Chapter 102 of the Quran refers to a reality of life in these words: “You were obsessed about acquiring more and more till you reached the grave.” (102:1-2) This verse refers to a historical fact. Every person is engaged in acquiring more and more money, but very soon, he dies without fulfilling his desires.

Why this sad state of affairs in human history? The reason is that a person follows his desires without knowing that the present world was not created for this purpose. This disparity between man and the world has led to the tragic end of a man dying without fulfilment. This is because the world was created as a testing ground for a limited period and not for man to fulfil his unlimited desires.

In this world, the secret of success does not lie in having more and more but rather in contentment with what one has. There is no limit to the desires of a greedy person but a person who is contented has his limits. When he reaches a certain point, he becomes satisfied. But the greedy person always lives in a state of discontent. What a person gets from this discontentment is mental anguish, etc. In other words, the desire for more an more means the desire for mental anguish. On the contrary, one who knows contentment always lives a life of satisfaction.



It is only by adopting the formula of contentment (qanaat) that we can live a tension-free life. Man has unlimited desires and so even when he gets everything, it appears less. In such a scenario, only contentment can be the solution. People live in the psyche of greed (takassur) which is the root cause of tension. They should be extricated from greed culture and brought to contentment culture. And contentment in this world is only for those who willingly accept the creation plan of God. According to the Quranic explanation, the present world was created for only a limited period and also for a temporary purpose— that is, to develop your personality so that you may become eligible to enter the next world called Paradise.

Source: The Seeker’s Guide

The secret of happiness is in contentment. If you are contented, you will be happy. But if you are discontented with what you possess or have achieved, then you are bound to live in a state of unhappiness.

Studies show that there are two levels of achievement: one based on need and the second on greed. As far as need is concerned, very few are in a truly deprived state in this world. But, the pursuit of greed has no limit. No amount of achievement can satisfy one’s greed. It is this streak in man’s nature that makes him unhappy.

In this matter, everyone should be very practical. All must differentiate between the achievable and the unachievable. The meeting of needs is achievable for most people, but the satisfaction of greed is hardly achievable for all and sundry, even for the wealthy and the politically powerful.

Although the number of things about which one feels greedy is finite, there is no end to greed itself and the attempt to satiate one’s greed is an unending quest. Man demands are unlimited. This is part of his nature. But the world in which he lives is a limited one and is very seldom geared up to meet his demands. It is this difference that leads to that unenviable state called unhappiness.

Both happiness and unhappiness are states of mind. If you acknowledge this fact, you will easily be able to keep your ambitions in check and will instantly achieve happiness. Happiness is an internal phenomenon; it is not an external achievement.

Source: Leading a Spiritual Life

Those who want to fulfill their material desires in the present world will very soon find that they have failed to build the edifice of their dreams. Anything that they achieve seems to them less than ideal. This is a source of all kinds of mental tension and stress.

Now the problem is that, although man was born with an ideal nature, and is an ideal-seeking creature—in the sense of wanting to have all the best things in life—the present world was not created for this purpose. In terms of personality development, the present world has enormous scope but, in terms of material achievement, the present world is very limited in its scope.

Those who want to fulfill their material desires in the present world will very soon find that they have failed to build the edifice of their dreams. Anything that they achieve seems to them less than ideal. This is a source of all kinds of mental tension and stress. The formula given in the Quran is this: try your best to evolve your personality in terms of spiritual and intellectual development. But, as far as your material requirements are concerned, adopt the need-based formula and not the greed-based formula. All kinds of tension and stress are the result of trying to achieve things that are not achievable in this world.

The problem is that people judge things by a wrong yardstick; they judge their achievements by an ideal yardstick. This is unrealistic. The realistic formula is: use the ideal yardstick only when judging your personality development. But when it comes to your material needs, use a different yardstick. Here, you have to realize that only less than ideal can be achieved.

If you want to have a tension-free life in this world, adopt the realistic approach. Don’t run after your desires, for, in reality, they are impossible to fulfill.

Source: The Seeker’s Guide

A: Material attainments should be done for fulfilling needs and not for providing luxury. Man must know the difference between need, comfort and luxury. Sufis prescribe complete abstinence. I do not subscribe to complete abstinence. According to my understanding, materialism should be adopted so long as it fulfils the need.

Attaining luxurious living should not be the goal of striving for materialism. Here I would also like to clarify that comfort and luxury are not haraam (prohibited by religion) but they kills time, energy and money. Therefore, one who makes comfort and luxury his goal will do so at the cost of his intellectual development.

Source: The Seeker’s Guide


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