Two Ravenous Wolves: Love of Status and Property
- Allah SWT says in the Quran ‘Whoever wants this lower life, We shall give him his fill of this lower life and in it he will not be disappointed; It is those whose affair in the Akhira is the Naar; empty is what they used to do and futile are their former acts’
- This is designation of Quran for those who set fire to their aim and aspirations in this world …their place in the Akhira will be among the flames as well.
- Allah is referring us to the principles of ego and self-exultation
- We want the life of this world…why? because that gratifies our ego, lower aspirations we have in this world. If we puff up like Pharaoh and Hamaan then all doors will be closed and all we’ll be able to see is the Dunya…this is an inflexible rule
- Imam Al Ghazali calls this love of status and property Ruqna-al-Dunya – these are two pillars of this life and they are what keeps the wheel turning.
- Prophet PBUH points us in another direction and Quran holds up this alarming opposition…against Pharaoh there is Musa, against Abu Lahab is Prophet PBUH, against ego is the spirit and against love of Dunya is the love of Akhira
- Prophet PBUH said ‘Even two ravenous wolves let loose in a flock of sheep would do no more harm, more quickly than the love of wealth and status do to the religion of a believer’
- This is the state of humanity….greediness for status and wealth. Bruised egos and outraged prides are the basis of the crisis we are in.
- rest are the consequences of this…banking crisis, environmental crisis, etc
- Allah SWT has given us more than enough for everyone, these two things spoil everything.
- Imam Al Ghazali explains two loves. These are two forms of inquisitiveness.
- Love of wealth is possessing physical things…things that will be useful to us
- Love of the status is ownership of hearts…something he can make use of as well
- In our societies today, you are famous for being famous and you get richer from being rich. People give them money and attention because they are blinded by status and feel important just by being around such people
- Why are all these young people holding a silent vigil for Steve Jobs by having the candle app on their iphones? because they knew him personally? no, he was famous for being famous
- People can spend their entire lives being worried about what other people think of them, how to get status, how to get more money….religion helps us to wake up and avoid such behavior.
- Islam does not say you cannot have wealth and status…it all depends on what is useful. Normally people find worrying about status and money to be an effective alternative to having to worry about death and the Akhira
- You have the right to a certain status and honor according to the Shariah which is not necessarily the same as having a big ego. It depends on what your intention is.
- There is nothing wrong with earning. You can love wealth to use only on good purposes. Similarly you can love status if you are going to use it for good purposes.
- Dignity hardly has any place in the modern world. Most, if not all of your actions, are regulated by what other people might think or say about you
- In Shariah, the only time a man can dye his gray hairs black is when he is going into battle because it gives him credibility on the battlefield.
- The story of Abu Dujana, a warrior Sahabi, used to tie a red bandana around his head before going into battlefield and strut in front of the enemy as if saying who is going to take me on? Prophet PBUH would say ‘That is the way of walking that Allah and His Prophet hate, except in this situation’. He has the right to have his warrior status because it wasn’t in the interest of his ego; it was in the interest of the muslim army.
- So you can have wealth and status if it is for the right intentions. Ask yourself ‘am I doing this for the right reasons?’ Not just at the beginning of the act but constantly
*Intention is central to everything in Islam….the right intention can turn a simple act into something truly great and spiritual’*
*Ours is a religion of Divine generosity that responds to our good intentions which will produce good works (InshAllah)*
- A muslim has dignity in the public space and we are not to expose our thoughts to every passerby unnecessarily.
- There is dignity in keeping your past sins hidden because once exposed people will take them less seriously to the point that committing them is ok.
- Sometimes our dignity is affronted by people who are criticizing us.
- Imam Al Ghazali gives us three reasons why someone might be criticizing us
- Someone might be telling you something true about yourself that you need to put upright to help you such as a parent and true friend. Umar (RA) said ‘May Allah have mercy on someone who shows me my own faults’
- Somebody might say something true about you in order to hurt you or annoy you
- Someone might criticize you by inventing something – pure slander
- The first impulse of an outraged ego is to start shouting and deny it
- According to Imam Al Ghazali in religion we do something different and you gain from each of the three cases
- 1st Case: If they are genuine without their own egos being involved you should welcome it and thank them
- 2nd Case: You should still be thankful to Allah SWT because someone has told you something that you weren’t thinking about enough plus there is reward for being patient.
- 3rd Case: First thing you should do is to say Alhamdolillah that he hasn’t seen one of my actual faults. We should think of rectifying the faults we do have. We should also make dua for the person who is doing this and say ‘Allahumma aslih hu’ (O Allah set him right)
*We ask Allah SWT to protect us from the wiles and the turbulences of the Nafs within and help us to rise up to the status of true dignity and proper attitude toward wealth which was shown to us by Prophet PBUH and the great ones amongst his Sahaba* Ameen