Thursday 26th of May 2022
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Quranic verses and means of sustenance

There are also some Quranic verses which consider the means of subsistence as God’s way to test people. It is upto man to enter this exam and show his talents. If he is wealthy, through spending benevolently he may gain high positions in front of God and people. If he does not have abundance, he may engage in patience in the face of hardships and depressions.

Concerning the fact that wealth in this world is only to test the believers, the content of the verses 17 to 33 from Surah Qalam (The Pen) is very enlightening: The story goes like this:

A man from Yemen, in the territory called Sana’, who was true believer and always carried out God’s commands, started cultivating a piece of barren land. After going through a lot of unsurmountbel obstacles, he prepared a garden full of fruit trees. A good smell was around the garden; the garden was surrounded with tall trees. Sweet water filled the springs flowing in the garden.

The religious man used to walk around the garden, being amazed by this God-given asset. After his walk, he used to go to a corner and spend some time worshipping God.

In his supplications and invocations, he used to implore God to protect him against the temptations which wealth causes man to go astray.

He used to ask God to let him use that wealth modestly and spend the rest on the poor.

And he carried out this planning as he had wanted to. At the harvest time he used to allocate some of the income to his family and the rest to the poor. Whenever he sold some of the produce he then opened the door of the garden to the poor, asking them to take away the fruits proportional to their needs.

The man’s children, however, who were not as religious as he was and who were filled with material considerations and who had not taken lessons of generosity from their father, objected to their father’s behavior, telling him: “the way you are treating the garden, you are doing us injustice and you are making hurdles on the way of our daily-bread. If you continue this way, you will make us poor and miserable.”

The believing man told his children: I think you are mistaken. What is the use of accumulated wealth and how is it going to solve your problem? Let us suppose I had amassed lots of wealth since my youth in the form of bags of gold and silver and at the time of my death I had put it for your use. Then I would have to answer on the Doomsday where I had got that wealth.

My children! This garden is not mine, nor is it yours. It belongs to the Creator. We are obedient servants to Him. He has wanted us to use the amont we need and let the rest go to the needy ones. It is not fair to let a minority possess all the requirements of life and let the majority suffer among whom there are worthy believers who are honorable but who do not have enough to live on.

To thank God for his affluence, we have to feed the needy and to serve them well. I do not want to go any other way than this. My only love is God and I will not carry out any plan against Him. I endure in carrying out His objectives and I am happy that He has bestowed upon me all these assets.

My children: we are holding in trust what He has given us. We should not waste it. The needy, the sick, the wretched, the miserable, the orphans, even the animals all have to share in this wealth. Only in that case will God be content with us.

Only after these creatures were content with what they were after would we have the right to use our wealth. This has been my way of life since my youth and nothing may disturb my plan now.

And try to understand that in this way your wealth will multiply and is protected against disasters and will bring about God’s blessings and is an interlude to future prosperity.

My children! Just give me time. You see that my hair has grown gray, my strength has deteriorated, my body has got a curve, I am suffering from different diseases, and I am going to die pretty soon. After my death you will be heirs to this possession. There are two ways open to you then: either you will follow my approach or you will choose the viscious way. If you give away to the poor freely, God will give you subsequent rewards. And if you go astray, God’s chastisement will be yours.

Some time later, the benevolent man passed away.

Time passed swiftly. The garden was ready to be harvested: the fruits were ripe and ready to be picked up. The poor were very delighted because they wished to get some of the harvest to solve their problems.

The benevolent man’s children started counseling. One of them said: there will not be any share for the poor from now on. We will sell the produce and become affluent. The other brother, who was like his father in manners, showed his dissatisfaction, saying: I will not agree with you. You think it is to your benefit not to give away the poor’s shares. You will, as a result, lose every thing you have. Let us follow our father’s way; then God’s blessings will be yours.

The answer he received was: Do not talk on something which does not belong to you. Your sermon is of no worth to us, anyway.

The brother who was a true believer told them: Let us now pray to God since your prayer will stop you to engage in evils. But they did not pay attention to him.

They decided to enter the garden early the next morning and sell the produce, depriving the poor of their shares.

They ate dinner and went to bed. During their sleep a cloud full of thunder and lightning, sent by Almighty God, destroyed any fruit they had.

Early in the morning they entered their garden. Nothing was left of it. They were perplexed, saying: yesterday we had everything, now, we have none; perhaps we have entered a garden which is not ours. But the believing brother replied: No; this is your own garden.

You wretched guys! You became deprived prior to making the poor deprived. At the end of this story God says:

كَذَلِكَ الْعَذَابُ وَلَعَذَابُ الْآخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ.

“Such is the chastisement, and certainly the chastisement of the hereafter is greater, did they but know! 68:33

His Holiness lets his servants enjoy His full affection in order to grow; now if these servants appreciate His generosity, they will receive their rewards. However, if they became aggressors, they would severely be punished in one way or another.

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ.

“And know that your property and your children are a temptation, and that Allah is He with whom there is a mighty reward. 8:28

إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ وَاللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِأَنْفُسِكُمْ وَمَنْ يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْمُفْلِحُونَ.

