Self-resignation and Striving in Earning A living

All praises be to Allah the Exalted, One Who has bestowed innumerable bounties upon us all. Prayer and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, and all of his companions. Amin.

Self-resignation and Striving in Earning A living

Living A Noble Life by Our Own Earning

Islamic sharia is a noble sharia, which keeps on teaching every nobility to it’s followers. Islam also forbids every contemptible thing causing humiliation toward the perpetrator.

This sharia applies upon all aspects of human life, starting from the most vital affair in their life, that is things regarding self-pride and their life aim on the world, until the smallest of their affairs.

Regarding the aim of life, Islam has taught to all mankind to respect their own selves and place it on the rightful, dignified position. Allah revealed in His decree:

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا

“Indeed, We honoured the progeny of Adam, and bore them across land and sea and provided them with good things for their sustenance, and exalted them above many of Our creatures.” (QS Al Isra/The Night Journey: 70)

Allah the Exalted has created mankind as a nobler creature compare to the other creations. Thus, it becomes a humiliation for them if they lower themselves by devoting their life -in a term of worshipping- to other creations. Because in fact they are created to a be leader upon this earth and to make it prosperous.

وَإِلَى ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـهٍ غَيْرُهُ هُوَ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ الأَرْضِ وَاسْتَعْمَرَكُمْ فِيهَا فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ ثُمَّ تُوبُواْ إِلَيْهِ إِنَّ رَبِّي قَرِيبٌ مُّجِيبٌ هود 61

“And to Thamud We sent their brother Salih. He said: My people! Serve Allah; you have no god but He. He brought you into being out of the earth, and has made you dwell in it. So ask Him to forgive you, and do turn towards Him in repentance. Indeed My Lord is near, responsive to prayers.” (QS Hud: 61)

Even more, the earth and all of it’s content was created by Allah for the sake of human being.

هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“It is He Who created for you all that is on earth and then turned above and fashioned it into seven heavens. He knows all things.” (QS Al Baqara/The Cow: 29)

أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُمْ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً لقمان:20

“Have you not seen that Allah has subjected to your service all that is in the heavens and on the earth and has abundantly bestowed upon you all His bounties, both visible and invisible? Yet some persons dispute regarding Allah without having any knowledge or guidance or any illuminating Book.” (QS Luqman: 20)

And in the social interactions among them, Islam has taught human to be kind and lofty. Allah the Exalted decreed:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْأِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ النحل:90

“Surely Allah enjoins justice, kindness and the doing of good to kith and kin, and forbids all that is shameful, evil and oppressive. He exhorts you so that you may be mindful.” (QS An Nahl/The Bee: 90)

Qatada -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “There are no goodness that was believed and performed by the ancient ignorants but Allah has ordered it. And there are no wickedness that was previously considered as disgrace but Allah has forbidden it. And indeed, Allah the Exalted only forbade the low and shameful acts. ” (1)

Among the good manners and noble characters that being taught in Islam is independency, without clinging to other people in every necessities.

Brother, don’t you know that by earning for your living independently your dignity will never be decreased, but even soaring high? Because by doing so, you will be able to stand as high as other people.

It is different with the act of begging to others to get a part from their wealth, which will only degrade your dignity.

الْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْيَدِ السُّفْلَى وَالْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا الْمُنْفِقَةُ وَالسُّفْلَى السَّائِلَةُ) متفق عليه

“The upper hand is better than the lower hand, the upper hand is the giver, and the lower hand is the beggar.” (Muttafaqun ‘alayh)

Imam Al Baji Al Maliki said: “The upper hand or the giver hand gets more rewards. The giver hand is termed ‘the upper hand’ means that it is higher in degree and place, whether in this world or in the Hereafter.”

In the past time, the companions and scholars worked to fulfill their own needs; some of them traded, the others farmed, and the other ones worked as worker to other, without reluctancy or feeling of humbleness.

Brother, when we choose to start working, probably a hesitancy will rise in our heart, especially if we are get used to be pampered by our parents. Moreover if the work we are about to start is a ‘rough-work’ compared to our parents’ social status.

