Rafed English

Affluence and Opulence

It means being in possession of life's necessities and it has many degrees, at times leading, to great amount of wealth and hoarding of riches. The opposite of it is poverty and neediness, which means lack of life's necessities.

Both affluence and poverty may either uplift man's character or destroy him.

If affluence is acquired through legitimate means, and the surplus wealth above his needs is spent for the sake of God and in the service of His creatures, it is considered as one of the virtues. If, however, it has been obtained through illegitimate means, through injustice and exploitation, and the affluent person is heedless of the needs of the deprived and the destitute, it will lead to his certain destruction. The Quran says:

No indeed; surely man waxes insolent, if he considers himself affluent. (96:6-7)

In the same way, poverty too, if accompanied by forbearance, resignation, and contentment leads man to spiritual edification; otherwise, it will also lead him to destruction. Thus, if we see that in Quranic verses and traditions sometimes affluence and poverty are acclaimed and condemned at other times, it is because if these states are accompanied by proper conditions they are desirable, otherwise undesirable and abominable.

Adapted from: "Jami' al-Sa'adat" by: "Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi"

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