The Limitless Love We Have for Our Possessions

Date: 28th November 2014; 4th Safar 1436

Allah has sent us to this world so that we can achieve success here which will allow us to be successful in the Akhirah. Success does not mean to achieve a high status and a large of wealth. Success needs to be achieved according to the rulings of the Quran and Sunnah. We all need to learn from the Quran and Hadiths and also need to know how we can apply our learnings in our daily life on every occasion. Allah has asked to enter Islam fully.

O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 208 (2:208) Translation: Sahih International

The Shaitan has vowed to ruin us and take us all to Jahannam. It is also mentioned in the Quran:

[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path.

Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].”

Surah Al-A’raf, Ayahs 16-17 (7:16-17) Translation: Sahih International

So it is our task to avoid any forms of obstacles given by Shaitan. We need to be strong enough to ignore all the deception of Shaitan and enter Islam fully. One of the mechanisms which Shaitan uses so as to divert us is our extreme love for the possessions of this world.

It is the love of all the materials we possess in this world which hinders us into loving our Lord. Our possessions make us forget Allah and the Hereafter. A person who has become wealthy by acquiring Haram income and not engage in giving Zakah, performing Salah and Hajj. A person who severs relationships with his kinsman and parents for the greed of seizing more wealth will never enter Jannah without repenting. The Prophet (saw.) has warned us about competing in this world for possession. It is mentioned so in this Hadith:

The Prophet Muhammad (saw.) said: “By Allah I don’t fear for you poverty, but I fear that the world would be abundant for you as it has been for those before you, so you compete for it as they have competed for it, so it destroys you as it has destroyed them.”

References: Al-Hakim and others. This Hadith has been rated Sahih.

Shaitan clearly deceives us until and unless we repent. When we receive wealth through the legal medium, he makes us delay our Tawba. Our Imaan then just get weaken, we miss Salah and forget about performing Hajj. Shaitan makes us forget death and will continue to do so until we have no time left to repent.

A person earning Haram income will tend to invent every sort of excuses for his sins. Shaitan makes him think that interest is Halal and makes sound like that the person is not committing a sin.

In every generation of the Ummah, Allah has imposed restriction on various things and this is true for not only us but for every Ummah of every Prophet. We need to understand that all these restrictions are only for our own good and thus we need to save ourselves from all Haram activities.

There are people who argue that it is impossible to live without interest in this business world. A person mentioning such statement should know that when Allah has imposed a ban on something it means we are capable of living without it no matter what. If someone denies Allah’s order, it just represents the weakness of his Imaan. Allah is “Al-Hakeem”, The All Wise and He knows all our abilities and limitations. Denying Allah’s order means we are denying the knowledge of our Creator. One should be really careful when making such desultory statements because in the end it hurts our Imaan and we tend to lose from this. The dignity of Islam will always remain bright no matter how ignorantly we see Islam from our point of view.

Nowadays, everyone runs after wealth. Actually, Allah has made us like this. It is mentioned in the Quran as such:

Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers, etc.) with Him.

Surah Al-Imran, Ayah 14 (3:14) Translation: Muhsin Khan

Allah also have mentioned how our competition in this world can lead us to astray and this is mentioned in Surah Takathur.

Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you

Until you visit the graveyards.

No! You are going to know.

Then no! You are going to know.

No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty…

You will surely see the Hellfire.

Surah At-Takathur, Ayah 1-6 (102:1-6)

In this Surah, Allah demonstrates the negative effect of the competition we go only for this worldly possessions and status. We all need to learn to appreciate whatever we have. One Hadith says:

Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (rah.): I heard the Prophet (saw.) saying, “If the son of Adam (the human being) had two valley of money, he would wish for a third, for nothing can fill the belly of Adam’s son except dust, and Allah forgives him who repents to Him.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Hadith 444

Another Hadith says:

Narrated Anas ibn Malik (rah.): Allah’s Apostle (saw.) said, “The son of Adam (i.e. man) grows old and so also two (desires) grow old with him, i.e., love for wealth and (a wish for) a long life.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Hadith 430

The biggest problem with us is that we are infected with a disease of wanting more, no matter how wealthy we have turned. But we still need to strive in the ways of the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) because a better world is waiting for us in the Hereafter. One figurative Hadith says:

Sahl bin Sa’d (rah.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw.) said: “If the world to Allah were equal to a mosquito’s wing, then He would not allow the disbeliever to have a sip of water from it.”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi. This Hadith has been graded Hasan (fair).

