Destructive Self-sufficiency and The Two Types of Neediness!


In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah [The Exalted] said:

كَلَّآ إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَيَطۡغَىٰٓ
أَن رَّءَاهُ ٱسۡتَغۡنَىٰٓ

Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds, because he considers himself self-sufficient.

[كَلَّآ إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَيَطۡغَىٰٓ – Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds]- Meaning, Abu Jahl, who used to be insolent and boastful about his clothing, riding beast and food when he earned more wealth. (1) [أَن رَّءَاهُ ٱسۡتَغۡنَىٰٓ – because he considers himself self-sufficient]- Meaning, due to the human being’s ignorance and wrongdoing when he considers himself self-sufficient, he transgresses, rebels, haughtily turns away from guidance, forgets that he will be returned to his Lord and does not not fear the recompense; rather he might reach such a state that he abandons guidance and calls others to abandon it and tell others not to perform the prayer which is the most virtuous deed of Eemaan. (2)

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:

The Creation [i.e. Humans and Jinns] find themselves within two types of neediness. The first type of neediness is inevitable. It is a type of neediness which every everyone is (attached to) – the righteous and the wicked. It neither necessitates praise nor dispraise, and neither reward nor punishment; rather it is solely due to the fact that the creation are created beings [i.e. absolutely in need and completely dependent on their Creator in every way].

The second type of neediness is one based on choice from which emanates two noble aspects of knowledge. The first one is the servant’s knowledge and awareness of his Lord and the second is knowledge and awareness of oneself in reality. As soon as one acquires these two types of knowledge, it brings about a type of neediness that becomes a person’s distinguished and most precious source of wealth, and the means to success and happiness in (this life and the next). The people’s different stations in this type of neediness depends on their different stations in these two affairs of knowledge.

The one who knows that his Lord (Allaah) is the Self-Sufficient One [absolutely free from all wants and to Whom everyone and everything depends, and none can do without Him in the twinkling of an eye], then he will know that he is completely in need.

The one knows that his Lord (Allaah) is alone the Possessor of Perfect Ability [possessor of All-Encompassing Ability and able to do all things], he will know that he is completely unable [cannot do anything in the twinkling of an eye without the help of] his Lord.

The one who knows that his Lord (Allaah) is The All-Mighty, he will know that he is one completely in a state of [complete poverty, weakness and want unless his Lord provides for him etc]. The one who knows that his Lord (Allaah) is the possessor of All- Encompassing knowledge and Wisdom, he will know that he is ignorant.

Allaah brought the person out of his mother’s womb whilst he knew nothing- not able to do anything and owned nothing; neither able to give nor take, and neither able to harm nor benefit. This state of neediness – until he reached a more perfect state – is something witnessed and tangible for everyone (to see), and it is well known that this is the very essence of the human being and he remains upon that state. He does not move from this state and enters into a state of Lordship – a state in which he becomes absolutely self-sufficient and not need of anyone and anything; rather he does not cease being a slave, a needy one to his Rabb [Allaah the Creator, All-Provider and the Only One Who Controls and Sustains Everything] and His Faatir [Allaah, The Originator and Creator of Everything].

However, after the human being was granted blessings, shown mercy, granted the means to reach a more perfect state, and Allaah -out of His Perfect Kindness and Generosity- granted him apparent blessings [i.e. to recognize the Messengers who were sent with Islamic Monotheism, granted him the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.] and the hidden blessings [i.e. granted him the innate disposition to recognize his Lord when the Messenger calls him to Eemaan, and granted him knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc.], granted him hearing, sight and a heart, and taught him [i.e. gave him the means to knowledge], granted him ability, subjugated things to him, granted him [the desire and enthusiasm to pursue what is beneficial, and take action], enabled him to receive the service of those of his kind [i.e. gave him authority over other humans], subjugated to him horses and camels, gave him the ability to capture the animals in the sea, drop birds from the sky, subjugate wild animals, dig wells [irrigate water etc], plant trees, dig the earth, learn how to build, acquire the things that are of benefit to him, guard against and protect himself from that which is harmful to him; then the Miskeen [i.e. this absolutely poor, dependent human being] thinks that he has a share of authority and claims – for himself – a kingship [or authority] similar to that of Allaah [Glorified be Allaah and free is Allaah from all imperfections, partners, coequals, similarities etc], and begins to see himself in a manner other than what he was at first, forgets his (prior) state of non-existence, poverty and neediness, until he becomes as if he was not that poor and needy thing. (3)


[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Zaadul Maseer Fee Ilm at-Tafseer. By Imaam Ibnul Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy upon him)]

[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 3: An Excerpt from Tareequl Hijratayn. pages 9-10. slightly paraphrased]

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