This is Part Two of a Two Part Series... Click here to read part one
They say one should work smarter, not harder; but what are we doing in this modern world? Working ourselves to the bone to reach a mirage, how is that smarter? No matter what one may or may not have, the food going into us all gets digested in the same way. You can break and fry an egg and eat it that will cost you 40p or you can eat a deconstructed reconstructed egg for £90, NOTHING WILL CHANGE! Either way all you ate was an egg, either way how it will get digested in your body is the same, either way what the body will get is carbohydrates proteins and fats from it. In fact, actually in truth you probably will lose some nutrients in the process of the deconstruction and reconstruction and probably your body may have had to work a little bit harder to digest this twice processed egg. So in truth, you worked harder and paid more to actually get less nutrition and probably lost more nutrients from your body in the process for achieving the opportunity to eat the deconstructed reconstructed egg; so in actual fact you were better off just eating a “normal” fried egg earned for in a more “normal” way.
Another thing, one might say: oh but you cannot compare the taste, the £90 one tastes so much more different and better; you are paying for the taste, the experience etc etc.. Really! Go and ask any Chef, no matter how innovative, crazy and experimental, they will all tell you their favourite food is that of their childhood, cooked by their mother or grandmother. Taste does not come from ingredients, but from the hands of the person cooking it and no one can put more love in a meal than a mother or grandmother, thus no meal can taste better for anyone than that cooked by their own mother, because she is not feeding you food, but love. No matter who anyone is, how they cook, what they like to eat, all anyone is ever trying to do is replicate the taste of their mother’s cooking; but this is not something that can be bottled and sold, because what makes that food what it is, is a sentiment. Don’t believe me, well Oobah Butler, a journalist at Vice Magazine, indirectly proved this very phenomenon to us with his The Shed at Dulwich; that it’s not the actual food, but our perception of it all that makes us think something is more than it is; or conversely think something is less than it is. Ambience, presentation, cost, accessibility all deceive our senses into convincing us that what sits in front of us is so much more than it actually is. However, in truth as mentioned above, in reality it is probably less due to all the processing that it under goes; or in the case of Oobah’s restaurant, it is probably a pic of shaving cream and his foot, or that which sits in front of you is a plate of food from Iceland!
We need to distil our thinking.
Money does not equate to Rizq, we need to understand this. If you are meant to have only 5 grains of rice today that is all that you can have, no matter what you do you cannot change this. The reasons why someone has only 5 grains of rice can and may differ. For example: a person can only have the 5 grains because he is too poor to have any more; another can only have 5 grains because he is too sick to have any more; some other because he could only steal away 5 grains; another might only have 5 because they are dieting; one might have 5 because that is all that they are hungry for; yet a different person maybe only eats 5 because that is all they have time for and yet another perhaps only has 5 grains because they are in a fine dining restaurant that serves tiny portions! So you see, “wealth” cannot determine Rizq! They are not two of the same! The Rizq that is written for us is written, and nothing can change that. How Allah has our 5 grains packaged and parcelled to us may differ, but the quantity cannot increase just because someone may appear to have “more wealth”.
Now this does not mean that I am saying one should just sit lazily at home and not make any effort from their own part thinking my Rizq is fixed so why should I struggle, it will get to me I don’t have to make any effort on my own part. No, that is not true. Again let’s look at the packaging I mentioned above. The reality we live in, how much effort we put in, all make a difference on the packaging. The poor man will eat the same, but perhaps feel an emotional hunger stemming from the thought that if he had more wealth he could have had more grains of rice. The dieting person may feel emotional pains of hunger, thinking perhaps if I didn’t need to diet I could have eaten more to my satiety. The thief, likely maybe suffering from morality hunger, where his lack of morality is leading him to steal rather than work for his 5 grains. Whereas on the other spectrum, the person who only had hunger for 5 grains may feel satiated naturally, but the sick man may feel “health hunger”. The rich man, may be full on his ego and feel satiated from that rather than the actual meal; and the man rushing round probably is too hungry for time and may not even notice what food has or has not gone into his stomach. So you see, life is how we paint it for ourselves. What we need to be is a “grateful man”, one that is not hungry for something nor full on other things. One that can see that Rizq is from Allah SWT and that HE is providing me today what I need for today, however it can be or is packaged is not that important, because if I can fill my image with the right colours, then the package can change.
