Look at the People Beneath You In Wealth and Worldly Affairs

All praises be to Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon His messenger, his family, and all of his companions.

How many people around us who are awed by other’s wealth; they never feel satisfied with their own possessions. One after another; if they managed to get a property, they will be longing for more. After having a motorcycle, they wish to have a car, and after getting the car, they wish to have a luxurious car, and so on; even to wish for an aircraft to be theirs. That is the characteristic of men, who never get satisfied with their condition.

Looking at People Whose position beneath us in wealth and worldly affairs

The rightful attitude of a believer is that to always look at those whose position are beneath him, in wealth and worldly affairs. There are abundance of people who live in poverty around us, who even forced to borrow money here and there just for their daily meals; or even worse. A believer, a muslim, shall pay a close attention on the advice of the Prophet – may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- regarding this matter.

One day, the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- gave advice to Abu Dhar. Abu Dhar said,

أَمَرَنِي خَلِيلِي صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِسَبْعٍ أَمَرَنِي بِحُبِّ الْمَسَاكِينِ وَالدُّنُوِّ مِنْهُمْ وَأَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَنْظُرَ إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ دُونِي وَلَا أَنْظُرَ إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ فَوْقِي

“My most beloved person- the Prophet – may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- ordered me seven matters (amongst those are): [1]. He ordered me to love the poor and be close with them, [2]. he ordered me to look at the people beneath me (in wealth and worldly affairs), so that I wont be looking at the people above me….” (Narrated by Ahmad. Classed sahih by Sheikh Shuaib Al Arnauth)

From Abu Huraira, the messenger of Allah – may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said,

إذا نظر أحدكم إلى من فضل عليه في المال والخلق فلينظر إلى من هو أسفل منه

“If one of you look at a person who is better than him in wealth and body (charm), let him look at the people beneath him.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn Hajar said, “The meaning of al khalq is the body shape. Included in it, the descendants, followers, and anything related to worldly merits.” (Taken from Fath al Bari, 11/32)

…So that one will not underestimate the bounty of Allah

By this noble attitude, that is to keep his eye on those whose condition are beneath him in worldly affairs, one will be able to realize the true form of gratitude.

From Abu Huraira, the messenger of Allah – may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said,

انظروا إلى من هو أسفل منكم ولا تنظروا إلى من هو فوقكم ، فهو أجدر أن لا تزدروا نعمة الله عليكم

“Look at the people beneath you (in wealth and worldly affairs) and do not gaze the ones above you (in this matter). By this, you will not underestimate the bounty of Allah bestowed upon you.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

Al Munawi -may Allah have mercy on him- said,

“If someone look at the people above him (in wealth and worldly affairs), he will belittle the provisions of Allah on him and he will aim for more. The way to cure such condition is to look at people beneath him (in wealth and worldly affairs). Thus, he will be please and grateful, and his greed (in wealth and world) will be decreased. If one often look at the people above him, he will be dissatisfied with his provisions from Allah. But if he switch his gaze to the people beneath him, it will make him please and be grateful of Allah’s provisions upon him. ”

Al Ghozali -may Allah have mercy on him- said,

“Satan will forever try to switch men’s gaze to those above him in worldly affairs. Satan will whisper to him, ‘Why don’t you be haste in seeking and gaining wealth, so that you can live prosperously[?]’ But regarding religious matters and the Hereafter, Satan will turn his face to people beneath him (in religious affairs), saying ‘Why do you feel bad and humbled in front of Allah[?]’ That man is still more knowledgeable than you.” (Refer to: “Faidul Qodir Syarh Al Jaami’ Ash Shogir, 1/573”)

Paying attention to the condition of people beneath him in worldly matters will make someone to be grateful to Allah, and not underestimating His mercy. When he saw the house of an oil merchant who has luxurious house, he probably said in his heart, “My house is worse than the oil merchant’s house.” But when he looked at people beneath him, he would say, “In fact, my house is still better than my neighbor’s house.” Thus, he would be grateful for sustenance bestowed upon him.

It would be different for someone who keep on looking at the people who are wealthier than him. When he saw his brother having a Blackberry smartphone, he would think that his cell phone is out of date compared to his brother’s. Hence he would be ungrateful for the sustenance he got, belittling it, even worse, he would envy his brother, and hate him. Whereas there are still lots of people who have lower quality cell phone than him. This is certainly a wrong perception, but unfortunately, has became the common perceptions of our people today.

One should Look Upon People Above him in Religious and Hereafter matters

Contrary to worldly affairs, in religious matters and regarding the deeds to get rewards in the Hereafter, one should fix his eyes to the people above him; he should always think that his deeds are still far from the pious deeds of the Prophets, the honest men, the martyrs, and other pious men. The noble predecessors were very excited in performing goodness, in praying, fasting, giving charities, reciting the Qur’an, learning the useful lessons, and so on. And every one supposed to have the similar perception in religious matters, obedience, their approach to Allah, and in seizing the rewards and His paradise; just as the attitude and haste of the noble predecessors. This is what we called: be haste in goodness.

