Devastations of Abundant Wealth
Who can understand human nature better than Allah? He is our Creator and familiar with each and every nerve and sinew of our existence. He knows our capacity and limitations. He’s aware as to how much sustenance does each one deserve. If Allah the Almighty gives wealth to everybody according to their desires, man will become rebellious and defiant.
وَلَوْ بَسَطَ اللَّهُ الرِّزْقَ لِعِبَادِهِ لَبَغَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَكِن يُنَزِّلُ بِقَدَرٍ مَّا يَشَاء إِنَّهُ بِعِبَادِهِ خَبِيرٌ بَصِيرٌ
“Had Allah given vast amounts of sustenance to His servants, they would have indeed turned rebellious in the earth but He sends down (sustenance) in measure as He wishes. Surely He is Aware, Seeing of His servants.”
(Surah Shura (42): Verse 27)
The words ‘Aware’ and ‘Seeing’ clearly indicate that the differences in sustenance are due to the capacities and conditions of the people. It is second human nature to rebel and transgress the limits when he finds himself needless and powerful (Surah Alaq verses6-7). If our repeated requests and supplications for increased wealth are not answered by Allah the Almighty, we should rest assured that it is for our own good. Kindly pay attention to the following verses of the Holy Quran,
Surely Qaroun was of the people of Musa, but he rebelled against them, and We had given him of the treasures, so much so that his hoards of wealth would certainly weigh down a company of men possessed of great strength. When his people said to him: Do not exult; surely Allah does not love the exultant. And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers. He said: I have been given this only on account of the knowledge I have. Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him of the generations those who were mightier in strength than he and greater in assemblage? And the guilty shall not be asked about their faults. So he went forth to his people in his finery. Those who desire this world’s life said: O would that we had the like of what Qaroun is given; most surely he is possessed of mighty good fortune. And those who were given the knowledge said: Woe to you! Allah’s reward is better for him who believes and does good, and none is made to receive this except the patient. Thus We made the earth to swallow up him and his abode; so he had no body of helpers to assist him against Allah nor was he of those who can defend themselves. And those who yearned for his place only the day before began to say: Ah! (know) that Allah amplifies and straitens the means of subsistence for whom He pleases of His servants; had not Allah been gracious to us, He would most surely have abased us; ah! (know) that the ungrateful are never successful.’
(Surah Qasas (28): Verse 76-82.)
Read the above verses carefully and decide whether hoards of worldly wealth are better or the reward of Allah and His mercy.
Abundance of Wealth is NOT the Sign of Allah’s Satisfaction Generally, people think that Allah is satisfied with the one who has more wealth and worldly riches. Similarly, He is dissatisfied and angry with the one who is suffering from afflictions and difficulties. But in Islamic teachings, this is certainly not the case. One thing is sure: Allah is not satisfied and happy with disbelief or disbelievers.
لاَا يَرْضَى لِعِبَادِهِ الْكُفْرَ
“And He is not satisfied with disbelief for His servants.”
(Surah Zumar (39): Verse 7)
Now ponder over the following verses,
And were it not that all people had been a single nation, We would certainly have assigned to those who disbelieve in the Beneficent God (to make) of silver the roofs of their houses and the stairs by which they ascend. And the doors of their houses and the couches on which they recline. And (other) embellishments of gold; and all this is naught but provision of this world’s life, and the hereafter is with your Lord only for those who guard (against evil).
(Surah Zukhruf (43): Verses 33-35)
It is possible that Allah the Almighty makes the house of an unbeliever from golden roofs and walls, and his pillows and mattresses of silver. But the abundance of these riches is not an indication of His satisfaction and happiness. The Hereafter is only for the pious and God-fearing. That is, Allah can give the world to anybody. Even if somebody has the wealth and riches of the entire world so what? These are merely provisions of a transient life that will not last for more than a few days. One day, he has to forsake all of these and depart. The world of Hereafter, which will last forever, is only for the pious and God-fearing. Therefore, whosoever Allah loves and intends to inhabit his Hereafter, He gives him only so much of wealth that may help him fulfill the basic worldly needs and his Hereafter is not ruined. A believer is sure that since the Sustainer is neither ignorant nor oppressor nor unaware, rather, the most Merciful of all merciful ones, whatever sustenance and livelihood He grants after our efforts and prayers is good for us.
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) says,
‘Affairs descend from the sky like rain drops. Every human gets his share of it, whether less or more. If you see that a particular house has received a fairly large share of it, check out whether it is a means of their destruction for them or not?’
(Meezanul Hikmah. The Chapter of Sustenance, H. No. 7117)
In another tradition, he (a.s.) informs,
“Allah the Almighty has determined sustenance. To some He gives more than others. This uneven distribution is on the basis of Divine Justice so that Allah may test as to how the rich is grateful and the poor patient.
(Nahjul Balagha. Scrmon 91)
Sustenance of this world is naught but examination. Allah tests by giving vast riches and also by inflicting poverty on His servants. The important thing is to be successful in tlis examination because the grades of the Hereafter depend on this very success. It is likely that a rich person may fail this test by being ungrateful in abundance while a poor and destitute man may be successful due to his patience and forbearance.