“Your possessions and your children are only a trial, and Allah it is with whom is a great reward. Therefore be careful of your duty to Allah as much as you can, and hear and obey and spend, it is better for your souls; and whoever is saved from the greediness of his soul, these it is that are the successful. 64:15-16

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنْ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرْ الصَّابِرِينَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ أُوْلَئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْمُهْتَدُونَ.

“And we will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits and give good news to the patient. Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: surely we are Allah’s and to Him we will return. Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course. 64:15-16

5) There are some other verses in the Holy Quran which consider wealth, ornaments and treasures as worthless and fatal compared to the spiritual matters and God’s satisfaction which are eternal and everlasting. These sacred verses recommend that we should not be fond of transient goods and not be carried away and tempted by worldly affairs. They recommend that we change what we have here into good deeds and make our future with these worldly substances. This way of treating the world has been the way the Prophets (s) have always taken.

قُلْ مَتَاعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِمَنْ اتَّقَى...

“Say: the provision of this world is short, and hereafter is better for him who guards against evil…4:77

Those who guard against evil treat the provision of this world wisely. They use their time, energy, fame, honor, and knowledge to build up their hereafter. They would never sell truth to the untruth; neither will they sell their future prosperity to vices.

أَفَمَنْ وَعَدْنَاهُ وَعْدًا حَسَنًا فَهُوَ لَاقِيهِ كَمَنْ مَتَّعْنَاهُ مَتَاعَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ثُمَّ هُوَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ الْمُحْضَرِينَ.

“Is he to whom we have promised a goodly promise which he shall meet with like him whom we have provided with the provisions of this world’s life, then on the day of resurrection he shall be of those who are brought up? 28:61

يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّمَا هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا مَتَاعٌ وَإِنَّ الْآخِرَةَ هِيَ دَارُ الْقَرَارِ.

“O my people! This life of the world is only a passing enjoyment, and surely the hereafter is the abode to settle. 40:39

اِنْ كُلُّ ذَلِكَ لَمَّا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةُ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ.

“(And embellishment of gold); and all this is naught but provision of this world’s, and the hereafter is with your Lord only for those who guard against evil. 43:35

مَتَاعٌ قَلِيلٌ ثُمَّ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ.

“A brief enjoyment! Then their abode is hell, and evil is the resting-place. 3:197

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا.

“Wealth and children are an adornment of the life of this world; and the ever-abiding, the good works, are better with your Lord in reward and better in expectation. 18:46

It is narrated from the Prophet (s):

ما الدُنيا في الآخِرَةِ إلاّ مِثْلُ ما يَجْعَلُ أحَدُكُمْ إصْبَعَهُ في الْيَمِّ، فَلْيَنظُرْ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ.

The Present world, compared with the hereafter, is like you enter one finger into the seawater: how much water can you absorb in this way?

It is also narrated from the Great Prophet (s):

مَا الدُّنيا في ما مَضى مِنْها إلاّ كَمِثْلِ ثَوْبٍ شُقَّ باثْنينِ وَبَقيَ خَيْطُهُ، إلا فكانَ ذلِكَ الخَيْطُ قَدِ انْقَطَعَ.

Compared with the past, the present is like a garment torn in two portions. Nothing is left except the thread which is also torn up.

The one who becomes proud of having this little world’s provision and this fatal and transient item is, in fact, deprived of all truth and of God’s blessings; as a result, he will indulge in all sorts of wishes and lusts and will sacrifice everything for his temporary whishes and whims. He will suffer severely, however.

From the above discussions, we will conclude the following:

1) Those verses which deal with the ample or meager means of subsistence will never impede our economic activities. According to the Holy Quran everybody has to carry out a business. It is forbidden to waste one’s time idly and be a parasite over others. However, it is a divine action to take care of one’s wealth in accordance with God’s rules.

2) If affluence or poverty is the result of exploitation, the oppressed ones should rise against the aggressors in order to attain their human and divine rights.

3) The affluence which is the result of committing sins and involvement in crimes is not related to God’s planning whatsoever.

4) The amount of means of subsistence is God’s way to test and try the servants in order for them to grow. That is to say, it is the result of God’s justice and wisdom towards man.

5) Through abundance, some of the believers will attain the paradise due to their helping the poor and spreading their wealth as alms and donations. It this way, they will insure their future. Through lack of abundance and little amount of means of subsistence, a second group of believers will enter the paradise due to their patience and because of their avoidance of getting involved in sins. This very struggle against evils is the best kind of reserves for their future. That is to say, the very lack of wealth is a stoppage against indulging in sins. It is also a factor for cleanliness.

The vigilant and seeing men are living only for the truth; they die for the truth; they do not ask for anything except the truth; they know nothing but the truth. Their business, eating habits, dwelling places, manners, wealth, positions are for the sake of the truth.

This world is for them just a ladder for the hereafter; their assets are for the needy ones and for the helping of the public in general.


Refrence: The land of lovers by Professor Hossein Ansarian


source : The land of lovers by Professor Hossein Ansarian
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