This hadith means that whatever good things of the world Allah (swt.) has given to those who deny His attribute of Oneness, as well as the Prophethood of His beloved Messenger (saw.), He has given those things to them because the world, as a whole, is entirely insignificant and valueless before Him. We should not be fooled by what the Kafirs or Munafiqs have of the luxuries of this world, for they have no share of anything good in the Hereafter.

We should use this Dunya only for earning good deeds as our investment for the Hereafter, this is not a place for sinning. This Hadith mentions the Prophet Muhammad (saw.)’s sourness towards the ones who only think about the wealth of this world.

Abu Huraira reported (rah.): The Prophet (saw.) said, “Wretched is the servant of gold, silver, fine clothes, and garments. If he is given he is pleased, but if he is not given he is displeased.”

Reference: Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 6071

In a very long Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) has explained the consequence of taking interest out of people. The excerpt goes like this:

Sumurah ibn Jundub (rah.) said: … The Prophet (saw.) added, “And behold, in the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank there was a man who had collected many stones. Behold, while the other man was swimming, he went near him. The former opened his mouth and the latter (on the bank) threw a stone into his mouth whereupon he went swimming again. Then again he (the former) returned to him (the latter), and every time the former returned, he opened his mouth, and the latter threw a stone into his mouth, (and so on) the performance was repeated…”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 18, Hadith 1547

This world is only a delusion. It is for us only for a short span of time. The Quran says:

Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.

Surah Al-Imran, Ayah 185 (3:185) Translation: Sahih International

The bad effects of excessive wealth is illustrated in an incident related to a Sahabi with the name of Tha’labah ibn Hatib al-Ansari (rah.).

This incident has been reported by Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwayh, Al-Tabarani and Al-Baihaqi on the authority of a narration from Sayyidna Abi Umamah Bahili (rah.) According to this report, a person called Tha’labah ibn Hatib al-Ansari (rah.) presented himself before the Holy Prophet (saw.) and requested him to pray that he becomes rich. He said, ‘Is it that you do not like my way? By the Being that holds my life in his His hands, if I had wished, mountains of Madinah would have turned into solid gold following behind me on my walkways. But, I do not like being that wealthy.’ The man went away. But, he returned later and repeated his request for the same prayer with the pledge that, should he get the wealth prayed for, he would give every deserving person his share from it. The Holy Prophet (saw. made the prayer. The effect of the prayer showed up in an unprecedented increase in the number of goats he owned. When the number increased further, the space in Madinah became too small for him. So, he moved out into the outskirts from where he used to come to MadInah where he offered the Salah of Zuhr and ‘Asr with the Holy Prophet (saw.). As for the rest of the prayers, he used to perform these in the wilderness where his herd of goats, his prized possession, was located.

Then, this very flock of goats became so large that even that area on the outskirts became insufficient. He moved farther away from Madinah coming there only on Fridays for the Jummah Salah. As for the five daily prayers, he did them where he was stationed. Then came further increases in his wealth and he had to leave that spot too, only to go far away from Madinah where he sat deprived of his Jummah and Jama’at both.

After the passage of some time, the Holy Prophet (saw.) asked people about him. They told him that his ‘wealth’ had increased to such proportions that he had to go far away from Madinah and that is why he is not seen in the city. On hearing this, the Holy Prophet (saw.) said: “Alas for Tha’labah” three times.

