Friday Lecture by Mulla Asgharali M.M. Jaffer, 1990 Topics: Death and Greed Akhlaqiyat
And after having understood all the truth and having pondered over the message of Islam so repeatedly, what is happening that we still, in our day to day lives, have not yet adopted all that which is being preached? Are we so forgetful? Are we doing it purposely? Or are we now satisfied that we are religious? And therefore whatever we do is holy, because we are holy? These are the questions which come to our mind, thinking that we are listening to so many lectures, so many majalis, yet very little seems to have changed.
The fact is that one of the factors which governs our day to day lives today is that we have forgotten and we tend to forget that we have come to this world one day to go away and to die.
It does not mean that I would like to prove myself morbid so that we only talk of death, but that which is imminent and no doubt it is going to come one day must be remembered off and on. And that is the final day and the final breath, which every one of us will one day take when the order of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala will reach. Wa idha ja'a ajaluhum la yastakhiroona saa'atan wa la yastaqdimoon (16:61). When the destined time will come, it cannot go ahead by a second of time, fraction of time, nor can it be delayed. It will come. And on that very day, very time, there will be a departure from this Earth. This we tend to forget.
In the wasiyat and the will which Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, salawatullahi wa assalamu alayh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] prepared in the name of his own son, Imam Hassan alayhi assalam, which is there in Nahjul Balagha, he writes, "O my son, innaka attareedul mawt. Tarada means to expel, to cause someone to run away. Taredul mawt means you are running, being followed by your death. That means for some time, mawt and death has allowed you a loose run. Fa la yafootuhu haaribu. But one who is running away can never escape the control of death. Fa la buddah mudrikun huwa. There is no doubt that one day it will come and overwhelm you. Wa law kuntum fi burujin mushayyada. Even if you were to hide in fortresses which will be entrenched and fortified, death will come even there.
So this we tend to forget. In the busy lives that we are leading, everyone tends to believe that death is still very far away from me. Others may die, but I will not. And one never knows when this will come while we see every day and we hear stories, especially in these days, that a man was walking and he fell down. A man woke up in the morning for namaaz and had some pain and he died. A man talked to his family and his friends went in his car and died. We see people die young and old, yet we tend to believe this will happen to him, it will not happen to me. And that is One, all of u. I'm talking in terms of human psychology.
Second thing, which has really made us forget all that we hear, in Muharram, Ramadan and all over, is what is called greed. That we follow the philosophy of the Western people who tells us that you must be ambitious, that you must be aggressive, that this world is, all in all, if you are to be successful, you must be the richest man on Earth. While Islam does not say that you must not earn, what Islam says is when all that we do in this world becomes all in my mind.
There are no other values in life but money making - no other values. Not even children's education, we don't care as long as money comes in. If my son can bring in pounds or dollars, then I will not care about his education as long as he's an earning factor.
Everything is in terms of money. I am sorry to say that even relationship between husband and wife in this country of late, is now being governed by money. That means there was a time when the relationship between man and wife was the holiest relation, the most sacred relation. Today is governed by pound, shillings and pence. The wife thinks that in this country, I'm an independent earner and therefore, whether it is halal for me or haraam, whether I have real access to it or I don't, but the half of it belongs to me. Because the British government will always back me in the cold. As for akhirat who has seen? All that, which is coming into my control is haraam. I do not have any right to it.
Yet a woman today thinks that I am now having, not an upper hand, an equal hand with my husband because I live in the western world. And therefore the relationship between man and wife, I say this people may not like it, but the fact is that we can substantiate cases which we have dealt with where the bone of contention is pounds, shillings and pence and dollars and cents. We have gone down to that mentality because we believe that this world is all in all, and the more we get. In gujrati, there is a very good proverb where we say 'Koni upar nu mud.'
If you apply here, honey, onto your elbow, then try to lick it. You will never be able to lick it. Don't try. You will get tired. But all of us have got a blob of honey here, early morning till night. And one day it will be As-salaat, As-salaat for namaaz al-mayyit, but he's still trying to lick it. We are all with this 'koni upar nu mud.' On the elbow there is a drop of honey. You are all trying to, you will never be able to.
And whether the west or the east, the north or south, whether you believe it or don't believe in it, the control of your rizq is in the hands of Almighty Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. Whether you like it, you don't like. You may come and sit with me and argue for the whole night, that one has got to be aggressive, one has got to be confident. All right. Let us agree to disagree. Let us see the world, how it proves to you with all your intellect, with all your planning, with all your careful and meticulous working, the end will tell you as to where have we reached. You will not reach beyond what Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has destined for you.
So why not understand? And why not make your life easy? And why not make yourself comfortable rather than go for all the miseries to learn the hard way? That is one. So in the same wassiyat Imam Ali alayhi assalam, tells his son, wa iyyaka an taghtarra bi ikhladid dunya min ahliha. When you see the people who treat this world as eternal, do not get misled. We see people who treat this world as eternal. This is all in all, this is the yardstick of success.
