Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Can money buy us happiness?

"Money is a powerful tool; think of it as a catalyst which is able to help you execute your goals and reach more people, help others achieve their dreams and make this world a better place. Imagine if you can build a system that helps contribute in the society, build schools and educate people so that they can achieve what you have achieved."

Recently, I did a small survey on Instagram asking people, "Do you think money can buy you happiness?" out of nowhere because I was just playing around, hehe. But then I was surprised by the number of responses I got from my friends and Instagram followers. The result was 27% of them agreed and 73% of them disagreed that money can buy happiness; that also indicated that 3 out of 4 people think that money can't buy us happiness. I was intrigued and decided to write a longer post here because I, myself, have been thinking about it quite a lot these days. I was reflecting on the idea of happiness and how do people actually define the word happiness. I am not going to be philosophical here but, what really is happiness? And why the majority of people think that money can't buy us happiness? Also, what does it have to do with the money? Why some people think money is important and some others think that it is not?

To be honest, I used to think that money will NEVER be able to buy us happiness. Yeah, I gave you one clue there, I used to. I really have no desire over money that even if I had a lot of money or destined to be born in a very wealthy family, I will still choose to give some part of it to other people after I have fulfilled my basic needs. I don't need that much anyway, I just buy what I need and if it's enough then it's enough. I don't need hundreds of designer bags or tons of brand new cosmetics or skincare, I would feel content with one or two that I will really use and last me for a long time. Well, I don’t mind having tons of skincare though. Also, I want a private jet, hehe. And chocolates. And a lot of books. And a mansion on a private island. Astaghfirullah HAHAH. Anyway! All I wanted to do in life is to share, serve, and help others through charity or education. I have never fancied money that I would sacrifice or dedicate my whole life to pursue material things. 

"Did you realise that there lies happiness after buying a pair of shoes for the homeless? There lies happiness of being able to provide food for the poor. There lies happiness when you can make an orphan smiles by fulfilling their tangible needs."

However, I changed my whole perspective about money after reading more books, educating myself about financial literacy, cashflow and listening to my mentors. Now, I believe that money CAN buy us happiness, although it's not always the case and the centre of the universe. The truth is... there lies happiness after buying a pair of shoes for the homeless. There lies happiness of being able to provide food for the poor. There lies happiness when you can make an orphan smiles by fulfilling their tangible needs. I was wrong thinking that being rich always associated with greed and evil. Money can "buy" us happiness and a sense of security if we spend it on the right thing or the right people. Money is good if you are a man of value, a man of purpose, money makes you a better human if you have an amazing personality that could help other people.

Or even if you don't really have a big sense of sharing or charity, money still allows you to afford plane tickets for travelling in which you can learn more about other cultures, understanding other people or just enjoying the beauty of nature. You can achieve financial security to fulfil your basic needs of foods and roofs because before helping other people we have to make sure that we help ourselves.  Also, we can buy more chocolates, hehe. What I am trying to say is that it's not always about making the most money or compete with one another, it is more about giving deeper value in the utilisation of money, be it to spend it on something that makes you a better human or invest it in something that you like. Because money comes when we have value. Some self-made millionaires out there, who wasn't born into a billionaire family, are usually the people of value who successfully created a system or product that help a lot of human.
"The most beautiful thing in life is not wealth, rather it is the tranquillity of the soul, the contentment of the heart and happiness that comes from within." @roseofgolds
Money can buy you happiness, but it can't buy you contentment. You can be the wealthiest person in this world and still not be content, or you can have as little as $1 a day but you can still be the happiest person in this world. The key is to be grateful; gratitude is a simple act that requires you nothing but it does have a big effect in your life, it will give you peace, calmness, and contentment. "And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]." (surah Ibrahim 14:7) The goal is not to make the money controls you, the goal is to control the money for bigger purposes and good causes. Money is a powerful tool; think of it as a catalyst which is able to help you execute your goals and reach more people, help others achieve their dreams and make this world a better place. Imagine if you can build a system that helps contribute in the society, builds schools and educates people so that they can achieve what you have achieved. Life is too short to hold grudges and enmity, why don't we cooperate and help each other? Greed. Yea,h I just answered my own question.
"Wealth is the slave of a wise man. A master of a fool." -Seneca

There are widely spread mentality and misconception within the Muslim community, that when you're in deen and practising Islam you shouldn't have desire over money as it's all about material things and worldly lives. In Islam, we have the concept of zuhud, it means having no love for the material world as it might make us forget about our sole purpose and the purification of the soul. The problem is that all of us have to live in this material world and benefit from it. When we are hungry we need food. When we are thirsty we need water. We need a roof over our heads. We need to earn money for our daily expenses.  But does it really mean that we shouldn't pursue material things at all? Does Islam really encourage us to not be wealthy and just focus on the hereafter/akhira? 