By chance, it was the time when came the revelation of the verse of Sadaqat (9:60) where the Holy Prophet (saw.) has been commanded to collect Sadaqat from Muslims. He had the whole law of Sadaqat committed to writing, appointed two persons as the collectors of Sadaqah and sent them to collect the Sadaqat due on livestock owned by Muslims. They were ordered to go to Tha’labah ibn Hatib as well, and to another person from the tribe of Bani Sulaym also.

When the two collectors reached Tha’labah and presented the order of the Holy Prophet (saw.) he said that this thing had become a sort of Jizyah which is taken from non-Muslims. Then he hedged and asked them to leave on that occasion, however, they could call on him on their way back. The two of them left.

Something different happened in the case of the other person from the tribe of Bani Sulaym. When he heard about the order of the Holy Prophet (saw.), himself called on the two emissaries of his master carrying with him the best from out of his livestock of camels and goats, precisely according to his Zakatable nisaab of Sadaqah. They told him that they have orders not to pick out the best among animals, in fact, they were supposed to take the average ones, therefore, they could not take these. The man from Bani Sulaym insisted that it was his pleasure to present those very animals and requested that they be accepted as they were.

After that, when these two emissaries had completed their circuit of Sadaqah collection, they returned to Tha’labah. He told them that he wanted to see that Law of Sadaqah they were talking about. He looked at it and said no more than what he had said earlier – ‘this thing has become a sort of Jizyah that should not be taken from Muslims.’ ‘All right,’ he said, ‘you can go for now. I have to think about it first. I will decide later.’

When these two gentlemen reached Madinah, they went to see the Holy Prophet (saw.). At that time he, before hearing their report on the mission, repeated the words he had said earlier: Alas for Tha’labah. He said it three times. After that, he was pleased to hear about the Sulaymi deal and prayed for him. Thereupon, came the verse: “And among them there are those who made a pledge with Allah – (9:75). It means: ‘if Allah gave them wealth, they would give out alms and charities and fulfill the rights of all deserving people, the relatives and the poor, as done by the righteous people of the community. But, when Allah blessed them with wealth, out of His grace, they became misers overnight and turned away from their pledge of obedience to Allah and His Messenger.’

Ibn Jarir writes at the end of his account: When the Holy Prophet (saw.) said ‘Alas for Tha’labah’ three times, some of his relatives were present in the gathering. When they heard it, one of them immediately traveled to see Tha’labah. When he reached there, he reproached him for his behavior while informing him that it has caused the revelation of a particular verse of the Qur’an. This made Tha’labah nervous. He reached Madinah and requested the Holy Prophet (saw.) that his Sadaqah may be accepted. He said that Allah had told him not to accept his Sadaqah. Hearing this, Tha’labah went crazy with disappointment and literally started throwing dust on his head.

The Holy Prophet (saw.) said, ‘This is something you have chosen to do on your own. I ordered you and you did not obey. Now, your Sadaqah cannot be accepted.’ Tha’labah returned disappointed. Then, some days later, the Holy Prophet (saw.) departed from this mortal world and Hazrat Abu Bakr (rah.) became the Khalifah. Tha’labah came to Sayyidna Abu Bakr and requested that he should accept his Sadaqah. Sayyidna Abu Bakr (rah.) said, ‘when the Holy Prophet (rah.) did not accept it, how can I do it?’

Then, after the demise of Sayyidna Abu Bakr (rah.), Tha’labah came to Sayyidna ‘Umar (rah.). He made the same request and got the same answer from him, as was given by Sayyidna Abu Bakr (rah.). Again, he submitted this request to Sayyidna Uthman (rah.) during his period of Khilafah. He too refused it. It was during the tenure of the Khilafah of Sayyidna Uthman (rah.) that Tha’labah died.

Reference: Ma’ariful Quran by  Mufti Muhammad Shafi. Tafseer of Surah At-Tawbah, Ayah 75 (9:75). Volume 4. pp. 431-433.

Even though Tha’labah (rah.) was a Sahabi, he was not free from the fitna of wealth. It is mentioned in one Hadith where In describing the evils of greed, one Hadith mentions the indignation of Prophet (saw.) towards greedy people.