So how do we fill our image with the “right” colours? What are the right colours? Are there only one set of “right” colours? This is where it comes back to understanding that Rizq and earthly wealth are not connected. Rizq and work are not connected. Do in life that which you want to do, be in the world how you want to be, because that is how you wish to be. Don’t do things thinking: will this be a stable source of income for me? Disconnect from the idea that Rizq is dependent on work. When you start living life how you want to, start doing things that you want to, then you will start enjoying life, irrespective of how much worldly wealth you may have, irrespective of how much Rizq you have.
Rizq goes beyond just grains of food or money in the bank. Rizq is a concept that is far greater. From provisions to facilities, from places to experiences, Rizq encompasses all the amenities that enable life; grains of food are just easy to wrap our heads around so it is easier to use as an example to explain the concept, but it is not limited to it.
So the thought(s) that prevailed from my epiphany is: don’t confuse more money with more Rizq. More members of the family working does not equate to more Rizq. More members of the family working does not mean more comfort, on the contrary it means more struggle and strain on the family, because you have to pay for it in other ways that are most likely more harmful and detrimental for the overall wellbeing of the family and its members. There is nothing wrong with a woman working, but wanting to become a breadwinner at the expense of being a mother is not healthy (again referring to “normal” household, not that of single mothers or of those that are supporting ill husbands). Sure women can work, but not with the intention to “provide”, but rather because they want to do something on the side – this is important because when work is something they do for “themselves” on the side, it does not take “centre-stage” in their life. For men on the other hand, work is something that is “centre-stage” in their life so it should be something that they enjoy, not something that they feel is “a better bet” for getting a good stable income – this is important because coming back to the Rizq packaging, the Rizq is fixed and pre-determined, so regardless of what they do, they will get the same amount of Rizq, so one might as well do something that they enjoy that can become a means for Allah SWT to bestow one’s Rizq through, rather than do something that they do not enjoy, because this will then determine how that Rizq is packaged for us and therefore how that will be received by us – i.e. will our soul feel satiated by it, or will it feel any type of “hunger” due to it.
Its comes back to what I have talked about previously – “unframing”, in my Finding Gratitude Post. Everything in our life is dominos all lined up, what and how we face each one does not matter. It does not change the domino and what it is meant to do, regardless of whatever frame and colour we superimpose on to it.
See life for what it is unfiltered and unframed.
How we experience life, is up to us, not what will happen in our life.
How we frame life, defines our journey, how we experience each frame, narrates our story; but neither can or does change its destination…
Wishing you all Peace and Blessings.
This is Part 1 of a 2 Part series.
I just had an insight today; and it’s not really anything new per say, but what has changed is the depth of my understanding of it.
We have all heard growing up in the Muslim world that Rizq ( loosely interpreted as your income/livelihood/food) comes from Allah SWT. We all understand this, accept it, repeat it and often have faced instances of astonishment of say: how we thought one food was for one individual, but the “name” on those grains actually belonged to another. We have marvelled at this and many more such miracles of Allah SWT when it comes to Rizq. But we still often fail to understand and accept that Rizq and work are not connected. Yes it is often seen that our “work” is the primary means through which Allah SWT provides Rizq, but it must be crystal clear for us to understand that just because Allah has chosen that to be a means, does not mean that that is the only means and that this means is what is necessary in all cases to be the avenue for Rizq. No, not at all. This is where we are often misguided and confused, often without even knowing and realising that we are so. For example: sometimes we get things that we needed or wanted as a gift from someone, or we go to someone’s house and we eat a meal with them, or someone surprises us with a box of chocolates or sometimes we get more for our money, for example an item on sale – these are all examples of where Allah SWT is providing us our Rizq through avenues other than our “work”.
Just like Allah has created one frequent avenue for the route with which He provides us offspring, He has created a route that He frequently favours as an avenue for Rizq; but it is important to understand: neither offspring, nor Rizq are dependent on the route! One must be very careful as to not confuse this. One has a child not because of any physical actions of the human beings, but because Allah SWT Wills it AND that is it! No ifs, buts, or maybes! There is no room for dispute, but only if we could see this. Equally we get, and will continue to get the Rizq that we are meant to get, irrespective of what route(s) it may come from.
