One day, the rich man awoke to find his garden completely ruined. All the years of hard work and cultivation were obliterated overnight, and all his crops were destroyed on their trellises, proving that they were not immune from destruction after all. The fertile grounds were devastated beyond hope of restoration, and the water in the river had been sucked back into the ground.
In modern terms, all his investments went up in smoke in an instant, and this spelt his humiliating bankruptcy and financial ruin. It also had widespread effect to his high standing in society, for all those people effectively abandoned him to fend for himself. He realised the error of his ways and regretted his actions, but by then it was too late – Allah had already decreed his destruction in this world and the next. To his dismay, he found that none of his friends, children, social connections, or in fact anyone, could help him against Allah’s will. He was even incapable of defending himself against Allah.
“And he remained clapping his hands (with sorrow) over what he had spent upon it, while it was all destroyed on its trellises, and he could only say: ‘Would that I had ascribed no partners to my Lord!‘” (Al Qur’an 18:42)
This story concludes with the following warning from Allah:
“There (on the Day of Resurrection), Al-Wilayah (protection, power, authority and kingdom) will be for Allah (Alone), the True God. He (Allah) is the Best for reward and the Best for the final end. (La ilaha illallah -none has the right to be worshipped but Allah).” (Al Qur’an 18:44)
Lessons to be learnt
Why does Allah want us to read Surah Al Kahf weekly? It is because this chapter contains a beautiful and comprehensive message for us, dunia and akhirah, and warns us what will happen if we forget the responsibility and purpose of dunia and the inevitability of akhirah. It will make us feel more responsible about our own style of life and where we are going inakhirah.
What happens when the money blinds us from knowing who the Provider and the Creator is, the purpose of life, how to share, how to be good and humble, and the responsibility towards ourselves and our societies with this money. Ultimately, we are going to die and will not be taking our treasures with us.
This message is strongly emphasized in Surah Al Kahf, when read with all the other stories in this chapter. When we read Surah Al Kahf weekly, whatever our status, we will get the message loud and clear, and understand what to do, whether we are rich or poor.
This story provides a stern warning against those who wear their wealth with pride and display arrogance to the weak and the poor. It is man’s natural inclination that when Allah grants him wealth, he attributes it to his own talent, hard work and ability, without acknowledging or attributing any of those to Allah.
We are reminded of the dangers of being blind with money. It is a fitnah for us when we start accumulating and forget all our responsibilities (may Allah save us from all the fitnah attached to status and wealth). The more blinded one becomes by his temporary decorations in this life, the further he drifts away from Allah.
It is not uncommon to see many people, once they are rich, to become arrogant against the poor and those of social inferior status to them. They walk on this earth puffed up with pride and filled with a sense of entitlement and superiority, putting themselves beyond any counsel or advice. We have seen this happen many times, where once people have accumulated enough to buy their houses and cars, and once their businesses are up and running or their careers are blooming, they forget their humble origins and take pride in their possessions. They forget that all of this bounty actually comes from Allah.
The Qur’an warns us repeatedly that worldly decorations, such as clothing, riches and even children, are superficial. They are not permanent, and cannot be brought into the hereafter. In fact, when we devote too much importance to these decorations, thinking that they grant us status, they can be a fitnah for us and lead us to our eternal destructions.
If you are rich, consider that there were generations before you, who were much better endowed, financially and intellectually. Their achievements now lie in ruins, forgotten and useless to them in the hereafter.
May Allah SWT allow us to live the message and be generous, kind and humble, and to remember who is Al-Razzaq (the provider) and to remember the responsibility attached to all this rizq (provision). May Allah make this life witness to us and not against us and allow us to know the purpose of life, insha Allah.
Written by Muslim Footsteps