Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Mommy, are we rich?

A year ago, my little daughter asked me, “Mummy are we rich?”. Her friends in school were talking about parents’ occupation and they were comparing notes.

A couple years ago, the Wise Owl had asked me the very same question. He asked, “sister, are you rich?”. At first I was affronted because I thought it was very rude for anyone to ask such personal question plus I thought the Wise Owl was being nosy. But, then again, the Wise Owl is not one who is bothered with wealth or richness and he himself has chosen to live a simple life. Aaahhh….this must be a trick question! So I answered, “ I am Alhamdulillah sufficient, I’m not poor neither am I rich”. I then beamed at him and gave him one of my dazzling smile, thinking I had answered his question correctly.

The Wise Owl then gently told me, “Sister, you are actually a billionaire”. Confused, I looked at him and said, “Huh?”. I mean, does he mean that I’m going to be one or the fact that if I were to convert my money into Indonesian Rupiah, I am actually one! This, is one explanation I really need to hear so I said “Ok, I’m all ears, please enlighten me”.

The Wise Owl told me that I have an abundance of valuable treasures that are priceless. My treasures can’t be purchased for any amount of money because no one can afford to do so. Hhhmmm…..interesting…..I don’t have a family heirloom, not that I know of! What could it possibly be?

The Wise Owl then asked me to do a post-mortem of my life. He told me that I am healthy and health is something no one, not even the doctors can give assurance of it. Health can’t be purchased for a price because God determines our state of health. There are people who were born with health issues and they spend their entire savings rectifying it.

Next, he said, I have education and understanding. Anyone can pay for an education but understanding comes from God AlMighty. I have children, not one but four! Some couples spend vast amount of money going through medical procedures, trying to conceive a child but to no avail. Children are also our most expansive treasures.
Another one of the most valuable and expansive treasure, that I have posses, that people are willing to pay a huge amount of money for is, happiness and contentment. A rich man may have all the money in the world but can still remain unhappy.

The Wise Owl had actually given me a slap of reality. He is right. I am extremely rich. I have priceless blessings and barakah that has been bestowed upon me by God AlMighty, where no amount of money can ever purchase. I guess it depends on how a person defines ‘rich’.

I have met people who are rolling in money, so to speak. There are some kind ones but there are also those who are quite the opposite. It seems that, the more wealth they acquire, the stingier they become. They refuse to part with their money for charity for fear it might decrease.

One thing that I have learnt, is that, none of our so called wealth belongs to us. Everything we have belongs to God. Nothing belongs to us.

            To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: and He is Most High, Most Great.”
            Surah As-Shura 42:4

We are only the custodian of the wealth. We can use it for our own consumption but we must also share it with others. If we don’t, God may take it all away in a blink. In the portion of wealth that is given to us, includes a portion for the poor hence, that is why we must pay zakat.

            Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and-backbiter,
 Who pileth up wealth and layeth it by,
 Thinking that his wealth would make him last for ever!
 By no means! He will be sure to be thrown into That which Breaks to Pieces,”
Surah Al-Humaza 104:1-4
Giving away money for charity will no way decrease our wealth but God will increase it instead.

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه reported Allah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم as saying: “Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” (Muslim Vol. 4, Hadith 6264)

Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported:
Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) related that Allah, the Most Blessed and High, said: O son of Adam, spend, I will spend on you. The right hand of Allah is full and overflowing. Ibn Numair said: Overflowing and nothing would diminish it, by overspending day and night.
Sahih Muslim

The Prophet also said: "There is not a day in which the obedient slaves rise in the morning except that two angels descend, and one of them says: 'O Allaah! Compensate the one who spends.' The other angel says: 'O Allaah! Destroy the wealth of the one who is niggardly."
[Al-Bukhaari and Muslim

Volume 2, Book 24, Number 491:Narrated Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle said, “If one gives in charity what equals one date-fruit from the honestly-earned money — and Allah accepts only the honestly-earned money — Allah takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it); as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.”

The wealth that was given to us is actually a test to us. God wants to see whether we will keep it all to ourselves or share it as we should.

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah, but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun”
Surah Al-Imram 3:186

Wealth can either elevate you in the eyes of God or it can destroy you. Let me tell you a true story about this person whom I know. He has been blessed with an abundance amount of wealth. Every time he gives away portions of his money for charity, he finds that his wealth increased ten folds. He is very discreet about his charities and takes the trouble to find the rightful candidate whom he can share his wealth with. I do envy him for his capacity to do good and my envy, is one that is allowed in Islam.

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Envy is permitted only in two cases: Of a man whom Allah gives wealth, and he disposes of it rightfully, and of a man whom Allah gives knowledge, and he applies and teaches it.” [Bukhari]

I have always thought that if I was in his shoes, I would probably not have the same will power or generosity that he has. I would probably squander my money lavishly on things that I don’t need…

So, back to my daughter’s question, I told her that we are amongst the richest people on the face of earth as we may not have everything that we want but we do have everything that we need….

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