Wealthy in Islam

Dear readers and friends,

This is my first post in this blog after two months. I am back from Khuruj to Jitra, Kedah (northern of Peninsular Malaysia) just 5 days before Eid (1st Syawal) and after a week spending time with my family for Eid, I am back to my business world. For 40 days I am in the Deen environment in 13 mosques and now I am back to my daily chores in my business, my family life and my business environment. Definitely I am cherish my time in Khuruj because I learned about sacrificing time and wealth for the sake of the Deen and the Sustainer, Allah swt.

According to the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi:

 The teachings of Islam correspond with man’s fitrah or pure nature; they neither go against it nor do they suppress it; on the contrary, they go in line with it and, furthermore, seek to uplift it.

It is in man’s nature to love possession; this instinct is found even in children. Almighty Allah has endowed people with such a characteristic so that it motivates them to act and vie in doing their best in seeking success in life, for it is in this way that the earth is constructed, production is increased and improved, and life booms.

As Allah swt says, “To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: for verily Allah,- He is free of all wants, Worthy of all Praise.” (Qur’an: 22:64) and in another verse, Allah says, “Thy Lord is self-sufficient, full of Mercy: if it were His will, He could destroy you, and in your place appoint whom He will as your successors, even as He raised you up from the posterity of other people.” (Qur’an: 6:133,).

From the above verses, basically wealthy in Islam consists of two elements of life; physical and spiritual. The first dimension depicts the possession of materials which is known as ‘Maal’ (‘amwaal’ in its plural form), which basically means ‘property, assets or what ever mankind posses’. The latter indicates spiritual dimension such as knowledge and virtue that reside in their souls.

The natural relationship between the two dimensions is closely interrelated. For wealth is an outcome of interactions between mankind and their surroundings include all things in the heaven and in/on the earth such as flora, fauna and the like that can facilitate mankind to gain a convenient life in this world.

The first wealth is also very attractive to the nature of mankind, thus every man inclines to have wealth as Allah says, “Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: Women and sons; Heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world’s life; but in nearness to Allah is the best of the goals (To return to).” (Qur’an 3:14).

Moreover, when people consider that the wealth is every thing then it may become their master. They may do what ever it is requested solely for the wealth, and they are worry of their wealth for being lost from their hands. As a result their wealth is gradually and unintentionally felt as the most beloved one. At this point people may serve their wealth and they are consequently being greedy and niggardly kind of people as what happened to Qarun. Undoubtedly, this wealth does not grant happiness to the mankind.

The latter dimension of wealth is food of spiritual such as knowledge and virtue. Presently, first dimension of wealth may be used as means to gain the second dimension of wealth that is knowledge and virtue through education and training. Knowledge is complete comprehension and interaction with this comprehension in the depths of the soul and conscience, which is then followed by action in harmony with them. As what Muslims are thought to recite a prayer: “O Lord, give us useful knowledge, large property and release us from any kind of illness and disease”.

In addition, knowledge may also yield the first dimension of wealth. As it was known, that knowledge will lead to the profession, and this profession consequently will resolve the scarcity of ability of mankind in utilizing and exploring the resources. As what was been insisted by the Prophet (peace be upon him) by saying, “any one who wants this worldly life, he should have knowledge, and any one who wants the life of the hereafter, he should have knowledge, and who wants both this life and next hereafter, he should also have knowledge”. Furthermore when the prophet’s son in law, Ali bin Abi Thalib compared the two dimensions of wealth, he once said, “knowledge will take care of you while you will protect your property”.

Muslims should use both elements of wealth in rendering the service to Allah. Wealth in Islam is “rizq” that connotes subsistence or means of living. This means of living is not necessarily as an outcome of man’s effort. It is indeed an endowment or a gift from Allah. Because He is the one who sustains mankind’s life.

The wealth in Islam, may also function as means of trial and test to find out whether a person is a true Muslim or vice versa; being wealthy he is being tested and being poor or wealth-less he is also being tested. As Allah says, ” Now, as for man, when his Lord trieth him, giving him honour and gifts, then saith he, (puffed up), “My Lord hath honoured me.” But when He trieth him, restricting his subsistence for him, then saith he (in despair), “My Lord hath humiliated me!” ” (Qur’an 89: 15-16).

So my dear readers, wealth is not an entity that a Muslim should love, for the one whom should be beloved is the giver and sustainer, which is Allah swt. As such a person will be very happy and content with what his beloved one (God) gives. In order to get happiness in this world and hereafter, Muslims should successfully manage their wealth in accordance with the injunctions of Allah, use it as means to worship Allah, and submit every thing to Him after we have accomplished jobs, for mankind plan and execute, while He decides the result.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“A slave will not be able to take a step further on the Day of Requital until he is taken to account for [the following things]: his time and how he spent it, his knowledge and how he used it, his money and how he earned and spent it, and his youth and how he passed it. (Tirmidhi)

I want to tell about one good example about a committed Muslim seeking to acquire wealth lawfully. He is `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Auf (may Allah be pleased with him). Abdur-Rahman was one of the early persons who embraced Islam, one of the 10 Companions who were given the glad tidings of entering Paradise, and one of the six persons whom `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) appointed to choose the Muslim caliph from among them after his death.

Abdul-Rahman went to the market in Madinah that was dominated by the Jews of Al-Madinah and traded there. In fact, he had such a business talent that in a few years he became one of the richest Muslims. When he died, he left behind a great wealth, to the extent that it was said that the pieces of gold he left could be cut with an axe. He is such a great man in heart, wealthy and very successful person in this world and also in the hereafter, whereby he is one of Prophet Companions who are promised to enter Paradise by Allah swt even when he is still living in this world.

Read about this great companion, Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘ Auf here:

1. In English: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503549640

2. In Bahasa Malaysia: http://tayibah.com/eIslam/Tokoh/AbdulRahman.htm

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