However, it is alright if you still give it a try! Read this real story below:

قال عَلِىُّ بن أبي طالب : خَرَجْتُ فَأَتَيْتُ حَائِطاً قَالَ فَقَالَ دَلْوٌ بِتَمْرَةٍ قَالَ فَدَلَّيْتُ حَتَّى مَلأْتُ كَفِّى ثُمَّ أَتَيْتُ الْمَاءَ فَاسْتَعْذَبْتُ – يَعْنِى شَرِبْتُ – ثُمَّ أَتَيْتُ النَّبِىَّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَأَطْعَمْتُهُ بَعْضَهُ وَأَكَلْتُ أَنَا بَعْضَهُ رواه أحمد وحسنه الألباني

“Ali Ibn Abi Thalib -may Allah be pleased with him- said: One day I went out of the house, then I came to a garden, and I said to it’s owner: (I am willing to bail out water for you with a return of) each pail a date fruit. And then I bailed out the water for him, until I got wages of a handful of date fruits. Next I drank some water, and I went to see the Prophet – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- at once, and I gave him half of my dates and I ate the other half of it.” Narrated by Ahmad, and classed hasan by Al Albani.

Brother, would you like to do this job by this amount of wage? And was the dignity of Ali Ibn Abi Thalib -may Allah be pleased with him- lowered just because he did a job with a very low payment?

Brother, How many times you’ve proclaimed that you love the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- and declared that he is you role model? Now is the time for you to prove the truth of your claim, that is by trying at your best to live independently, and fulfill your needs from your own result of work.

Maybe you are questioning, ‘why should I prove my claim by doing so?’. The answer lies in the following guidance of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-:

(لأَنْ يَغْدُوَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَيَحْطِبَ عَلَى ظَهْرِهِ فَيَتَصَدَّقَ بِهِ وَيَسْتَغْنِىَ بِهِ مِنَ النَّاسِ خَيْرٌ لَهُ مِنْ أَنْ يَسْأَلَ رَجُلاً أَعْطَاهُ أَوْ مَنَعَهُ ذَلِكَ؛ فَإِنَّ الْيَدَ الْعُلْيَا أَفْضَلُ مِنَ الْيَدِ السُّفْلَى وَابْدَأْ بِمَنْ تَعُولُ) متفق عليه

“For one of you to go out and gather firewood on his back, then give it in charity and make himself independent of people thereby, is better than asking a man who may give to him or withhold from him. And the upper hand is better than the lower hand, and start with those who are under your care.” (Muttafaqun ‘alayh)

What do you feel, after you read this message from your role model? Do you still feel any reluctancy to strive, work as hard as you can to live a noble life, independently?

Brother, pump up your spirit and set your intention, because by living independently, the doors of Paradise will be opened wider for you. You don’t believe it? Pay attention to an explanation of your role model, Allah’s messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-:

(عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ صَدَقَةٌ)، قِيلَ: أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ؟ قَالَ: (يَعْتَمِلُ بِيَدَيْهِ فَيَنْفَعُ نَفْسَهُ وَيَتَصَدَّقُ)، قَالَ: قِيلَ: أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ؟ قَالَ: (يُعِينُ ذَا الْحَاجَةِ الْمَلْهُوفَ)، قَالَ: قِيلَ لَهُ: أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ؟ قَالَ: (يَأْمُرُ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ أَوِ الْخَيْرِ)، قَالَ: أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ لَمْ يَفْعَلْ؟ قَالَ: (يُمْسِكُ عَنِ الشَّرِّ فَإِنَّهَا صَدَقَةٌ). رواه متفق عليه

“It is obliged for every muslim to give charity”. It is said to him, “What if he is unable to do that?” He replied, “He should work with his both his hands, thus he can benefits himself and give charity.” It is said to him, “What if he is unable to do that too?” He replied, “He can help people in deep trouble.” It is said again to him, “What if he is still unable to do that?” He replied, “He enjoins goodness or kindness.” The one who ask him said again: “What if he is still unable to do that?” He replied, “He refrains himself from evil deeds, it is indeed a charity.” (Muttafaqun ‘alayh)

After reading this explanation, shall we still have reasons to not starting to strive, and live independently? Shall we still have too much pride to start to indulge in the harshness and challenges of life, in a lawful businesses ?

Living by our own income from a lawful job is indeed a respectable life. And an income from our own strive is the most blessed income.

