Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|What serves God's cause|
|09/14/01 at 06:04:39|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]What serves God's cause
By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
One day the Prophet was with some of his companions when a man passed them by on his way to work. The man was apparently of strong built, oozing strength. Some of those sitting with the Prophet felt that if such a strong person dedicated his strength to serving God's cause, the fruits of his efforts would be much greater. Apparently they felt that unless such strength was utilized in fighting against the enemies of Islam, its use does not serve God's cause.
This means that if a person utilizes his strength in earning his family's living, then that is to be regretted as it means the wasting of good resources. Hence, as the man passed by, those sitting with the Prophet remarked: "How different this man's endeavor would have been if it was for God's cause!" The Prophet corrected their misconception, saying: "If he has set out to earn the living of his young family, then his effort is for God's cause; and if he has set out to look after himself, so that he would be able to avoid sin, then his effort is for God's cause; and if he is supporting, through his endeavor, his elderly parents, then it is for God's cause; but if he aims to show off and exalt himself, then his efforts serve the cause of Satan." (Related by Al-Tabarani).
This shows that motive and intention make our daily efforts and the earning of our livelihood either an act of worship or an act of disobedience to God.
If a man's motive behind anything he does is self-glorification or the spread of corruption, then his action is sinful. But if a believer goes about his work trying to improve the means of his livelihood, free of any desire of self-glorification, pride and corruption, then his motives will be sufficient to make his daily efforts a kind of worship, serving God's cause. The standard that applies here is that defined by God: "We grant that happy life in the hereafter only to those who do not seek to exalt themselves on Earth, nor yet to spread corruption. For the future belongs to the God-fearing." (28:83)
The renaissance in the West was only made possible by the efforts of a number of people who dedicated their lives to science and progress, or to their industries and business. They might have neglected the pursuit of any pleasure when they had the means to get it, only because they were dedicated to their learning or research or to the expansion of their business or industry. In most cases, however, their inner motive was the pursuit of personal glory, or self-glorification, or the building of an empire of companies and industries that would satisfy their ambition.
Negative as their motive was, the results of their endeavors enabled their communities to take the lead over other nations in their respective fields.
According to the Prophet's definition, their efforts serve Satan's cause because they are based on seeking personal glory.
A believer may exert his efforts in similar pursuits without seeking any such self-glorification. He may work day and night in scientific research, or in the pursuit of knowledge, or to ensure the success of a business that may bring him rich profits. When a believer makes sure that his activity does not aim at self-glorification or spreading corruption, then his effort is deemed to serve God's cause.
There must always be some motive behind any action or endeavor. When one avoids the two forbidden types of motive, there must remain within him a different motive which pleases God. That is what makes our pursuit of riches in legitimate ways acceptable to God and serving His cause. In this latter case, a believer need not experience any reluctance to exert his efforts. The Prophet describes legitimate earnings as: "Blessed is the well earned money for a God-fearing person."
A rich believer may not give any portion of his money for charity, except what he pays in the form of obligatory zakah. But even then he provides, through his enterprises, job opportunities for other believers. His endeavors contribute to his country's self-sufficiency and economic independence.
It will not then need to import much of its food, clothing and other necessities from other countries that may even be hostile. All that is certainly valuable. How much more valuable will the work of such a rich believer be if he gives substantial donations to charitable causes, in addition to paying his obligatory zakah?
In this latter case, a believer would be following the example of Uthman ibn Affan, Abdurrahman ibn Awf, and other rich companions of the Prophet who spent large portions of their vast wealth in support of charitable causes. Those people used their wealth as a vehicle taking them to heaven. This they did despite the fact they have been assured of ending up in it. They could not have accumulated such wealth without undertaking hard and continuous work, entertaining no reluctance or feeling of guilt. Their understanding of God's faith was indeed accurate. They never thought that the pursuit of wealth makes them negligent of the hereafter.
Wealth and knowledge are the most important factors ensuring strength and power in our modern world. A believer who is able to achieve a high standard in his pursuit of scientific knowledge is like one who fights in the battlefield for God's cause, provided that he frees himself of any feelings of vain glory.
Similarly, a businessman, giving his all to his business will be serving God's cause if he maintains humility, seeking to benefit his community, free of any aim of self-glorification or spreading corruption.
[i]"Islam in Perspective" - Arab News - 19 March 2001[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Haniff (with 2 f's)
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