“Detachment and contentment doesn’t mean owning nothing, it is that nothing owns you, that you are content when you have everything and you are content when you have nothing.” Ali bin Abi Taalib RA
On Saturday the 15th of February 2020, the Nurul Islam Centre, hosted an amazing Contentment Seminar for ladies, Alhumdulillah. Coordinated and organised by Ml Yusuf Ravat, three female speakers were invited to unpack this relative and necessary topic. The eloquent Apa Farzanah Moola, the prolific Apa Safoora Bhyat Vawda and myself were given the different dimensions of contentment to present on.
Alhumdulillah Masha Allah the day was filled with the fruits of inspiration. Many women contacted me thereafter from other areas, wishing they could have attended. This article, is especially about sharing some of that inspiration with many of those who couldn’t be present at the seminar. The article that ensues, was a part of my research and presentation.
At a time when many people are worried about money, the divorce rate is soaring, new poisons in food are exposed daily, natural disasters ravage the planet, wars despoil nations, new viruses causing pandemics make headlines, the prospect of contentment seems like a bad joke or naïve fantasy. If someone asked you, “How are you?” and you answered, “I am content,” the other person would probably be shocked.
What does it mean to be content? Content means “to contain.” You contain what you seek. It is in you, as you. No thing and no one outside you can give you or make you more than you already are. You are enough, you have enough. The treasure you seek, you already own. The treasure you seek, you already are.
It is not our circumstances which create our discontent or contentment. It is us. Try this experiment: For today I want you to imagine that what you have and what you are is enough. When you look in the mirror, decide to like what you see. When you connect with your spouse, children, parents, friends notice what you like about that person rather than what bugs you.
What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? That ALLAH who is the pilot of our lives, will never crash our plane. If we change the way we think and the ‘change the way we look as things, the things we look at change.’
At the foundation of contentment is Ridha Bil Qadha, being happy with the decree of ALLAH SWT. This was what made Sahabah RA so outstanding, that they were pleased with ALLAH and ALLAH was pleased with them Subhanallah! This Ridha Bil Qadha doesn’t only mean what your material acquisitions, which is a part of your rizq. What is also a part of your rizq is the people, love and care that you have in your life. Everything you have and everyone you have is from your rizq from ALLAH.
What do content people do:
- They live in the moment.
- They focus on enjoyment instead of constantly looking at how life can be improved.
- Their minds are freer of worries.
- They assume the world is generally good rather than evil.
- They focus on the beauty of life rather than the ugliness.
- They experience life rather than constantly analysing it.
- They let go of things they can’t control instead of hanging on to it.
- They learn from their mistakes instead of dwelling on them.
- They are open minded and accepting, not judgemental and closed to new ideas.
- They tend to be optimistic rather than bitter and pessimistic.
7 Traits Only Truly content people have.
Contentment is hard to find for many people. There are several inherent traits that content people have, but is it possible to teach yourself to embrace and adopt them? It all starts with knowing the secrets of contentment. Contentment and peace is hard to find, and some people spend their whole lives winning promotions, earning money, and spending time with people only to find that it has eluded them. It’s common knowledge that contentment is about more than objective wealth or what you do in life–it’s about your perspective, and about how you react to things that happen around you.
These are seven critical traits that only genuinely happy and content people have, and if you want to find happiness, contentment and satisfaction in your own life, you’ll have to learn to incorporate them:
- Gratitude. Gratitude is essential for happiness. You have to truly appreciate everything you have in life in order to be satisfied with it. If you don’t feel grateful, you’re always going to be looking for more, no matter how much you already have. You could make minimum wage or a six-figure salary and still constantly lust after more instead of being grateful you have a job. You could resent your parents and wish that they were different instead of appreciating the fact that they’re alive and well. Express your gratitude, openly and often, for everything and everyone. Gratitude brings as ALLAH SWT advises in Surah Ebrahim Vs7, “If you are grateful, I will increase my favours upon you.”
- “Patience is the key to contentment.” These were the words of Ar Rasool SAW who further said, “Look at those who are lower than you, and don’t look at those who are higher than you, so that you will not disgrace the blessings of ALLAH on you.” (Tirmidhi)
“If you are content with what ALLAH has given you, you will be the richest person.”
- Present Focus. Happy and content people tend to live in the moment. Nabi SAW was always attentive to the moment and especially to the people who were with him.
- Humor is also important, no matter who you are or where you work. Truly happy people are typically able to find humor in almost anything. They appreciate jokes and aren’t afraid to smile and laugh when they think something is funny. Smiling and laughing is shown to be beneficial not only for your emotional health, but also your physical health. It releases endorphins, helps you relax, and helps you manage stress better. Even the simple act of smiling can carry some of these effects, so if you want to be happier in your own life, start laughing and smiling whenever you can, and surround yourself with others who appreciate humor. It was a greatly known fact that our beloved Nabi SAW always had a smile on his face.
- Adaptability. Life changes far more frequently and more unpredictably than most of us would like. Everyday there is something different… in emotion, in health and in conditions. We need to understand this and adapt and be content no matter how the external changes, the internal should remain constant… attached to ALLAH and Ridha Bil Qadha.
- Optimism. The power of positive thinking cannot be overstated. “I am to my servant as He expects Me to be,” is what ALLAH encourages us.
- Intangible Values. They prioritize life values and experiences, that for us is the shariah and Sunnah.
Contentment isn’t about reaching a destination or achieving a goal; it’s about enjoying the journey that is life, with those whom ALLAH has blessed us with; it’s about knowing that you contain all you need within yourself and within your life. Staying grateful for what you have, focused on the present, and positive no matter what comes at you can help you finally unlock the key to contentment. You’re in control of your own emotions, so maintain a better attitude and a better outlook, and happiness and contentment is sure to follow.
- Contentment is about saying, “Enough”. I am enough, I have enough. In the words of our Beloved Nabi SAW, we find invocations that will help procure the quality of contentment for us, this state of heart for us, “Our Rabb, inspire us that we may be grateful for the favours bestowed upon us and our parents and that we may do deeds that please you and include us through Your Mercy amongst your righteous servants, aameen.”