Maulana Khalid Dhorat
As the saga of Brother Omar Carrim drags on, there is palpable fear amongst many people with over R1 million in their bank accounts. Many do not make as many public appearances nowadays, they have beefed up security at their homes and businesses, and do not allow their children the same amount of freedom as before. Well, there is no need to be paranoid of the unknown, provided we ensure a few things are in order in our lives.
At the outset, this article is not about the latest detective techniques, or the most sophisticated police intelligence agency. It’s also not a collection of wazeefahs (prayers) to ensure that you do not get picked up one day. It’s something deeper. Please note that there are numerous Qur’anic and Prophetic supplications to be recited in order to safeguard one’s life and property, but these provide scant protection if one’s financial and social affairs are not in order. Prayers are like a bucket which is being filled with water. If the bucket has a hole at the bottom, you can fill it up with as much water as you want, but it will escape. Filling water becomes a futile activity.
As the fear of kidnapping is mostly amongst the rich, the rich would benefit immensely from these few words. Wealth is a true blessing from our Creator. A wealthy man can do so much more for himself, his family, for his community and the ummah at large – much more than a poor man with limited resources. Our Creator has termed wealth as goodness (al-Khair) in Surah ‘Aadiyaat. Once when the poor Companions of our noble Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) complained of their inability to give inn charity on account of their poverty, the noble Prophet (may peace be upon him) advised them to recite the Tasbeeh-e-Fatimi after every prayer -the resultant rewards would give them the edge over the wealthy Companions. However, soon the wealthy Companions learnt about the Tasbeeh-e-Fatimi and also started reciting it, and so the poor Companions returned, crestfallen, to our noble Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) who told them: “This is the grace of the Almighty, He bestows it upon whom he wants to.”
What is telling of the above hadith (prophetic utterance) is that wealth is a gift from our Creator. It’s not the product of hard work or intelligence. If wealth was based on intelligence or hard work, why are so many graduates still looking for a job and why do menial labourers earn so little? The other point is that the wealthy have the ability to excel spiritually over the poor, they can be the most loved of people in society, and command the most respect based on their good charitable deeds and admirable character. Eminent Companions like Sayyadina Abubakr, Sayyadina Uthman ibn ‘Affan and Sayyadina Abdur Rahman ibn Auf are today from amongst the most revered of people in the ummah. No one dare utter anything objectionable towards them.
Wealth is a divine gift, and we are mere trustees over our own wealth. When we die, our wealth is not placed in the grave with us, but distributed to others, and the cycle of trusteeship continues. The first stage of the problem with our wealthy people comes when we think we are owners of our wealth, and we can spend it how we like. We forget the concept of accountability in the hereafter, but know fully the principles of accounting and balance sheet in this world. The second stage is when we regard wealth as a status symbol, not a spiritual tool, to be flaunted about and to indulge in extravagance – driving in fancy cars, going to exotic destinations for holiday, and dining on beef every second day. At this stage, such people become heartless and a picture of a naked refugee will not induce them to spend a Rand. People start hating them, but give them artificial respect. The third stage is when we use our wealth to oppress others, rather than helping them, in order to show how “high and mighty” we are. At this level, due to their “contacts”, such people openly defraud, cheat and kill others, knowing that they will get away with it. The fourth and most dangerous stage is when we measure everything in terms of money – spirituality, relationships, religion, character has no value. For such people, wealth has become their God. It’s used as a tool of oppression, and a means of exploiting others. This is when others start openly hating them, and not only hope for their death, but that they become the next kidnap victim!
Sad to say, many of the wealthy in our midst have developed this fourth degree mentality. Once you think that wealth is your power and your God, the true Almighty above will show you that there is someone more powerful than you – a bigger mafia who will hold you to ransom; despite all your contacts, they will not get caught. This is a very humbling experience for any man who thinks American ice cream leaks from his rear-end, everybody should worship the ground he walks upon, and who can literally get anything he wants. It’s not only a type of a divine tit-for-tat, but a mercy to these rich blokes to change before the Day of Judgment – a day in which even a billion dollar ransom won’t benefit you.
Wealth should make a person humble, not arrogant; pious, not heedless. Really, there are some wealthy people in our community who fit this ideal description, whom the community honour, and afford true respect. Their charities and character have benefited humanity on different levels. Not only people, but the angles in the sky and the Creator on High love them. May the Almighty keep all such people safe and secure for they have honoured the covenant of their Creator. However, those who have dishonoured the Divine covenant cannot hope for such protection, even if they slaughter ten cows a day and make 100 khatams (circuits of the Qur’an) in a week. But, it’s never too late to change and make amends … yes, amends. If you underpaid anyone for ten years, give them their due. If you owe anyone merchants money whist hiding behind bankruptcy laws, pay them.
The rich generally have many common vices, of which the following are the most common: exploiting labour by paying them below the bread line, not discharging of their zakaat (alms due), indulging in usurious transactions when they have the capital and financial muscle not to do so, hoarding of wealth in places like Dubai, Switzerland and the Bahamas, looking down upon the poor instead of loving them, defrauding others an getting away by abusing the law, giving charity for name and fame, wining and gambling, and running religious Institutes and Masjids like their grandfathers poker-club. Some even go to the extreme of keeping their immediate families and dependants in poverty, even verbally and physically abusing them, but portraying “respectability” in public.
Do justice to all so that justice may be done to you from above.
There is a point when wealth, from being a beautiful blessing, becomes an ugly curse. It goes from smiles to sorrow. If crooks are not after you, then it’s the revenue service. If you are not lying in hospital yourself, your son just smashed his new car. And if both are OK, your wife is most probably having an affair whilst you are gambling away monies defrauded by setting up a dummy company, then going insolvent. You may think you are a master at these games, but someone else has a better game plan than you.
South Africa never experienced things like tornadoes, flash floods, and hurricanes in the past, but from the past few years, they are not only becoming more frequent, but more severe too. Reforming our financial dealings, making amends, repenting sincerely, and using our wealth like it’s supposed to be used, can stave off these calamities. Many blame these natural disasters on “changing weather patterns,” forgetting the One who’s in-charged of nature itself. It’s none other than our Creator, the Almighty, Most Sublime.
Lastly, the most proven and trusted money making scheme or investment is charity solely for the pleasure of the Almighty, not hoarding, defrauding, and exploiting as the devil always whispers to us. If you want riches beyond your imagination, implement this Prophet saying narrated by Sayyadina Abu Hurairah: “The Almighty said: ‘Spend, O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’” (Al-Bukhari, 5073; Muslim, 993)
Disclaimer: The above article is purely educational and general in nature. Any resemblance to real-life characters or situations is purely coincidental. The integrity of kidnapped victims and their families should be respected at all costs.