The Muslim's Perspective of Worldly Life (Part 2)
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Speech was delivered by Imam Mohammed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N. C. on August 19, 1988)
Last Friday, we received verses from the Qur’an describing this worldly life’s material possessions and ornamentation's. The Imam, further, mentioned that all people, believers and non-believers, alike, live this worldly life and are faced with everything that it offers, such as material goods, and that they will leave it with no return. The Imam also, mentioned the major difference which exist between a believer and a non-believer in contending with this worldly life, and that the reason for this difference is manifested in two aspects.
First, a non-muslim considers the affairs of this life to be his ultimate goal, in which he strives to indulge in its pleasures and possessions. In this case, there is no reward in the hereafter because of unawareness or disbelief in it.
Conversely, A Muslims ultimate goal is life in the hereafter and requital from Allah (S.W.T.), and in this striving, he does not refuse this worldly life, instead, he uses it as a vehicle towards the hereafter.
Second, a non-muslim is not bounded by halal and haram (what is lawful and unlawful) nor is he disciplined by it. However, a Muslim has constraints in this life and complies with the limits prescribed by Allah (S.W.T.) that he would not exceed them.
Today, we examine the limits prescribed by Allah in one of the issues of this life’s affairs, which we commonly encounter, so that we will try not to transcend its limits because Allah warns us. In surat Al-Baqarah, (verse 229), what can be translated as, "These are the limits ordained by Allah, so do not. Transgress them. If any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such person wrong themselves as well as others."
Elsewhere, In the Qur’an Allah said, in surat An-Nesa, (verse 14), what can be translated as, "And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgress his limits, he will make him enter fire, where such will dwell for ever; his will be a shameful doom."
And in the preceding verse, He said in surat An-Nesa, (verse 13), What can be translated as, "Those are the limits (imposed by) Allah. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow, where such will dwell forever. That will be a great success."
Money is of this worldly life, and Allah has made it lovable to the human being, and both muslim and infidel possess it, and have access to it. However, the difference between the two is that the infidel perceives money as being the main goal, and is headless in the means of acquiring it, nor does he care how, or where it is spent. His soul gets so attached to it that the money becomes his influential godhead. The prophet (S.A.W.) Invoked the curse of Allah upon that type of people by saying, "Misery be to the slave of Dinar" (Dirham and Dinar were units of currency at the time of the prophet.)
However, to the muslim whose goal is the pleasure of Allah (S.W.T.) and the reward of the hereafter, money is merely a means by which he fulfills his needs, and this means, also, has its limitations and constraints, which must not be exceeded. Thus, he earns this money through lawful means allowed by Allah (S.W.T.). Of these lawful means, it may be acquired through, donations or grants, inheritances, agriculture, trade, commerce and industry, buying and selling, renting, or through partnerships and so on, including that which Islam has legislated and allowed, and a muslim is one who never goes beyond the limits set by Allah.
So. He would neither be involved in usury (riba) or trade involving liquors (khamr), swine, unlawful drugs, gambling, the sculpturing of figures or objects which are not allowed, or acquire other people’s money unlawfully.
A muslim, also, never spends money, which he acquired through lawful means, except, by that which Allah has legislated. Thus, he performs his duty towards Allah, with money by giving mandatory charity (zakah), expenditure for oneself, wife and children, and spending in the way of Allah. In doing so, a muslim does not a slave of a money; instead, he controls it and puts it to good use.
Thus, money is a consignment which Allah entrusted to the muslim, he therefore, must not misappropriate it.
Given the position of the muslim and non-Muslims with regard to money, it is not surprising to see the attitude and actions of the non-muslim towards it, since he adheres to beliefs and ideals which dictate such a thought processes and philosophy. However, it is surprising to find that some Muslims who adhere to the Islamic creed, patronize the masjid, and keep to their prayers, to be confused in their financial transactions and dealings, which are done without constraints and limits like the state of the non-Muslims, and attempt to find excuses, of which would convince no one. How are they then, going to be convincing on the day of questioning and judgment about money they possessed in their lifetime, how it was earned, and how they spent it?
The prophet ( S.A.W.) warns us saying: "On the day of judgment, no two feet of a servant slip astray from the straight path until he is questioned about four issues: among which, His money:" how he earned it and where did he spend it?"
Why do those people lead a life full of confusion between belief and disbelief even though the difference between the two criteria is enormous? Why do some Muslims lead a life like that of the non-Muslims while attributing themselves to this religion (deen)? Why all this conflict and contradiction? Is it possible for any one of us to be both muslim and non-muslim at the same time? The answer is no.
In reality, this is an illusion that some have. How can a worshiper from amongst us achieve the pleasure of Allah while at the same time invoking his anger. That is unimaginable, However, the reality is that the basis upon which a Muslims life should be founded upon, has either been lost or shaken to the degree that the underlying foundations have become brittle. Thus, what must take place is, that their foundation needs to be renewed or restored to its firmness, solidity and purity. Only then will these foundations be able to support their fruits and effectiveness within the life of Muslims.
And lesson to Allah saying warned us in surat Al-Hadid, (verse 20), what can be translated as, "Know that the life of this world is only play, and idle talk, and pageantry, and boasting among you, and rivalry in respect to wealth and children: as the likeness of vegetation after rain, whereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller, but afterward it dries up and they see it turning yellow, then it became straw. And in the Hereafter there is grievous punishment, and forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure, whereas the life of the world is but matter of illusion."