Tuesday 20 May 2008

Allah’s Abundance and Mankind’s Wastefulness

I recently heard a seminar for Muslim Teachers on Islam Channel and was interested to note that the speaker raised the theme of abundance mentality. This is where we have two ways of looking at the world in terms of resources. One is the scarcity viewpoint that says that there is only so much of anything to go round; a finite number of jobs, wealth, property - or anything else for that matter. A person espousing this way of thinking keeps their cards close to their chest. If there is a job interview, they won’t tell anyone, if there is a bargain to be had, they won’t pass the information on until they have had their fill. They are loathe to pass on opportunities and they can’t compromise their own advantage for the benefit of others. People who think this way justify it by putting it down to survival.

Then there are those who think there is plenty in this world for everyone. That there is no shortcoming in what Allah provides for us. These are people who may be applying for a job but tell others who are looking for work too so that they can have a go. They pass on every opportunity and bargain, confident in the knowledge that there are plenty of jobs, resources, chances and prizes out there and that if they hope for abundance for others, they can expect it themselves too. This can be a relief when you are used to the feeling that you have to compete and fight for everything and the anxiety that goes with believing that there is not enough to go around.

Critics would point to food shortages and the way endangered animal species and big business are competing for land in many parts of the world. I would ask them to look back to the way we waste so much of what we have. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) states that an estimated 6.7 million tonnes of household food waste is produced each year in the UK, most of which could have been eaten.

My high school humanities teachers told me a story about a visit to South of France. He walked past an orchard of the most beautiful golden delicious apples, ripe and ready to be picked and stopped to have a look. He walked past the same spot the next day and all of the apples had been sprayed purple so that they could not be picked or eaten. I think this is called keeping the supply limited so that prices can be kept up.

“O you who believe, partake of the good things We have provided for you as sustenance (rizq) and give thanks to Allah, if it is truly Him that you worship.” ~ Qur'an 2:172

“And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah's bounty, and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.” ~ Qur'an 62:10


  1. Aslamu alakum
    a mater close to my own life, when i first arrived in Algeria after hijrah i was amazed at just how much we do waste in the west astfirAllah , the sad thing is we just become so acustomed to it that we don't realise sometimes. water is one of my great passions esp when u live on rations after having and wasting it in the west. A dripping tap bothers me , really bothers me. In algeria it amazes me how much they recycle and have little waste, each one of us is responsible and we should do our bit.

    The apple in the South of France , i am totally discusted , price theory or not , subhanAllah they will give account for such waste!

  2. Assalam-alaikam Sis Rainbow,
    I agree, I think the waste of water is frightening. Its the same in Pakistan, some of the things that we throw away here would be used again and again by people there.

    I suspect hating wastefulness is part of our deen isn't it?

    Oh the apple story has always stayed with me because I thought it was disgusting when people are starving elsewhere. I also think of it because Golden Delicious are my mum's favourite and you can hardly ever find them here now.