عن رافع بن خديج قال: قيل يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَىُّ الْكَسْبِ أَطْيَبُ؟ قَالَ: (عَمَلُ الرَّجُلِ بِيَدِهِ، وَكُلُّ بَيْعٍ مَبْرُورٍ) رواه أحمد والطبراني والحاكم وصححه الألباني

“From Rafi’ Ibn Khadij, he said: ‘It was said (to the messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-), O messenger of Allah! What income is the best of it?’ He answered, ‘The result of one’s own hand, and every decent trading.'” Narrated by Ahmad, At Thabrany , Al Hakim, and classed sahih by Al Albani.

Thus, the messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-said:

(مَا أَكَلَ أَحَدٌ طَعَامًا قَطُّ خَيْرًا مِنْ أَنْ يَأْكُلَ مِنْ عَمَلِ يَدِهِ ، وَإِنَّ نَبِىَّ اللَّهِ دَاوُدَ – عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ – كَانَ يَأْكُلُ مِنْ عَمَلِ يَدِهِ) رواه البخاري
وفي رواية : مَا أَكَلَ رَجُلٌ طَعَامًا قَطُّ أَحَلَّ مِنْ عَمَلِ يَدَيْهِ.

“Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one’s own hands. The Prophet of Allâh, Dâwud (David) -peace be upon him- used to eat from the earnings of his manual labour.” Narrated by Bukhari.

In another narration: “Nobody has ever eaten a more lawful meal than that which one has earned by working with one’s own hand.”

In this hadith, Allah’s messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- particularly mentioned prophet of Allah, David -peace be upon him-. It seems like he’s the only one who did so, but actually, every prophet -peace be upon them- did so, fulfilling their needs by their own result. The scholars, in explaining about this hadith, mentioned that there was one special distinction on prophet David -peace be upon him- that was not possessed by the other prophets. Prophet David -peace and prayer of Allan was not only a prophet, but he also was a great, prosperous king, Read the following verses, and imagine about how great was the power and riches that was bestowed upon him by Allah the Exalted.

{18} وَالطَّيْرَ مَحْشُورَةً كُلٌّ لَّهُ أَوَّابٌ {19} وَشَدَدْنَا مُلْكَهُ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْحِكْمَةَ

“(O Prophet), bear with patience what they say, and call to mind Our servant David, who was endowed with great strength and who constantly turned (to Allah). With him We had subjected the mountains that they join him in celebrating Allah’s glory, evening and morning, and the birds, too, in their flocks, and turn again and again to celebrating Allah’s glory. And We strengthened his kingdom and endowed him with wisdom and decisive judgement.” (As Shaad: 17-20)

However, he refused to eat but from the result of his own work. Some scholars said that previously, Prophet David -peace be upon him- tried to seek for income by making an iron shield and then sold it.

Is there still any doubt to start an independent life?

The dignity of prophet David -peace be upon him- was not decrease at all just because he worked to make iron shields and then sold it. Even his kingdom and position became higher, not only in the side of Allah, but also in the eyes of mankind.

Some of us might said: I am just a student, or ‘I am a preacher, thus I must spend most of my time to study and to admonish people, and I do not have any time left even just to try to work.’

Indeed, I do not doubt on the truth of your reasons, but I doubt on your conclusion. Studying and enjoining people to goodness can not be the reason for anyone to live lazily, and low spirited. Here is a saying of a great student and also a successful preacher:

In another hadith, ‘Umar Ibn Khattab -may Allah be pleased with him- told:

إِنِّى كُنْتُ وَجَارٌ لِى مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ فِى بَنِى أُمَيَّةَ بْنِ زَيْدٍ، وَهْىَ مِنْ عَوَالِى الْمَدِينَةِ ، وَكُنَّا نَتَنَاوَبُ النُّزُولَ عَلَى النَّبِىِّ فَيَنْزِلُ يَوْمًا وَأَنْزِلُ يَوْمًا ، فَإِذَا نَزَلْتُ جِئْتُهُ مِنْ خَبَرِ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ مِنَ الأَمْرِ وَغَيْرِهِ ، وَإِذَا نَزَلَ فَعَلَ مِثْلَهُ ،. رواه البخاري

“Indeed, I and one of my neighbor from Anshar people, from the tribe of Umayya Ibn Zayd, who lived in the upper part of Medina, were attending the assembly of the Prophet- peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- in turn. He would be attending one day, and I would attend it on the next day. If it was my turn to attend, I would deliver to him what have I heard that day, and if it was his turn, he would also did the same.” (Narrated by Bukhari)

Brother, if now your seeds of spirit to start a business begins to grow and blossom, it is highly likely that your fear of failure will be blossomed too, soon. Moreover if you’ve made your step to the world of work.

