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Faith and Wealth – One or Both?

Faith and Wealth – One or Both?
One wonders how many rich persons like Bill Gates or even the ordinary rich would actually give credit to God, or would they attribute it all to their own merit?

In this article we will examine the attitude of persons on both sides of the coin with possible causes and cures.

It is common for a wealthy person to attribute his/her wealth to being favored by God, not realizing he is being tried by his wealth.

{And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.} (89:15)

Yet, it is not uncommon for the poor to attribute his hardship to God disgracing him.

{But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.} (89:16)

Also, more often than not, people attribute their success to their own knowledge or effort than to the one who is the bestower of all that.

Access to knowledge has evolved dramatically to the point where a person has nearly unlimited reach to tools and means to make money and gain success, if they exert the effort.

Let us use the example of Bill Gates, known world-wide for being one of the most successful and wealthiest as of 2013. (Bloomberg billionaires). Likewise he was also rated as the world’s wealthiest person overall from 1995 to 2009 by Forbes.

No doubt that his creativity, knowledge and strong business background together with financial backing and qualified employees have been crucial to his success. Yet, none of this would have happened without God’s permission and will.

One wonders how many rich persons like Bill Gates or even the ordinary rich would actually give credit to God, or would they attribute it all to their own merit?

Of course in Bill Gate’s case, we see that he has perused a number of philanthropic endeavors by donating money to various charitable causes and scientific research through Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000.

Yet, giving for all good causes if it is not for the sake of God, surely will give the person reward in this world, but not the Hereafter. Hopefully Bill has His Creator in mind.

God’s Trial by Wealth and Children

It is interesting to note that some would reach out to God at the time of hardship, yet sadly, he forgets all about Him once in safety – attributing his possessions to his own knowledge or doing. He does not realize that all that God has given him are trials in this life.

{When harm touches man, he calls to Us (for help), then when We have (rescued him from that harm and) changed it into a favor from Us, he says: “Only because of knowledge (that I possess) I obtained it.” Nay, it is only a trial, but most of them know not! (49) Verily, those before them said it, yet (all) that they had earned availed them not.} (39:4950)

We notice famous and wealthy movie stars or entertainers indulge in worldly pleasures to its max and when death knocks at their door, their wealth, fame and glory avail then not. They thought their good looks, talent and wealth was reason for their success!

Also, those proud of their wealth and children forget that Allah is testing them through these means.

{And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial (fitnah) and that surely with Allah is mighty reward.} (8: 28)

The prophet, peace be upon him is reported to have said:

“Three things destroy, and three things save. As for the three things that destroy, they are: greediness that is obeyed, and desires that are followed and a person becoming self-conceited (and proud) with himself.

As for the three things that save, they are: the fear of Allah in secret and public, and moderation in poverty and richness, and fairness in anger and pleasure.” (Al-Bayhaqi, 2/382)

The Youth and Financial Crisis

The world financial crisis has certainly affected millions in various countries. What is the role of faith in all this?

Unemployment among youth in some countries like Greece has reached a historical high of nearly 58%, while Spain is behind only by a small margin, reaching nearly 50%.

As mentioned above, it is normal for anyone afflicted with difficulties to reach out to God for help. This even applies to an atheist! One wonders how this phenomenal has touched the unemployed specially the youth.

Certainly, many around the world have lost their jobs due to financial crises. The youth seem to be the worst hit by these crises as they are the first to be fired from a job and the last to be employed – due to lower levels of experience.

The following report which also includes some cases studies about the global youth unemployment is staggering:

NEW YORK — The next global financial crisis has already started, in the form of nearly 75 million unemployed young people around the world.

If this mass of jobless youth doesn’t find work, the consequences will be dramatic, a group of politicians and economists at the Concordia Summit, here Friday warned from increased violence in the Middle East to ever-higher rates of income inequality in the United States to increased political unrest in Europe. (Huffington Post)

One wonders if faith could enter the hearts during this hardship and what would occur to anyone who is unemployed and has additional time at hand would use to come to know his/her Creator and seek His pleasure, not just for getting a job, but for a lasting comfort and peace in this life and the Hereafter!

What If He Finally Finds a Job?

Once God is involved, a person would be less likely to attribute his success only to himself and leave out the One who is the true cause of all that is given to him.

Forgetting the role of God in our lives, is likely to cause arrogance, pride and ignorance toward the One who is the real giver and attribute it to oneself instead. Do we know that we are questioned for everything we do, think, and possess?

The Prophet of Islam is reported to have said:

“The two feet of the son of Adam will not move on the Day of Judgment in front of his Lord until he is asked about five things: his life and how he spent it; his youth and what he consumed in it; his money, and how he earned it and what he spent it on; and how much he acted upon what he knew!” (At-Tirmidhi, 2416)

Supplication of the Prophet

The Prophet of Islam, as a man bestowed with Divine knowledge, wisdom and mercy, supplicated often asking Allah,

“Oh Allah! I seek your refuge from the evils of the trials of wealth, and the evils of the trials of poverty.” (Abu Dawud, 1481)


About Raya Shokatfard

Raya Shokatfard holds an MA in Journalism/Mass Communications and an M.A.D. in TV journalism. BA in Communication and BA in Islamic Studies. She has been Islamic propagator in the U.S and Egypt for many years and academic lecturer, writer, international presenter, consultant, foreign correspondent. She can be reached at: raya4peace@gmail.com

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