The expedition of Tabook was looming ahead. Madinah Munawwarah was in the grip of famine. The Muslims had merely a few animals available for riding. Provisions were extremely low. Yet, an army of thirty thousand Sahaaba (R.A.) had to be equipped to undertake this expedition. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) stood on the mimbar (pulpit) and encouraged the Sahaabah (R.A.) to contribute towards the expenses of equipping the army. On this occasion Sayyiduna Uthmaan (R.A.) contributed six hundred camels together with their saddles. According to some narrations he also contributed fifty horses and one thousand gold coins.
To truly understand the reality of this contribution, one should bear in mind that owning a riding camel in those days was no less than owning a luxury vehicle in these times. If one estimates the value of one camel in those days to be equivalent to just R20 000 nowadays, it would amount to R12 million. Add a few more millions for the six hundred saddles, the fifty horses and the one thousand gold coins. Thus Hazrat Uthmaan’s (R.A.) contribution in this expedition alone amounted to, in our terms, more than fifteen million Rands. Apart from this he contributed large sums of money on many other occasions. It can thus be easily ascertained as to how wealthy he was.
While taking note of the immense wealth that he owned, it is also vitally important to note that he did not earn his wealth by hankering after the world. He did not work from “seven to eleven” or “eight to late.” Rather, he was more engaged in the company of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) and in the service of Deen. Let alone missing any salaah entirely, or missing any salaah with jam’ah, it cannot be proven that he even missed onetakbeere oola (the first takbeer with the Imaam) or one sunnah due to being occupied in any business matter. It is also recorded that he used to regularly recite the entire Qur’an in his witr Salaah . He earned what was decreed for him without chasing after material wealth. Furthermore, his wealth was not splashed on living in the lap of luxury, or on five star holidays and the like. Instead, he earned his Jannah with his wealth. He was among those ten fortunate souls who had been given the glad tidings of Jannah while they walked on the earth.
Hazrat Uthmaan (R.A.) was not alone. He was one of several Sahaabah (R.A.) who were very wealthy. Yet, their wealth was not an obstacle to Deen. While they owned great fortunes, their hearts and minds were attached to the Hereafter. They were hence successful in this world and earned the everlasting bounties of the Hereafter as well.
DESPAIR AND SUICIDE!!!
This is the picture on one side. The opposite picture is extremely bleak. A researcher, Lewis Lapam, studied fifty of the richest U.S. families from 1900 to 1960. He concludes his findings in the following words:“I noticed that with few exceptions the lives of the heirs are marked by alcoholism, suicide, drug addiction and despair.” Owning billions yet despair? Possessing every luxury and comfort that money can buy yet suicide ? Sounds strange? It is nevertheless the tragic reality in the life of many a person, despite him “floating on wealth”. Such people have indeed lost the world and the Hereafter.
What is the reason for such an extreme contrast between the two situations?
While such situations are often due to a combination of numerous factors, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the primary cause is the following:
The first group, despite owning great fortunes, never made the acquisition of wealth their object of life. Instead the object of their lives was to acquire the love and pleasure of Allah Ta`ala, fulfilling His commands and establishing HisDeen on earth. Hence their lives revolved around Deen. Deen dictated everything in their lives including the acquisition of wealth.
The second group made the world and its possessions their objective. As a result their lives revolved around the acquisition of wealth. The world, its wealth, its comforts and luxuries, its glitter and glamour and everything associated to its material nature is temporary and perishable. Hence, those who made something perishable their objective — everything they aspired for perished. Their happiness, peace, tranquility, contentment, and most of all, the opportunity to acquire the everlasting bounties of the Hereafter were all lost. Thus, the deceptive cover of apparent happiness and a life of luxury and affluence was in reality a life of utter misery. May Allah Ta`ala save us all.
The root of the problem lies in making the world one’s objective. To the extent that this will happen, accordingly one will suffer loss in this world and, Allah forbid, in the Hereafter. Therefore, the world must never be allowed to become the objective. Nevertheless the utterly deceptive glitter and glamour of the world will constantly be attacking every heart and this dunya will try to make itself the objective of every person’s life. In order to treat the malady and protect oneself from becoming enslaved by the world, and from the resultant destruction, it is necessary to be always alert for the symptoms which indicate that the world is becoming the objective.
Some of the symptoms that one should look out for are the following:
Intention: Why does one go to work? Does one “earn to live” or “live to earn.” While one’s aspirations revolve around Deen, if one goes every morning to earn a halaal living in fulfilling the command of Allah Ta’ala, one’s object of life is Deen. It then does not matter whether one earns a thousand Rands or a billion Rands. If one’s aspirations are the dunya (world) and fulfilling the command of Allah Ta’ala does not even cross the mind, the object is the world.
Time: If a reasonable and moderate amount of time is spent to earn one’s livelihood while the rest is dedicated to one’s Deen and one’s family, the object is Deen. If it is the opposite, the alarm bells of the love of dunya should be ringing. Likewise, out of business time, what is one’s mind generally pre-occupied with? While relaxing, falling-off to sleep, driving, eating… and even during one’s ibaadah, what does one think of? Does the mind generally remain pre-occupied with dreaming of ways and means to expand the empire and acquire the luxuries of life, or is the mind by and large engaged in what will acquire the Hereafter? If the former applies, the big red lights signaling danger should be flashing.
Action: In earning one’s wealth as well as spending it, is one most concerned of upholding the laws of Allah Ta’ala, or is the greater concern to “do the deal” even if the laws of Allah Ta’ala are compromised or flagrantly violated? In the first case, Deen is the objective and the wealth earned is a blessing. In the second case, the world is the objective. It is a beautiful-looking snake which will sink its fangs deep into the heart. Its poison will make life a misery even if one may be “floating on wealth.”
Therefore, let us stop for a moment and reflect: Is our objective Deen or the world? If we find that the dunya to Deen has become the objective, let us repent and come back to Allah Ta’ala. The doors of repentance are wide open to welcome those who sincerely turn to their Creator. Also, keeping the company of the pious and dedicating time to serving Deen will help to change our direction from
May Allah Ta’ala grant barakah in the rizq of every Believer and help us all to make Deen our object of life. Aameen.