If you have money, you are a successful person. You may be an intelligent man. You may have all the perfections in you. You are not a man to be counted in society. But if you may be, a number one cheater, a number one scoundrel, but if you have money, everybody will stand for you. Your word will be listened to because you have money, but you don't have money nobody listens to you. You are not placed anywhere.
This is society at large, I'm not talking about any particular community. A fool goes in for a wise man because he has got money. And a very intelligent person is taken for a ride as a fool because he has no money and nobody listens to him. Because this is what we have done and this is how we are measuring the people and the west is telling us the same way, we look at the rosy pictures painted by the economics of this world and we believe. But when Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala shows His Power, then all those great ivory towers collapse before us.
At that time we say "Oh, it can happen this way also?" It happens. And Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala in 20th century, has repeatedly shown us great giants and monsters fall like a castle of cards. If you ask them, "What happened?" They will tell you "We were trying to run before we knew how to walk. We were trying to make over turn, turn over and turn over and then we overturned". And exactly what has happened in our society also.
Everybody is now trying to see that he gets the maximum out of this. And in so doing, Halaal, haraam, jaa'iz, not jaa'iz, values in life, literature, philosophy, writing, thinking, reading, ibaadat, anything you take which has got an extraordinary value, we have forgotten. We've got no time for it. The only time that we have is early morning. One can rise to open his tobacco and his shop at six o'clock, sometimes five o'clock. Tell him to sit down for 15 minutes to read Qur'an or ponder Qur'an, he has no time. But he has time to rise for that money which he will earn because that is his bread. That is his blood.
When any community takes this as its value, that community is a dead community because it has got no other values in life except pound, shilling, and money. You talk to him in terms of religion, you talk to him in terms of payghambar and A'immah, alayhum assalaam, he comes there to make a transaction with Imam Husayn alayhi assalam. That alright, I will give this much for nazar, this much for minnat, this much for chartar, this much for niyyaz and I will enter jannat with all the haram that I do in this world. He's deceiving himself. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala cannot be deceived. This is the result of our greed.
Then we come to ask and Ali ibn Abi Talib alayhi assalam said; In kunta tureedu minad dunya ma yakfeek. It's something which sometimes with those simple words what Imam Ali alayhi assalam said, makes you actually think for days and days, what did he want to say? He says "In kunta tureedu minad dunya ma yakfeek fa inna aysara minha ma yakfeek." If you have made intention that you will take from this world that which is enough, then the simplest and the smallest supply from this world is enough, provided you make an intention that I have come to only take that which is sufficient and enough. Then very few things are enough for you.
Wa laakin, idha tureedu minad dunya ma la yakfeek fa kullun feeha la yakfeek. But if you have come with the intention of drinking the water from all the oceans, the whole world or whatever is there, then whatever may be given to you will never be sufficient. It will never be sufficient. And the Prophet said if men were given two vast fields full of gold, he will ask Allah for the third one, the Prophet said. Wa idha kana lil mar'i wadiaan mumtabi'aan bidhahab, sa yatlub min Allahi thaalitha.
The Prophet said, if he had two wadis, means great fields full of gold, he will one day say "Ya Allah, still one is missing". This is our position. It does not stop us from earning. It does not stop us from having all this efficiency. It stops us from going to become mad after this world beyond the limit, where sufficiency has been granted by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.
We go beyond it to harm or help. To harm our family, to harm our children, to harm our friends, to harm our family, our immediate family, all because of this. A shop is opened. A boy who is coming to Imambargha every day is coming on Sunday morning, cannot come because he has opened his tobacconist shop. Early morning at 5 o'clock, he has to rise to count the papers and he shuts the doors at eight o'clock after maghrib if it is winter. And then he says, Mulla Saab, I'm so tired, I pray 7 rakaat of maghrib, isha with great effort. That means Ehsaan.
If this is how the community is being convinced, that we the community people will become very good, will become rich, will become advanced because we have such dookawallas that we are really mistaken, because we have taken up a line where there is no value in life but money making at the expense of so many things if you count apart from religion. And it is by reading and there is no mistake about it, that and this, I say because I'm speaking to the community and I always believe that this mimbar has got to have some utility for practical life.
I have come to believe and there is no mistake about it, that gradually education level in this community has deteriorated and we have come to a stage where no one wants to get educated simply because the new currency notes can come in. If you take a statistic, you'll find that those families whose children came to learn to this country or in America or in India or Pakistan while the parents lived in East Africa. The same families who can get free education in this country are not availing of the opportunity and the boys are getting employed so that the money can roll in. This is exactly what is going on at the moment all over the UK. And if you don't believe in it, please go out and find out. You'll be surprised.
Because the value is money. It is said and I think I've said it once, that once Haroon Rashid said, "Can we find out someone in the whole of at least Islamic empire, in those days, who can say that I have heard the Prophet, even maybe about 150, 200 years old. Is there anyone who could tell us that he has heard the Prophet"? People said "Haroon this is not possible," because nearly a century has passed, now more than a century. Haroon said "But we can. Sometimes there can be an old man". So they tried to hunt and they found one.
