The Egyptian Pharaohs, Qarun and Abu Lahab are names that were mentioned in the holy Quran. They were rich, powerful but disobey Allah’s command. What happened to them? They were buried under their own arrogance and disobedienceAmongst the many Pharaohs, Ramses II is the longest reigning pharaoh who was the worst of them all. He was so merciless and arrogant that he even proclaimed himself as god despite being advised against it by Prophet Moses AS. He drowned in the Red Sea while in hot pursuit of Prophet Moses and his followers.
Qarun, on the other hand is the richest man during the time of Prophet Moses. The numerous keys to his enormous factories can only be carried by the strongest amongst men. But he is too perished together with his own arrogance and selfishness when a massive earthquake occurs as a result of his misdeeds.
Abu Lahab is the uncle of Prophet Muhammad saw. He too is a rich man but harbours hatred towards Islam. Together with his wife, they instigated the residents of Makkah to hate Islam and planned to assassinate Prophet Muhammad saw. Due to his misdeeds, he died a painful death.
History is full with records of people who are powerful but arrogance. But when disaster hits them, they perished together with their arrogance.
Al Quran explains that power and greatness exist when man with potential work hard to achieve it. Everyone can achieve power and greatness so long as he sets his mission right and work towards meeting his objectives.
Human potentials were illustrated in the holy Quran and Allah says in surah At- Tin verse 5: “Verily, We created man in the best stature (mould).”
Psychologists discover that the human’s achievements could be measured in two areas.
Firstly the Intelligent Quotient, better known as IQ or the level of intelligent. Secondly, the Emotional Quotient or also known as EQ.
In Islam both values need to be based on Allah’s guidance. It is because only Allah is the greatest and the most powerful. Everything that human owned is due to Allah’s blessings and permission. Without Allah’s guidance, human with high IQ or EQ could end up like the Pharaohs, Qarun and Abu Lahab of the present or the future.
Normally, human’s greatness is often seen from the three factors that comprised of Status, Wealth, and Woman. Once a leader in this region ever said that, the three factors should serve as a reminder to us. Unfortunately, the said leader too succumbed to the temptations of one of the three factors that later leads to his disgraceful downfall.
Now : Question is, can we Muslims acquire wealth and power?
In fact Allah swt encourages Muslim to compete against each other for his blessings in this world and the hereafter. Allah says in surah Al Jumaah verse 10: “ And when the solat is ended, you may disperse through the land and seek the Bounty of Allah (by working) and remember Allah much; that you may be successful.”
So who is the greatest amongst men? Based on research by the western scholars including an intellectual by the named of Michael Hart, had placed Prophet Muhammad saw as the greatest man of all time. The greatness of Rasulullah was captured in Al Quran and that he is the lead example of all righteousness. As such Rasulullah befits the position of a role model for all mankind to emulate.
It is true that Allah created Rasulullah as an illiterate or ummiy. But despite his illiteracy, he proved to be an efficient and honest businessman. Which is why his own employer, the rich lady named Siti Khadijah proposed marriage to him.
In his effort to propagate the teachings of Islam, many of his wealth including those belonging to his wife were being sacrificed. When Muslims won several battles and a sizeable amount of wealth were collected, Rasulullah donated all the proceeds to be used as wakaf properties.
Despite being the “ruler” due to the expansion of the Islamic empire in the Arabian peninsula, Rasulullah still lead a very average life. He often helps his wifes with the household chores and he even sew his own clothes whenever it is torn.
Rasulullah advocates the liberation of women’s status. During those times, women are often treated like a commodity and not like human beings, as it should be. Rasulullah only remarried long after the demised of his first wife and the marriage was for the purpose of looking into the well being of the women whom either has lost their husbands in the battles or were previously slaves.
That goes with his shahabats. They too follow the examples set by Rasulullah saw. Abu Bakar As-Siddiq, Umar, Osman bin Affan, Ali, Abdur Rahman ‘Auf dan many other wealthy Muslims spend to their last gold and silver to liberate slaves and towards the propagation of Islamic dakwah. They too lead a simple life. They treat their wealth as their slaves but never being slaved by their wealth.
We are fortunate that the effort or gifts from the very few wealthy Muslims of the past?
Their contributions will be remembered forever..
Indeed, we wish that Muslims were not only wealthy but also a role model for its own community and mankind. Unfortunately, very few successful Muslims are great philanthropists. On the other hand, amongst millions of Muslims all over the world, every 7 out of 10 lives in poverty.
A lot needs to be done to ensure that our generations will achieve greatness although not necessarily be rich. We aspire to be someone who is known as a great contributor to Islam and the community. Lets follow the examples of Rasulullah, the sahabats and other prominent Islamic scholars who have left behind an enormous legacy to us.
Firstly, we should always set our aims high and be motivated to achieve it successfully.
Secondly, we should constantly strive in acquiring new knowledge and expertise in fulfilling the need of our job.
In our effort to achieve success, always bear in mind that we should constantly be thankful to Allah for His blessings and refrain from any misdeeds like cheating and bribery. Showing gratitude to Allah is not confined to only performing solat. But it includes parting some of our wealth by means of giving zakat, donation, wakaf, setting up a foundation or trust fund and etc. Allah says in surah Al Baqarah verse 195: “And spend (your wealth) in the cause of Allah and do not throw yourselves into destruction and do good. Truly, Allah loves the good doers (Al Muhsinun).”