits of proactively having good company is that they can advise you.
  • Your place is where Allah places you.
  • Sometimes inclination is toward means and is errant. Sometimes inclination away from means and that is errant.
  • Question is what is more likely to be pleasing to Allah. If not sure, ask. We could all benefit more from consulting. Very often we put ourselves in very complicated situations where we could just ask. Also ask the right people. Particularly in decisions of religious implication, ask people of maturity and hikma.  And consider ultimate benefit.
  • The statistical probability of dying of starvation in Canada is very low, so might as well do something meaningful with your life. One has to look at where is the pleasure of Allah and then pursue it unhesitatingly. 
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