Imam Zijad’s Corner: Richness is being “Self-Content”

Richness is being “Self-Content”

Reported by Abu Hurairah (r) that Muhammad (S) said: “Richness does not mean having a great amount of property (money), but richness is self-contentment (the richness of the soul/heart).” (Muslim)

Transliteration: “Laisal Gina ‘An Kathratil ‘Arad, Wa Lakinnal Ghina Ghinan Nafsi.”


We instinctively measure richness in terms of “possessions.” We envy the rich and wealthy based on their possessions. However, richness or poverty is actually a state of mind, an attitude. Very rich persons in the ordinary sense could feel themselves very poor, because they are not happy with what they have. Their insecurity does not let them enjoy what they are blessed with. Such persons despite having riches cannot be called a rich person.

For what good is wealth that does not allow its possessor to feel rich, secure or happy?

In contrast, a “not so well-to-do” person may feel rich himself or herself because of self-contentment.

However, this narration makes neither richness nor poverty a worthy pursuit.

If we live in poverty, we ought to strive toward rectifying the conditions in light of God’s practical divine guidance. If we are wealthy, we should be careful about what we have acquired and how, and furthermore, whether those possessions are helping us to seek pleasure or displeasure of God. If God has blessed us with resources, we do not have to be ashamed, but we should be conscious of our responsibilities and try to seek contentment.

We should not also despise ourselves if we are poor. Instead, we should make honest efforts to improve our conditions. God wants us to seek bounty from Him, but in His way. To be earthbound is natural for us.

According to God’s design, naturally, we are supposed to live a full life on this earth and utilize all the resources He has bestowed on humanity. In doing so, however, a person should not be a servant of the world, rather subject the worldly aspirations to higher and nobler goals. We eat to live, not live to eat.