Illuminated teachings of Islam
Mawlana Muhammad Asif Iqbal Attari Madani
Islam promotes the value of self-sufficiency, encouraging individuals to meet their needs through personal endeavours and to refrain from begging or idleness. Rather than lamenting our circumstances of poverty, it is essential to cultivate self-reliance by fully harnessing our skills. Despite facing challenges and exerting great effort, we should strive to earn a lawful income, enabling us to construct a brighter future for ourselves.
If you want to progress, do not consider any employment beneath yourself. Rather, learn a new skill and take advantage of it. In fact, acquire different skills. Save money by carefully budgeting, and develop multiple income streams by utilising the internet in permissible ways and investing in a part-time endeavour. In short, give precedence to self-reliance, so that you develop the habit of hard work. Neither suffice with your parents’ income nor become a burden upon them.
Another aspect of self-sufficiency is cultivating contentment. It entails being satisfied with the resources and means available to us and living within our means. We should balance our outgoings with our incomings. If we are able to do this, we will reap countless benefits. Through the blessings of this, our daily problems will be resolved, and life will become easier, اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه.
The requirements of self-reliance
1. Have reliance in Allah Almighty. As a Muslim, our reliance upon Allah Almighty should be firm. It should be deeply rooted in our hearts that even if our means are limited, Allah Almighty is the One who places blessings therein. He makes the Sun glow and the moon shine. He turns a seed into a tree and brings forth gold from between rocks. It is He who brings forth the pearl from inside the oyster. In short, all power and authority is with Allah Almighty. Therefore, the first requirement of self-sufficiency is to have reliance upon Allah Almighty.
2. Self-reliance will only be beneficial when we take full responsibility for our work. To achieve this, time must be used wisely. Spare time should be made use of and other avenues should be sought through which our work improves and progresses.
3. Instead of becoming consumed by worries and concerns, it is more productive to actively seek out solutions to our problems. By employing various approaches and strategies, we should strive to overcome or alleviate the challenges we encounter. If we cannot resolve the issue ourselves or are unable to think about something clearly, we should consult with a pious, sincere person. In the noble Quran, the account of Sayyidunā Yūsuf عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام teaches us that he did not fall prey to anxiety during the seven years of drought, but employed his understanding, insight and self-sufficiency to strategize a workable solution.
4. One should keep their expenditure in check, so that their life remains pleasant and peaceful. If spending is not arranged in an organised fashion and budgeting is disregarded, a person will face unease, lack of blessings, complaints, domestic arguments, stress and similar issues. Mufti Aḥmad Yār Khan NaꜤīmī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states:
Prosperity revolves around two matters: earning and spending. However, of these two, spending is the one that stands out. Everyone knows how to earn, but only some know how to spend. Whoever learns the art of spending اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه will always remain happy.
Today, materialism and consumerism have pervaded society. There is a prevalent tendency to prioritize conspicuous displays and surpassing others, often at the expense of sound financial management and long-term satisfaction. Many individuals waste a significant portion of their income on indulging in fleeting pleasures, such as fashion trends, upscale dining experiences, the latest devices, luxury vehicles, and unnecessary clothing and jewellery for social events. Subsequently, we are subject to all sorts of problems and must resort to borrowing from others. The Foremost Imām, the Master of the Jurists, Imām Abū Ḥanīfa رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه advised his son, “Make use of the wealth you possess through good planning, i.e., self-reliance, and become independent of people.”
5. Strengthening of education: seek education wholeheartedly, applying your intellect. If possible, complete different courses and diplomas. Learn methods of progression from successful people and books because sometimes the solution to issues lies in experience, expertise and strong education or further education. The greater or stronger your knowledge and the greater the amount of experience and expertise you possess, the more preference you will be given. In short, you should possess expertise that people need.
6. No matter the time or place, always keep in mind trustworthiness and integrity. Never fall into treachery and deceit upon seeing wealth. Our character should remain unblemished even in difficulty. Our resolve and standards should not slip.
May Allah Almighty bless us with the treasure of self-sufficiency, integrity and reliance upon Him.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم