Transitory Nature of Worldly Wealth
By: Sayyid Jan Ali Kazmi
The search for Light/Divine Guidance, is one thing which is to be remembered is that no matter how much wealth a person gathers in the world but this wealth cannot become an essential part of ones personality and the self. Wealth is of a transitory (momentary, temporary) nature and it was been separated from man ultimately. Moreover, in this context there is a tradition related to Hazrat Imam Hassan (AS). Among the companions of Imam Hassan (AS) there was a man who used to call himself a lover of the Ahlul-Baits and a true follower of the Imam but in his heart of hearts, he had a great love for wealth and riches. Moreover, his eyes sparked with greed and elation with the slightest mention of money before him.
Imam Hassan (AS) thought that this man was a victim of worldly wealth and riches and thus he was been cured of his disease otherwise he would have to face great loss in the hereafter. Once Imam Hassan (AS) asked the man, “Whenever we talk over any thing you become happy with the mention of wealth, gold, diamonds, jewels and the like…what is the matter with you?” The man replied, “O' Imam I have an ardent (glowing, keen, eager) wish to become rich and wealthy” and the Imam replied, “Listen! This gold and silver is like stone one type of matter, what good would it do to you if you loved them so dearly?”
At the answer the man got surprised that, the Imam had placed stone, gold at the same level, and questioned,
“O' Imam what are you saying, how can gold silver and common stone be of the same value?” and the Imam explained the matter to the companion thus,
“Ok I will explain it to you, imagine if you become the king. The owner of the entire universe this very moment and you had all the gold and all the silver of the world. Even if the entire wealth of the world is at your disposal, even then these things cannot become a part of your self. But on the other hand true faith and practice become a permanent part of your self and accompany you even after your death.”
Often we find that people run heedlessly after wealth and money and they fall into the eternal (everlasting, perpetual) pit of hell fire. Wealth has a magical charm over them and they find it hard to resist the temptation, and in the process of attaining wealth they defy (disregard, challenge) the message of Allah and become indifferent to the warnings of Allah. Thus it was because of ignorance and unenlightenment that people were snared (caught, trapped) in the web of greed and hunger of wealth, and riches. As a result, characters like Shimr, Pharaoh, and Ibn-e-Saad were been brought to the limelight (attention), who for the sake of wealth did not hesitate to kill and torture the Prophets and the saints of Allah. These people thought of wealth as the means of ultimate success and thus became the worshippers of transient and temporary thing as money and wealth.
In reality, money has no permanent place in our life and after the temporary life of the world, it was been separated from man; forever and then it will have no existence and reality for the man. Therefore the first advice the Infallibles gave their followers and their lovers was to get rid (remove) of the love of the world and its attractions. Without doubt, any one who claims to be a lover of Hazrat Ali (AS), and the follower of the Leader of the Faithful cannot be a lover of the world and a prey to its attractions. This is because Hazrat Ali (AS), has declared,
“I have divorced the world three times, so that it deceives (beguiles, betrays) someone
Else and not come near me.’’ Therefore Hazrat Ali(AS) has set the standard for himself and whoever claims himself to be a lover of Ali cannot be a lover of worldly wealth, and whosoever is a lover of wealth and money he cannot be a lover of Ali no matter how greatly he tries to prove the authenticity of his claim.
The companions of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) and Hazrat Ali (AS) like Abu Zar Ghaffari, Salman Farsi, are the sort of people whom we should study as our role models and adopt their practices. For instance, Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari who was a diligent (active, persistent) speaker and a great lover of the Ahlul-Bait turned many idolaters into Muslims by their illuminating Practices and Teachings and not with the help of any wealth pomp and riches. Once Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari saw a number of idol worshippers sitting with sad faces as if regretting some great loss. Hazrat Ghaffari asked these people as to what the matter with them was and why they were sitting with such looks of desperation (foolhardy, despairing) and did not go to worship their idols. At this the idol worshippers replied,
“O Abu Zar a great mischief (damage, harm) has taken place today, for a cursed dog has urinated on one of our gods and thus we are sitting so solemnly (seriously,
venerably).” On hearing, this Abu Zar asked all the people to gather around him. He had come to condole (sympathise, console) the idolator for the mischief of the dog, who had been insolent (rude, abusive) enough to urinate on one of the gods of the idol worshippers. Moreover, when all the people gathered around his he said,
“O people when your god cannot protect himself from the filth (dirty, unclean) of a dog how do you expect your god to help you and protect you?”
