How to Achieve Qana’a (Self-Contentment)
Qana’a (contentment and acceptance of Allah the Glorified and Exalted’s giving as it is) is something that is very difficult to do, except for those whom Allah guides and protects from evilness of soul, from its stinginess and greediness. Because human are created with love towards possession of wealth.
However, we are supposed to fight our unlawful desire in order to suppress the greediness and change it into asceticism and contentment. Below are some tips to achieve contentment, which, if we practice it, by Allah’s permission, we’ll be able to realize that contentment.
1. Strengthening our faith in Allah the Glorified and Exalted
As well as getting used our hearts to accept and being enough with the providence from Allah the Glorified and Exalted, because the true riches lies inside the heart. Whoever possesses a rich heart, has indeed obtained the favor of happiness and willingness even though he doesn’t eat anything that day.
In contrast, anyone with a poor heart will, despite having the world and everything in it except for one dirham, perceive that his wealth is still lacking that one dirham, and he will continue feeling poor before he gain the dirham.
2. Be certain that our providence had been written
A muslim believes that his providence has been divinely written since he was still inside his mother’s womb, as in a hadith from Ibn Mas’ud –may Allah be pleased with him-, in which the Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “Allah then sends an angel to blow (breath) a ruh (spirit) to him and command him (the angel) to take note four decrees: his provision (rizq), his life span, his deed, and his last day whether he becomes someone who is blessed or wretched.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari, Muslim, and Ahmad).
A slave is only ordered to do an attempt and work with the belief that Allah the Glorified and Exalted is The One to provide his provision and that his provision has already been written.
3. Pondering about the great verses of the Qur’an
Particularly the verses regarding the matter of sustenance and working. ‘Amr Ibn Abd Qais once said, “There are four verses inside Allah’s Book which, if I recited it in the afternoon, I don’t care of whatever happened to me that afternoon, and If I recited it in the morning, I don’t care of with what I’ll spend my morning with, (namely),
“Whatever Mercy Allah accords to people, none can withhold; and whatever He withholds, no other will be able to release after Him. He is Most Mighty, Most Wise.” (Chapter Fathiir:2)
“If Allah afflicts you with any hardship, none other than He can remove it; and if He wills any good for you, none can avert His Bounty. He bestows good upon whomsoever of His servants He wills. He is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.” (Chapter Yunus:107)
“There is not a single moving creature on earth except that Allah is responsible for providing its sustenance. He knows where it dwells and where it will permanently rest. All this is recorded in a Clear Book.” (Chapter Huud:6)
“Possibly Allah will grant ease after hardship.” (Chapter Ath Thalaq/The Divorce:7)
4. Knowing the wisdom beneath the difference in providence
Among the wisdoms behind the reason why Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed different amount of sustenance and rank between a slave and the other slaves is to establish a dynamic in human’s life on this earth, to enable exchanging of usefulness, to create economic activities, and so that human could help one another in giving service and merit.
Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed, which can be translated as,
“Is it they who distribute the Mercy of your Lord? It is We Who have distributed their livelihood among them in the life of this world, and have raised some above others in rank that some of them may harness others to their service. Your Lord’s Mercy is better than all the treasures that they hoard.” (Chapter Az Zukhruf:32)
“For He it is Who has appointed you vicegerent over the earth, and has exalted some of you over others in rank that He may try you in what He has bestowed upon you. Indeed your Lord is swift in retribution, and He is certainly All- Forgiving, All-Compassionate.” (Chapter Al An’am/The Cattle: 165)
5. Asking Allah to bestow the self-contentment in multiple times
The Messenger of Allah –peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- was the most content man, who was pleased with what he had and the most ascetic person. He was also the strongest man in faith and belief; however, he still asked Allah the Glorified and Exalted to bestow upon him self-contentment. He said,
“O Allah, provide me with self-contentment regarding the sustenance You give me, bless me in that giving and replace whatever misses from me with the better.” (Narrated by Al Hakim, he classified it as a sound hadith and it was agreed by adz-Dzahabi).
Such was the extent of his contentment that he didn’t ask Allah the Glorified and Exalted but what suffice him to live, and instead asked to be given just a little amount of wealth for his worldly affairs, as he said, “O Allah, make the sustenance of Muhammad’s family only their main needs.” (Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, and at Tirmidzi).
6. Realizing that sustenance isn’t measured by intelligence
We must realize that a person’s sustenance isn’t depending merely on his intelligence, or the number of activities, the extent of knowledge, even though these are some of the causes of sustenance to come, but they are not the ultimate measure.
This kind of awareness will make a person to be content, particularly upon seeing a person that is more obtuse, lower in education and skills, obtain more sustenances than himself, thus he wont be envious and spiteful towards him.
7. Looking to people below him regarding worldly matters
In worldly matters, we are supposed to look at people who are below us, and do not look at people above us, as the Prophet-peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,
“Look at the people who are lower than you, and do not look at people who are higher than you. That is the more appropriate so that you don’t look down to Allah’s favor.” (Narrated by al Bukhari and Muslim).
If you are sick at this time, believe that there are people with more severe condition than yours, if you feel that you’re poor, There must be people out there who are poorer than you, and so on. If you see that there are people who obtain wealth and position higher than yours, whereas he is not smarter nor more knowledgeable than you, then why don’t you remember that you’ve got something he doesn’t have?
8. Reading the story of life of the noble predecessors
That is, by looking at their condition in addressing the world, their asceticism, their contentment in accepting whatever they had even if it was just a measly amount. Among them there were some with abundant of wealth, but they just distribute it to the others and those who were more in need.
9. Being aware of the heavy burden of responsibility that come along with wealth possession
That wealth will bring harms and disaster to its owner if it was obtained and spent in indecent ways.
When a slave was asked about his age, his body, and his knowledge, he would only be asked with on question, which is, “what it was for?”, however, for his wealth, he would be accounted twice, for the source of the wealth and where did he spent it. It indicates the hardship for people who were entrusted with plenty of wealth thus he must be accounted longer than those with fewer amount of wealth.
10. Looking at the reality of how the poor and the rich are not too different
That is because it is impossibly for a rich man to spend all of his wealth at once. Look at the wealthiest man in this world; he doesn’t eat more than a poor could eat, or probably the poor even eats more than him. It is impossible for him to eat 50 plates at once, even though he is able to buy it with his wealth. Supposed that he has 100 pieces of clothes, then could only wear one piece at a time, similar to the poor, and the rest of his wealth that he doesn’t use is just relative to him.
What a beautiful saying came from Abu Darda’ –may Allah be pleased with him-, “The rich eat,, and so do we, they drink, and so do we, they clothed and so did we, they ride their mount and so do we. They have the excess of wealth that they see and other than them see, then they find the reckoning over that wealth whereas we are free from it.”
Reference: Al-Qana’ah, mafhumuha, manafi’uha, ath-thariq ilaiha,” pag 24-30, by Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Haqiil