Tuesday 17 Muḥarram 1446 - 23 July 2024
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Does Seeking Worldly Matters Cause Stress and Worries?

Question

I heard this on a video; how sound is it? “No one asks Allah for some worldly matter but he will get an equal amount of worries and stress.”

Summary of answer

The wording mentioned in the question was not soundly narrated from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and there is no sound report from him to suggest that it is not allowed to offer supplication for what is good in this world, so it is not correct to say that praying for what is good in this world will bring worries and stress. Rather what has been narrated is a warning against being distracted by worldly concerns from the hereafter, or seeking worldly gains in ways that are not permissible.

Praise be to Allah.

Does seeking worldly matters cause stress and worries?

As for this statement with this general meaning, it is undoubtedly false, for people have always asked their Lord and beseeched Him for what concerns them of some of their religious and worldly affairs.

There is nothing in Islamic teachings to forbid pursuing what is good in this world or to forbid striving for it.

Rather what is forbidden and blameworthy is for a person to have no concern for the hereafter and not strive for it or make any effort for it , and to have no interest in it; rather all his concern, effort and supplication have to do with this world and what it contains .

Allah, may He be Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your [previous] remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance. And among the people is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world,” and he will have in the Hereafter no share

But among them is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”

Those will have a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift in account.} [Al-Baqarah 2:200-202]

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and said: O Messenger of Allah, what supplication is best? He said: “Ask your Lord for pardon and wellbeing in this world and in the Hereafter.” Then (the man) came the next day and said: O Messenger of Allah, what supplication is best? He said: “Ask your Lord for pardon and for wellbeing in this world and in the Hereafter.” Then (the man) came the third day and said: O Prophet of Allah, what supplication is best? He said: “Ask your Lord for pardon and for wellbeing in this world and in the Hereafter, for if you are pardoned and granted wellbeing in this world and the Hereafter, you will have succeeded.” (Narrated by Ibn Majah, 3846 and others; classed as authentic by Al-Albani)

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that it was said to him: Your brothers have come to you from Basra – and at that time he was in Az-Zawiyah – so that you may pray to Allah for them. He said: May Allah forgive us, have mercy on us, and give us in this world that which is good and in the hereafter that which is good, and protect us from the Fire. They asked him to say more, so he said something similar, then he said: If you are granted this, then you have been granted all that is good in this world and the hereafter. (Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, 633; classed as authentic by Al-Albani)

On the contrary, this Hadith definitively indicates that it is prescribed to offer supplication asking Allah for worldly matters.

`Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) taught her the following supplication: “Allahumma inni as’aluka min Al-khayri kullihi, `ajilihi wa ajilihi, ma `alimtu minhu wa ma lam a`lam. Wa a`udhu bika min ash-sharri kullihi, `ajilihi wa ajilihi, ma `alimtu minhu wa ma lam a`lam. Allahumma inni as’aluka min khayri ma sa’alaka `abduka wa nabiyyuka, wa a`udhu bika min sharri ma `adha bihi `abduka wa nabiyyuka. Allahumma inni as’aluka Al-jannata wa ma qarraba ilayha min qawlin aw `amal, wa a`udhu bika min An-nari wa ma qarraba ilayha min qawlin aw `amal, wa as’aluka an taj`al kulla qada’in qadaytahu li khayran (O Allah, I ask You for all that is good, now and in the future, what I know of it and what I do not know. And I seek refuge with You from all evil, now and in the future, what I know and what I do not know.  O Allah, I ask You for the good that Your slave and Prophet asked You for, and I seek refuge with You from the evil from which Your slave and Prophet sought refuge. O Allah, I ask You for Paradise and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed, and I seek refuge in You from Hell and from that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed. And I ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning me good).”

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I came in one day and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was there, and there was no one except me, my mother, and Umm Haram, my maternal aunt. He came into our house and said to us: Shall I not lead you in prayer? And that was not at the time for any of the [five daily] prayers. A man who was present [when this Hadith was narrated] said: Where did he make Anas stand? He said: He made him stand on his right, then he led us in prayer, then he offered supplication for us – the members of the household – asking for everything good in this world and the hereafter. My mother said: O Messenger of Allah, your little servant [meaning Anas]; pray to Allah for him. So he prayed for everything good for me, and at the end of his supplication he said: O Allah, grant him much wealth and many children, and bless him. (Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, 88; classed as authentic by Al-Albani)

What is blameworthy in seeking worldly matters?

What is blameworthy in that regard is two things:

  • The first thing is when this world is all that a person cares about and strives for, as stated above, and he has no interest in the hereafter and does not strive for it.

That is when his supplication – which is one of the best ways of drawing close to Allah, and is an act of worship and one of the greatest means of attaining what one seeks – is all for worldly matters.

Ubayy ibn Ka`b (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Give glad tidings to this Ummah of prominence, victory and prevalence, so whoever among them does a deed pertaining to the hereafter for worldly gain , he will have no share in the hereafter.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 21223 and others; classed as authentic by Al-Albani)

Zayd ibn Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever is focused only on this world, Allah will confound his affairs and make him fear poverty constantly, and he will not get anything of this world except that which has been decreed for him. Whoever is focused on the Hereafter, Allah will settle his affairs for him and make him feel content with his lot, and his provision and worldly gains will undoubtedly come to him.” (Narrated by Ibn Majah, 4105; classed as authentic by Al-Albani)

Hence one of the supplications of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was asking Allah that this world should not be his main concern and goal.

Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) rarely got up to leave a gathering before offering this supplication for his companions: “O Allah, grant us a share of fear of You that will prevent us from disobeying You, and a share of obedience and righteous deeds that will enable us to reach Your Paradise, and a share of certain faith that will enable us to bear the calamities of this world. Grant us the benefit of our hearing, sight and good health throughout our lives, and let us enjoy them until the last moment of our lives. Enable us to settle the scores with those who have wronged us, and grant us victory over those who oppose us. Do not let calamity befall us in our faith, do not let this world be our main concern or make it all that we know, and do not send against us those who will not show mercy to us.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, 3502; classed as sound by Al-Albani)

  • The second blameworthy thing is when a person is seized by love of this world to the extent that he does not care whether he seeks worldly gain through permissible means or prohibited.

Abu Umamah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Jibril inspired to me that no soul will die until it has completed its allotted timespan and received its provision in full. So be moderate in seeking provision, and no one of you should let thinking that provision is slow in coming prompt him to seek it by sinful means, for what is with Allah cannot be attained except through obedience to Him” (Narrated by Abu Nu`aym in Al-Hilyah, 10/26 and others; classed as authentic by Al-Albani)

Based on these two points, being distracted by worldly concerns from the hereafter , and seeking worldly gain by whatever means are available, not caring whether they are forbidden or prohibited – this is how we should understand the warning against striving for worldly matters or praying for worldly matters.

Abu Mu`awiyah Al-Aswad (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The one for whom this world is his main concern will suffer lengthy worry and distress in the hereafter.”

Maslamah ibn `Abd Al-Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Those who will feel the least distress in the hereafter are those who have the least worries and stress in this world.”

Both reports were narrated by Ibn Abu Ad-Dunya in Dhamm Ad-Dunya (283, 284).

In conclusion,  the wording mentioned in the question was not soundly narrated from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and there is no sound report from him to suggest that it is not allowed to offer supplication for what is good in this world, so it is not correct to say that praying for what is good in this world will bring worries and stress.

Rather what has been narrated is a warning against being distracted by worldly concerns from the hereafter, or seeking worldly gains in ways that are not permissible.

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A