The Moral Values of The Qur'an
(20 - 22)
20. The Real Owner of All Possessions
Most often, it is the fight for possessions that leads people to sorrow and pain. In fact, the entire life of the unbelievers rests upon the greed for “having property” . They always struggle to have more, making this the real aim of their life.
However, this "rivalry in respect of wealth and children” (Surat al-Hadid, 57:20) is a total deception, since, the dominion of all possessions on earth is of Allah. People only fool themselves by thinking that they really own something, since they have neither created the things they possess, nor have they the power to keep them alive and ever-lasting. Nor can they avoid their own destruction. Furthermore, they have no status to “possess” anything, because they are “possessed” by another being. This Superior Being is “the King (or Ruler) of Mankind” (Surat an-Nas, 114:2) Who is Allah. The Qur’an informs us that the entire universe is possessed by Allah: “To Him belongs what is in the heavens and on earth, and all between them , and all beneath the soil.” (Surah Ta-Ha, 20:6). Another verse extends this to Allah, power to forgive or punish: “Do you not know that to Allah alone belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth? He punishes whom He pleases, and He forgives whom He pleases: and Allah has power over all things.” (Surat al-Maeda, 5:40)
As a matter of fact, Allah has given all possessions to people as a temporary “trust” in this world. This trust will last for a certain period of time and when the day of judgement comes, everyone will be asked to account for his conduct.
In this day of judgement, each one will be asked about his intentions and purpose in using this “trust” given to him. Those who considered themselves owners rather than trustees, and revolted against the Prophets by saying, “Does your prayer command you that we leave off doing what we like with our property?” (Surah Hud, 11:87), deserve severe punishment. The Qur’an describes what will happen to them:
“And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty think that it is good for them. Nay, it will be worse for them; the things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is WellAcquainted with all that you do.” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:180)
As mentioned in the Qur’an, all the gifts given to man by Allah, by His Grace, is for him to spend with no “covetous withholding”. So, instead of trying to own and preserve these possessions, one should expend them in the way Allah commands. This means that the believer will use the proper amount that is necessary for his maintenance and then spend “what is beyond his needs” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:219). If he does not act accordingly and tries to “keep” all his wealth, then this will mean that he sees himself as its owner. Yet, the punishment for this kind of behaviour is of a very serious nature. In the Qur’an this is explained thus:
“...And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah: announce unto them a most grievous penalty. On the Day, when it will (all) be heated in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs. (and it will be said unto them): ‘This is the (treasure) which you buried for yourselves: taste you, then, the treasures you buried‘” (Surat at-Tawba, 9:34-35)
There is “economy” in Islam, but no “piling up possessions”. The believers do not trust in the material things they keep or accumulate for “the bad days”, but only in Allah. So, Allah increases their wealth in return. Allah gives them more than they spend in His way, and increases their blessings. This is stated in a verse as follows:
"The parable of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears(with) a hundred grains in every ear. Allah multiplies for whom He pleases; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing." (Surat al-Baqara, 2:261)
On the contrary, the situation of the one who does not spend in the way of Allah is that of one “who piles up wealth and keeps on counting it, thinking that his wealth would make him last for ever. By no means! He will be sure to be thrown into the crushing Fire. And what will make you know what the crushing Fire is? It is the Fire of Allah kindled (to a blaze).” (Surat al-Humaza, 104:2-6)
21. Being Grateful to Allah
Allah has created everything with a purpose; just like His blessings. Each one of these blessings—our life, faith, sustenance, health, eyes, and ears—is an endowment for mankind to be grateful to Allah.
Once we leave heedlessness and ignorance behind, and start to think and see with reasoning, we shall surely realise that everything around us is indeed a favour granted by our Creator Allah. All the food that we eat, the air that we breath, all the beauties around us, in particulars, our eyes that let us see all these things — everything is a blessing of Allah. These are so numerous that the Qur’an says:
“If you would count up the favours of Allah, never would you be able to number them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surat an-Nahl,16:18)
And, undoubtedly, all these favours are given for some reason. Nothing is created for us simply to use as we wish. On the contrary, the reason for all thosefavours - no matter what - is to instruct mankind towards Allah; because everything given, necessitates gratitude in return. Allah is the One Who continuously gives all the blessing; we should, therefore, show our sincere gratitude only to Him.
