All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Since 2014-04-18

Some people believe that happiness could only be found in the attainment of wealth.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

By Kamal Badr

Contrary to what some people believe, attaining a higher degree of spirituality does not have to be through renouncing material wealth. It can be a blessing for one to be rich, but it is important to note that this blessing doubles when the material wealth is used in such a way that the person grows spiritually and this is what Islam teaches. 

God says in the Quran what means:

{But seek, with the wealth which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief.} [Al-Qasas:77]

According to this verse one gains, through the blessing of wealth that he is endowed with, the eternal blessings of the Hereafter, with its unique characteristics of tremendousness, limitless, purity and perfection.

The Real Meaning of Wealth

Many people fail to perceive this point because they do not understand the real purpose of wealth. If only humans, who are immersed in an ocean of wealth, could ask themselves just one question-why all this wealth?-perhaps through his innate knowledge of right and wrong (if they succeeded in listening to their consciences ), they would understand that such enormous wealth is purposely designed by God for them to address the lamentable poverty plaguing others and that is the meaning of wealth in Islam.

Mankind underestimates the meaning of blessings. If we take a comprehensive look at blessings, we would never ask for them because material benefits have negative and positive consequences. What we need to do before making du`a’ (supplication) for wealth is to reflect on the many pious people who know God and the fact that they don’t ask for material things.  

They don’t ask for wealth because their main focus in life is their relation with God and they fear that their wealth may take them away from God, so they accept whatever they have and are grateful.

The masses are usually astounded at the lifestyle of the wealthy and how they have their own planes and so many possessions. People are often jealous, wishing that they had all that. But before we ask for blessings we should ask God to let us know how we would live if we had this blessing.

Few people can be rich and righteous-most of the people in Paradise are poor because it requires a lot of self-discipline to actually use your wealth in the service of your fellow humans,  in the service of God.

Wealth can be a double-edged sword. A person may be wealthy and then, through misusing that wealth, may have inadvertently bought himself an express ticket to Hell.

The Story of the Weathy Man in the Quran

There are some great lessons to be learned from the story of Qarun that is mentioned in the Quran. The people of his time marveled at his elegant lifestyle. They were jealous of him and considered him to be extraordinarily blessed. They didn’t understand his relation with God, whether it was good or bad. They looked at him and his situation from a superficial perspective, they considered Qarun to be a lucky man.

God spoke in the Quran about the nature of Qarun’s wealth that the keys alone of his stores were so numerous that it needed a number of strong men to carry them. God explained to us that even though Qarun’s wealth was enormous, it didn’t matter to God as God cares about the individual’s relation with Him. Qarun and his wealth perished. His wealth availed him nothing.

The same people who were in awe of him the day before regretted and they were glad their prayer of acquiring a wealth similar to Qarun wasn’t answered because Qarun and his wealth had perished. 

We shouldn’t be affected by people who have wealth, children, and knowledge because if we had these things but failed to rise to the occasion and give them their due, they would hold bad consequences for us. Where much is given, much is required. The biggest danger is that our wealth may take us away from God and from remembering and obeying Him.

At the time of the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), he was given a choice: to be in the company of his Lord or to stay in the world. He chose his Lord. The life of the believer is quite extraordinary. The believer doesn’t seek wealth for the sake of being rich because he knows that wealth may affect his relation with God. So he prefers to forget the money.

We must ask ourselves if we have become immersed in the material world because whatever we have opens the door to trials.

As believers, we must look at what we have as blessings from God. It depends on how we perceive God’s blessings-our gratitude for the blessings we have. When we find ourselves in the limelight, when we’re famous, we wouldn’t think to move back to our former self, but on the contrary we race forward toward our death. This is a weakness in human nature, to seek the material things in life as a goal in itself instead of being a means to an end.

{Seek, with the wealth which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter.} [Al-Qasas:77].

In this worldly life, sharing also plays an important role in enhancing peace and solidarity in the society, as it paves the way for the poor to benefit from the rich, thus extinguishing the flame of jealousy that might have been eating up his heart, and providing a sense of security for the rich. This is Islam.

All this chaos and evil that pervades the earth is due to man’s mismanagement of the earth’s resources. It’s only when we allow poverty to reign with no control, it is only when we turn a blind eye to the agony of people stricken with starvation and abject poverty that tyranny finds its way into our society.

The purpose of wealth is to act as a means of development for mankind, so it’s just a means to an end.

Also, by being good to others as Allah has been good to us, we stress the real purpose of wealth as something to be shared with others, a tool of expanding love to others, without discrimination as to race, color, creed or class.

Life is not just what you have in your pocket. Life is how much you are satisfied with what you have. Life is not how we perceive it. Mankind is always in a hurry and fails to consider the consequences of having material things. Anything in life that doesn’t have an eternal perspective is wasted.

  • 0
  • 0
  • 6,844