Various questions might popped in your head: will I be success?, my friend who started his business several weeks ago was failed, the business world is slurring, will I stand any chance to be successful?

For the fear of failure like this to be vanished from your heart, I’d like you to think carefully several points below:

1. Success and sustenance is the gift from Allah

Brother, you probably have ever seen and observed various living creatures around you. Or you probably ever go to the zoo, or watch documentaries about flora and fauna.

From your observation, what creature is the strongest, and the biggest? And what creature is the weakest? What creature is the smartest, and the dumbest?

Don’t this view makes you to be positive in thinking and pump your spirit?

If only the sustenance of Allah is based to the ranks of power, of course the elephant and the lion will be the sole survivor in this world. If only the success and sustenance merely belong to the smart ones, surely the donkey wont survive.

That is, the mercy and generosity of Allah the Exalted cover all of His creatures.

وَمَا مِن دَآبَّةٍ فِي الأَرْضِ إِلاَّ عَلَى اللّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ هود 6

“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.” (QS. Huud/Hud: 6)

In another verse Allah the Exalted decreed;

َكَأَيِّن مِن دَابَّةٍ لَا تَحْمِلُ رِزْقَهَا اللَّهُ يَرْزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ العنكبوت 60

“How many an animal there is that does not carry about its sustenance. Allah provides sustenance to them and to you. He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (QS. Al Ankabut/The Spider: 60)

And in another verse Allah the Exalted also decreed:

وَمَا بِكُمْ مِنْ نِعْمَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ النحل:53

“Every bounty that you enjoy is from Allah.” (QS. An Nahl: 53)

And in a hadith qudsi, Allah the Exalted also decreed:

(يَا عِبَادِي كُلُّكُمْ جَائِعٌ إِلاَّ مَنْ أَطْعَمْتُهُ، فَاْسْتَطْعِمُونِي أُطْعِمْكُمْ، يَا عِبَادِي كُلُّكُم عَارٍ إِلاَّ مَنْ كَسَوتُهُ فَاسْتَكْسُونِي أَكْسُكُمْ). رواه مسلم

“O My slaves, all of you are astray except those whom I guide, so ask Me for guidance, and I will guide you. O My slaves, all of you are hungry except those whom I feed, so ask Me for food and I will feed you. O My slaves, all of you are naked except those whom I clothe, so ask Me for clothing and I will clothe you.” Narrated by Muslim.

Brother, this faith should follow every step of yours. Just by having this faith in your life, you’ll be able to always be grateful for you success and praise Allah for all pleasures you enjoy.

Know that by being grateful in every pleasure you get, meaning that you are trying to double fold it:

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ إبراهيم 7

“Also call to mind when your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks, I will certainly grant you more; but if you are ungrateful for My favours, My chastisement is terrible.” (QS. Ibrahim: 7)

Being grateful for pleasures will not only be the source of more pleasures to come, but also serve as keeper for the pleasures that we already got, from the havoc.

مَا أَنْعَمَ الله عَلَى عَبْدٍ نِعْمَةً مِنْ أَهْلٍ أَوْ مَالٍ أَوْ وَلَدٍ، فَيَقُولُ: مَا شَاءَ اللهُ لاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللهِ، فَيَرَى فِيهِ آفَةً دُوْنَ الْمَوتِ. رواه أبو يعلى الموصلي بسند ضعيف

“Allah would not bestow pleasure to His slave, in the form of family (wife), riches, or descendant, then he said: ‘MAASYA ALLAHU, LAA QUWWATA ILLA BILLAH’ (‘Whatever Allah wills shall come to pass, for there is no power save with Allah!’), thus the pleasure wont be afflicted by calamity but death.” Narrated by Abu Ya’la Al Mushily At Thobrany, Al Baihaqy, and the others; it is a weak hadith.

Even though it’s narrational chain is weak, as explained by many of the scholars, such as As Suyuthi, Al Munawi and Al Albani, but the meaning is true. That is because the content of that hadith resembles the content of the saying of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- below:

(إِذَا رَأَى أَحَدُكُمْ مِنْ أَخِيهِ أَوْ مِنْ نَفْسِهِ أَوْ مِنْ مَالِهِ مَا يُعْجِبُهُ فَلْيُبَرِّكْهُ فَإِنَّ الْعَيْنَ حَقٌّ ) رواه أحمد والطبراني وغيرهما وصححه الألباني

“If one of you witnessed something that fascinate him from his brother or even from himself, or his wealth, for him to invoke for blessing for it, because indeed, the effect of evil eyes is true.” Narrated by Ahmad, Ath Thabrany, and classed sahih by Al Albani.

