The Purpose Paradox

The Purpose Paradox

By Ashique Wassy

Board Member (Treasurer) of MSA Nour

 

The complex mysteries of the world are unfolding drastically every next day as science and technology are making it possible to come up with flying cars and hoverboards, satellites and mobile phones, yet many are still struggling to stay happy and content. If we asked  the following questions to someone, the answers would usually be “Why are you studying?

To get a good job. Why do you need a good job? So that I can earn money. Why do you need money? To live a comfortable life and be happy.” We often assume that our happiness is linked with wealth. If you were to wake up and find yourself in a luxurious train where you could enjoy every luxury that you could ever imagine, would you be happy? There you can have limitless entertainment and all the delicious food but the only thing that you won’t be provided with is the answer to where you are headed, where the train is going towards. Well, you can pretend to be happy and live with a delusion but that will only last for a little while when ignoring critical questions. If the same thing is applied in our life then we will see that we can never be truly happy until we actually fulfil the purpose of our creation and know the purpose of our existence. Islam teaches us the Onness of God and that we are to worship only Him. And He Promises us eternal bliss in the afterlife. Surely He is AL-‘ALEE, The Most High, The Exalted. Many of the times we try to fill the hollowness of our soul with all those materialistic things that do not benefit for long. Islam tells us to fill that hollowness with the Rememberance of God and by worshipping Him alone. Just after the second pillar of Islam which is to Worship, the third pillar, which is Zakat (Charity) comes. Islam teaches us to be content by giving and sharing and not by only earning and saving. One example of Islam being the religion of Justice is that it is obligatory for Muslims to give Zakat and it is prohibitted to deal with Interest (on loans). And in this present world we see the rich getting richer and going far from equality while Islam wants to bring equality in the society by avoiding Interests and donating to   the needy.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “None of you will have faith till he wishes for his brother what he likes for himself.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 13)

Muslims (who are not needy) are obliged to donate 2.5% of their wealth every year. Well Zakat is not a favor or something voluntary, this actually purifies the wealth of the person and Allah mentions this in the Quran. The literal meaning of Zakat in Arabic is “to cleanse”. Allah says in the Quran that giving Zakat purifies our wealth. Sadaqa (voluntary charity) is also something which is very encouraged in Islam. It removes worries and hardships from life and also increases Barakah (blessing) in our Rizq (Provision). And the reward in the afterlife is even better. In this world we can be blessed with our provision in many ways. Suppose a person earns very little and it may seem that he is struggling, nonetheless the car that he drives has been running fine for the last 20 years and he barely had to take it to the mechanic! This could also be a blessing on his Rizq. Materialistic love doesn’t last long as materialism keeps on changing. The fancy car someone was excited about 20 years ago, he may not be giving it a second look today because it’s outdated now. So don’t get lost and blinded by this modern world of materialism and capitalism where people have enough money to buy cars made of gold but not spend 1% of that amount of money to finance some kids dying out of cold. Would we need to fear that our wealth would decrease and that we would struggle if we would donate? Surely charity does not decrease one’s wealth.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another but that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah but that Allah raises his status.” (Sahih Muslim 2588)

 

One of the Muslim Scholars, Hasan Al Basri, may Allah be pleased with him, was asked “What is the secret to your piety?” And one of the beautiful answers he gave was, “I understood that my Rizq cannot be taken away by anyone, so my heart became content”.

The happiness most of us are looking for, might be achieved by helping the needy and being the reason for their smiles. Let us all be grateful for whatever we are blessed with. No matter how hard life is going now for many, it always could have been worse. If we are grateful to Allah, He blesses us with more. So don’t let anything stop you from giving charity as Allah says in the Quran,

 

“… And whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.” (Quran 2:272)

And do remember, “Even smiling is a charity”

Prophet Muhammad ()