The sufficient WEALTH
Recently, I read a quote, commonly been transmitted and adopted to be true and hardly disputed. It is says: the best form of wealth is "peace of mind". The acceptance of this fact is one thing, the understanding of its concept is another thing. Conventionally, wealth is understood to mean a possession, in abundance, of (physical) things that are valuable to human being in relation to time or era. For example, a luxurious car in the 1960s will most likely be a scrap in 2021. A dictionary also defines wealth as; "The state of being rich and affluent; having a plentiful supply of material goods and money". But when an abstract concept like "peace of mind" is defined in a physical sense, it is definitely done on purpose. That is, to give value and ignite a reflective meaning to the idea and the fact that human being can easily be distracted, dazzled and lost in admiration for physical matter. This caption is exceptionally captivating and reflective as it associates an important physical to a primary abstract concept. The point is, it is straightforward to understand how people conceptualize concrete or physical matter whereas the opposite is true for non-physical or abstract ideas. When people mold idols in animal shapes and call it God or practice what is known as anthropomorphism in their attempt to relate with God. It is their interpretation of the unseen realm in relation to the physical concepts known to them. Hence, interpretations of abstract concept like peace, success, happiness, joy, serenity, agony, sadness are relative to the meaning given or as explained and understood by different doctrines or individuals based on their experiences in relation to conventional definitions.
In Islam, it is enjoined to always renew and purify the intentions of our deeds while executing the deeds because intentions can easily be altered or deflected by distractions, thereby changing the purpose for which the deeds were initiated from inception. This is also true for other abstract ideas, the meanings we affirm of them, depending on our normative can subconsciously change overtime, influenced by activities (physical or mental) of our everyday milieu. If "peace of mind" should be a wealth to be sought, then, it is important to know how to attain it, how it is related to our well-being and the indicators of how wealthy we are in possession of it. Let's analyze the vocabularies through the lenses of Islamic normative and lessons. Interestingly, the two words "peace" and "mind" are common words both in the Qur'an and Hadith, both words are diverse in meaning and their usage are interchangeable with their synonyms. It would be preferred to go by their root meaning.
In Arabic, the word PEACE means SALAM. It is derived from the root S-L-M – pronounced Sin-Lam-Mim and it literally translates as whole or safe. Morphologically, it also serves as the root for a number of other terms, all closely related in meaning. When a person accepts Islam, he/she has submitted (to their faith), not seeking any conflict with Allah (the source of Peace). As for the word MIND, its meaning and usage is as vast and complex as the human being. From the Islamic perspective, human is basically composed of two aspects: the body and the spirit interpenetrating one another. The body is the 'riding-animal' for the spirit (ruh). The essential reality of the human lies in the spirit, also termed nafs "soul", qalb "heart", or 'aql "mind-intelligence". Based on these etymologies, someone with "peace of mind" is a person whose soul, heart, or aql is whole and/or safe (in or with Allah). How wealthy a person is of "peace of mind" relies on his/her her level of submission in Allah as depicted in the hadith of Gabriel. The Prophet (saw) designated three degrees of the religion. The base is Islam, the middle is Iman (faith) and the pinnacle is excellence (ihsan). When you have Islam, you are a Muslim, when you have Iman, you are a Mu'min, when you have Ihsan, you are a Muhsin. Again, the etymology of these three words used in denoting these levels give the notion of whole or safe. Not every Muslim is a Mu'min but every Mu'min is a Muslim and the Qur'an is also a proof of this levels of wholesomeness; Surat al-Hujurat 49:14): "The bedouins say, ‘We have faith.’ Say, ‘You do not have faith, but rather say we have surrendered in Islam,’ for faith has not entered your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not diminish anything from your deeds. Verily, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
In reference to hadith of Gabriel, Ihsan is to worship God as if you see Him... Imam al-Nawawi explains the meaning of the phrase: "This statement is among the comprehensive sayings (jawami? al-kalim) brought by the Prophet (saw). If one of us is able to worship as if he sees his Lord, Glorified and Exalted is He, he would never abandon any good thing he can do, such as being humble, reverent, behaving well, and taking care to combine outward and inward aspects completely, in the best possible manner.
