Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fear of Poverty

More from Purification of the Heart...

It's probably kind of ironic that I start these posts with a humorous image, and follow with a serious post. It's a snare, trying to catch your interest. I said today, "don't fear poverty." Turns out that Fear of Poverty is a chapter in the book so I feel compelled to post on it, just as a gentle reminder.

First of all, fear of poverty is described as a disease of the heart because nurturing it implies a bad opinion about Allah. And He has revealed, Satan threatens you with poverty and he commands you to immorality. But God promises you His forgiveness and bounty. (2:268). See that? Allah promises both forgiveness and bounty. I feel like this ayat is very pertinent to a current situation (which I am not in alone) and that being the case, I am amazed once more at the relevance of the Qur'an. Fear of poverty--that is when Shaytaan incessantly bothers us with pondering the importance of our wealth in our lives, when the whispering makes us depend on the wealth instead of Allah and cling to it--causes us to neglect the needy and ultimately deprive ourselves of giving for the sake of God, which is actually virtuous. (By the way, we can recall here that envy is allowed in two cases, one of which is to envy a man who has wealth from Allah that he spends in the way of Allah, wishing that we could also spend in Allah's way and earn reward through that.)

Anyway, the preoccupation with wealth leaves a person open to transgression to gain or at least maintain wealth. The text here actually says "vulnerable to transgress laws and indulge in lewdness." And then comes my favorite line in the whole chapter...
God is the Provider and source of all wealth and comfort.
I love to be reminded of this, when someone tells me for example that he is indebted to Allah first, and grateful to Allah first, and that such-and-such provision is for Allah. The actual poem says that the cure of fear of poverty
is in having a good opinion (of God)

and knowing that what God possesses is never diminished in the least and that what has been apportioned to you will reach you inevitably.
So if we have fear, we should fear Allah. Definitely. Allah has revealed And whoever fears God, He will make foor him a way out. And He will provide for him in a way he never expected. And whoever trusts in God, He is sufficient for him. (65:2-3). More beautiful ayaat... I mean, I can't even read the Arabic but still this moves me. Perhaps more moving is that I have seen it, experienced it, experienced having to trust in Allah, and finding a way out... an unexpected way out... subhanallah.
There is a stipulation in receiving this provision, namely, that one have true taqwaa (or awe of God) and is nurturing of the condition that permits him or her to walk the earth with dignity.
The cure then is to maintain a good opinion of our Provider, which will "deflect insidious whisperings" and "subtle provocations that create irrational fear." The good thoughts express themselves in contentment with status, and the Prophet Muhammad saws said "Contentment is a treasure that is never exhausted."
One should not worry, for what is determined for a person shall come to him or her.
And I would like to end on the following ayah, that on no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you,Amy,may Allah reward you accordingly,your post made me understand that verse in Quran further and to think deeper,yes contentment is the most precious treasure,even if u have the whole world with silver and gold in front of u,u could still be the most miserable person in the world,but even if u hardly had enough food on ur table to feed ur family,u could be still the richest person in the whole world,as our Prophet(upon him Peace and Blessings of Allah) said"He whose aim is the Hereafter,Allah subjugates the world for him and he whose aim is this world,nothing comes to him except what is decreed for him,he goes to bed poor and gets up poor",very appropriate in our times,don't u think?