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The poor may also smile

However, the prophet (SAW) educated them about the fallacy in their assumption. The prophet (SAW) informed them of several non-material acts of worship which the…

However, the prophet (SAW) educated them about the fallacy in their assumption. The prophet (SAW) informed them of several non-material acts of worship which the poor could do to earn as much (if not more) reward as may be merited by the rich. They include, as mentioned by the prophet (SAW): exchange of pleasantries; settling dispute between two individuals; helping someone to mount on to his beast or hoisting on to it his baggage; removing something harmful from the path and a good speech.

Muslim relates in the twenty-fifth hadith of Annawawi’s collection of forty traditions that Abu Dharr said some people from among the companions of the prophet (SAW) said to him (the prophet): “O Messenger of Allah! The rich people take off all the rewards. They say prayer just as we do; and then they can give in charity out of the super abundance of their wealth (and thus surpass us in piling up meritorious deeds that will earn rewards for them)”. He (the prophet) said: “Has not Allah given you what you can give in charitable alms? Truly, in every tasbih (Saying “Subhan-Allah”), there is an alms; in every tahmid (saying “Alhamdulillah”), there is an alms; In every tahliI (saying “La ilaha illa-llah”), there is an alms; in every exhortation of others to doing what is right or forbidding the doing of what is wrong, there is an alms; even when one of you maritally approaches his wife, there is an alms in that;…..”

Many people, today, out of a narrow-minded perception of life and one-sided view of existence still believe that it is only the rich that smile. They also suppose that it is only the poor and poor alone that suffer. Such people equally think that the rich have no cause to experience adversities in life which in their erroneous view remain the exclusive experience of the poor. However, the realities of the lives of those at the two extremes of surplus and paucity reveal that while the rich may sometimes cry regardless of their material comfort, the poor may at times also have a cause to smile.

In the same way that it is not always happiness with the rich who have all the good things of life which money can buy, it is also not a rule that displeasure, distress and discomfort are permanent features of the poor. You may lack wealth; a good house to live in; a good car or none at all; yet, your mind may be at rest more than that of the rich who seemingly have less or nothing to worry about in life. Many of us always forget that uneasy lies the head of the wealthy. The rich, surprisingly, may have so more to worry about than the poor.  A philosopher once said, “The problems of many people begin as soon as their prayers are answered”. With a large conglomeration of companies, ware houses, huge bank accounts, on-going contracts, employees’ emoluments; and assorted business ventures; the mind of the rich is under persistent pressure of how to make his business grow bigger or sustained at least. The larger a business enterprise is, the heavier the psychological stress bore by the owner. While the rich may be worried about the security of his wealth and property, the poor who of course have little or nothing of business interests, to be secured or protected, is free from the anxieties of the threats posed by various business risks. Bankruptcy, when it manifests, is another crisis that burdens the heart of the rich. We find in this a cause for the poor to smile.

Little do some of us remember that “not all that glitters is gold”. The recent publication of a list of Nigerians whose huge financial indebtedness of about N53 billion ran some banks in the country down into distress, is food for thought. Very many who do not have the capacity to pay back the bank loans have since become hypertensive.  Most of the worries that occupy the mind of the rich, which sometimes lead to cardiac arrest or other illness associated with worries, hardly visit the heart of the poor. A poor individual that lacks collateral with which to secure a bank loan is free from anxieties of unpaid banks loans, and therefore may wish to smile and even laugh. There could be wisdom in Allah’s decision to make a person poor.

 Power and money have today become Siamese twins that (as it appears) can only be fathered or mothered by the rich. But, if we may ask, is it not better to be without either of the “Siamese” than to have a child that would lead to destruction? We consider it certainly better to remain smiling without a child than to have one that would be a regrettable source of permanent grief. This reminds us of Khidr and his voyage with prophet Musa (AS) during which Khidr, acting upon a divine authority, slew a young man who was an outlaw and whose parents were worthy pious people. Having slain the young man, it was desired as stated in Qur’an 18:81 that “Their Lord would give them in exchange (a son) better in purity (of conduct)”. May Allah (SWT) grant us the blessings of a peaceful mind regardless of our socio-economic situations, amin.

The close of Rajab

It is barely less than a week from today to the end of Rajab, the seventh month in the chronological order of the Islamic calendar. We remind believers of the sacredness of this month and the need to indulge in meritorious acts of worship. Both Bukhari and Muslim report that there is a river in al-Jannah which has a color brighter than milk and a taste sweeter than honey. This river, it is said, is preserved for believers who fast at least a day in the month of Rajab. May Allah (SWT) give us the ability to fast for some days in this month, amin.