By S. Arshad, NewAgeIslam.com
According to the Quran, contentment is the trait of a true Muslim. Patience, gratitude to God and piety are the constituents of contentment. A true Muslim is thankful to God in all circumstances. He is contented with whatever bounties God has bestowed on him and does not have greed and undue craving for more. God gives countless bounties to whomever He wishes and gives in required measure to whomever He wishes. He also tests some of us by putting us in a state of starvation, penury, hardship, fear, loss of business etc. A true Muslim passes every test by virtue of contentment:
“So eat from what Allah has given you pure and clean and be thankful to Allah for his bounties if you worship Him.”(Al Nahl; 114)
Greed is present in every man’s heart and be craves for more seeing the wealth, prosperity and other material resources of others. This craving sometimes takes a wrong turn and he uses all the tricks and means to acquire the worldly luxuries. He loses the sense of good and evil and legitimate and illegitimate. The Quran warns him against such behavior:
“And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others.”(Al Nisa: 32)
The Quran says that if God bestows wealth and material prosperity to someone, there is some wisdom in it. He tests people giving them wealth in the same way He tests some others by putting them in poverty and starvation. Therefore it is foolish to hanker after money and worldly luxuries in competition with others.
God has predetermined everyone’s fate. So, to be complaining against one’s own fate is synonymous with being ungrateful to God. And ingratitude to God is a grave sin. God has destroyed many nations due to ingratitude. The Quran says:
“We give you space on the land and fixed your livelihood in it, you seldom express your gratitude.”
Therefore, contentment teaches man patience and piety. The heart gets solace and spiritual peace with acknowledgment of God’s favors and bounties. A grateful person neither takes undue pride in his worldly possession nor expresses his disappointment at what he does not have.
“No torment befells a country or your life that is not already written in the Book. Verily, it is easy for Allah so that you do not complain about what you do not get and do not boast of what he gave you, and Allah does not like anyone who boasts.’ (Al Hadeed: 22-23)
Thus, the Quran emphasizes on contentment on four occasions. It forbids man from being jealous of others for their wealth and prosperity and at the same time it enjoins on him not to have a lust for more. God says:
“And if you have patience and piety, it requires courage.” (Al-i-Imran: 186)
Therefore, the Quran clearly teaches Muslims contentment because it makes man grateful to God and also helps him to shrug off greed and covetousness as greed compels man to resort to all the means, good and evil, for acquiring wealth and material prosperity whereas contentment makes man pious and considerate.