Woe to every slanderer and defamer, who amasses wealth and keeps on counting It; He thinks that his wealth will insure his status forever!; By no means! He shall be thrown into hell of Hutamah…(Q104:1-9)
Brethren, one of such ‘Alfas’ is the heir of a Shaykh who transited to the great beyond a couple of years ago. The day the Shaykh died, he left behind a ‘big’ estate which comprised a room and parlour, a library stocked with rare collections in Arabic-Islamic scholarship and a wardrobe full of garments that were popular in the mid-fifties. The Shaykh died and left no bank account. But today his heir now has an estate. He has close to forty houses all around our cities. He has millions of naira in different accounts in our banks. Yet, he refers to himself as an Almajir- a pauper. Yes he is poor. He is poor at heart. Those who are poor at heart would never find contentment in life. Their contentment is suspended till the day they shall bid the world bye.
Sister! It was a brother who, in a text message, initially expressed his concern on the evils that these Alfas are wrecking on our society and their corrosive impacts on the spiritual capital of the Ummah. But why would you not be concerned when an Alfa tells you that he knows the magic that can make a millionaire out of you overnight? How would you not be concerned when you are told that one of the rituals you would engage in is to hold on to your groin each time you stand up in prayer to the Almighty? How would you not be concerned when you hear an Alfa address an audience saying that once you do the above, a Jinn would be assigned to you and its task would be to bring millions of naira to you every passing day? Brethren, when shall our society destroy the cathedral of money? When shall we stop our patronage of these prosperity-preachers?
It was during the course of my academic work that I chanced upon the statement of Shaykh Mahmud Ahmed in which he equally laments how the modern society has become hostage to money. According to him, in any society in which success is measured in terms of money “our native propensity towards emulation takes on a pecuniary twist.” We cultivate the manners of the rich. We indulge in social frivolities and keep pace with the changing styles. We aspire for “conspicuous leisure” and feel elated with the practice of “conspicuous waste”. Now if “conspicuous leisure” is the pinnacle of our attainment and “conspicuous waste” the ultimate end of culture, the best way to attain both is to join the rank of bond holders.
Brethren! Is it not true that our sense of beauty now carries the dollar mark? Is it not true that the costlier a thing is the more handsome it appears to us today? Is it not true that whenever we desire to applaud the emotional qualities of a man, we say he has a heart of gold and whenever we wish to praise the smile of a graceful woman we call it a million dollar smile?
Brethren, one ‘good’ thing that is happening now is that there are no differences between our billionaires and our prosperity-preachers anymore. All of them now live in closed and encased mansions. Remember that such mansions are not in anyway different from our prison yards and detention camps. To be in public prison is to be in forceful isolation and confinement; to live among millionaires and billionaires today is to be in detention by choice!
Thus, brother you and I have a decision to take- either a life of sanity – one in which you would be in peace and at peace with yourself, your neighbor, the world and your creator; or a life of excessive material accumulation at the end of which you would become a priest in the chapel of Shaytan.
Rabiah al-Adawiyyah was asked about what she saw when she visited hell. She responded saying: “there is no fire in hell; all the occupiers would bring their hell with them on the day of resurrection.”
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Ayinde Oladosu Ph.D is a professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, Nigeria