No, the fact is there is nothing wrong with pursuing money or material things. Even the Prophet's companions were among the super-rich but it doesn't mean they love material things or get crazy over money. Just look at Uthman ibn Affan r.a, Abdurrahman ibn Awf, both of them are millionaires in their time and the way they spend money for good cause and charity is still an ongoing ajr until now. Generosity, service, and love. Then, how is it possible then that while we benefit so much from this material world and need it all the time, we do not fall in love with it?
"Aim to live in this world without allowing the world to live inside you, because when a boat sits on water it sails perfectly, but when water enters inside the boat, it sinks. " Imam Ali (AS)
This is one of my favourite quote; you are allowed to have money in your hand, you're just not allowed to have it in your heart. It is to be said that we shouldn't get so busy with money that we neglect more important things like family, health, friends, and purposes. Indeed, Allah has given us a chance to live in this dunya so that we can seek with it the hereafter, next life, afterlife, akhirah, whatever you name it. And we as a Muslim (well if you are a non-Muslim reading this right now, it's up to you to take it or not) believe that we are not meant to be attached in this dunya/world.



1. Understand the cause-effect relationship
It is good and encouraged to donate and make a lot of charity for those who need, but we shouldn't forget to deal with the cause of the issue or the root of the problems. Talha Azam said, "suppose there is a sister on the verge of becoming homeless; you want to help her with donations, good. That's dealing with the effect of her becoming homeless. The cause is she doesn't know how to generate money. The cause is illiteracy and lack of knowledge. In other words, prioritise creating systems of financial literacy to tackle homelessness instead of the consistency giving charity alone."
"Wealth is a catalyst–it makes you much more of who you already are in your intentions, plans, and character. Use wealth for supporting your goals, humility and generosity, and not for arrogance, corruption, and evil."
-Talha Azam
2. Educate ourselves with financial literacy and how the system works
The lesson is, we should not only focus on fixing the problem but also understanding why certain issues happened in the first place through knowledge and education. It is important to understand the world issues and current affairs facing the society, we have to build more awareness that the whole nation is suffering because we are not doing our part to help the ecosystem. Lack of understanding in knowledge is dangerous as it might lead us to hypocrisy and ignorance. We should educate ourselves about how to think, how to invest, how the system works, cash flow, how to learn, how to manage money, basically teach yourself about everything that your school or university never teach you. Even if you have graduated or you have reached the age above 40, do. not. stop. learning. Learning is essential, be conscious of the pursuit of knowledge. Seek knowledge but keep humble!

3. Plan, reflect, think, write it down
Reflect on your goals and purposes, think about how you define money and happiness.
What do you think about money? How do you feel about money? What you should really do with the money? What can you do for yourself, family, or other people? Think about your life in a long-term, imagine and plan it out. Just think and write it on a piece of paper. Paper and pen.

4. Manage your money and spend it for a good cause
You don't have to be an entrepreneur or millionaires, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a job that you love or work hard for your passion. Everyone has a different story and don't let others define yourself or let you down. Start planning your money, financial planning and management are very important no matter what your goal and purpose are. It might be annoying and uncomfortable if you're not used to tracking your daily expenses, but it will be helpful for your future. If you are a Muslim, don't forget to spare 2,5% of your money for zakat/charity to help the poor. Help everyone, it doesn't have to be a Muslim to spread goodness in humanity.

5. Be grateful
I don't have a lot to say about this one, you know what you should do :)

Abu Huraira (Radhi-Allahu ‘anhu) reported: Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) as saying: "Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people)."[Sahih Muslim – Book 032: Hadith 6264]

So, what do you think about money?


Hi, thanks for your visit.
Please use good words, I really appreciate!