08 July 2019 CE | 06 Dhul-Qadah 1440 AH

Hadith Explanation

Confused By Prosperity

Once when Umar (radi Allahu anhu) was in the house of Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wasallam) he looked around and saw nothing of importance except three hides. He narrated, “So I said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Invoke Allah to make your followers rich, for the Persians and the Romans have been made prosperous and they have been given (the pleasures of the world), although they do not worship Allah.' Thereupon the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wasallam) sat up, as he had been reclining, and said, 'Are you of such an opinion, O son of Al-Khattab? These are the people who have received the rewards for their good deeds in this world.' I said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Ask Allah to forgive me.'” [Sahih Bukhari]

Unfortunately, many Muslims today get similarly confused by the prosperity that they see non-Muslims in. They say that it is the non-Muslims who must be the beloved of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) as they have been bestowed with His favours. It is implied that the non-Muslims should now be our role models. Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wasallam) states in this hadith, as does Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) in the Quran, that whatever qualities the non-Muslims have, they will be recompensed for them in this world, since they have no share in the Hereafter. On the other hand, the main reward of the Muslims is saved for the Hereafter.

Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) says that if this world had any importance in His eyes, He would not have given the disbelievers even a mouthful of water to drink! What they are getting in this life is in no ways any kind of reward. Reward and punishment is for the next, never-ending life. This life is the examination hall. If a teacher has been teaching her students all year that 2+2=4 and she notices some students writing 2+2=6, she will not correct them during the exam. It is when they get their reports that they will be rewarded or face the consequences for their lack of effort. During the examination she will not be rewarding or punishing those who are excelling or those who are failing.

Furthermore, the prosperity of Muslim societies in this worldly life will never happen, by their only having the qualities of the Kuffar. No matter how hardworking, honest, scientifically advanced, or punctual Muslims become, their socieites will not prosper if eeman and the implementation of Islam/Shariah are missing. This is because Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) holds Muslims to a higher standard. A student of Masters level and a PhD student may both be taking the same Chemistry course, but for the Masters student the 'A' may be given at 80% while for the PhD student, obtaining 90% or above will get him/her the same grade. In the same way, since Muslims have guidance with them, they are held to a higher standard.

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