I am terrible at Maths.
Terrible to the point that when I was taking my GSCE O Levels, my teacher singled me out, sat with me and said, “I’m sorry but I think you need to drop your A Maths so that you can just concentrate on your E Maths. You’re failing at both!”
I spent the rest of the year doodling on my desk as my classmates went on with their A Maths lessons. It was quite the embarrassing experience, but I got my personal highest grade in E Maths written on my scroll.
But for all of the equations I have learnt (and forgotten heh), the one hardest to comprehend is the one as mentioned by Habib Syed Hassan Bin Muhammad Al-Attas,
The most difficult Maths equation is: “The more you give, the more you get.” – Habib Hassan
The world today is built on a system of getting, in part based on the Economic worldview that the world is based on “Unlimited wants, with limited resources.” However, as Shaykh Ebrahim explains, this worldview of unlimited wants and limited resources only serves to breed greed and fear within our hearts:
A person who is here to get will focus their attention on maximizing accumulation and minimizing loss. The predominant register of their internal dialogue will be greed and fear. – Etsko Schuitema @ Shaykh Ebrahim
We are wired to think that since there are a limited number of things in this world, we need to safeguard what we have in order to keep it ours and not have it in the hands of others. So you see people competing for position and rank, fighting over unnecessary things, and hoarding over tangible or intangible material.
“The more you give, the more you get” is the most difficult equation to understand because it goes against our rational minds and the way the world has brought us up to think.
When asked to give, we tend to flinch, thinking about how the giving will subtract something from us, leaving us with less. I read an article that said that emotional and physical pain are activated in the same region of our brains; so the thought of something we have leaving us could very well extend to a physical pain that we might feel as a part of us leaves ourselves.
Because of this pain that the act of giving risks exposes us to, giving in actuality is an act of courage:
A person who is here to give will be concerned with cultivating the capacity to hand over both things associated with the self, and the self, itself. The predominant register of their internal dialogue will, therefore, be concerned with generosity and courage. – Etsko Schuitema @ Shaykh Ebrahim
The question that remains then, is how do we inculcate this courage?
By having faith in the Ar-Razzaq, that He has allocated all of us our portions in the world.
It is a tough process to go through if you are not used to it, but suck it up and brave through the storm – just give. The more you give, the more the pain you feel in giving goes away. The more you give, the more you will see in many ways the doors of rezq and barakah open up to you.
And only when you no longer flinch when giving your money or your time, when you no longer harbour worry or doubts on what giving will leave you with, only then do you truly understand the most difficult equation in the world: “The more you give, the more you get.”
It is a learning process perfected only with time and practice. May Allah SWT strengthen our faiths in Him :)
P/s. For further readings, I recommend reading the book “The Postulates of the Thematic” by Etsko Schuitema. For Singaporeans, the book is available at Wardah Books.
P/p/s. Every year a couple of friends and I usually raise money through our personal networking for several causes. Alhamdulillah with the generosity of the people we know, we usually manage to raise 10 times the amount we set out to raise, in line with the hadith that states “Charity is multiplied tenfold”.