Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Teachings of Islam
Wealth is one of life’s necessities. But it is not life’s goal. If wealth is necessary to fulfill life’s material requirements, then it must be acquired as the mainstay of human existence. But if wealth is projected as life’s goal and its ever-increasing acquisition is considered the most important task, then it can become a source of great misery, which will destroy its seekers not only in this world but also in the Hereafter.
Man has to live in this world for a certain period of time. For this, he requires some material facilities, which may serve as a support in his life. The majority of these things must be purchased with money. So it is essential for everyone to provide himself with the means to do so. In this respect wealth is a precious asset for all of us.
But perhaps a more important acquisition is that of knowledge. Without knowledge man cannot strive for spiritual progress; he cannot play a positive role in the construction of humanity. He has to acquire knowledge so that he may live in society as a useful and beneficial part of it.
This indeed is a much more worthy goal than the simple acquisition of wealth. But the attainment of this goal is possible only when man devotes the greater part of his energies towards reaching it. The activities of earning money have to be kept within a certain limit and only then will he find time to attain this nobler goal.
Money may fulfill the physical or material needs of man. But it is not sufficient to fulfill his spiritual and intellectual needs. One who makes the acquisition of wealth his life’s goal, will of course, continue to receive bodily nourishment, but his soul will all the while have been starving. The intellectual part of his mind, remaining continuously in an under-nourished state, will finally cease to exist.
That is why wealth is called fitna (source of trial, that is, it is given to man as a test). The proper use of money leads man to all kind of progress, whereas the wrong use of it casts man headlong into the pit of destruction.