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October 5, 2010

Book: The Evil of Craving Wealth and Status

by Umm Muawiyah

Assalamu Alaikum.

Yes, wealth and status.

Remember them? They’re two of the biggest reasons why we’re attached to this stupid dunya (worldly life).

And they’re also two of the biggest reasons why the “righteousness” of many Muslims is limited to Ramadan. See, many people are so consumed with being the best (in terms of money and status) that they have no time to spend being the best (in the sight of Allah).

They also fear that being “too” righteous* will affect their “status”. After all, what would people say if they suddenly turned up to the office with a big beard/hijab on, for example? What would people say if they moved to a smaller house and got a cheaper car? What would be people say if they stopped attending those dazzling (mixed) parties?

[*No, I still haven’t figured out how anybody can be “too” righteous.]

Most people are unaware that true righteousness actually improves both wealth and status. This is because most people are unaware of the tawheed of Allah. They don’t know His Names and His Attributes, therefore they don’t comprehend that He is the one who can do all things, that He is the Provider, that He is the Changer of Hearts, etc. They simply fail to realise that obedience to Allah can only lead to good things, both in this world and in the hereafter.

You see, a little bit of halal (lawful) wealth has much more barakah (blessings) than a whole lot of haram (unlawful) wealth. Also, giving away one’s wealth in the form of charity (rather than hoarding it so that you can buy a 10 bedroom mansion for your post-retirement days) purifies this wealth so it will bring about much more benefit than the wealth that is hoarded.

Sadly, many people don’t seem to realise this. They think hoarding or investing the money will make them wealthier and that giving in charity will make them poorer.

“Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.”” [Surah Saba (34) : 39]

“Shaytaan (Satan) threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahshaa (evil deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins etc.); whereas Allah promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 268]

“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 261]

One of my friends once asked: “Do you know of anyone who has become poor because of giving in charity??”

No, I don’t know anyone and neither do you.

As for status,well, righteousness is what gives a person a high status in this world and in the hereafter.

Amir ibn Wathila reported that Nafi ibn Abd al-Harith met Umar at Usfan and Umar had employed him as collector in Makkah. He (Umar) said to him (Nafi): Whom have you appointed as collector over the people of the valley? He said: Ibn Abza. He said: Who is Ibn Abza? He said: He is one of our freed slaves. He (Umar) said: So you have appointed a freed slave over them. He said: He is well versed in the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Great, and he is well versed In the commandments and injunctions (of the Shariah). Umar said: So the  Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: By this Book, Allah would exalt some peoples and degrade others. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 1780]

So this slave got a high position in this dunya due to knowing and applying the Book of Allah.

And the Sahaabah got their high positions due to the same reason. After all, why are they the greatest generation? How did they get this status? They got it due to their obedience of Allah.

[Of course, the whole catch here is sincerity. If you try to be righteous simply so that you get wealth and status, you are not being sincere. Giving in charity, for example, is an act of worship and it cannot be done except to seek the Face of Allah.]

I think that the following hadeeth summarises it well:

“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect, and the one who shows humility Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” [Saheeh Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6264]

Please note: There’s no problem in being wealthy or having a high status. Many of the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum) were wealthy and had a high status (in terms of dunya). The problem lies in being attached to this wealth and this status, craving them and not being able to live without them.

True righteousness would mean that the person would be grateful to Allah whether he possessed AED 10 0r AED 1o million. It would mean that the person would be able to move from a big mansion to a tent without much hassle. It wouldn’t matter because the important thing would be pleasing Allah, not possessing the wealth or enjoying the status.

That’s why the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum) were so great. Many of them did give up their wealth for Islam. One example is that of Musab ibn Umair (radiallahu anhu). Pre-Islam, he came from a very wealthy family (people could recognise him by his smell because he used to wear a special perfume!). After he became Muslim, his family threw him out. He migrated to Madinah and was martyred in the battle of Uhud. When he died, he didn’t possess enough clothes for them to shroud him with. When they covered his legs, his head showed. When they covered his head, his legs showed.

That’s righteousness.

Here’s a very nice book (I’m still at the beginning but so far so good). It’s an explanation of a VERY interesting hadeeth.

The Evil of Craving Wealth and Status by Imam Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah)

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