A question is generally raised stating that Islam does not prescribe gving up worldly interests and in this connection the Verses of the Holy Qur’an are often misunderstood, for instance, there is a Verse that says:
“Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter; and save us from the chastisement of the Fire (of Hell).” (2:201)
Some ignorant people sress that in this Verse the worldly good is favoured and appreciated by Islam, as much as the good in the Hereafter. In other words, there is no “Renunciation” of the world in Islam. Such people claim to be perfect scholars after having seen only some translations of the Holy Qur’an. The true meanings of the Holy Qur’an can be properly understood by those only who have looked deep into its Verses and are well-informed on this subject. Different interpretations of the above-mentioned Verse that have been explained by the Companions of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the scholars of Islam are as follows:
Hadhrat Qatadah (Radhiallaho Anho) says: “By ‘good in this world’ is meant peaceful existence and necessary livelihood.”
Hadhrat Ali (Karam Allah Wajho) says that by ‘good in this world’ is meant a pious wife.
Hadhrat Hasan Basri (Rahmatullah Alayh) says that by ‘good in this world’ is meant knowledge of Islam and Prayer.
Hahdrat Suddi (Rahmatullah Alayh) says that by ‘good in this world’ is meant lawful earnings.
Hadhrat Ibn Umar (Radhiallaho Anho) says that by ‘good in this world’ is meant righteous children and good-will of other human beings.
Hahdrat Ja’far (Radhiallaho Anho) says that by ‘good in this world’ is meant good health, honest living, knowledge of the Holy Qur’an, victory over the enemies of Islam and the company of the pious.
I would add that if “good in this world” meant our material progress, even then the emphasis in the Verse is on praying to Allah for such a “good” but not on completely busying oneself in this pursuit. Asking from Allah, even if it be the mending of a shoe is in itself a part of religion. Besides, if it means honest living, or to be prosperous and self-sufficient, that too is not forbidden in Islam; by all means make your living in this world consistent with religion. The point is that our endeavours in the cause of religion should at least be as much as those for worldly gains, if not more, because Islam teaches us to value both this life and the Hereafter.
[Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhalvi (rahmatullah alayh) in ‘Virtues of Tabligh’, p. 24/25]