Worship can be divided into two categories: the worship of the heart and worship of the limbs. The worship of the heart can be dearer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (glorified is He) because they give meaning to the worship of the limbs.
Ridaa (contentment with the decree of Allah) is one of the acts of worship of the heart. Ibn Taymiyyah said about contentment:
“Contentment is the greatest door that one enters to Allah, it is the source of tranquility for the worshiper and paradise on earth. Whoever does not enter it will not enter the Paradise in the Hereafter.”
As we all pass through life looking at people and materialistic things around us, we often tend to look at people above us and desire to be like them. But Islam advises us to look at those below us and feel content at what Allah (SWT) has provided us. With Obedience to Allah comes contentment in Life as we will know that there are no ifs & buts we will eat every single Morsel written for us before we die one way or the other so a Muslim prays to Allah for more in this world & the Hereafter and if it is good for him he gets it here if not then a better reward for the prayers is kept in the Hereafter.
Being content is something every one aspires to be, there are religious means of achieving that, and natural and practical means, but no one can combine all of them except the believers; although other people may achieve some of them, they will miss out on others.
Have you counted how many times Allah S.W.T. makes this statement in Surat Ar-Rahman: “So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?”
It is mentioned 31 times. Really, 31 times.
Recognizing and proclaiming our blessings fills our hearts with a sense of peace, gratitude and satisfaction that overrules feelings of bitterness, depression and despair.
So, let’s be grateful and know that when we train our minds to always count our blessings before our hardships, we bring immense positive energy into our hearts and lives. This is a key step towards attaining the kind of heart Ibrahim A.S. talked about: “Qalbun Saleem”, or a sound, satisfied heart.
Are you content with the actions of Allah?
One way whether to know whether we have ridaa is to ask ourselves if we have bitterness in our hearts when we are tested or when things don’t go our way.
It does not mean that we shouldn’t be ambitious or have big goals. We should work hard, and when we fall, we should pick ourselves back up and try to work harder or find alternatives. It does not mean to stop when difficulties come – but for example, if there is someone we want to marry and they marry someone else, then that is the end of the matter. Or if we are after a certain job and it goes to someone else, then it was not written for us at that time. It may mean we should apply at another time, or for another job – only Allah knows. But the point of contentment is that we do not have resentment in our hearts. For example, if we are doing all of our acts of worship and are generally good Muslims, yet we are faced with calamity or we feel that our du`a’ (supplication) has not been responded to, we do not harbor anger in our hearts: “I did everything, but Allah did not give me what I want!”
How to achieve contentment?
The Prophet ﷺ said, “He has tasted the sweetness of faith: he who is content with Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion, and Muhammad ﷺ as his Prophet.” (Muslim)
Also he ﷺ said: “Richness is not having a great deal of accumulated wealth; rather richness is richness of the soul.” (Sahih Muslim)
We need to know first and foremost that Allah (swt) has portioned for us our provision. As long as we work, we will get what is written for us. Moreover, the Prophet ﷺ said: “Know that even if the whole community were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded against you.” (Tirmidhi)
Simply possessing this knowledge should empower us, because we know that everything that happens is by the permission of Allah (swt). This should not prevent us from reflecting and trying to figure out how our actions played a role, but learning from an experience is also part of contentment because you trust that Allah (swt) is teaching you a lesson through trial.
The Prophet ﷺ reminds us of something profound, “Whoever wakes up safely in his home and is healthy in his body and has provisions for his day, would have acquired all the worldly possessions he is in need of.” (Tirmidhi)
Subhan’Allah (glory to God) – none of us know when our last day could be. But if we wake up in the morning with those three things, then we have all that we need. We should not look at people and question why Allah (swt) has given certain people success over ourselves. We have all that we need.