Thus, the great diligence (effort) and oratory of Abu Zar Ghaffari became popular everywhere. As a result, of his love for the Ahlul-Bait he had to face many difficulties and hardships. Consequently, for his love of Imam Ali (AS) he was thrown out of the city and sent to a city in Syria. When the people of the city of Syria came to know that Abu Zar the great follower of the Ahlul-Bait is to arrive in their city, they arranged a great feast (party) to welcome him. The governor of the city of Syria thought that he should flatter (cajole, complimented) Abu Zar so that he does not raise any voice against him. Thus, when Abu Zar arrived at Syria the governor welcomed him warmly. Took him to his royal palace where a great feast was been arranged to welcome him.
Now the governor thought that he had been able to impress Abu Zar by his great hospitality and he would not raise any voice against his government and wrongdoing. When all the people sat down at the table to have dinner, Abu Zar raised his head and took a good look at the glamour and pomp (grandeur, show) of the palace. Hence asked the governor, “From where did you manage to make such great wealth and money, for neither was your father so rich nor were you so privileged (advantage, right)?” And this question of Abu Zar who did not fear any one other than Allah left the governor bashful (embarrassed, shamefaced) and wondering over the diligence (carefulness) and the wit (intellect, perceptive) of Abu Zar Ghaffari. The governor asked Abu Zar that this matter ought to been discussed at some other time and he should be kind enough to start the dinner. At this Abu Zar replied,
“This food …no, no… I cannot eat this food because I have never seen these many dishes placed at the table of the Prophet (PBUH), thus I cannot eat this food.”
Moreover, when he was been given a special room at the palace of the governor he denied it by saying,
“We the followers of the Prophet are not used to living in big houses and palaces thus my house is going to be the mosque”
Thus with the passage of time Abu Zar started the instruction of the true practices of Islam and orders of the Prophet. All the schemes of the governor to seduce (allure, betray) money from the poor and the needy, it became open to the public. Now the governor felt threatened by the preaching of Abu Zar and he planned a scheme to bring infamy (atrocity, dishonour) and ignominy (disgrace, shame) to the name of Abu Zar.
The governor instructed his slaves that many sacks (bag) full of gold and money ought to been placed at the living place of Abu Zar so that in the morning the entire city could be told about the greedy practices of the companion of the Prophet.
At midnight while Abu Zar was busy in his night time vigil he heard some sounds comingfrom a corner, after finishing his prayers he went there and saw many sacks full of money and gold placed at the corner of his room. At this the companion of the Prophet thought of the many needy and poor people who lived in the city, he took up all the sacks of money and started to distribute them among the needy people of the city, and till dawn all the sacks were empty. The next morning when the governor with his slaves and ministers came to the mosque in order that they might tell the people about the wealth, which Abu Zar had secretly consumed, they found to their amazement that all the sacks of money were empty. Moreover, at this Abu Zar addressed the governor and said, “You might be wondering about the sacks of money which your slaves placed in my house in the darkness of the night. I have distributed them all among the poor and the needy. It was the practice of the Prophet (PBUH) that not a single coin should not been kept in the public treasury (Bait-ul-Maal) while there are people who do not have enough to eat. If this happened you would be questioned about it on the Day of Judgment then how will you defend yourself before your Lord”
After this Abu Zar was sent to Lebanon where once again he began the preaching the true faith and the practices of the Ahlul-Baits. In Lebanon, Abu Zar found that people were not so lavishly (abundantly) rich and wealthy. Abu Zar thought, “I should illuminate in the hearts of these poor people with the light of the love of the Ahlul-Bait.” Even today all the followers of Ahlul-Baits that are found in Lebanon are a result of the preaching of Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari.