Craving for wealth and status–Part 1

Posted on September 29, 2007

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Imam Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali

The first type of craving for wealth is that a person has extreme love for wealth and also relentlessly exerts efforts to attain it – via means which are lawful – being excessive in that, striving hard and making painstaking efforts and toiling in order to attain it.

It has been reported that this hadeeth was in response to the appearance of some elements of this, as at-Tabaraanee reports from `Aasim ibn `Adiyy, radiyallaahu `anhu, who said, `I bought a hundred shares from the shares of Khaybar and that reached the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam so he said, “Two ravenous wolves remaining amongst sheep whose owner has lost them will not be more harmful than a Muslim`s seeking after wealth and status is to his Deen.” [It is quoted by al-Haithumee in Majma` uz-Zawaa`id (10/250) and he attributed it to at-Tabaraanee in al-Awsat and said, “Its isnaad is hasan (good).”]

There is nothing more to chasing after wealth than the wastage of a person’s noble life for that which has no value. Instead he could have earned a high rank (in Paradise) and everlasting bliss, but he lost this due to his craving after provision – which had already been assured to him and allotted to him, and it was not possible for anything to come to him except what was decreed for him – then on top of this he does not benefit from that, but rather abandons it and leaves it for someone else.

He departs from that and leaves it behind so that he will be the one held accountable for it, yet someone else benefits from it. So in reality he is only gathering it for someone who will not praise him for that, whilst he himself goes on to One who will not excuse him for that – this itself would indeed be enough to show the blameworthiness of this craving.

The person who has this craving wastes his valuable time and engages himself in that which is of no benefit to himself – in journeying and exposing himself to dangers in order to amass that which will only benefit someone else, so it is as is said:

“So one who spends his days in gathering wealth out of fear of poverty – then he has achieved only poverty.”

It was said to a wise man, “So and so has amassed wealth,” so he said, “Then has he amassed days in which to spend it?” It was said, “No.” So he said, “Then he has amassed nothing!”

It was also said in some narrations from the People of the Book, “Provision has already been allotted and the one greedy for wealth is deprived. Son of Aadam! If you spend your life in seeking after this world then when will you seek after the Hereafter?” “If you are unable to do good deeds in this world, then what will you do on the Day of Resurrection?” [more]

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