MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING
When we look at strained and soured relationships today we would find that most of these have been caused by issues surrounding money more than anything else. Money has become so critically important in our lives that even blood bonds stand no chances of survival when money features as the rival party. Many claim that money is not everything but when put to the test they fail dismally.
It is said that Man makes money but money does not make man. The truth of this statement, in this day and age, can only apply to the first part. Sadly the second part of the statement does not apply anymore. In the hedonistic, materialistic and self-indulgent world we live in it is only money or specifically the huge amounts of money that we are able to accrue and amass that defines us. Esteem and honour are dished out lavishly to those who have hefty bank balances. Those who don’t have these are treated as non-entities. For us this is the only yardstick we know! The question we ask is that have we already stooped to such a level that we are prepared to sacrifice almost everything for the sake of wealth and furthermore even compromising the life of the hereafter which is permanent as opposed to this life which is temporary? An incident that took place with a Sahaabi of Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, Hadrat Qays bin Sa’d bin ‘Ubaadah Radiyallaahu anhuma is worth mentioning at this juncture as it highlights the plight of many. What is more significant is the selfless act of this Sahabi when wealth became a contender in his situation. It is reported that once he took ill. While recovering from the illness, he realized that none of his friends had come to visit him. On enquiry, he learned that they were reluctant to visit him due to the fact that they all owed him money (and were thus embarrassed or afraid that he would ask them to repay the loan).
When he heard this, Hadrat Qays bin Sa‘d Radiyallaahu anhu spontaneously said, “May Allah Ta‘ala disgrace the wealth that deters my brothers from visiting me!” He thereafter instructed a person to go out and announce that he had absolved all his debtors of the amounts they owed him.
After the announcement was made, so many visitors arrived to visit him that by nightfall, his doorstep had collapsed due the weight of the people climbing to his door! (Siraajul Mulook pg. 155)
The above incident should serve as a valuable lesson for all of us who allow wealth to interfere and cause havoc in our relationships. At the end of it all wealth may be important but the degree of its importance can be well gauged by the fact that no one before us, no one now and no one ever in the future will carry with him even a cent to his grave. The other lessons we learn from this incident are:
1. A Muslim should not allow money to spoil his relationship with his family or fellow Muslims (as is sometimes the case in winding up estates, dissolving business partnerships, etc). Money can always be recovered. A heart which is broken by an insensitive, hurtful remark or callous behavior, however, seldom recovers completely. When people are robbed of their monetary rights many a times the ill effects of this act of greed by a few continues through generations. The hurt here becomes indelible.
2. The money owed to him was something of value. However, the value of the sunnah and the value of taking the du‘aas of people when they come to visit the sick person was far, far greater. He thus happily sacrificed something of much lesser value for that value which cannot be quantified and estimated.
3. The money owed to him was a small, short term investment. By forgiving it he transferred it “off-shore” into a permanent investment that earns several thousand percent more returns.
4. While he sacrificed money, he “bought” immense and untold barakah. Barakah is not always perceived with the eye. It comes in innumerable ways and is the essence of all good in this world.
5. In the Qur’aan Allah Ta’ala encourages us to firstly grant respite to a debtor and also gives us the better option of waiving the debt. He says:
“And if someone is in (financial) hardship, then [let there be] a postponement (for repayment) until [a time of] ease. But if you give [from your right as] charity, then it is better for you, if you only knew.” [Suratul Baqarah, verse:280].