"Let me in poverty, were I bejeweled, I would have no garden in which to ponder."
-Ibn Al Amine
Salaam alaykum dear readers,
Let me start by saying that, Let me in poverty is not a renunciation of wealth, rather it is a rejection of wealth as a pillar of life. It is also a refusal to let the temporal replace the spiritual, the greed to replace altruism, and the non-thinking to replace contemplation.
Today more than ever, as a society, we've become more removed from the simplicity of what life can and should be. Therefore, Let me in poverty.
Poverty of the Temporal
Practicing faith / religion is not at the forefront for most because we are fixated on worldly affairs. Let us look at how we can get back to a more divine state, rather than a temporal one.
Create Work / Life Balance
Work has taken a considerable amount of our time & energy. The stress we bring on ourselves to meet deadlines and quotas has become toxic. The amount of time spent commuting & working has left us drained. Set boundaries on your time, only you can say No.
Excessive time working has diminished quality time with our family to connect and inspire each other. The family is such an indispensable part of human society, lets nurture it.
Assess your Social Media usage
Do you catch yourself instantaneously checking your phone with every beep, buzz, and notification light? We do this upon waking, while driving, at work, at the dinner table. Even though we are connected with people more than ever via text, email, WhatsApp, Marco Polo, Instagram, and Twitter, such connections have become vapid & inane distractions for most leaving us spiritually impoverished.
We must reconnect with humanity on a meaningful level and cut back on worldly musings; surely that would allow for expanding our spiritual growth and connection with Allah (swt) and society.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, "Poverty of the soul is the most evil poverty." [Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 6547]
Poverty of Greed
How many of us purchase a new cell phone, computer, electronic gadget whenever a newer model comes out? Or perhaps we can't pass up an amazing deal even though we don't need whatever it is we're buying. Can we step away from excess and get back to social consciousness?
Spending your wealth
To have the means to provide for yourself & your family is a gift. To have more than what you need is a Trust from Allah (swt). There are those in need within our immediate family, neighborhood, state, country and beyond on a global level. Instead of having a house and garage full of useless clutter, lets use more money to help our fellow brothers & sisters in humanity, including the orphans.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said, “Charity never causes one’s level of wealth to decrease.”
Abu Abdillah (a.s.) says: “Allah gives help to a person equal in quantity to the charity a person gives” [ Bihar, Vol 76, Page 311]
"We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like." -Dave Ramsey
Poverty of Non-thinking
For most people, the media & society at large speaks for them and they have lost the art of introspection and transcendence.
Contemplation for ourselves
To leave our thinking to other people does not serve our-self or others, it's actually a detriment. We need to take responsibility for what we think and how we act. The greatest endowment given to humankind by Allah (swt) is the ability to reflect.
“The creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the day and the night are evidence (of the existence of [God]) for people of reason. It is these who [commemorate God] while standing, sitting, or resting on their sides and who think about the creation of the heavens and the earth and say, ‘Lord, you have not created all this without reason..." [The Holy Quran 3:190-191]
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, "There is no poverty like ignorance." [Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 54]
Reassessing these areas of our life will bring about a cultural shift in the best of ways, inshAllah. Let us not forget, that words without action are meaningless. What change can we make today?
Additional Reading - Spiritual Poverty: A Shi'i Perspective
Your participation in discourse is most welcome & appreciated. Write a comment below to contribute to the conversation!