Humans are good at dreaming, encapsulating themselves in a different world, dreaming
of different times. Hence, consider the following dream: you're a top
professional earning zillions of pounds and own a fully detached home in
the most affluent part of town. With a beautiful wife (or husband if you
are the opposite gender), and a top-of-the-range Golf Convertible for
your good self and your wife.
Maybe we're just being too modest. No, no, you're a tycoon, owning a massive global conglomerate, with a beautiful partner and equally beautiful children. As the years go by, whatever your snazzy occupation may be, life is looking up for you. That interest-based bank balance is getting bigger, those shares you invested in are paying off handsomely. You and your children are just fine. Hang on, you and your children? Your children, maybe, but your good self?
Now consider the second part of your dream. You and your children grow older. Your children take up the professions you hoped they would. Yet as you grow older, you are a burden to them, They send you off to the top of the range old peoples' home. As years go by you get even lonelier, having only nurses to look after you and the occasional visit from your offspring. Then you've had it, and you die, but the insult to your good self does not end there.
The robbery of your lifelong efforts carries on. Your expensive Swiss watch is taken from you, your Armani suits are replaced with white sheets. You are finally 'laid to rest and eventually forgotten. End of dream - back to reality, or is it? Today's society is reminiscent of the hypothetical dream mentioned. We don't mean to sound pessimistic, like the high and mighty speaker in Hyde Park or Madison Square Gardens, having a dreary outlook on life. Yet, the fact of the matter is that it's happening and it gets worse. Those who are not so well off equally bump off their parents and consequently get bumped off by their children: all this for the obsession with materialism.
Materialism, according to the dictionary definition is "Interest
in and desire for money, possessions, etc, rather than the spiritual or ethical
value". As Muslims, our object, as you might have guessed, is not
the desire for money or worldly possessions. Nor is it merely interest
in spiritual or ethical values. Do we find a sudden furor of gasps and
raised eyebrows? Patience pal and all will be revealed. As Muslims, we
submit to Islam in totality. As Allah (subhanahu wa Ta'ala) states: "O Believers,
enter into Islam completely…"
Again Allah, in all his mercy, guided us to our role in life by saying "I have only created man and jinn but to worship me", [Surah Adh-Dhariya]. Consider, the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and the Earth orbits the Sun and not the other way round. Even within ourselves, our hearts beat in rhythm: all of which are following law and rule, without any chaos.
Hence it is only natural for us to submit to his laws, to his rule, for his pleasure. Hence, we would live by the Kalimah, the declaration of faith said often by 'Muslims' but rarely acted upon. By stating - La ilaha illallah - 'there is no God but Allah' we would negate all authority, all forces that negate the authority of Allah and affirm his lordship. We would say no to any obstacle to the total worship of Allah (subhanahu wa Ta'ala). This, my friend, includes what we all love and should now hate: the obsession with materialism, and affirming Allah's lordship.
Obsession with materialism, dear reader, is a form of oppression to man
and his nature. Oppression because nothing else matters apart from acquiring
worldly possession and esteem. The Kalimah liberates man from the oppression
and tyranny of other men and the worship of other Gods, which includes an obsession with materialism. Again, Allah states in the Qur'an: "Whoever
rejects false deities and believes in Allah, has grasped a firm branch
that will never break".
Consequently, we can see that the obsession with materialism is incompatible with Islam. Our life and our possessions are for Allah alone: "Your Lord has purchased, in return for…" Nor is the case dear reader that we aspire for poverty, the last prophet Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) advised "Be of good cheer. Set your hopes on what will bring upon happiness. It is not poverty that I fear for you, but I fear that you will become engrossed with the world as those before you did and that you will pursue it as those before you pursued it and that it will destroy you as it destroyed them". This middle path requires us to utilize our resources and talents, of which Allah has so mercifully bestowed upon us, but not to fall prey to obsession with materialism: "Leave me alone (to deal with him) whom I have created alone and to whom I have granted resources vast…and to whose life I gave so wide a scope and yet, greedily desires that I give more"
It is time maybe to assess our own situation. Do we really only aspire
to be that proud owner of a latest series vehicle or that yacht off the Mediterranean?
Are we really greedy and desire to be slaves to the obsession of materialism?
Possibly, we instead accept the sovereignty of Allah and proclaim that he is the supreme. Do we prohibit all that negates His authority, and make sure that we totally submit to Him and no other false God, no other false force, and no other false obsession? If we really do aspire for the latter option, the option to submit to Allah, then know dear reader that there is hope. Hope because there is Allah's book, the Qur'an, for guidance. Hope also because there is His messenger, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) , and hope because there is a group out there, a common brotherhood striving to seek His pleasure.