Rafed English

Love of Wealth and Riches

This vice is a branch of the disease of the love of the world, and whatever was said in praise and condemnation of the world could be said about riches. Some Quranic verses and traditions have praised wealth and riches, while others condemn it. There is, however, no contradiction between them; because those verses and traditions that condemn it, are meant to condemn riches which alienate man from God and the Hereafter; whereas those which praise wealth and riches refer to the wealth that serves to uplift human character and brings man closer to God. In a Quranic verse we read:

O believers, let not your wealth nor your children distract you from remembrance of Allah. Those who do so, they are the losers. (63:9)

And in another verse, a nation is called to implore for God's forgiveness and the following favours are promised:

... And will help you with wealth and sons, and will appoint for you gardens,and will appoint for you rivers. (71:12)

And according to narrations, the Prophet (S) has been quoted as both praising and condemning wealth.

The love of wealth and position nourish Hypocrisy (nifaq) just as plants are nourished by water.

How fair is rightly acquired wealth in the possession of an upright man.

In any case, the proper and right kind of wealth is one which has been acquired in a legitimate manner, and which is used in God's good pleasure-such as for hajj, jihad, helping the needy, and all other kinds of charities aimed at public welfare.

Zuhd (Abstinence): The opposite of cherishing the world is zuhd, which is abstinence from worldly affairs, both inwardly and outwardly, except for such things as are necessary for the purpose of acquiring the bounties of the Hereafter, and for attaining nearness to God. The zahid has been highly praised in Quranic verses and hadith; zuhd is considered as one of the traits of Divine prophets and saints.

Zuhd has different degrees, which are:

1. Abstinence from sins.

2. Abstinence from things which are "mushtabah," that is things which are not known with certainty to be forbidden, but which are suspect.

3. Abstinence from what is more than needed.

4. Abstinence from the pursuit of selfish desires.

5. Abstinence from everything except God;'i.e. confining one's attention to the Creator, being content with the minimum needed to meet one's physical needs, and giving away the rest in the way of God.

People practise zuhd for three different reasons:

1. In order to escape the Hellfire. This kind of zuhd is called "zuhd al-Kha'ifin," or the "abstinence of the fearful."

2. In order to gain God's good pleasure and to attain the joys of paradise. This kind of zuhd is called "zuhd al-rajin" or the "abstinence of the hopeful."

3. For obtaining Divine communion. This is the highest aim and the most worthy form of zuhd, practised neither out of fear of hell nor desire for the pleasures of paradise.

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


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