Brother, it is very urgent for us all to take an example from the story of the wealthy merchant, whose name is lasted for the whole time; Qarun.

إِنَّ قَارُونَ كَانَ مِن قَوْمِ مُوسَى فَبَغَى عَلَيْهِمْ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْكُنُوزِ مَا إِنَّ مَفَاتِحَهُ لَتَنُوءُ بِالْعُصْبَةِ أُولِي الْقُوَّةِ القصص 76

“To be sure, Qarun (Korah) was one of Moses’ people; then he transgressed against them. We had bestowed on him such treasure that their very keys would have been raised with difficulty by a whole group of strong people. Once when his people said to him: Do not exult, for Allah does not love those who exult (in their riches).” (QS. Al Qashash/The Stories: 76)

Qarun or Korah was an icon of successful businessman, smart, and ultra-rich. Qarun was so successful and wealthy, thus most if the people dreamt to follow his step to become rich. Because his riches was superfluous, until some of powerful man felt heavy to carry his storage keys. Whereas every storage had only one door, and one key respectively, and each key was only as big as human thumb.

According to some experts in tafseer, the keys of Qarun’s storage were only be able to be carried by a minimum of 60 donkeys. (2)

Even until today, some of us are still dreaming to get, even just a little bit, of his left; the wealth of Qarun (treasure trove).

قَالَ الَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنيَا يَا لَيْتَ لَنَا مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ قَارُونُ إِنَّهُ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ القصص 79

“Once Korah went forth among his people in full glitter. Those seeking the life of this world said: “Would that we had the like of what Korah has! He truly has a great fortune.” (QS. Al Qashash/The Stories: 79)

Qarun believed that he was successful in his trade due to his own intelligence and brilliance. Thus, when people admonished him by saying:

وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَأَحْسِن كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ القصص 77

“Seek by means of the wealth that Allah has granted you the Abode of the Hereafter, but forget not your share in this world and do good as Allah has been good to you and do not strive to create mischief in the land, for Allah loves not those who create mischief.” (QS Al Qashash/The Stories: 77)

He replied:

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ عِندِي أَوَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَهْلَكَ مِن قَبْلِهِ مِنَ القُرُونِ مَنْ هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنْهُ قُوَّةً وَأَكْثَرُ جَمْعًا وَلَا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذُنُوبِهِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ القصص 78

“He replied: ‘All this has been given to me on account of a certain knowledge that I have.’ Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him those who were stronger in might than he and were more numerous in multitude? The wicked are not asked about their acts of sin.” (QS Al Qashash/The Stories: 78)

Brother, pause for a second, and try to remember various economic concepts together with it’s theories, and compare it to the ideology of Qarun above: “All this has been given to me on account of a certain knowledge that I have.”

We all have been negligent, even some of our experts in economy disbelieve that sustenance and all pleasures are the gift and grace from Allah alone. Some of us believe that in this modern era, religion should only be used to control worshipping matters. As for the worldly matters, are not supposed to be mixed with religious teaching.

Brother, know that the sign that you are a truly faithful believer, is by believing that every matter of sustenance has already been determined by Allah the Exalted. Thus, there shall be no worries or fear in facing the future. A muslim should not think of a gloom future. But a muslim should always face his future optimistically and full with faith in Allah.

(إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ يُجْمَعُ خَلْقُهُ في بَطْنِ أُمِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ عَلَقَةً مِثْلَ ذلك ثُمَّ يَكُونُ مُضْغَةً مِثْلَ ذلك ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُ الله مَلَكًا فَيُؤْمَرُ بِأَرْبَعِ كَلِمَاتٍ وَيُقَالُ له اكْتُبْ عَمَلَهُ وَرِزْقَهُ وَأَجَلَهُ وَشَقِيٌّ أو سَعِيدٌ ثُمَّ يُنْفَخُ فيه الرُّوحُ) متفق عليه

“(The matter of the creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allâh sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e., the new creature’s) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into him.” (Muttafaqun ‘alayh)

2. Being content by the bounties of Allah

Your faith in Allah the Exalted, and that the sustenance is absolutely His bounty, will make you to be optimistic in facing the future challenges, and to be content and satisfied with your part of sustenance from Allah the Exalted.