Narrated by Ka’b ibn Malik (rah.): Allah’s Messenger (saw.) said, “Two hungry wolves let loose among sheep are not more destructive to them than a man’s greed for property and self-esteem are to his religion.”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 5181. This Hadith has been graded Sahih.

We are required to disclose our income source on the Day of Judgement. Hadith says:

Prophet (saw.) said “The two feet of the son of Adam will not move on the Day of Judgement in front of his Lord until he is asked about five things: about his life, and how he spent it? And about his youth, what did he consume it in? And about his money, how did he earn it? And what did he spend it on? And how much did he act upon what he knew?”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi (2/67). This Hadith has been declared Hasan.

Earning in the Halal way will make our accounts in front of Allah on the Day of Judgment much easier. Earning in the right way is a Farz and besides it we should also perform Salah, Hajj properly and give Zakah. Leaving wealth for the children properly is also a duty of a Muslim. Hadith says:

The Prophet (saw.) said:”It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequest not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari

The children should not be bestowed with loads of extravagance. Nowadays we see people always building extra wealth for their children. This will in turn spoil the children. Moreover, it is much easier to account for a small amount of wealth on the Day of Judgement. That is why the poor people will enter Jannah first. It is mentioned in one Hadith:

Prophet (saw.) said: “The poor will enter Paradise before the rich by half a day, and that is five hundred years.”

References: Jami at-Tirmidhi (# 2353) who said it is Hasan, Sahih; Ibn Majah (# 4122); and Ahmad (2/513).

If the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) wished to have mountains of gold, he could have had it all but still he chose to stay poor as he wanted to save himself from the fitna of wealth. One Hadith says:

Narrated by Anas ibn Malik (rah.); Abu Sa’id (rah.): The Prophet (saw.) said, “O Allah, grant me life as a poor man, cause me to die as a poor man, and resurrect me in the company of the poor.”  Aisha asked him why he had said this, and he replied, “Because they will enter Paradise forty years before the rich. Do not turn away a poor man, Aisha, even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you, Aisha, Allah will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 5244.

One way to avoid the fitna of wealth which was used by the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) was to fast. Hadith says:

It was narrated that ‘A’ishah (raha.) said: The Prophet (saw.) was keen to fast on Mondays and Thursdays.

References: Jami At-Tirmidhi, 745; Sunan an-Nasaa’i, 2361; Ibn Majah, 1739. Classed as Sahih by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1044.

Fasting often will help us to control our greed and this also include our greed for wealth because by fasting we tend to think about everything more humbly in every conditions.

Too much wealth is harmful, although earning money is Halal but the Ulemas have agreed that when we tend to possess more wealth, we forget Allah. Basically, for two main reasons, the fitna of wealth takes place:

  • When people compare their condition with that of the rich.

One Hadith says:

The Prophet (saw.) said: “Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favors bestowed on you.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim

  • When people do Ishraf and Tabzeer.

The Quran says:

Eat of their fruit when they ripen, but pay the due thereof (its Zakat) on the day of its harvest, and waste not by extravagance. Verily, He likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).

Surah Al-An’am, Ayah 141 (6:141) Translation: Muhsin Khan

Another Ayah says:

Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.

Surah Al-Isra, Ayah 27 (17:27) Translation: Sahih International

When we become excessively greedy, our Ibadah won’t be accepted as we won’t be able to generate sincerity within us. Our minds will only whirl with thoughts of our worldly possessions. In the end, we will be dragged towards sins and our pass to Jannah will be destroyed.

Living a simple life is therefore most recommended in Islam. We should all learn the Sunnah way of living. Sometimes learning the Sunnahs don’t have much impact on us because we do not attempt to apply it. This is in fact a grave disease and so the best way, when someone is afflicted, is to talk to the Ulemas and get advices from them. That way this disease can possibly be cured. Once the heart starts growing softer and only then one will care about the wealth of Jannah rather than that of this Dunya.

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