If there is one value we should all strive for, it is contentment. Once you are satisfied with what you have in this world, life will automatically become simpler.
“…that they may be comforted and not grieved, and may all be pleased with what you give them. Allah knows what is in your hearts. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.” (Al-Ahzab 33:51)
Here are a few suggestions for becoming more content with what we have in this world:
Write it down
Jot down in a journal, how many hours of the day you spend striving for this world and how many hours working for the next world. If we pride ourselves in being ‘moderate’ Muslims and following a balanced approach, do we really strike a balance in all our activities? We are so content with our Ibadah but we are not content with the size of our house, car or diamond ring. Our journal can surprise us, as to how balanced we really are.
Choose Good Company
A great way to increase contentment is to move around with people that are content with what they have in this world. Is your social circle making you more discontent? Are you throwing lavish parties and racking up credit card bills only to compete with others? If yes, it might be the time for migrating to friends that are content with what they have.
“Would that they were contented with what Allah and His Messenger (sa) gave them and had said: ‘Allah is Sufficient for us. Allah will give us of His Bounty, and so will His Messenger (from alms). We implore Allah (to enrich us).’” (At-Taubah 9:59)
Don’t get into the Rat Race
If you join the rat race of designer bags, shoes and other luxuries, it will never end. You may feel that you will buy just one expensive outfit and leave it at that. However, once your appetite has been whetted with the look and feel of luxurious items – plus the oohs and ahs that accompany it – you could be drugged for life. Try to stay away from this slippery slope of brand names. It is like quick sand that can suck you into unending depths of discontentment.
Teaching Contentment to Kids
Every time you think of buying your child a new toy, ask yourself, if you could rather snuggle in bed with her and have a reading marathon? Instead of a trip to a fancy restaurant, how about baking their favorite pizza at home from scratch? Don’t be ashamed to say we cannot buy this toy now, because it’s too expensive. Children should know they cannot have everything they see. If they like a particular toy, ask them to add it to their Eid wish list. Then, on Eid or when they get good grades, give them a monetary budget or toy item limit and let them splurge.
Contentment is our Tradition
As sister Huma Najmul Hassan explained in one of her Bayan ul Quran CDs, many of us follow the customs and traditions of our forefathers on weddings, deaths and other occasions as a means of respecting them. Now, even if our forefathers may have unknowingly been making mistakes in some traditions, they lived very simple and content lives. Just two generations ago, one dish was enough for dinner, cold drinks were a rare treat and new clothes were worn only on Eid. How convenient it is that we follow our ancestors in some aspects but not in others!