Economic Gain at Spiritual Loss?

By Mohamedarif Suleman,

Nairobi, Kenya

Money, most people will agree, embodies all that is evil, superfluous and mundane. And while the essence of life is much more than money and the material it can provide, the world economic order has little mercy for the have nots of this generation.
An interesting anecdotal moral is told of Bahlool, whom upon being served with a large tray full of delicious dishes by Haroon’s men, diverted the food to a dog standing nearby. When the couriers of this extravagant gesture protested, Bahlool demanded that the servant keep quiet lest the dog also refused to eat and partake of the illegal wealth. What was the moral? Very simple. Bahlool, in all his worldly insanity, knew that by eating that food which comprised from illegitimate input, his heart might bend towards giving favours to the tyrant ruler.
Imam Ali (AS) is long quoted to have said that any land on which a single drop of alcohol is spilt, and on the same place a plant was to grow, even the fruits later borne out of such a tree would be haraam. The moral and significance of the narration is no different.
But today, as the United States government, with its invincible media and IT prowess penetrates through every culture and every faith, across each nation and proliferating infinite boundaries, Muslims have been caught unawares. Some still fighting old wars, others reflecting autonomous regimes, and yet others still intoxicated with abundant wealth, have found the new way of life with least alarm. Communities like ours remain imbalanced and undecided as every other bad becomes good, and the virtue of forklore gains indifferent popularity.
What are our communities doing in order to ensure that we do not become the complete victims of this global inferno that is ever so effectively propagating openness, promiscuity, inconsideration, materialism and egocentricity? Perhaps we need to address this question once again.
Going by the above morals as well, we need to once again ask and introspect whether we are contradicting Imam’s words today or not. Are we bowing down to the rich primarily because of economic power? Are we scared to stand up for our rights when pitted with some community brothers whose favour and fame within government circles places them in a favourable positions to oppress? What kind of Muslims are we growing into? Are we like the modern Arabs who rush to prayers and abandon everything, but are later seen engaging in anti-Islamic of activities? Or are we like Bahlool, who possesses the courage to negate any ill-based and ill-motivated powers? We must ask ourselves these questions if we are to rescue our aakherat. Money, will then not bail us from the fire of hell, for our inanition to solve this crisis.
And whereas it is acceptable that we remain focused to our economic upliftment, it must never arrive at the pitiful expenses of our faith. A good suggestion, originating from a Shia brother, would be able to make our Friday khutbas more practical and relevant, and a forum for the emergence of issues, rather than a ritual offering which in any case defeats the sanctity of the gathering.

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