Worldly Ambition, cancer of the heart

Allah Almighty states in the holy Qur’an:

…And (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful chastisement on the day when it shall be heated in the fire of Hell, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it. This is what you hoarded up for yourselves, therefore taste what you hoarded. (Tawbah, 9/34-35).

Inspired by this verse, Hadrat Mawlana (Alaihi Rahma) said:

• “No matter how rich you are, you cannot eat more than your stomach can hold. Even if you dip your water-pot into the sea, it will carry no more water than it can hold.”

• “There are so many fishes which, because of ambition, swallow the bait, though the sea could safely feed them.”

• “What is this world about? This world is about being ignorant of Allah!”

• “This world, a testing ground, is like a magnet for selfish desires: it attracts them as amber attracts straw. Only the substan- tial wheat, the wise believer whose inner world contains spiritual secrets and wisdom, can escape the attraction of this magnet.”

• “The trap of raw egos is worldly gain. It tricks and allures,and the inner eyes of some people go blind out of desire for it. They drink bitter and salty water out of wet clay. Since they never taste spiritual happiness, they regard what they taste of the worldly life as happiness.”

• “Greed and ambition for the pleasures of this world lead us to obtain what we do not deserve.”

Worldly ambition is the prime drive leading to great ignorance. Ambition makes the heart go blind. Such a heart ceases to draw a line between right and wrong, legitimate and illegitimate. Hadrat Mawlana (Alaihi Rahma) says of heart-blindness, “Even a dog will not eat a bone before sniffing it.” So whoever is heart-blind due to ambition for worldly attractions has less wisdom than a dog. Worldly ambition brings spiritual disaster!

Our master, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), warned of ambition as a human failing. He said, “The son of Adam may have two valleys full of gold: he will still want a third valley. The son of Adam will be satisfied with nothing but the soil of the grave.” (Bukhari, al-Riqaq, 10; Muslim, al-Zakat, 116).

Even if those afflicted with ambition attained all the wealth on earth, they would still wish to get more from the Moon or Mars. Today, the ambition and spiritual rottenness of the followers of materialism seems endless. Such is the sad condition of our world.

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him), eloquently expressed how the faithful should view property. He said, “There are three shareholders in any worldly possession. The first is its owner, which is you. The second is fate. Fate does not consult you about whether your possession will bring you good or evil, disaster or death. The third shareholder in any possession is its heir, who wants you to die. Your heir will take your property when you die, but it is you who will be held accountable for it. If you can, try not to be weakest of the three (by giving charity before death). Allah Almighty says, “You cannot reach perfection in spending for the sake of Allah unless you give of what you love.” My most valuable possession my camel; there- fore I am giving it as a charity. I am sending it in advance so that it will welcome me in the Hereafter.” (Abu Nu`aym, al-Hilyah, I, 163).

Worldly possessions are only entrusted to us by Allah. We do not know when what He has deposited will be withdrawn. We may lose our possessions at any time. Life is open to surprises, and we cannot tell what fate will bring. The most inescapable surprise, death, is undoubtedly on the agenda of fate. We may be ready for it always by managing the trusts we administer in the most useful of ways.

 

-Excerpt from the book, “Such a mercy he is”

The Seventeen Benefits of Tribulation.

Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Do not resent the calamities that come and the disasters that occur, for perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation, and perhaps in something that you prefer will be your doom.” 

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1. You realize the power of Lordship over you.

2. You realize your abject servanthood and your complete state of resignation and brokenness before the Will & Power of Allah.

3. Sincerity to Allah because you have no place of return in putting off or defending against the calamities except to Him.

4. You return to Allah and are suddenly fervent in your desire of your Lord.

5. It leads to a humbled state before Allah and more prayers through which you’re calling on Allah.

6. You’re forbearing towards the one who has afflicted you (you gain the ability to show forbearance).

7. You get to forgive someone (“and Allah loves those who pardon others”). It is the greatest forgiveness when you forgive people who have caused you great calamities.

8. You are patient during the tribulation (“and Allah is with the patient ones”).

9. You can become happy about what’s happening because you’re thinking about all these benefits.

10. You can be grateful for the tribulation because of the rewards gained from it.

11. The purification that these calamities have from your wrongs and your sins (ex: a believer is rewarded for any pain he experiences, even the prick of a thorn).

12. The compassion that Allah enables you to show to others in tribulation and the ability to help them.

13. They give you the Blessing of having the true knowledge of the extent of well-being and what it is.

14. Allah has prepared Rewards for the calamities dependent on how you dealt with them.

15. What is hidden inside the Blessings of the folds of these calamities (ex: Allah may love a thing you hate and may hate a thing you love).

16. They prevent you from arrogance, evil, pride, and tyranny.

17. Contentment.

–excerpted from Hamza Yusuf’s Lecture by Sister Sarah K.