Amongst the greatest and most damaging of maladies of the heart is that of avarice and greed and this is one of the qualities that the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam sought refuge from in his duaas and taught his ummah to do the same. He obviously had a very good reason for doing so as he knew that it would be unlike no other malady, the passionate love for the world and its fineries that would grip his ummah after his demise, would come in between them and their eternal salvation and drag them to the lowest points of spirituality. He, time and time again warned his ummah of the ill effects of succumbing to the temptations that the world presents in the form of opulence and luxurious living. He sounded this message loud and clear by he himself practically living a simple life. This style of simplicity he impressed on his very household too. The words of his beloved wife Hadrat Ayesha Radiyallaahu Anha when she said that three months had passed and there was not a fire lit in the household of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (meaning no food was cooked therein) gives one a clear insight on the degree of simplicity of their lives. To them it was simplicity and did not do affect them deeply as it would affect us not having a branded name item. To us it would be considered poverty at its worst. To them it was the way of life of those who believed in the other eternal life that was coming. His companions followed in his footsteps even though some of them were fabulously wealthy at that time. On the contrary those who were wealthy spent their wealth lavishly in the path of Allah Ta’ala unlike our lavish expenditures.

Masked by ‘living in modern times’ and ‘its needs thereof’ these two damning qualities have stealthily crept into the lives of almost every human being on earth today. There is a very fine line between need and greed of course which many of us cannot see and then there is the line between need and want which is even finer.

 Sadly the Muslim ummah has not escaped this scourge for it has gripped it too and that too in an alarming way. The next time you ‘need’ a shoe or any other item then the choice you would make between a branded and designer item and its opposite would be a yardstick of just how affected you have become by the lures of this worldly life? Sadly to many today a watch is not a watch good enough if it is not a Rado or Michelle Herbelin? A car is not a car if it is not a luxury German car. A kettle that is not a Morphy Richards is not good enough to find itself in our kitchens.

Islam does not expect us to live in huts of mud and sand in these times of course but it does demand that we live simply.  By living simply we would be most certainly upholding the greatest sunnah of our beloved Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. By living simply we would show the world that we do believe in another awaiting life which is eternal and everlasting. By living simply we give up the temporary comforts and luxuries of this world in exchange for the permanent comforts and luxuries of the hereafter.

Nonetheless, the line has to be drawn at some point should we as an ummah want to reclaim our lost position as the most exalted and powerful nation. The line has to be drawn and there has to be a point when enough is really enough. Otherwise the madness would continue until it takes us into our graves. Much more could be written on this topic, in fact this magazine could be filled with just this topic but we would end with a story which mirrors almost every life today at varying degrees is retold below which should jolt us into realisation of our folly. Hopefully this would inspire us to say enough and mean it and live by this, when we do have in reality not just enough but more than enough. Hopefully this story would change the way we look at this worldly life and therefore give us the ability to differentiate between our needs and wants!

A Sage was passing through the capital city of the famous king of the time. While he was walking, he caught sight of a coin lying on the road. He picked it up and since he was satisfied with his simple living and he had no use of that coin he placed it in his pocket with the intention of giving it to someone who really needed it. He strolled around the streets throughout the day but didn’t find anyone such person. Finally, he stopped at an area where he could rest and spent the night there.

The next morning he is suddenly awakened by the sounds of an army approaching. He follows the sounds and sees that ahead of this army is the King and most presumably going to battle for the invasion of another state. Soon thereafter the king passed by the sage and on seeing him standing there, he ordered his army to stop. He came to the Sage and said, “Oh Great Sage, I am going to war to invade another state so that my kingdom can be expanded. So bless me to be victorious”.

After some thought the Sage put his hand in his pocket and pulled out the coin which he had earlier found and handed it over to the king.   Naturally, the king was enraged at what he considered was an insult. What would a king who himself was rich do with a single coin? After calming down He curiously asked the sage, “What’s the meaning of this one coin?”

The sage explained, “Oh Great King! I found this coin yesterday while strolling around the streets of your capital city. But I had no use of it. So, I had decided that I will give it to someone needy. I strolled around till the evening in your capital, but found no such person. Everyone was living a happy life. It seemed that they were all satisfied with what they had. So I found no one to give this coin. But today, the king of this state I discovered, still has the desire to gain more and is not satisfied with what he already has and therefore I feel that you are in need of this coin which I have just presented to you.

Hanging his head in shame the King realized his greed and immediately abandoned his mission. He ordered the army to turn around and they all returned to the palace.

To those who read this article and accept it to be the absolute truth would have no problem in differentiating between needs and wants in the future and the resultant would be an abrupt halt in worldly pursuits without real need.

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