25: Contentment


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This Ramadan…

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This Ramadan… I will ask for contentment.

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My aunt is one of the most amazing people I know.

Born into a family of four girls in a country where boys are preferred, she never let anything phase her. She grew up in a household in which her own mother was mentally ill. (My grandmother, rahimahaAllah, became ill after her fourth and youngest daughter was born). With the support of my grandfather, rahimahuAllah, and my mother, my aunt went to medical school.

It seems so picturesque. A simple way to overcome a difficulty, and that’s it. But it wasn’t. My grandfather, rahimahuAllah, passed away when I was six. At this point, only my mother and one of my other aunts were married.

There was no man in my grandfather’s house now, no one in his place to look after a sick wife and two young women. So my aunt stepped up. The beautiful medical student who could have easily married a man bound for Amreeka (America) said no. Her family came first.

She finished her studies, looked after her mother, and married off her younger sister. She later married as well, and my grandmother stayed with her when she moved to the city of Ta’if in Saudi Arabia.

Looking back – it has only been 8 months since my grandmother passed away – it seems like my aunt flew threw difficulty after difficulty. But remembering the actual moments of distress, I know it was not just a simple press-an-easy-button-and-make-it-go-away situation.

And throughout it all, I never remember my aunt complaining. About anything. About delaying marriage or kids. About taking care of a mother who was both physically and psychologically unwell for twenty-some years. About being far away from her sisters and having to fend for her family on her own. About doing it all in a society which prefers pretty, mentally stable, quiet girls from affluent families.

Now? She’s been blessed with two adorable children, masha’Allah. By moving to Ta’if, she was given greater opportunities in her work as a gynecologist (she chose a profession where she could help even more women!). She was given the opportunity from Allah to perform Hajj and countless Umrahs. And still, she is one of the most grateful and humble people I know, masha’Allah.

It is so easy to get lost in the world of complaints. Our day to day lives never seem as perfect as others’. Single sisters want to get married. Married sisters want to return to the freedom of a single life – a break from the husband and kids. Teenagers want to get away from their parents. Others wish they could see their parents on a daily basis – or at all, if they have passed away. Jobs are never just right. Too much work. Too little. Not enough pay. Not your passion. There is always a complaint about some aspect (or many) of our lives.

Islam teaches us to try our best to improve every situation, so we should strive to do whatever is within our means towards improvement.

But what if, after we try… nothing changes? Or if the change takes time? There are no jobs, or no jobs in your field. No suitable brothers for marriage. You cannot physically have kids. Or you have kids, but want to just “get away.” What do you do about being married with kids? Unless its a dire circumstance of abuse or iman, you shouldn’t be looking to get out of your responsibilities. And what happens if you are sick? Terminally ill? On your deathbed? What do you do?

How do we become content with Allah’s decree?

When will we ever be satisfied? When can we feel that peace in our hearts, that sense of contentment that whatever Allah gives us is for the best?

The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam said, “Certainly, when Allah loves a people, He makes them go through trials. Whoever is content, Allah will be contentment with him; and whoever is angry, Allah will be angry with him.” [Tirmidhi]

We’re in the last ten days of Ramadan, so we know (or have been reminded) that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is merciful. He is Ar-Rahman. Ar-Rahim. Al-‘Afuw: the Effacer of sins. He is the Most Wise. So every single situation we find ourselves in, He had planned it and decreed it centuries before our creation. Each trial we go through is a means of turning to Him. Of expiating our sins. Of getting closer to Him. Each blessing is an opportunity to thank Him. To use it for His sake. To bring us even closer to Him. He knows what is best for us, more so than a parent knows what is best for their child.

If you’re able to sit at a computer with internet access and read this article, this next hadith most likely will apply to you:

The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam said, “Whoever wakes up secure in his property, healthy in his body and has his food for the day, it’s as if the whole world were brought to him.” [al-Tirmidhi, and considered hasan by al-Albani]

Each one of us are – generally – healthy and live on full stomachs, alhamdulillah. We never have to worry about where we’ll spend the night. SubhanAllah, that is equivalent to the entire dunya being brought to us, because what else do we need? How can we not be content? How can we belittle such amazing blessings that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grants us, time and time again, without us even asking?

I think back to my aunt, and how she’s always trusted in Allah. She sincerely believed in every situation, that if she tried her best, He would take care of her, subhanahu wa ta’ala. And He did. He even blessed her by bringing her closer to His Home. Is that not an example in today’s time of what contentment, trust, and sincere belief in Allah can do for us?

So now take a step back and re-evaluate your life.

Know that everything is from Allah, and even blessings are a test. Be grateful when given and patient when denied. Your heart will be put at ease. Because in the end, every aspect of your life was always in the Hands of Allah. Trust Him in His Decree, because it is only He who knows what is best for you.

Wake up every day, and whatever is going on in your life that you cannot change, be content and leave it up to Allah. Don’t let the troubles of this world eat away at you. Make your concern and your worry the hereafter, and work towards that.

The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam said: “Whoever is mainly concerned about the Hereafter, Allah will make him independent of others and will make him focused and content, and his worldly affairs will fall into place. But whoever is mainly concerned with this world, Allah will make him feel in constant need of others and will make him distracted and unfocused, and he will get nothing of this world except what is decreed for him.” [al-Tirmidhi, and considered saheeh by al-Albani]

This is not a call for complacency. We all have great potential in our lives, and we should do our best to harness it. But let’s do away with the constant complaining, and let’s trust fully in Allah. This Ramadan, ask Allah to make you content with whatever He decrees for you, and strive fully towards the Hereafter.