Now this is an understanding that I have held for some time and I fully believe, however, today the epiphany that came to me in regards to this was furthermore fascinating…
Often we think: we need more money, quite a normal widespread thought I’m sure; and often we think the remedy to this problem is, “earn” more through more work. So often as a family we think if one spouse is working and we are getting X amount, then to get more, the second spouse should work. This will mean then the household income is X + Y taking the household income to now Z.
Simple maths right? Or is it?? Now that is the question, and a question that is very powerful.
We think life is simple where X+Y= Z, so where X was not sufficient to meet our “needs” in a way where we had left over income to do “more” with, now having X+Y= Z, will give us Y as an “extra” to now meet our “needs” for all that we wanted “more” for.
Logically one thinks this makes perfect sense. BUT, what we do not factor in is that to allow Y to be, there is a cost as well! So Where X+Y=Z may be giving us “more” income, however, where x was the original out going we needed to meet when only X was the income, now we have an added expense that has come due to Y, ‘y’. So now our outgoing that we have to meet is no longer x, but rather x+y=z! SO what does that all mean in simple English, well, simply put: the net Rizq we have now is still the same as before, despite more physical money moving around. The moral of the story: to increase one’s income maybe easy, but to increase one’s Rizq is a whole other matter; one that is not a simple case of: well more people of the family must work. Because as I said above, real Rizq and work are not actually connected. One can increase the physical pennies coming into the household, but if your Rizq does not go up from Allah, those pennies will not “stay” with you. It is not how many people work in a household, it is not how much income one gets or not, because, real Rizq is not confined to money.
By having more members of the family work all one is doing is splitting the actual house’s Rizq across the different people, not increasing it! THINK ABOUT THAT FOR MINUTE, DEEPLY!
Do you understand truly what that means? What that is saying?
You are still getting the same amount of Rizq, but working harder for it as a family! Therefore you end up not only paying for it through your own healths, but also the wellbeing of your whole family.
THINK ABOUT THAT!
By letting go of the guidance and practices that Allah SWT has set for us we are making ourselves diseased. Diseased in heart, mind, health and family. Allah guides us that the man should be the breadwinner in the house and the women should look after the next generation. But in the modern world, women feel that they should be given “equal” opportunity to be the breadwinner. Now we must understand here the difference between “working” and being a “breadwinner”, they are two very different things! One is not necessarily a breadwinner just because they are working! Allah does not say that women should not “work”. Our Prophet’s first wife, Hazrat Khadeeja, was a very successful business women and she did not stop being so just because she got married, what changed however after her marriage was her responsibilities. She was still a big successful business women but she was not longer “the breadwinner”, -wait what? I hear you ask... How can she now no longer be a breadwinner if she is still earning? The difference is our understanding or lack thereof between working and being a breadwinner, they are not two of the same things. You see the biggest difference between the two comes from what each means, one is a responsibility, the other is an act. Prior to marrying our Prophet she was a widower who had to fend for herself, afterwards she became his wife; she no longer had to psychologically concern herself with her upkeep.
The problem is not with work itself or even having wealth or an income, the problem arises when the woman is put in a position where she has to chose between being mother to her children or working. Again I feel this is another concept that has been muddied and confused.