Below are some points made of the means of achieving this aim for which everyone is striving, contentment:
Du`a’ for contentment
The Prophet ﷺ said: “There is no Muslim servant who says(the below dua) in the morning and the evening three times except that it will be a right upon Allah to please him on the Day of Judgment.” (Ahmad)
رَضِيتُ بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِالإِسْلاَمِ دِينًا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ نَبِيًّا
Raḍītu billāhi rabban wabil-Islāmi dīnan wa bi-Muḥammadin nabiyyan
I am pleased with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion and with Muhammad ﷺ as my Prophet
Also the Prophet ﷺ also said “Whoever says when he hears the caller to prayer (the below Dua) all his sins will be forgiven.” (Muslim)
وَأَنَا أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ رَضِيتُ بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ رَسُولاً وَبِالإِسْلاَمِ دِينًا
Wa Ana Ashadu An La Ilaha Illallah, Wahdahu La Sharika Lahu, Wa Anna Muhammadan Abduhu Wa Rasuluhu, Radittu Billahi Rabban Wa Bil-Islam Dinan, Wa Bi Muhammadin Rasulan
‘And I bear witness that there is no God save Allah, He is alone and has no partner and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. I am pleased with Allah as Lord, Muhammad as Prophet and Islam as religion’
It is as though we are told to say these statements so that they may enter our hearts.
How do you know if you have ridaa?
You have ridaa if:
Examples of those who were content with the decree of Allah
The Prophet’s response on loosing his son
Imagine the devastation of the Prophet ﷺ when he lost his son Ibrahim. He was around 60 years old when he had him, and he was so happy that he would take Ibrahim to companions just so they could see him. When he passed away the Prophet ﷺ wept. But what did he say? “The eyes shed tears and the heart is saddened, but we do not say anything except that which pleases our Lord. Indeed, O Ibrahim, we are bereaved by your departure from us.”
This teaches us that being content with Allah (swt) does not mean that we cannot feel sad or disappointed; but we carry no anger or resentment towards Allah.
The Amazing Patience of Prophet Ayoub A.S.
Allah’s Praises of Ayoob A.S. Allah the Almighty praised His worshipper Ayoob in His Glorious Quran: “Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft returning in repentance to Us!” (38:44)
The Prophet Ayub A.S. was a prosperous man with firm faith in Allah. He possessed vast farms, enormous wealth, many cattle and valuable property but these things did not make him arrogant. His wealth provided him with a medium by means of which he sought Allah’s grace.
Allah (Glory be to Him) tested him with poverty and diseases until he reached a bad state of sickness, poverty and isolation. Prophet Ayyub A.S. provided great example of unbelievable situations in infinite patience and immense satisfaction of Allah’s destination.
When the test went for long his wife said to him: “How long are you going to bear this torture from our Lord? Are we to remain without wealth, children or friends forever? Why don’t you call upon Allah to remove this suffering?”
Ayoob A.S. sighed, and in a soft voice replied “Iblis must have whispered to you and made you dissatisfied. Tell me how long did I enjoy good health and riches?” She replied: “eighty years.”
Then Ayoob replied: “How long am I suffering like this?” She said: “seven years.”Ayoob then told her: “In that case I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty. It seems your faith has weakened and you are dissatisfied with the fate of Allah.
Ayoob A.S. was repentant, remembering Allah with thankfulness, patience, and steadfastness. This was the cause of his rescue and the secret of Allah’s praising him.
Umar radi Allahu anhu response whenever he was tested
Whenever ‘Umar radi Allahu anhu (may Allah be please with him) was stricken with calamity, he would thank Allah for four things:
Then he would say “I do not care what happens to me as long as I am Muslim.”
Lessons from the Stories
Rewards Associated with Tests and Trials
‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him said
“Be content with what you have,
“Be satisfied with your dwelling place to accommodate your enterprise,
“Restrain your tongue,
“And shed tears of regret regarding past sins you committed knowingly, and those you do not recognize. “
May Allah S.W.T. bless us all with conscious, appreciative minds and sound hearts, that are content, Aameen!