Is Wealth really Bad ?
Wealth in itself is not bad. In fact the Qur’aan calls it “khair” meaning good. However the manner in which a person will acquire it and use it will indicate as to how beneficial or harmful wealth is to one. If it is acquired through lawful means and spent correctly, then numerous benefits and rewards can be obtained .Similarly, if one does not know how to earn wealth by the rightful means and one does not have the knowledge as to what Allah Ta’ala wants us to do with it, then this would be very harmful and dangerous, not only to oneself but also to others.
However, as wealth is a test for us and its misuse can lead to mans downfall, we have been cautioned at various places in the Qur’aan and Ahaadeeth in order that we may be able to save ourselves.
Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Qur’aanul Kareem :
“Your wealth and your children are only a test whereas with Allah Ta’ala is a great reward. So fear Allah Ta’ala as best as you can, and listen, obey and spend (in His path).That is better for yourselves .And whosoever is saved from his own greed, such are the successful ones.” (Suratutut Taghaabun, Verse 16)
In another verse Allah Ta’ala mentions :
“O you who believe! Let not your wealth nor your children distract you from the remembrance of Allah. And whoever does so are the losers.”(Suratul Munaafiqoon, Verse 9)
Wealth can be likened to a knife. If it is used properly it would benefit a person e.g to cut a fruit or to perform a surgical operation. On the other hand, if the knife is abused, it could maim or kill an innocent soul unjustly.
Wealth has the benefit of uniting families through charity, showing kindness to the poor, going for Haj etc. But if wealth is abused it can lead to pride, jealousy, arrogance, hatred, womanizing, prostitution, gambling, drugs and many other evils.
Hazrat Abu Saeed Al-Khudri Radiyal laahu anhu reported that Rasulullaah Sallal laahu alayhi wasallam said: “Of what I fear for you after me, there is that which will be held out to you out of the grandeurs of this world and its fineries.” A man enquired:
“O Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam, does wealth bring evil?”. Then he remained silent till we thought that he would receive revelation. He (the narrator) said: He wiped off his sweat and said: “Where is the questioner?”-as if he praised him. He Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam said: “ Wealth does not bring evil. Among the plants the spring produces, there are some which kill or nearly kill all but the animal which feeds on vegetation. It eats till its flanks grow fat, it then remains in sunshine, and it passes urine and stool, then returns and eats (grass).This world is green and sweet. Whoso acquires it lawfully, finds it a good help. And whoso acquires it unlawfully is like the one who eats and is not satisfied, and it will be a witness against him on the Day of Qiyaamah.” (Mishkaat)
After the rain comes, the plants begin to grow, flowers blossom and the trees bear fruits. The environment looks lush and green. Everything looks attractive and inviting. Now there are two animals. One animal falls prey to this abundance, so it eats continuously.
Over eating, will bring this animal close to death or even kill it. On the other hand, the second animal, eats and then goes and sits in the sun, digests the food eaten, clears the
stomach of its waste and thereafter goes and eats again. So the person whose main concern and worry is to gain wealth, will concentrate all his efforts on how to accumulate more and more. He is not worried about Zakaat. His object is only money, even if it means that he acquires it by unlawful means. Such a person can be likened to the first animal. The world is so overpowering on him, that he has no time for Salaah and Allah Ta’alas rememberance. However, the one who knows that the world is a test and is able to control himself and knows how to use it, is like the second animal. Along with working, he is mindful of his duties towards Allah Ta’ala, reads his Salaah, goes for Haj, pays the Zakaat, gives charity and assists those in need.
Hence, we have to understand the position of wealth. It should never become the be all and end all of a person or his objectives. If wealth is acquired by stealing, over-working and thereby neglecting one’s duties to Allah Ta’ala or in any other dubious or undesirable method or manner, then this would surely lead to his destruction and downfall.
May Allah Ta’ala endow us with the ability to discern between beneficial and harmful wealth. Aameen