According to the Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 60.3% of Pakistanis live on less than $2 a day and some 28.6% live on under $1 a day. If we calculate the former, it amounts to almost 108,540,000 people earning less than PKR 200 per day. Another survey which was conducted in 84 countries tells us that Pakistanis spend more of their income on food than any other country. An average Pakistani spends 47.7 per cent of their house hold budget on food consumed at home. In a country, like Pakistan, which is full of natural and human resources, this situation is considerably alarming. If we are spending half of our household budget on our most basic need of survival, this is a cause of concern and doesn’t merely depict poverty but rather, indicates a matter of far greater gravity.
Financial abundance is the most desired state of being for the people around us. We struggle hard and work day and night to have ‘enough’ resources to live a smooth life. All of us want to have a comfortable place to live in, a satisfied and happy family to live with, children who have been provided with the best educational opportunities for their growth and future stability, and financial security to live a worry-free life. Other than that, we also have traveling, partying, shopping, socializing, sports and leisure activities, fine dining, fun and adventure on our wish-list but are unable to turn these dreams into reality till the final moments of life.
The question which arises is simply – ‘why’? Why does this happen to us and how can we cope with this situation? There are many reasons for facing adversaries as a nation but, here, we’ll discuss a few suggestions for individuals who want to rise beyond the miserable situation that surrounds them, and live a happy and content life.
The very first thing that needs to be worked on is our direction of life. How should we look at it? Where have we come from and where are we headed towards? What is the purpose of our life? Is it merely about fulfilling every item on our wish-list or is it about something else? As a matter of fact, this life is a blessing from Allah (swt). He has appointed us as His vicegerent on earth and has given us certain strengths to carry out His job to the best of our abilities as well as to improve the quality of life of our fellow human beings. But the problem arises when we start using these strengths to fulfill our own desires. We know that it is He who is the ultimate Provider and Sustainer but very few of us actually ponder over the Divine Laws to distribute ‘rizq’ amongst His Creations. Quran is full of verses which mention the guiding principles we should live in order to attract more ‘rizq’ to ourselves. Here are a few references to consult: 65:2-3, 10:107, 07:96, 28:77, 14:07, 39:34, 71:10-12
Secondly, if we want our resources to be multiplied, we have to share them with others. Don’t you remember the story of the poor man who asked Musa (a.s) to request Allah to give him his ‘rizq’ all at once? Musa (a.s) did the same and Allah (swt) answered: ‘if I gave him all his ‘rizq’ at once, his life in this world will end when the ‘rizq’ ends’. Musa (a.s) delivered the message but the poor man insisted on his request to be fulfilled. Allah (swt) accepted and granted him what he wished for. After a few days, while going to talk to Allah (swt), Musa (a.s) passed by that man’s place and found hundreds of people being served with lavish food. He was very surprised because the man should have been dead by now. When he arrived at ‘Tur’ he asked Allah (swt) about the situation. Allah told him that when this man was given what he asked for, he had thought to himself that I am about to die so what will I do with this amount of wealth? So he invited hundreds of people to his house and fed them. And it is My law which states that by sharing what you have with others, you will get more. Hence, I provided him more ‘rizq’ and that is carrying on, still keeping him alive and well.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Charity does not decrease wealth”.
Thirdly, if we want to rid ourselves of the financial crunch, we need to improve day by day. The world is making progress at a very fast pace, so, the technology that is new today will become obsolete by tomorrow. Those who do not advance with the same speed will be unable to maintain their financial status for too long. Hence, it is important that you learn new skills everyday: bake a cake or mow the lawn; try a new recipe or write an article; learn how to use a new designing software or experience teaching young kids; paint a vase or photograph the beautiful landscape. There are thousands of jobs we can become skilled at which cater to our interests. So, never underestimate the power of these small skills as these can add a monumentally to our income if we polish ourselves, target the right market and believe in the power they hold.
Last but not the least, spend wisely and live within your means (it is half of the sustenance as mentioned in Hadith). Unfortunately, we live in a consumer culture where spending has no end. Every other company on Earth is trying to gather more and more customers for their products. Remember, human identity is not defined by what one does but by what one owns. Our desire to spend is manipulated by different marketing tools and tactics which extend to altering our identity by the likes and dislikes of others, as opposed to our own. As a result, people end up spending far more than what their income allows them to, and this ultimately creates a dilemma in the lives of many, forcing them to adopt unethical means of raising their income. Never let the money hungry companies/manufacturers manipulate your emotions and instead, think logically before buying any product. Every time you pick up an item to purchase, question yourself: “Do I really ‘need’ it or do I just ‘want’ it?” Learn where to, how to, when to and how much to spend. And, finally, never rely on the intelligences behind the carefully crafted advertisements and marketing strategies to determine where your money goes – rely on your common sense.
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