Craving For Wealth [2/2]

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali
Imam Ibn Rajab al-HanbaliThe second type of craving after wealth is that in addition to what has been mentioned in the first type, he also seeks wealth through unlawful means and withholds people's rights - then this is definitely blameworthy greed and covetousness. Allaah, the Most High, says:

“And whoever is saved from his covetousness, such are those who are successful.” [Soorah al-Hashr (59):9]

It is reported in Sunan Abee Daawood from `Abdullaah ibn `Amr, radiyallaahu 'anhu, from the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam that he said, "Beware of greed (avarice) for indeed greed (avarice) destroyed those who came before you. It ordered them to cut off ties of relationship so they cut off ties of relationship, and it ordered them to be miserly so they were miserly, and it ordered them to commit sins so they committed sins." [Reported by Aboo Daawood (transl. vol.2, p.445, no.1694), and al-Haakim (1/415) who declared it saheeh and adh-Dhahabee agreed, and Ahmad reports it (2/159, 195) with similar wording. I (Badr `Abdullah al-Badr) say: Its isnaad is saheeh.]

It is reported in Saheeh Muslim from Jaabir, radiyallaahu 'anhu, that the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, "Beware of greed (avarice), since greed (avarice) destroyed those who came before you. It led them to shed their blood and make lawful what was forbidden for them." [Reported by Muslim (transl. vol.4, p.1366, no. 6248) and others, an-Nawawee said in explanation of the hadeeth, "al-Qaadee `Iyaad said: It is possible that this destruction was the destruction of those whose blood was spilled who were mentioned here, and it is possible that it is destruction in the Hereafter - and this is more apparent, and it is possible that it means destruction in both this world and the Hereafter. A number of people have said that avarice/greed (shuhh) is more severe than miserliness (bukhl) and causes the person to withhold to a greater degree. Some say that it is miserliness combined with covetousness. Some say that miserliness is with reference to specific actions whereas avarice/greed is general. Some say that miserliness is in particular actions and avarice/greed is with reference to wealth and good actions. Others say that avarice/greed is desiring that which one does not possess and being miserly about what one does possess."]

Some of the scholars say, "Avarice is eager craving which causes a person to take things which are not lawful for him, and to withhold the rights of others. Its reality is that a person craves that which Allaah has forbidden and prohibited him from, and that one is not contented with the wealth and womenfolk and whatever else Allaah has made lawful for him. So Allaah, the Most High, has made lawful for us that which is good from foods, drinks, clothing and women and has forbidden us to acquire these things except by lawful means and He made lawful for us the blood and wealth of the Unbelievers and those fighting against us. He also forbade us from everything impure from foods, drinks, clothing and women, and He forbade us from seizing people's wealth and spilling their blood unjustly. So he who limits himself to that which is permitted for him is a Believer, and one who goes beyond that into what he has been forbidden - then this is blameworthy avarice which is inconsistent with Eemaan (true faith in belief, word and action).

Therefore the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam informed that avarice causes a person to cut off relations, commit sins and to be miserly - and miserliness is a person's clinging on greedily to what he has in his hand. Whereas avarice is seeking to obtain that which does not belong to him unjustly and wrongfully - whether it is wealth or something else. It is even said that it is the head of all sins - this was how Ibn Mas`ood, radiyallaahu `anhu, and others from the Salaf explained avarice and greed.

So from this the meaning of the hadeeth of Aboo Hurairah, radiyallaahu 'anhu, will be understood. He reports that the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, "Avarice (shuhh) and Eemaan will not combine in the heart of a Believer." [This is part of a hadeeth whose wording is, "Dust in the way of Allaah and the smoke of Hell-Fire will never combine in the belly of a servant, nor will avarice and Eemaan ever combine in the heart of a servant." It is reported by Ibn Abee Shaibah (5/344), Ahmad, an-Nasaa'ee (6/13,14)... and its chain of narration is hasan lighairihi (good due to supports).] Also in another hadeeth from the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam he said "The best of Eemaan is self-restraint (sabr) and compliance/liberality (musaamahah)." [This hadeeth has been reported from four Companions: (i) `Umayr ibn Qataadah al-Laythee, by al-Bukhaaree in at-Taareekhul-Kabeer (3/2/530) and al-Haakim (3/ 626), (ii) Jaabir ibn `Abdillaah - by Ibn Abee Shaibah in al-Eemaan (no.43) and Ibn Hibbaan in al-Majrooheen (3/136), (iii) `Amr ibn `Abasah - by Ahmad (4/375) and (iv) `Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit - by Ahmad (5/319), and the hadeeth is saheeh due to these chains - and Allaah knows best.] Sabr here has been explained to be withholding oneself from forbidden things, and musaamahah as the carrying out of the obligatory actions.

Also the word shuhh (avarice) may sometimes be used to mean bukhl (miserliness) and vice-versa, however in origin they are different in meaning, as we have mentioned.

If the person's craving after wealth reaches this level then the deficiency it causes in a person's Religion is clear - since failing to fulfill what is obligatory and falling into what is forbidden reduce one's Religion and Eemaan without a doubt to the point that nothing but a little remains of it.

The Evil Of Craving For Wealth And Status
© 1995 al-Hidaayah

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