What does it actually mean to be a mother. What does it mean to be a mother to the children. It does not mean cooking, cleaning, feeding bathing etc.. No. No, the most important “job” of a mother is to give Tarbiyat to the next generation. What is Tarbiyat – now for those that do not know this word, loosely translated, Tarbiyat is giving guidance. Giving moral, social, spiritual, mental and emotional guidance/education. This is not something that is to be taken lightly. This is not something that can be done on the fly. This is not something that can or should be taken as a bolt on, an afterthought, a when we have time thing. It is something that needs to be purposeful, which requires presence of mind, clarity, commitment and time. This is the most important fundamental job of a mother’s role, not just for the household, but in and for society. The biggest problem with the woman having to be or become a breadwinner is, that when she has to shoulder that responsibility than she cannot shoulder this responsibility properly. We may have two shoulders, but at any one time they can only shoulder one thing properly. This is not to say that this is impossible. Of course it is possible to do both, I have a living example of this before my own eyes, but one must point out also that those are rare cases where the mother has had to shoulder both responsibilities, and that these women that do shoulder both are not career driven, or feminine rights activists! No, these women who have had to work, to be the breadwinner for the family, have worked for the sake of income; not for the sake of working. There is a big difference. Women who work because they want to work are a different breed to those that have to work because they are the only one who can be a breadwinner for their family. The reason why I say this is because, those that want to work will prioritise their work in their outlook on life, they will make long term decisions based on their work and career, contrasting to those that work because they are having to be the breadwinner, they will make sacrifices in their field of work for the sake of their family’s needs. N.B. these are just generalised scenarios presented only to explain the points at hand, not concrete judgments passed on any individual. I do not hold any stereo types against people, I know everyone is unique and individual, and each person’s story, situation and personality is different. Please do not get held up on examples that I am only using to explain the bigger picture.
Back to explaining the difference between “working” and being a breadwinner. There is nothing wrong with women working and earning; what is not right (in normal situations) is this work transforming into being a breadwinner role. Because when that happens the other responsibility, her real responsibility, has to be side-lined. This then is what causes moral and social problems widespread in society and we find a society that is running on over drive trying to achieve something that they themselves do not even know is what.
Men are designed to be breadwinners, that is their God given role in life, literally! A man’s role is not to be the one to give Tarbiyat. They are not designed for this role. That is why you will find men, especially in the west, can do the household chores; but what they struggle to do is be a mother to the children; a true mother. Because as stated above, a mother’s real job is not to manage house logistics, but rather to nurture healthy human beings in its truest sense, something which comes from maternal: instincts, intuition, insights and sensitivity.
We need to use the right tool for the right jobs; men are given the role to protect and provide so that the mother can be free from concern for these things and give her time to raising the next generation properly. This is how Allah has created our partnership to be for the betterment of humanity. This is why, if a women wants to work there isn’t an issue as such, the issue arises when she takes on the masculine role of being a breadwinner, which induces a silent silencing of the maternal energy. The role of breadwinner has a masculine trait and brings forth characteristics that stir up masculine energy. When this is sought after by women this throws out the delicate balance of the yin and yang energy both in oneself, the family and society as a whole. A woman who is “self-sufficient”, does not need a man to be a man for her, instead needs just a person to be next to her, so the relationship goes from a man holding the wife (and family) in an invisible embrace as a human shield, to a man just holding the wife’s hand, as “equals”; the latter being a weaker link because the need of him is also weaker. As with anything weak, they cannot stand the test of time, thus we end up with broken homes, societies and humanity.
Allah’s system is perfect by design. Don’t fight it. Understand the wisdoms in it. Embrace the guidance, even if you do not understand it.
Women have been given a very important role by Allah, thus the Jannat (Heaven) under their feet! Do not compromise this role for a mirage. More does not equate to more. The husband has been given the responsibility to be the breadwinner, trust that whatever Rizq you are meant to have, need to have, you are getting it. The wife does not need to work for you to have more Rizq. If you are meant to have more Rizq, that Rizq will find you. Like the Angel of Death will find us no matter where we hide, our Rizq will find its way to us no matter upon which Mountain we may reside!
What we need to do to increase Rizq is not work more or try to earn more, but instead, give more, be more and live more. What does that mean. Give more in charity, this comes back to us Ten Fold, that is Allah Promise; and not just our money, but time, energy, love and knowledge. Be more grateful, truly grateful and thankful to Allah SWT for whatever HE has given us, is giving us and will give us. Most importantly, do not underestimate the power of Duas, both your personal duas, duas that others give you and duas that are recommended to read by our Prophet. These are the real ways that we can increase our Rizq. And remember Rizq is not confined to money or food. It is also how we are living our life. The more we actually life our life, truly live, the more comfort we will find in it as we will no longer be fighting life, no longer be trying to achieve a mirage, we will finally be fully embracing and indulging in each moment of life and accept each moment and seeing each moment in its full glory.
Read Part 2 for the Conclusion of this Series... Click here to read part two.
This space features my reflections, opinions, ponderings and from time to time announcements of what I am up to. It literally is me in my corner on my soapbox.
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