In Islam, wealth and poverty are unrelated to money. The poor person is the one who does not have Allah in his life, and who has surrendered himself completely to dunia. The rich is the one who has the key to Paradise even if he has no money in his pocket.
We smirk with pride when driving a nice car. We think that our clothes and jewellery builds our characters. We are so involved in our material life and loves that it sucks up all our efforts and attention. We claim to value jannah, but our conversations are centred around our jobs, our children’s exams, the cost of living or the latest game or movie – revealing what we really think about most of the time. We are overwhelmed by insignificant topics, which drag us under and consume all our attention.
Even our anger is for the wrong cause. How many parents are strict in disciplining their children's education, yell at them when they don't do well in school and end up weeping when the exam scores are disappointing? Are we equally dedicated to cementing the child's belief in Allah, establishing his good character, and making him an exemplary citizen? Do we shed tears when we see our children going on the wrong path, skip salat or disregard Islam?
Think of all the office gossip, the family scandals, the "he said she said" conversations we have. We claim that these are all bad for us, but deep down do we enjoy it more that performing zikrullah? If the answer is yes, then these conversations will be prolonged. If the answer is no, then we would cut short such conversations at the earliest chance. Which one are we?
Even our love stories are mirages. The real life story ends, one way or another – through death, separation, disease or change of heart. The divorced, the widowed, the orphaned. We outlive some people, and others will outlive us. We have all loved and lost. We will continue to love and lose, until one day, others grieve for our loss. The eternal love story, with the happy ending, is the one with Allah.
Be careful not to demand from Allah though. Think of a marriage where one spouse constantly nags and demands and the other gives, not out of love and willingness, but because it is expected of him or her. When someone is discontented and continues demanding to Allah, Allah will give that person what he asks for, but it is not necessarily the case that Allah will also grant him His love. He can grant the person's wishes, as a means of destroying the person with what he loves. If we are not careful, even our demanding behaviour can cause Allah's love to us to be discontinued.
If what we receive pushes us away from Allah, it is a trial against us. For example, we demand for a spouse based on a dunia "wishlist", only to find that he or she takes us away from our deen. We demand a child, and we end up loving the child so much that we open the doors to jahannam by acceding to every unreasonable request the child has.
What work in our favour are only the things and situations that draw us closer to Allah. And for this, Allah in His infinite wisdom, knows best.
We appreciate the importance of guarding a worldly relationship. A real man guards his woman, and a real woman guards her man. Yet this formula only works when applied to the right people, with the right cause and intention. While it is natural for human beings to love each other, we have to be careful to channel that love in the right direction, being love for the sake of Allah alone.
If we claim to love Allah and worry about our relationship with Him, no other relationship would take priority. We would not be concerned about fame or popularity. Some of the early Companions were so low-key that others did not even recognise them.
Asir ibn Jaabir (RA) narrated: Whenever people would come from Yemen, `Umar (RA) would ask them, “Is Uways Al-Qaranee amongst you?” until, one year, he met Uways. He said, “Are you Uways Al-Qaranee?” He said, “Yes.”
`Umar continued, “From Muraad, then Qaran?” He said, “Yes.” `Umar then asked, “Were you once afflicted with leprosy and your skin healed except for a dirham’s area?” Uways said, “Yes.” `Umar finally asked, “Do you have a mother (that is alive)?” He said, “Yes.”
`Umar then said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say, ‘Uways ibn Aamir will come to you with the delegations from Yemen, from Muraad, then from Qaran. He was once afflicted with leprosy and his skin healed except for a dirham’s area. He has a mother, and he treats her kindly. If he was to ever swear by Allah (for something) Allah would fulfil his oath. If you can, request that he ask forgiveness for you.” `Umar then requested from Uways, “Ask forgiveness for me.” And Uways Al-Qaranee did. (Muslim)
Here was someone who was unknown and extremely poor, but so famous in the Kingdom of Allah and so exalted that Allah will grant him what he wants. Even 'Umar (RA), the Khalifah of the Muslims and a Companion guaranteed jannah, sought Uways to supplicate for him. Yet, Uways chose to vanish to obscurity. No one knows where or how he died or where he is buried. He did not care about the praise of the people, because he had the praise of Allah and His messenger. Can you imagine if your relationship with Allah is so great that the Ruler and Grand Imam in your country asks you to supplicate for him?
If we reach the sincerity of loving Allah, neither praise nor insult from others will affect us. We would care solely about our relationship with Allah such than the opinions of others become immaterial.