Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
By Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (RA)
A person had come to meet me, to discuss some of his problems. In the conversation, he said: “Maulana, my ‘lighty’ (son) is only 24 years of age but he’s done very well for himself! He has achieved a great deal in his young age. …He has a house in a posh suburb, a luxury car and a very flourishing business - and all this is due to his hard work and effort.”
I said: “Masha-Allah, it really pleases us when we hear about the progress of the Muslims, whether it is in the economic field or any other field. However, as a father, you should also look towards how well your ‘lighty’ is doing with his Ibaadah. Is there Salaah, Roza, Zakaah, Hajj in his life? Is he honest and trustworthy in his business dealings? Is he spending his wealth in the correct avenues? These are the things we must be concerned about.”
As far as progress, in the material field is concerned, it is a good thing and we appreciate it. If material progress is achieved, with the blessings of Allah Ta’ala, this is something to be happy about. But if wealth reaches us accompanied with the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala - due to our sins - then this is very dangerous. It is no blessing; rather it is an Azaab (punishment) in a disguised form.
What we really have to ascertain is, as to whether our progress and success is accompanied with the blessings of Allah Ta’ala or the displeasure and wrath of Allah. If it is the former, Alhamdulillah. The person should express tremendous gratitude and use the Ni’mat’s (bounties) of Allah Ta’ala in a manner that will be pleasing to Him. If these material bounties are followed with the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala, then this is akin to feeding a rat. …We feed the pigeons and we feed the rats as well.
We feed the pigeons or little budgies because we like them. We feed the fish in the aquarium because we want to continue to enjoy seeing them. Other animals are also fed because we have made these our pets. We like them. Since it gives us pleasure to have them and see them, we feed them.
On the other hand, we also feed rats with beautiful pieces of cheese. However, those beautiful pieces of cheese are to trap the rat – because we see rats and mice as pests and not pets. Previously, traps and little cages were set up to catch the rats. Cheese was placed in the cages, to attract the attention of the rat. …When the rat enters the ‘room’ (cage), it falls into deception. It thinks: Masha-Allah, a beautiful, air-conditioned room – for me!’ When it sees the cheese, it thinks: This master; the owner of this home! What a wonderful man he is! How generous! He is even concerned about my entertainment. He is very hospitable to even provide the best cheese in the country, just for me.
…But we know otherwise. It is for no other purpose except to trap the rat. When the rat begins nibbling at the cheese, the trapdoor shuts and the rat is caught. What seemed so comfortable and enjoyable becomes a misfortune and curse. In a like manner, if material bounties are accompanied or followed with sins and the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala, then this is like how the rat is fed.
Allah Ta’ala gives out of His pleasure and He also gives out of displeasure. When Allah Ta’ala is pleased with a servant of His, He grants to him His Bounties, in this world as well as in the Aakhirah (Hereafter). … Some of the pious servants of Allah Ta’ala may not get the material bounties of this world, but Allah Ta’ala gives to them the unlimited bounties of the Aakhirah. Despite the trials of this worldly life, their lives are like roses blooming amidst thorns. This contentment and Radha-bil-Qadha are also great blessings from Allah Ta’ala. ...So, in accordance with His wisdom, Allah Ta’ala gives.
As for so many of us, who deliberately disobey Allah Ta’ala to the extent of openly sinning; Allah Ta’ala gives us rope … gives us opportunities for Taubah. If we persist in our sins, then Azaab descends in different forms. For some, Allah Ta’ala makes life, straightened and difficult. Allah Ta’ala warns us that if we turn away from His Message, life will become very difficult.
"But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur'aan nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship..."
[Surah Ta-Ha 20 : 124)
And for others, the punishment comes in the form of Istidraaj. Allah Ta’ala opens up the doors of material bounties and the person thinks that everything is well and good, but in actual fact, this is the punishment of Allah Ta’ala in a disguised form. Allah Ta’ala says:
"Then, when they forgot that whereof they had been reminded, We opened unto them the gates of all things till, even as they were rejoicing in that which they were given, We seized them unawares, and Lo! they were dumbfounded."
[Surah Al-An'aam 6 : 44]
The doors of all good were opened up for them. Health, wealth, properties, god, siler, oil wells and all the worldly luxuries are made available for them... and then ...
"...Even as they were rejoicing in that which they were given, We seized them unawares, and Lo! they were dumbfounded."
As for the Kuffaar (Disbelievers), Mushrikeen (Polytheists), Yahood (Jews) and Nasarah (Christians): If Allah Ta’ala gives or He does not give to them, both are forms of His Azaab (punishment). The Azaab (punishment) of Allah Ta’ala can come in either form. We have seen plenty of evidence of how Allah Ta’ala makes the lives of some people so restless – full of worries and anxieties – in spite of them having all the material luxuries and comforts that one can imagine. For others, Allah Ta’ala takes away and makes their lives miserable.
If a Muslim is making progress in the material world, we will say Masha-Allah, that is very good. Islam does not rule out progress and success – so long as it is within the boundaries of Shari’ah; so long as there is obedience to Allah Ta’ala. However, we need to be very careful that this wealth does not lead us toward destruction. The wealth of a person must not lead to the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala; it must not lead to the cinemas, theatres, gambling dens, prostitute quarters and other kinds of Haraam entertainment, or to lavishness and extravagance. This will bring many problems, great misery and spiritual destruction.
If a person is making a sincere effort to please Allah Ta’ala and Allah Ta’ala has granted material wealth, then as said - he should express tremendous gratitude, and use the bounties of Allah Ta’ala in a manner that will be pleasing to Him. He should not only use it for himself. He should also use it for the Deen and for the upliftment of the Ummah as well as the upliftment of the lives of those who are poor and needy.
May Allah Ta'ala grant us the Taufeeq to understand that He wants us to enjoy His blessings and bounties. However, we will not be able to enjoy them if we use them against His Will and Wish, and if we use then in His disobedience. May Allah Ta'ala make us of His obedient, humble and grateful servants.