For all the college students out there, we know that being broke is normal. But I’m here to tell the rest of you that you are all broke as a joke too. Every. Last. One of you.
You may be thinking: “I just graduated, I make an awesome salary, I just bought this brand new 09 car, and I’m doing very well!” Or, “I live my parents and they take care of me!”
Well my response to you is that you’re still broke. Very very poor.
Read the words of your Rabb:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ
“O mankind! You are all Fuqaraa’ to Allah, but Allah is Rich, Worthy of all praise!” (35:15)
Allah ta’ala addresses all of us, every last one of us. Not just the believers, Not just the Prophet but Muslim, non-Muslim, white, black, woman, man…every last human on this earth: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ O Mankind!
أَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ إِلَى اللَّهِ You are all Fuqaraa’ to Allah. Al fuqaraa is plural of the word faqeer which is from the root fa-qaaf-ra (ف ق ر) and faqr means poverty. Faqeer is one who has poverty and one who is poor. If we look at the root of this word, Faqrah is used for part of the spine and faaqirah is used for that which breaks the spine. So a faqeer is one who is suffering from back-breaking poverty, one who is extremely needy, so desperate for anything that could save them.
In the Qur’an, there are two words used to describe a poor person: faqeer and miskeen. What is the difference? Faqeer is someone who has no wealth and no means of obtaining wealth. So they have no money in the bank and they don’t have a job (told you: broke as a joke!). While a miskeen is one who is also poor, but they have the means, they just need a little extra to make it.
So Allah ta’ala doesn’t call us masakeen (plural of miskeen) but He says, we are all Fuqaraa’- you are all extremely poor. You do not own or possess a thing. And if wasn’t for Allah ta’ala, you would have nothing. You are all in need of Allah ta’ala, in the dunya and aakhirah. In every state of your existance: in the womb, as a baby, as a toddler, as a young person, as an old person, at the time of death, in the grave and in the hereafter.
So we are fuqaraa’. Who is Allah?
Allah is: الْغَنِي Al-Ghaniyy, the One who is Rich, the Independent. Ghaniyy is from ghayn-noon-ya (غ ن ي) and ghaniyy means richness. So Allah is The One who is Very Rich, the One who is Self Sufficient, the One who is Free of All Wants and Needs. He needs nothing from us. Absolutely nothing. He has everything and we have nothing.
And He is: الْحَمِيد Al Hameed: The Most Praiseworthy. Hameed is from ha-meem-daal (ح م د) and Hameed is the One who is deserving of praise, if one does hamd of Him or not. He doesn’t even need our hamd!
What lessons can we take from this ayah?
- Do not let the thought pass in your mind that you are benefiting Allah azza wa jal in any way. Don’t be an arrogant broke person!
- Be humble to Allah azza wa jal. Remember that Allah ta’ala needs nothing from us. Why would He, Al Ghaniyy, need something from a puny, weak, broke human like ourselves when He Possesses the Kingdom (mulk) of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them? We are nothing.
- Ask Allah ta’ala, and He will give you. “…O My servants, all of you are hungry (needy) except for those whom I feed, therefore seek food from Me so that I may feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked (need clothes) except for those whom I provide garments, therefore seek clothing from Me so that I should clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day and I am there to pardon your sins, therefore seek forgiveness from Me so that I should grant you pardon…” (Hadeeth Qudsi, Saheeh Muslim)
- Attribute all good to Allah ta’ala, and not to ourselves. You didn’t memorize the Qur’an yourself. You didn’t study the deen yourself. You didn’t graduate yourself. You didn’t get that job yourself. You didn’t, you didn’t, you didn’t. Allah azza wa jal gave us all of these blessings, we did not will it for ourselves. Don’t take credit for something you didn’t do.
- Be grateful for what Allah ta’ala has given you and thank Him. Do hamd of Al Hameed. (Duaas for gratitude will be posted in the comments) How would we feel if we gave a load of cash to a homeless person who was in so much need of anything, yet they just took the money and didn’t even say thank you? We’d be angry, right? And for Allah is the Highest Example! How can we, al fuqaraa’, receive blessing after blessing and not thank Allah for it? He is not in need of our thanks and gratitude, Allah ta’ala says in surah Ibrahim ayah 7: لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ, indeed if you are grateful and give thanks, surely I will definitely increase you, but if you are ungrateful (then know) My punishment is indeed most severe.
What have we done to show Allah ta’ala we are truly thankful? Remember: Shukr (gratitude) is by action! The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam would pray qiyaam until his feet would swell, and when asked by A’ishah radi Allahu anha why he still prays even though his past and future sins are forgiven, he said the famous answer: a falaa akuna ‘abdan shakoora? Should I not prove myself to be a thankful servant? So we should use these blessings that Allah has given us to do good, and not use them to disobey Him. Allah ta’ala says in surah Saba ayah 13: وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ, a FEW of My slaves are thankful.
Will you be among those few? Or will you be an arrogant, ungrateful broke person?
Alhamdulillah. Hamdan, katheeran, tayyiban, mubaarakan feeh. Allahumma a’innaa ‘alaa dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ‘ebaadatika. The most perfect praise is only for Allah, a praise that is countless, good and blessed. O Allah, help us to remember You, to thank You, and to worship You in the best way. Ameen.