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Work smarter, not harder. How to get easy pickings

Work smarter, not harder. How to get easy pickings

Cold booty- Al-ghanimatul baridah

وَعَنْ عَامِرِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: « الْغَنِيمَةُ الْبَارِدَةُ: الصَّوْمُ فِي الشِّتَاءِ » . رَوَاهُ أَحْمَدُ وَالتِّرْمِذِيُّ. حديث مرسل.

‘Amir b. Mas’ud reported God’s messenger as saying:

“Fasting in winter is booty gained without trouble (easy reward).” [Ahmad and Tirmidhi][i]

What attracted me to this particular hadith is its terminology. I chose to talk about this hadith because of the terminology.

The phrase Al-ghanimatul baridah literally means ‘the cold booty.’ The idea is that in winter one does not suffer from hunger and thirst as in summer.

Fasting in winter is considered cold booty, because the day is shorter and the nights are longer, so fasting is easier and at night you have a longer time to rest and wake up and worship Allah through qiyam al layl. Such opportunities are low hanging fruit.

Who would walk away from low hanging fruit, when it is so easy to grab? When you realise that cold booty is all around you, it makes you look at the world afresh.

How to earn huge reward by working smarter not harder

We all want maximum reward which does not entail maximum effort. Alhamdulillah, there is an easy way to earn a huge amount of reward which do not necessarily require more effort but requires you to be a bit smarter. My son likes to say you should work smarter not harder, though it depends how you define smarter!

Booty that is under your nose

You do not need to go to battle to get booty. Sometimes the booty is right under your nose. You do not need to travel far to get the reward. We know of people who go to great lengths and travel far away to help those poor people in other countries, which is a good thing to do, but we do not have to travel that far to find people in need. Allah Almighty placed people who need help all around us. While we are straining our eyes further afield, we are missing those in need, who are right beside us.  

Charity is multiplied when we give it to family

You receive double the reward when you give charity to your relatives. This is because you receive the reward for giving charity and you also receive the reward for maintaining good family relationships, which Allah loves. Giving to those who are close to you, is therefore hugely rewarding.  

Turning challenges into golden opportunities

Open your eyes and look for the booty around you. Instead of thinking of every day tasks as chores, see them as opportunities for reward. Think of teaching your children not as a task, but a rewarding act.

If you have a bad tempered person in your midst, instead of resenting them, think of them as your chance to gain reward. When you realise that Allah placed them in your life, as a chance to reward you, your whole approach will change. Why are you feeling angry then? You do not feel annoyed by them as they are the means through which you can earn Allah’s pleasure. Your day to day tasks will be less burdeonsome. If you have someone you know who is always late, and it irritates you, consider this as extra reward for being patient.

In a nutshell the cold booty is closer than you can imagine. It is how you view what you deal with on a daily basis. If you change the way you see it, instead of being a source of annoyance it can be very rewarding.

Of course this does not mean that you put up with unacceptable behaviour under the impression that it is rewarding. It is not. You must not accept abusive behaviour, or being in danger mentally, emotionally or physically.

Life’s challenges are a training course to make you better. When you realise they have been sent by Allah to you, you will be more positive.

Maintain good family relations

Maintaining good relations with your family is hard but carries massive reward.

You might feel that you keep calling certain family members but they do not respond. You have to keep trying but ensure you have the right intention.

Sometimes your intention is just to tick the box. You may say ‘I tried and left messages, they didn’t reply’, but deep down you might be hoping they do not pick up the phone, because you do not want to hear their voice. You find them annoying and you are not actually interested in listening to them. This is the wrong intention.

This is pretending that you are maintaining relationships when you are not. Purify your intention and have the desire to improve the relationship and try your best. Then make dua. Say, ‘Ya Allah, this is my family and I want to have a good relationship with them’.

It does not mean you have to best pals with them and see them all the time or have sleepovers. Call them, ask them how they are and see if they need any help. On Eid and special occasions call them and wish them.  

Blocked relations

If a relationship is blocked it is quite possible that the main obstacle is YOU. Check your intention. Why did you call them? Was it to demonstrate that you are better than them? This is the wrong intention. You will not get reward for this. Rather, you will be sinful for this.

Your intention should be that you are following the prophetic guidance. You are trying your best to follow the hadith qudsi:

Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: “Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The bond of relationship is suspended from the Throne, and says: ‘He who keeps good relations with me, Allah will keep connection with him, but whosoever severs relations with me, Allah will sever connection with him’.” (Bukhari)

You cannot change their feelings. Ask Allah to do that from the bottom of your heart. Then things will change inshallah. Keep trying.

Let’s search for the cold booty around us. Ask Allah to accept from us our good deeds and see with the eyes which allow us to grow and be observant of ihsan in everything we do.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Thought for the Week


[i] This is a mursal hadith, which means that the narrator, Amir was not a companion and did not hear this from the Prophet (peace be on him), but we have other narrations from Anas bin Malik and Abu Hurayrah which support this.

Related posts:

The dog, the horse, and the king

Maintaining family ties

Dealing with difficult family members

Giving charity to family

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.

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