On Greed

“And when they are told, ‘Spend ye of (the bounties) with which God has provided you, the unbelievers say to those who believe: ‘Shall we then feed those whom, God would have fed Himself if He had so willed? You are in nothing but manifest Error:” (Qur’an, 36:47).

Greed is the rather fundamental evil. All these litigation, all these disputes, all these conflicts, are nothing but a manifestation of greed. Greed, basically a personal evil, has gradually been extended to national, and then international, affairs. These wars, whether hot or cold; these races of armament; these international intrigues; these power blocks, what is their real reason? An uncontrollable greed to dominate the world!

Islam trains a man to subdue his greed to the greater benefit of mankind. It has forbidden “interest” and thus abolished the system of earning money from money. Islamic society cannot tolerate an economic system based upon taking and giving interest. If you have money to spare, give it without any worldly motive, just for the sake of pleasing Allah by helping his creatures. Do not follow those unbelievers who refused to help poor on the pre text that God could have given them wealth, had He wanted so. They have been condemned in the verse quoted above. Do not take a share in that condemnation by acting like them!

Alms and Zakaat are another method of subduing the undesirable greed. Ameer-ul-Momeneen Ali bin Abi Talib has said: “O son of Adam. Whatever thou earneth above thy needs, thou art just its treasurer for others”. The world will become a paradise, if mankind heeds to this ethical code and changes its attitude accordingly. Also he has said: “Whatever poverty and distress in this world, is owing to the greed of rich men who do not comply with the rules laid down by Islam about their financial obligations”.

Division of inheritance is another method by which Islam compels Muslims to distribute the wealth accumulated during a lifetime. The Qur’an lays down the detailed rules of its distribution among heirs. But it does not become silent after this. It says that if any poor person is present, give something to him also.

The Holy Prophet has said: “Allah says, ‘The poor are my dependants, the rich my agents; if my agents will not give to my dependents their due I shall put them in Hell and I shall not care for them”.

Let us root out the ‘greed’ from our hearts. Only then this would will be a place to live upon.