How will you earn money if you become an Alim?
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Through your experience, what’s the proper and most convincing answer to give to a dunyawi minded person / family members when they ask how will you earn money if you become an Alim?
جزاك الله خيرا
Wa’alaykum as Salām wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuhu,
Allāh ﷻ says:
“There is no moving creature on earth whose provision is not guaranteed by Allah. And He knows where it lives and where it is laid to rest. All is (written) in a perfect Record.” [Al-Qur’ān 11:6]
Since Allāh ﷻ has taken it upon Himself to sustain all creation, naturally the ʿUlamā are also included in this, apart from those who are non -ʿUlamā.
Allāh ﷻ does not need the assistance of mankind to deliver their sustenance to them. He sustains creation irrespective of whether they make an effort or not, whether a person has a degree or not, or whether a person runs a business or not.
However, a person should not become complacent and stop making effort, since Allāh has put different systems in place to attain one’s sustenance. By not working, a person might start begging and becoming dependent on others and placing reliance on them.
The reason that effort should be made is that though Allāh ﷻ will grant what has been written, Allāh ﷻ has given mankind a choice to make in terms of ‘how’ it will be earned.
However, together with working, a person needs to understand that it is not his job, business or degree that is providing, it is Allāh that is providing. Just as Allāh provides with these means, Allāh also provides without these.
Furthermore, it does not mean that if one becomes an ʿĀlim then they will not be able to earn or live comfortably, because nothing stops an ʿĀlim from earning in other ways together with providing services in religious avenues. Many scholars are running side jobs, and they are earning on par or even more than those who are not ʿĀlims.
Success and wealth can be measured in the manner laid out by Nabī ﷺ as follows:
“Whoever among you wakes up physically healthy, feeling safe and secure within himself, having food for the day, it is as if he has acquired the whole world.” [Ibn Mājah]
True wealth is the ‘wealth of the heart’. Allāh provides those who serve his Dīn with such contentment, bliss and happiness, that the affluent have never experianced on their cosy beds, in the beautiful palaces.
We also need to grasp and understand the concept of Barakah. In the little earnings of ʿĀlim, Allāh places such blessings that he us easily able to make his ends meet.
Besides all the above, an ʿĀlim realises that this world is not the objective, and he works for a hugher purpose. He focuses on the everlasting returns of the hereafter, rather than the temporary pennies of this world. For indeed, the scholar’s role models are those who had no value for this world.
An ʿĀlim prefers the everlasting over the temporary. The knowledge pertaining to matters of this world will soon terminate upon one’s death, but the divine knowledge acquired by an ʿĀlim will accompany him in his grave.
The knowledge pertaining to matters of this world will not play a part in a person interceding for their families on the Day of Judgement, but an ʿĀlim by virtue of his knowledge will be granted the power to intercede for his family on that day.
The knowledge pertaining to matters of this world brings limited benefits, but the knowledge of an ʿĀlim may bring benefit in this world and the hereafter to himself, his family, his community, and possibly the world at large.