SHAFAQNA- Along with its call upon people to struggle and advance Islam included a strong warning against fanatical adherence to materialism. Islam declares that such adherence deprives man from seeking the real goal of lif, the eternal happiness. Imam Baqir (A.S.) gave the following description of the greedy man:
“An example of the greedy man of this world is that of the silkworm. The more silk that it spins around itself, the less of a chance it has to survive until it finally suffocates itself.”
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said:
“Refrain from greed for those who were before you perished as a result of greed. Greed commanded them to be stingy and they obeyed: it ordered them into alienation and they obeyed; and it commanded them to sin and they sinned.”
Nahj al-Fasahah p. 199
Imam Ali (A.S.) pointed out the misery which results from coveting when he said:
“Avoid greed for its champion is the captor of humiliation and exhaustion,”
Ghurar al-Hikam ; p. 135
Dr. Mardin said:
“Wealth is not everything in man’s life, nor does his real happiness lie in collecting money. Nevertheless, many young people make the mistake of believing that money is the most important matter in life. They, therefore, waste the primes of their life seeking wealth while depriving themselves of everything else. This is a very mistaken way of thinking and it is one of the reasons behind many people’s miseries.
“We struggle to acquire grand clothes, etc thinking that they are the ways to happiness: while in fact they only bring -disappointment and deprivation to us”.
Imam Ali (A.S.) said:
“A greedy person is a captor of humiliation, whose captivity does not cease.”
Ghurar aI-Hikam p.50
The righteous religion of Islam, which conforms to mans nature, equally distributes between materialism and spirituality. It has, therefore, chosen a path for its followers that guarantees healthy spirits and bodies. Religious individuals possess wise and righteous spirits for they understand divine facts.
Satisfaction is a unceasing treasure, for its possessors endeavor to acquire only what they have a need for. Those with reason organize their lives and avoid polluting their spiritual happiness with mistaken attempts to collect wealth and lowliness. An individual who is satisfied is happy with what he ethically acquires. This sufficient method allows him to reach the real goal of life (moral excellence); in this matter he achieves real wealth (that is satisfaction) which brings him harmony and does not need to ask for that which is in the hands of others. Imam Ali (A.S.) said:
“It is best to submit and adhere to satisfaction and piety, and to relieve one’s self from covetousness and greed; for greed and covetousness are present poverty and submission and satisfaction are apparent wealth.”
Ghurar al-Hikam p. 255
He also pointed out the spiritual and psychological disorders which affect the covetous when he said:
“One who covets brings illness.”
Ghurar al-Hikam p. 544
Dr. Mardin said:
“Certain thoughts which arise from greed, covetousness, and all other psychological reactions not only adversely affect the body but also the soul. They, therefore, deprive us of a good living and change the path of harmonious living. Greed and covetousness destroy all natural human traits in us.
Imam Ali (A.S.) is quoted as saying:
“Greed pollutes the soul. corrupts religion and destroys youthfulness.”
Ghurar al-Hikam p.77.
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) explained the afflictions and calamities which arise from greediness. He said:
“A greedy person faces seven acute problems:
1) Worrying, which harms his body and is disadvantageous to him;
2) Depression, which is endless;
3) Exhaustion, from which death is the only relief-and with that relief the greed shall be more exhausted;
4) Fear, which uselessly disturbs his life;
5) Sadness, which uselessly disturbs his life;
6) Judgment, which does not save him from Allah’s torture unless Allah forgives him.
7) Punishment, from which there is no escape or avoidance.”
Mustadrak al- Was?’iI v.2, p. 435
Greediness: is surely an evil desire which leads man to humiliation and sin. Imam Ali (A.S.) said:
“greed is a motive for evil.”
Ghurar al-Hikam p. 16
He (A.S.) also said:
“The fruit of covetousness is complaining about shortcomings.”
Ghurar al-Hikam p. 360
Dr. S.M. Caughaust said:
“Stealing stems from greed. Thieves steal that which they do not own because they covet it. He who steals a pair of socks from a merchant, or a bicycle entrusted to him, only does so because of the influence of covetousness to possess things. Thus, the thieves motive for stealing is covetousness.”
Here we conclude that greed – this dangerous spiritual disorder-can be treated by believing in Allah and the Last Day. Satisfaction can only be achieved by strengthening one’s spirituality and developing moral excellence.