Gratefulness is both a great prayer and also a way to protect us from “transgressing”. Without it, people have a tendency towards depravity and evil, forgetting their weaknesses and becoming haughty, the richer and more powerful they become. Showing our gratitude to Allah saves us from such “depravity”. Those who show their gratefulness to Allah do so in the knowledge that everything they obtain is given by Allah, to Whom they always belong. They know that they are responsible for using these blessings in the way of Allah and only as He wills. It was this gratitude to Allah that underlay the modesty and maturity of the prophets, such as Davud (David) or Suleyman (Solomon) to whom great possessions, states and sovereignty were given. The actual problem of Karun (Qarun), who became depraved on account of his possessions, was indeed that of being ungrateful to Allah.
If a believer demonstrates that he will not become arrogant and impertinent with the blessings or riches he is given, Allah shall give him more. “...If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you; but if you show ingratitude, truly, My punishment is terrible indeed.” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:7)
Gratitude should not be shown merely withwords, it should be shown rather by utilizing each favour in a way approved of by Allah. Believers are responsible for using everything that they have been given, in the way of Allah. First of all, all the believers should start using whatever they possess, and foremost the body Allah has endowed them with, to strive for His cause. The Qur’an also informs us that we may show our gratitude to Allah by proclaiming all of His blessings, that is, by communicating His "message" to all:
"Verily your Guardian-Lord will give you (that wherewith) you shall be well-pleased. Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter? Did He not find you wandering, and give you guidance? Did He not find you in need, and make you rich? Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness, nor repulse the petitioner (unheard); and proclaim the bounty of your Lord!” (Surat ad-Dhuha, 93:5-11)
22. Our On-Going Test
As we have stated in the beginning, nothing on earth is created in vain, but rather with wisdom. Understanding this fact depends on the wisdom of people themselves. One whose faith and consequently whose wisdom and prudence increase, will happen to grasp this reasoning much better in time.
One of the most important precepts is that we are being tested throughout our whole lives. Allah tests our sincerity and our faith on different occasions. He may give favours to test whether we are grateful to Him or not. He may create difficulties, for us, to reveal whether we behave with patience or not:
“Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. To Us you will be returned.” (Surat al-Anbiya, 21:35)
We are to be tested in various ways. This is explained in the Qur’an in the verse below:
“Be sure we shall test you with fear and hunger, someloss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” (Surat al-Baqara, 2:155)
Our lives have indeed been planned with the mystery of our being tested. First of all, we are being tested in our physical beings. The Qur’an states that “Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts of) hearing and sight.” (Surat al-Insan, 76:2). Consequently, everything we hear and see is actually a part of the test. In all kinds of situations, we will be tested to see whether we behave in accordance with the Qur’an or with our own vain desires.
Allah tests the steadfastness of the believers with various difficulties. One of the most important of these is the oppression of the believers by the unbelievers. All these misdeeds, like verbal attacks, mocking, physical oppression and even torture and murder attempts, are only a means of trial for the believers. In one of the verses; it is said:
“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil, then that will be a determining factor in all affairs.” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:186)
The most important point to comprehend is that all of these deprivations and misadventures are created by Allah as a special kind of test. One who does notunderstand this will become very superficial. The Qur’an cites a pertinent tale of certain Jews.
“Ask them concerning the town standing close by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. For on the day of their Sabbath, their fish did come to them, openly holding up their heads, but on the day they had no Sabbath, they came not: thus did We made a trial for them, for they were given to transgression.” (Surat al-A’raf, 7:163)
Only the individual who has wisdom can realize that he is being tested, and can succeed in these tests by again using his wisdom. Therefore, a believer should not forget that he is being tested throughout his life. These tests cannot be passed or the heaven cannot be attained simply by saying ‘I believe’.
“Do men think that they will be left alone on saying ‘We believe’, and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.” (Surat al-Ankaboot, 29:2-3)
And in another verse Allah says:
“Did you think that you would enter Heaven without Allah testing those of you who fought hard (in His Cause) and remained steadfast?” (Surat Aal-e-Imran, 3:142)