This is a note I wrote for myself, I am publishing it here and expanding it in case others benefit from it.
Wealth begins when you already feel wealthy without having wealth, through your reliance and trust in God. Asking for wealth is a way of wanting to decrease your reliance on God, to be a god yourself.
Instead, rely on God, knowing that the treasury is already with Him, and He gives it to you as He sees fit. Do all of the prayers (including tahajjud and duha), in this way the feeling of wealth (needlessness) is created in you, regardless of your material condition. From there, God may choose to give you all the wealth you want, once you feel wealthy regardless of wealth.
If you feel poor, this shows a lack of piety, a weakness in your faith, a lack in your worship and reliance on God, a distance from God, and wealth will not cure this feeling, it will only replace it with something equally harmful for you, arrogance, pride, a sense of being safe from God and needless of Him.
If you feel poor when you don’t have money (instead of feeling rich by the virtue of being the servant of the Rich), then wealth will not cure you.
Your feeling of poverty is a weakness within you. Wealth will bandage it, but the weakness will manifest itself in other ways. Feeling poor shows a distance from God. Receiving wealth will not bring you closer to Him, it may in fact cause you to be distanced further from Him. You may continue praying and doing the usual good deeds and feeling good, but you may give up supplicating to Him as ardently as now, you may give up small and big good deeds, giving only a little and withholding much, giving what is easy and not doing anything difficult for the sake of God, which is the state of most wealthy Muslims, who live a life of luxury and contentment and only do good deeds that make them feel good.
If God wants good for you, He will keep you poor until your suffering creates the spiritual depth in you, the knowledge of God and closeness to Him, to feel wealthy without having any wealth. Once this feeling is achieved, He may give you wealth, because now it is safe for you to have it.
You must develop the lifestyle of worship and the knowledge and depth necessary to feel wealthy without wealth, if you want God to give you wealth.
Of course, once you have achieved this state, you will stop asking for wealth, realizing that you already have all the wealth you want, because you are an agent of a wealthy God who feeds and clothes you and takes care of your life for you. An agent (a spy who works for a foreign government) does not worry about making money when he is on a mission in a strange land. He knows he is provided for by a powerful entity that can give him more money than most people achieve in a lifetime if it helps him achieve his mission. When there is a need, he can always go to his spy agency’s secret bank and gets all the money he needs.
A true servant of God, too, feels needless of wealth, knowing that he has direct access to God’s bank, and that He will give to him as needed and manage everything for him. Ideally, a spy does not worry about anything except his mission, it is his agency who provides for him a car, a house, money, partners and accomplices. In the same way, we who love and fear God work for God’s agency, it is His agency that takes care of everything for us, our purpose is to carry out our mission.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, was poor for most of his career, because God did not consider it necessary for the success of his mission to have wealth. But he did not feel poor, because he knew he was the agent of a wealthy Master, Who would give him everything he needed whenever he needed it. The Master is wise, instead of giving him immense wealth, which could have harmed him spiritually, and harmed his followers and his movement, gave him only exactly what he needed, not letting him starve or beg of others, enabling him to always have enough to continue his mission perfectly. Wealth was never an obstacle to the Prophet, because the Master always provided for him as he needed it, as if he had an infinite credit line.
Your wealth, your credit line, your bank account, is with God. Asking him to stop managing it for you and to give it all to you shows a lack of appreciation for His wisdom, a lack of appreciation for the fact that you are His agent on a mission in life, and it shows that you have an arrogance that causes you to think you know better than Him what is good for you.
When you ask for wealth, you are asking God, “Please stop managing my millions of dollars for me. I want to manage it myself, because I know better than You what to do with it.” God, if He loves you, will not answer your prayer, instead teaching you lesson after lesson until you reach the point where you can appreciate that all wealth is with God, and that your sustenance comes from God, and that He knows better than you what is good for you, and that it is far wiser to let God manage your wealth and give you exactly what you need, than asking Him to give it all to you when you can never, ever be sure if it is safe for you spiritually to have wealth. These realizations require submission and humility, which we all lack to some degree.
If you feel poor, realize immediately that this is a disease in your heart, a disease in your reliance on God. Cure it immediately with continuous worship and prayer. Pray tahajjud, witr and the duha prayers. Read the Quran. Repeat this work and continue it, no matter how repetitive and boring your ego finds it, until you start to feel wealthy in your heart. And never stop seeking knowledge. And once you feel wealthy, you will no longer ask for wealth, the way the Prophet, peace be upon him, did not ask for it. You will ask God to guide you, to provide for you and to take care of you, and you will leave it to Him to decide how much wealth you should have in your hands.
You will already feel wealthy, knowing that your wealth is with Him, and it will feel irrelevant to you whether wealth is with God or with you. Both are the same thing. An agent does not care if they have $100 in the pocket and millions in the agency’s secret bank, or whether they have millions with themselves. The two are the same, and in fact that latter situation is less desirable, because the wealth is a burden and a danger to the agent.
In the same way, as an agent of God, since you have access to His limitless wealth, it does not matter how much you have with you. Whether it is with God or in your hands, it is the same thing, and the latter (having much wealth in your hands) can be a burden and a danger to you. It is better to leave it to God to take care of the matter of wealth, its management and protection, so that you can focus on your mission instead.
It is for these reasons that the Prophet, peace be upon him, lost sleep over the fact that there was a lump of gold in his house that had been given to him somehow. Since he was a man on a mission, he felt that this gold was an obstacle to him, a burden and a danger, so that his heart did not settle until he found a poor person to give it away to the next day.
A spy, too, would hate to have too much wealth with him, because it attracts attention and danger, and gets in the way of his mission. A person who is truly close to God will think the same way about wealth, considering it irrelevant to their life, a tool that can be provided by God as needed for their mission and nothing more. Their focus is on completing their mission, and they leave it to God to provide them with the necessary tools and equipment.
This does not mean that one should not seek wealth. One should want sufficient wealth to be needless of others, and they should use the opportunities God provides to acquire it. But one should realize that any wages they earn, any profits they make, are all ultimately from God, because if God does not enable us and support us, we have no power to gain these things. The wages you earn are as much from God as money falling from the sky. A thousand things could go wrong in your life so that you lose the ability to earn, or so that what you earn goes to waste (such as various illnesses and accidents).
We work, as the Prophet’s companions worked, peace be upon him and his companions, because this is part of our mission in life. But we do not work to cure a sense of poverty or to become wealthy. We already feel wealthy, but we work because it is part of the functioning of the world that we should work, the same way that it is part of the functioning of the world that we should procreate in order for humanity to continue, and the same way that we eat to survive. Not working and saying that God will provide is like not eating and saying that God will put food in our stomachs directly.
We Muslims are not monks or Sufi hermits. We partake in the game of life fully, enjoying food, drink and sex, working and not throwing away wealth. But we understand that everything we enjoy or acquire is ultimately from God. And part of this understanding is that we do not seek to be wealthy or pray for it. Our job is to take part in the game of life while also staying on the Straight Path.
Regardless of how hard we work to earn money, it is God who will decide how much wealth we will have. There are those who spend all of their time thinking of wealth and scheming for it, yet many of them live in poverty and die poor. There are others who do the same and acquire it and die wealthy. Life and God both teach us that getting wealthy is not guaranteed, no matter how hard we try. We could have the most successful business in the town, only for a fire to destroy it and put us in debt.
We work, but it is God who provides. Realizing this, we do not seek wealth, knowing that all wealth is with God; our task is to carry out our mission, it is God Who provides for us.
We are like agents who have been told to work as part of our mission, so that we do not stand out, even though we are told the agency can give us millions of dollars if it wants. We work because it is part of the mission, but we do not want to be wealthy, because there is no point in it. It is ridiculous for a spy to get attached to his fake job trying to make a few thousand dollars when he knows that if he completes his mission, the agency promises him millions of dollars.
It is utter foolishness to complain that God’s agency is not giving us sufficient wealth to carry out our mission, it is an insult against God’s greatness. A spy can complain that the agency’s planning and resources are deficient, but we cannot, because we do not work for a human agency, but for a divine one.
If you feel poor, or you feel that you could do so many good deeds if only God gave you a few billion dollars, then you have misunderstood your mission and the One who assigned this mission to you. He knows exactly what you need and when you need it, therefore stop trying to tell Him to correct how much He gives you. Learn to respect Him and to respect your mission. Stop fighting against your mission, asking it to be changed, telling God His planning isn’t good enough.
Your mission is to live the Quran. You can do this whether you are wealthy or poor. Wealth has nothing to do with it. If you are poor, your job is to work hard enough in worship so that you do not feel poor. You have not truly accepted your status as God’s agent except when you feel extremely wealthy regardless of how much wealth you have, when you know that wealth does not matter for your mission because you work for an immensely wealthy agency that provides everything needed.
It is more likely for God to give you wealth once you have stopped feeling that you need it, because then you can have it safely. That is what the title of this essay says. But as has been clarified, when you reach this state, you will stop caring about getting wealthy anyway. Therefor what I said above probably works, it can can increase your likelihood of getting wealthy, but for this to work, you must paradoxically first achieve a state of not wanting to get wealthy. As long as you desire wealth and feel poverty, you have not understood your mission, and there is a deficiency in your faith and understanding of God that needs to be corrected.
You must stop desiring wealth, only then you have achieved the status of a true agent of God. Satan will try to trick you into losing this status by telling you that you could serve God better if He gave you more wealth. By making you doubt the wisdom in God’s decrees and His management of your life, he causes you to forget your mission and causes you to think negative thoughts about Him. You must resist these thoughts and always remind yourself that true reliance on God means that you trust Him to give you what is needed when it is needed, and that you mission in life, which is to live the Quran, does not require you to be wealthy, and in fact requires you to stop desiring it.
Feeling wealthy regardless of wealth cannot be achieved by wishful thinking. It requires daily work, it requires you to do more prayers and more Quran-reading than most of the people you know. And if you ever stop, the feeling of poverty will come back, because it is the natural state of humans to feel in need and to desire wealth.
If you do not find the above satisfactory, if you still want wealth, then this shows that you do not understand your purpose in life, or that you understand it but want to reject it because your comfort and desires are more dear to you.