But he was so old that he was actually being put in a small, palki and all over, it was cotton around him. He was being looked after like a small child, only skeleton. And when he talked it was very difficult to listen to him because his voice was also shaky.
So they asked him "Did you see the Prophet?" He said "Yes, I saw the Prophet." So they took him to Haroon. When Haroon saw the aged vegetable, the skeleton before him. He said "Why have you brought this?" "But you wanted him now ask him". So Haroon said "Do you remember anything what the Prophet said?" He said "Don't you see I'm so old? I remember only one thing, only one hadith. So Haroon said "Even if you can tell me one, I would like to listen from someone who has seen him.
So he said, very slowly and very quietly said, "I heard the Prophet say that as the man gets older and older, the greed within him gets younger and younger". As a man grows older and older, the greed within him becomes younger and younger. So Haroon smiled and said "Yes, it's very important, very useful hadith". Then he said "Thank you for coming and for the pain that you have taken". And then he started paying him some golden coins, some silver coins, some pearls, some good clothes. He paid him and he made him happy. And as he was being lifted back, Haroon heard some murmur.
So he said "He wants to say something, listen to him again. He wants to say something. Maybe there's another hadith? So they went and said "Yes bapa what do you say? He said "I want to ask him, is it going to be every year? Is this only for once that he has given me or is he going to give me the second year? At that time Haroon said "Now I can say Sadaqa Rasul Allah, there is no doubt about what the Prophet said because here is the living example. A man who is at the threshold of death. Gujrati says 'Marwa wanke jiwi hoy che.' A man who is not dying because he is living because he should die at any time. Today he's still asking for at least one more year.
This is how greed becomes younger and younger and when the people will learn that while we work and we do try and make efforts to earn halal, money and wealth is not all in all. Secondly, we must go to an extent where we don't sacrifice our values. Not only that, but we do not become slaves of the others. Tamma and hirz are two words, which are used in urdu as one, in Arabic, ilm ul akhlaaq, Hirz is something else. Tamma is something else. Hirz is to go in demand of things beyond your necessity, and Tamma is to be greedy of the wealth in the hands of others. That means Tamma is to see that we, even if we have got to beg and be a slave of someone, even if we have got to sometimes sacrifice the truth, the sait must not be displeased. Otherwise, what I am trying to earn from him will stop. As long as that mentality is there a man can sacrifice everything for the sake of tamma and all if you look into it.
The businesses that we do. How many times people say "Mulla Saab, business has become very problematic because you said this is haraam, this is haraam, allow us. We are not drinking. We are making these people kuffar, drunkard. The more they drink, the better. They will harm us less - busy. The question is that the money that is rolling in, by the way of haraam may sound very sweet as it rolls in, but each one of it is a flame of fire.
Interest, soon people go on lending money against interest. It comes in. People like it because it comes in and it comes in good number, in good bulk. Every penny that rolls in by way of interest is a flame of fire. Selling of haraam things does not or never will allow any family, Muslim or non Muslim, to flourish. And if you do not know, please go into the history of even non Muslims and see where every haraam money has become spoke of fire.
When Allah lays a principle, that principle is applicable to humankind. Let us understand these two things. One, that greed, tamma, is not good. That money should not be the way to measure people. That our success in life is not only earning. That we have got to produce from this very community, boys who will be thinkers, who will be pious, who will be philosophers, who will be good writers, who will be ulema - secular or religious, but they will have that developed mind so that this is a society where we have people of intelligence and intellect.
But if we have only people of mpesa as far as this goes, but the upper storey is always empty, that we can't even present ourselves to the society of intellectuals. If an aalim comes here, a thinker comes here, a speaker comes here, anyone comes here. There is hardly anyone who can talk to him. And if at all he will talk to him. If I want to come to Iran, will you give us business? This is the only thing we will ask. How much am I going to earn out of you? These are the questions asked to whom? In my presence to Iranian ulema. Ulema!
Because we have got no other idea in mind but wealth. If this is the criterion, then we will soon become failures. Therefore, we have got to see that we don't have a lopsided society. We'll have to see that greed is cut off first. Second thing that we must remember that one day we are going to die and this life is going to be full of events for which we are going to be answerable tomorrow. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is going to ask how did you earn? How did you spend your life?
The Prophet said one of the first questions which will be asked is "How did you spend your youth, your young days"? These are among the first questions. So I say that if we remember death and if we also remember that this earth and this world has got a lot to offer to make our next life quite comfortable and reasonably good, and that we may be remembered for the contribution for the welfare of humankind, then we have to understand that tamma, hirz, these things must be cut off from our ways of life. And we must start thinking differently from measuring people only in terms of money or measuring ourselves also in terms of money.
Early in the morning, we rise, Ya Allah. Evening, Ya Allah. Ask him what is wrong? Business is not good. For our people, the business has never been good, but Allah has been giving limitlessly if you ask, 'teekh che'. You know what is the secret? We don't know the secret. When the business is blessed.