(إن اللَّهَ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى يبتلي عَبْدَهُ بِمَا أَعْطَاهُ فَمَنْ رضي بِمَا قَسَمَ الله عز وجل له بَارَكَ الله له فيه وَوَسَّعَهُ وَمَنْ لم يَرْضَ لم يُبَارِكْ له ولم يزده على ما كتب له) رواه أحمد والبيهقي وصححه الألباني

“Indeed, Allah The Most Vast in sustenance and the Exalted, will try each of His slave with the sustenance He has bestowed upon them. Whoever pleased with Allah The Almighty’s division, Allah will bless and expand that sustenance for him. And whoever displeased (dissatisfied), his sustenance wont be blessed.” (Narrated by Ahmad, and classed sahih by Al Albani)

A faithful believer will always be pleased and satisfied with the sustenance he got, far from greediness and voraciousness.

Al Munawi in his book, ‘Faidhul Qadir’, said: “The disease of greediness and dissatisfy with the bounties of Allah has been found in the worshipers of the world. You’ll find one of them belittles the sustenance bestowed upon him. As the result, he feels that his sustenance is very small in number, undesirable, and he’ll always be amazed in seeing other people’s sustenance and believe that theirs are better and more numerous than his. He’ll keep on working very hard to add his riches, sacrificing his age and time until it’s running out, and he’ll lost his power. In the end of the day he’ll be an old, forgetful man, due to the ambition he couldn’t get and he’ll only taste the weariness of his vain strive. By his attitude, he has tortured his body, blackened his sheets of deeds with plenty of sins he had done to seek riches. Whereas, had he think (of his life -translator) better, he wouldn’t get anything but what Allah has decided for him as his parts. In the end of his life, he’ll pass away in bankruptcy, he never be thankful for what he got, nor that he succeeded in realizing his dream.” (3)

Brother, if you really dream of a happy life, try to train yourself to be contented and satisfied with all you get. This is the only way for you to feel the joy, happiness, peacefulness, and serenity of living in this world.

It was said,

إذا كنْتَ ذا قَلْبٍ قَنُوعٍ، فَأَنْتَ وَصَاحِبُ الدُّنْيَا سَوَاء.

“If you have a contented heart, you and the owner of the world (means a very wealthy person) is just the same.”

القناعة كنْزٌ لا يفنى

“Self-contentment is an everlasting property.”

The messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had described to us about the beauty of the life of those who have been granted with self-contentment:

(مَنْ أَصْبَحَ مِنْكُمْ آمِناً فِي سِرْبِهِ مُعَافًى فِي جَسَدِهِ عِنْدَهُ قُوتُ يَومِهِ ؛ فَكَأَنَّمَا حِيْزَتْ لَهُ الدُّنْيَا بِحَذَافِيرِهَا) رواه الترمذي وابن ماجة والطبراني وابن حبان والبيهقي.

“Whoever among you wakes up in the morning secured in his dwelling, healthy in his body, having his food for the day, then it is as if the world has been gathered for him.” (Narrated by At Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja, At Thobrany, Ibn Hibban, and Al Baihaqi)

Al Munawi -may Allah have mercy on him- said: “The meaning of this hadith is that whoever has these things gathered in himself: a healthy body, a feeling of secure in his soul whenever he goes, and the day’s necessities are already being fulfilled and his family is in a secure condition, indeed, Allah has gathered all kinds of pleasures for him, which whoever is able to conquer the world will not get anything but those pleasures.” (4)

Brother, the real implication of the self-contentment is by keep obeying the laws of Allah and social ethics that run in the society while working. A contented person will always prioritize his dignity, and the safety of his religion above worldly profits.

(يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا الله وَأَجْمِلُوا فِي الطَّلَبِ فَإِنَّ نَفْساْ لَنْ تَمُوَت حَتىَّ تَسْتَوْفِيَ رِزْقَهَا وَإِنْ أَبْطَأَ عَنْهَا، فَاتَّقُوا الله وَأَجْمِلُوا فِي الطَّلَبِ، خُذُوا مَا حَلَّ وَدَعُوا مَا حَرَمَ). رواه ابن ماجة وعبد الرزاق وابن حبان والحاكم وصححه الألباني

“O people, fear Allâh and be moderate in seeking a living, for no soul will die until it has received all its provision, even if it is slow in coming. So fear Allâh and be moderate in seeking provision; take that which is permissible and leave that which is forbidden.” Narrated by Ibn Maja, Abdurrazzaq, Ibn Hibban, and Al Hakim, and classed sahih by Al Albani.

A real example is that if you want to collect the debts from your brother, you shall obey the rights of brotherhood and good manners in dealing with other people in Islam, that is by saying benevolent words, being polite, etc. Because Allah’s messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- ordered us:

(مَنْ طَلَبَ حَقّاً فَلْيَطْلُبْهُ فِي عَفَافٍ وَافٍ أَوْ غَيْرَ وَافٍ) رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه وابن حبان والحاكم

“Whoever demands to have his rights back, should ask it with a dignified way, whether he succeeded to obtain it or not.” Narrated by At Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban and Al Hakim.

This is of course totally different with the phenomena that occurred in the life of most merchants and businessmen. Sometimes they use all sorts of ways to obtain profits, indifferent to religious norms, so bad until there is a common slogan saying:

الحَلاَلُ مَا حَلَّ فِي اليَدِّ وَالحَرَامُ مَا حُرِمْتَ الوصول إليهِ

“The lawful is what we can get, and the unlawful is what we are screened from it.

That is why the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-reminded the merchants to pay much attention on the lawful and unlawful matters in their business:

(يَا مَعْشَرَ التُّجَّارِ)، فَاسْتَجَابُوا لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ وَرَفَعُوا أَعْنَاقَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ إِلَيْهِ فَقَالَ: (إِنَّ التُّجَّارَ يُبْعَثُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فُجَّارًا إِلاَّ مَنِ اتَّقَى اللَّهَ وَبَرَّ وَصَدَقَ) رواه الترمذي وابن حبان والحاكم وصححه الألباني

“O people of trade!” and they replied to the Messenger of Allah, turning their necks and their gazes towards him, and he said: “Indeed the merchants will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement with the wicked, except the one who has Taqwa of Allah, who behaves charitably and is truthful.” Narrated by At Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban, Al Hakim, and classed sahih by Al Albani.

Brother, know that the way of many businessman who uses all sorts of ways, in fact, doesn’t add anything to their sustenance. What happened even contrasted their desires. By using all sorts of way, careless of the lawful or unlawful state of it, will just hinder them from parts of their sustenance:

The messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said:

(إن الرَّجُلَ لَيُحْرَمُ الرِّزْقُ بِالذَّنْبِ يُصِيبُهُ) رواه أحمد وابن ماجة والحاكم وغيرهم

“Indeed a man may be deprived of provision by a sin that he commits.” Narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Maja, Al Hakim, etc.

In another hadith, the messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said:

(إِنَّ الرِّبَا وَإِنْ كَثُرَ، عَاقِبَتُه تَصِيرُ إِلَى قَلَّ) رواه أحمد الطبراني والحاكم وحسنه الحافظ ابن حجر والألباني

“Indeed, (property from) usury, although numerous in number, eventually will be small.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad, At Thabrany, Al Hakim, and classed as hadith hasan by Ibn Hajar and Al Albani.

3. Self-resignation (self reliance) to Allah the Exalted

You faith in Allah the Exalted, and that sustenances merely come from Him alone, will form you to be an optimistic person in facing your future, without any fear of it, or despair, if you face a challenge, or your success is being postponed.

A believer who believe that Allah the Exalted had written his sustenance long before he was born to the world, will still be tough, in facing failures. Because he believes that all he can do in this world is just striving to get the best, and the result is under the sovereignty of Allah the Exalted. Thus a muslim wont easily be depressed in thinking about his sustenance or income, nor will he kill himself for trivial causes.

This explanation doesn’t meant to make us to be idle, by reasoning with self-resignation, and waiting for the predestined sustenance to come to our door. But we should keep our lawful work as best as we can, with all of our resources, and leave the result to Allah.

