Islam does not glamorize poverty or condemn prosperity. Commonly misrepresented, Allah does not instruct us to live a miserable life. In fact He commands us:
“…do not forget your share of this world” (Quran 28:77)
You have your share in this world, Allah says it clearly. And Allah commands that you MUST pursue it.
Ever Friday, we are encouraged to read Surah Kahf, for our guidance for the rest of the week. One of the stories that we read in this surah is the one of Dhul Qarnayin. He was a powerful and noble ruler. Allah praises Him in the Quran, and every Friday we draw lessons from his story – the lesson of acting fair when being in a position of leadership and authority.
Abu Bakr , Uthman, Khadija, may Allah be pleased with all of them, are three of the ten people who are guaranteed the Paradise by Allah Himself. Yet, they were the epitome of affluence and prosperity.In fact, it was their fortune and rigeteousness that earned them Allah’s pleasure.
Prophet Sulaiman (may peace be upon him) asked Allah for a kingdom, the likes of which no one has ever had in this history of mankind. Allah was so happy with his dua that He not only gave him what he asked for, He put the jinns at the service of his prophet. The jinns built for him monuments, art works, etc- the remnants of which are still found today. Moreover, Allah arranged the “flying carpet” for Prophet Sulaiman. The winds would take him wherever he wanted to go. Allah mentions these accounts in the Quran to encourage us to ask from Him.
He said: “My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me. Verily, You are the Bestower.”So, We subjected to him the wind, it blew gently to his order whithersoever he willed, and also the devils from the jinns including every kind of builder and diver, and also other bound in fetters. This is Our gift, so spend you or withhold, no account will be asked. And verily, he enjoyed a near access to Us, and a good final return Paradise. (Quran 38 :30-40).
As long as our wealth does inflict evil in us, and make us forget the hereafter ( as were the cases of Pharaoh and Qaroon in the Quran, in which case, Allah comdemns their wealth), Allah actually endorses prosperity. Prophet Sulaiman actually earned paradise, courtesy to his prosperity. How?
Because He made this dua:
“My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I maybe grateful for Your Favors which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.” (Quran 27:17-19).
Our wealth and prosperity MUST make us grateful to Allah, and instill a thirst for being a doer of good- spend in charity, feed the poor, aid the needy and helpless. Our prosperity needs to be a gateway for us to earn Paradise, afterall that is what Allah teaches us.
So do NOT shy away from asking for greatness from Allah. Allah loves that you ask. He has named Himself Al Wahhab (The Perpetual Giver of Grand Gifts), and we are commanded to take advantage of His Divine Magnanimity.