To measure the level of peace your mind possesses will be determined by how you respond or react to external factors. The Prophet, who is our excellent teacher, never left the most important lesson untouched, he said in one of his hadith: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the BELIEVER. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” Therefore, we should pay attention to how we respond to all our affairs whether good or bad. When we perceive the things happening to us in positive or negative, good or bad (relative to our desires and pleasures of life), it should not be a question of “why me?” but “how perfect was my response to those occurrences?”. The bases of our reaction to those occurrences determines our level of peace as displayed in submission, faith or excellence. Allah says (Surat al-Andkaboot 29:2): "Do people think that they will be left alone because they said, "we believe", and will not be tested. And when we observe deficiency in our response to those trials/external factors, we should quickly reconnect to the source of peace - our Lord through the concept of repentance (Tawbah). The word Tawbah means "to return". To return to a higher state we were on the ladder of peace before falling short. These external factors serve as trial that can make us fall back to a lowly state and Tawbah is a way of reclaiming the status. Allah taught us a prayer from the Quran, that perfectly resonate with the concept of trials and Tawbah. In [Surat Al-Shu?ara’, 26:87-89]: And abase me not on the Day when (humanity) will be raised up. The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except for him who comes to Allah with a pure heart (qalbin salim). No wonder, the scholars always enjoin us to seek istigfar (forgiveness)/Tawbah in every state, because even the pleasure giving good state may be leading us to downfall as they are all trials in disguise or in display.
In the exemplary life of the Prophet, we see numerous incidents teaching us how to be dynamic and resolute in our trust in Allah. His journey to and the agony he faced at Taif, would always bring tears to the eyes of the believers. He was stoned and beaten to pulp but how he managed the incident taught us a great lesson and a display of his untainted resolute in Allah. It was there that the Angel Gabriel came to him with the Angel of the Mountains and said that if Muhammad wanted, he would blow the mountains over the people of Ta’if (or crush the people of Ta'if in between the mountains). How did he respond to this request?
The Prophet prayed: “O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources, and the humiliation I have been subjected to by the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favour is of a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descends upon me. I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You.”
I don't know of a better example to show to us the excellent state of a mind full of peace. In responding to painful trials, they remain indifferent. Despite this pain the Prophet was enduring and while nursing those wounds, he did not abandon his assignment when the opportunity was presented to him. When the Christian slave named Addas from Ninowy was asked to give a tray of grapes to the exhausted Prophet at the garden he was resting, the Prophet took the grape and before putting it into his mouth he recited "In the name of God, Ever Gracious, Most Merciful. Addas became curious/impressed and inquired about the identity of Muhammad who presented himself. The conversation that ensued led Addas to declare his acceptance of Islam and in every of his state, he bore good fruits. It was said that he stayed preaching to the common people for 10 days. This shows that our greatness lies in our level of peace.
In conclusion, the concept of peace to a Muslim should be the wholesomeness of his or her being. When we define peace of mind with phrases like feeling of joy, happiness, serenity and with all of the sweet words, they do not depict its true meaning. In the true sense of it, peace has nothing to do with those words. I will call it a regulator. In essence, a believer should be very observant of his thoughts processes and scrutinize them before they lead to action. These thought processes take place in the mind/intellect. If it is a mind filled with peace, it will be in an auto state of excellence. Whatever state you are, make the Tawbah your shock absorbent. And while aiming for excellence, always place the remembrance of your Lord in your consciousness such that it becomes your subconsciousness. Imbibe all form of goodness such that He becomes pleased with you and directs all your affairs. Allah Most High says: "He who is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his ears with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him". (Hadith).
O Allah, You are peace, peace comes from You. Blessed are You O Possessor of Glory and Honour.