This is the promise of Allah the Exalted:

وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا {2} وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا الطلاق 2-3

“Allah will find a way out for him who fears Allah, and will provide him sustenance from whence he never even imagined. Whoever puts his trust in Allah, He shall suffice him. Surely Allah brings about what He decrees; Allah has set a measure for everything.” (QS Ath Tholaq/The Divorce: 2-3)

The messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- depicted to us about a faithful believer who rely himself on Allah, who is working with all his powers to find his sustenance:

(لو أَنَّكُمْ تَتَوَكَّلُونَ على اللَّهِ حَقَّ تَوَكُّلِهِ لَرَزَقَكُمْ كما يَرْزُقُ الطَّيْرَ تَغْدُو خِمَاصاً وَتَرُوحُ بِطَاناً) رواه أحمد وغيره

“If you were to rely upon Allâh with the reliance He is due, you would be given provision like the birds: They go out hungry in the morning and come back with full bellies in the evening.” Narrated by Ahmad, and others.

In this hadith, The messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-described the correct practice of self-resignation by a bird. Each bird will fly out from it’s nest in the morning, fly here and there to earn it’s own sustenance. None of it which being idle and stay in it’s nest. That is why, the messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-ordered his followers:

(الْمُؤْمِنُ الْقَوِيُّ خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إلي اللَّهِ من الْمُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ، وفي كُلٍّ خَيْرٌ. احْرِصْ على ما يَنْفَعُكَ، وَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ ولا تَعْجَزْ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَكَ شَيْءٌ فلا تَقُلْ: لو أَنِّي فَعَلْتُ، كان كَذَا وَكَذَا، وَلَكِنْ قُلْ: قَدَرُ اللَّهِ وما شَاءَ فَعَلَ؛ فَإِنَّ لو تَفْتَحُ عَمَلَ الشَّيْطَان) رواه مسلم

“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allâh than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to do that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allâh, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say: ‘If only I had done (such and such), then such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allah has decreed and what He wills He does.’ For ‘if only’ opens the door to the work of the Shaitan.” Narrated by Muslim.

That is the ideal attitude of a self-resigning believer. He shall work with his best, together with a tough faith and self-resignation to Allah. By doing this, Allah the Exalted will bestow upon him sustenances and blessings to him, and all of us who did so.

Hopefully, this brief article can serve as compeller for our faith and spirit, in walking through the world of business. Thus we can enjoy happiness, without being the slave of our wealth, because being the slave of our wealth means that the wealth will turn into the source of sufferings and miseries for us.

(تَعِسَ عبد الدِّينَارِ وَعَبْدُ الدِّرْهَمِ وَعَبْدُ الْخَمِيصَةِ إن أُعْطِيَ رضي وَإِنْ لم يُعْطَ سَخِطَ تَعِسَ وَانْتَكَسَ وإذا شِيكَ فلا انْتَقَشَ) رواه البخاري

“Let the slave of Dinar and Dirham, and Qatifa and Khamisa (i.e., money and luxurious clothes) perish for he is pleased if these things are given to him, and if not, he is displeased!” Narrated by Al Bukhari.

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ جِبْرَائِيلَ وَمِيكَائِيلَ وَإِسْرَافِيلَ فَاطِرَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ عَالِمَ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ أَنْتَ تَحْكُمُ بَيْنَ عِبَادِكَ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ اهْدِنِى لِمَا اخْتُلِفَ فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِكَ إِنَّكَ تَهْدِى مَنْ تَشَاءُ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ. وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين. والله أعلم بالصَّواب، وآخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين.

“O Allah, Lord of Gabriel, Michael, Israfil, One Who has Created the skies and the earth, Who Know the unseen and seen things, You are the Judge among Your creations upon all of their conflicts. Guide us -by Your permission- to the truth in every conflicted matter, verily, You are The One Who guide whom You wish to the straight path. Prayer and peace of Allah might always be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and all of his companions. And Allah is The One Who Know better of the truth. And the end of our prayer is: “All praises be to Allah, Lord of the Universe.” Amin.


1) Narrated by Ibn Jarir At Thobari7/634.
2) Tafseer At Thobari 20/106-107.
3) Tafseer At Thobari 2/236.
4) Faidhul Qadir by Al Munawi 9/387.


Author: Ustadz Dr. Muhammad Arifin bin Badri, M.A.

3 thoughts on “Self-resignation and Striving in Earning A living


    Masha Allah, I get an eye openor about the islamic perspective in earning livelihood by reading this article.Jazakallah.

  2. Masha Allah, Jazakallah Khair

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