Regarding this matter, Allah the Exalted decreed,

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ (22) عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنْظُرُونَ (23) تَعْرِفُ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ نَضْرَةَ النَّعِيمِ (24) يُسْقَوْنَ مِنْ رَحِيقٍ مَخْتُومٍ (25) خِتَامُهُ مِسْكٌ وَفِي ذَلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ (26)

Verily the virtuous shall be in Bliss; resting on couches, looking around. You shall see upon their faces the glow of bliss. They will be served a drink of the finest sealed wine, whose seal is musk – so let all aspirants aspire after that -“ (The Defrauding: 22-26)

Al Qurthubi said, “Aspire to perform the righteous deeds in this world.” (Taken from “At Tadzkiroh Lil Qurtubhi”, page 578)

In another verse, Allah the Exalted also said,

فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا

“Vie, then, with one another in good works.” (The Table Spread: 48)

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

“And hasten to the forgiveness of your Lord and to a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the God-fearing.” (The Family of Imraan: 133)

the noble predecessors had realized the content of these verses by being haste in goodness, as reflected in their sayings quoted by Ibn Rajab below:

Al Hasan said,

إذا رأيت الرجل ينافسك في الدنيا فنافسه في الآخرة

“If you see anyone who is better than you in worldly affairs, excel him in Hereafter deeds.”

Wahib Ibn Al Warid said,

إن استطعت أن لا يسبقك إلى الله أحد فافعل

“If you’re able to excel someone in being haste to reach Allah’s please, do it.”

Some predecessors said,

لو أن رجلا سمع بأحد أطوع لله منه كان ينبغي له أن يحزنه ذلك

“Suppose that one heard that there are people who are better than him in obeying Allah, he should be sad for being outplayed in obedience.” (Taken from “Latho-if Ma’arif” page. 268)

Their comments are in contrast with the reality today, where some people let others to excel him in religious matters. A simple example, is in getting the first row in congregational prayer. Some people would say, ” Please, you be at the first row.”, telling others to fill the first row in front of them, whereas the first row is the the best row for men in prayer, and it possesses a great excellence. If only they know about this excellence, they would have made a draw to get the first row in prayer.

The Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said,

خَيْرُ صُفُوفِ الرِّجَالِ أَوَّلُهَا وَشَرُّهَا آخِرُهَا وَخَيْرُ صُفُوفِ النِّسَاءِ آخِرُهَا وَشَرُّهَا أَوَّلُهَا

“The best rows for men are at the front, and the worst are at the back; and the best rows for women are at the back, and the worst are at the front.” (Narrated by Muslim)

From Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him- , that the messenger of Allah -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- also said,

لَوْ يَعْلَمُ النَّاسُ مَا فِى النِّدَاءِ وَالصَّفِّ الأَوَّلِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَجِدُوا إِلاَّ أَنْ يَسْتَهِمُوا عَلَيْهِ لاَسْتَهَمُوا

“If the people knew what there is (of reward) in the call (to prayer) and the first row, and they could find no other way then drawing lots, then they would draw lots.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim)

Let us compete in seizing the Paradise and rewards of Allah!

The true wealth is the Richness of a heart

The messenger of Allah -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- ordered us to look at the people beneath is in worldly affairs, so that we could be a grateful slave of Allah, who always feel content with the sustenance He has given to us, without any envious feeling and hatred towards other people. Because the true wealth is the fullness of a heart, that is a heart of a person that always feel satisfied with every bliss Allah has bestowed to him. The messenger of Allah -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said:

لَيْسَ الْغِنَى عَنْ كَثْرَةِ الْعَرَضِ وَلَكِنَّ الْغِنَى غِنَى النَّفْسِ

“Wealth (true wealth) is not lie on the abundance of properties. But the true wealth is an ever satisfied heart.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

From ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Al ‘Ash, the messenger of Allah -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- also said,

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَرُزِقَ كَفَافًا وَقَنَّعَهُ اللَّهُ بِمَا آتَاهُ

“One who has embraced Islam is indeed the lucky one, he is given sustenance that is enough for him and Allah will make him satisfied over what been given to him.” (Narrated by Muslim)

Suppose that someone recognize the joy, of which he is seemed to get the joy of the whole world, he must have been truly grateful and satisfied with it. And that is joy of having enough food for the day he is living now, having a place to settle in, and having a healthy body and soul.

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

من أصبح منكم آمنا في سربه معافى في جسده عنده قوت يومه فكأنما حيزت له الدنيا

“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 Tirmidhi. Classed good (hasan) by Sheikh Al Albani)

Thus, increase your prayer to Allah, so that Allah will always suffice you. The supplication the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- always invokes was:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّى أَسْأَلُكَ الْهُدَى وَالتُّقَى وَالْعَفَافَ وَالْغِنَى

“Allahumma inni as-alukal huda wat tuqo wal ‘afaf wal ghina” (O Allah, I ask You for guidance, piety, and the quality of ‘afaf and richness of a heart.) (Narrated by Muslim)

O Allah, please bestow upon us the quality of ‘afaf and richness of a heart. Amin. O the Answerer of pleas.

Hopefully we will always be able to obtain the useful knowledge, and be at ease in performing righteous deeds.

All praises be to Allah, Who makes all goodness become perfect by His bounty. Prayers and peace may be upon our prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companions.

***

Written at the house of my beloved parents in law, (Panggang, Gunung Kidul, Indonesia), after the Fajr prayer, 7th of Jumadil Ula 1430 H

Ustadz Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal

Article of www.whatisquran.com

One comment

  1. Um Zubayr says:

    As salam alaikum wa rahmatullah

    Jazakum Allahu Khayran for the beneficial article. I wanted to highlight the following and ask if it is accurate. I feel the opposite of what was meant is written. May Allah reward you immensely.

    “But regarding religious matters and the Hereafter, Satan will turn his face to people beneath him (in religious affairs), saying ‘Why do you feel bad and humbled in front of Allah[?]’ That man is still more knowledgeable than you.” (Refer to: “Faidul Qodir Syarh Al Jaami’ Ash Shogir, 1/573”)”

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