The Fighter of Luxury and Worldly Temptations
Abu Dharr’s (RA) story is the story of the highway robber who became an ascetic and a preacher during the life of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the conscience of the rulers of the Islamic State after the death of the Messenger of Allahﷺ. Abu Dharr (RA) was among the first people to accept Islam. His status in the eyes of Allah (SWT) is made clear by the words of our beloved Prophetﷺ: “No one walking on the earth and under the sky is more truthful than Abu Dharr.” [Ibn Majah].
Once a man visited Abu Dharr (RA) and began looking at the contents of his house but found it quite bare. He asked Abu Dharr, “Where are your possessions?”. “We have a house yonder (meaning the Hereafter)” said Abu Dharr, “to which we send the best of our possessions”. The man understood what he meant and said, “But you must have some possessions so long as you are in this abode”. “The owner of this abode will not leave us in it” replied Abu Dharr (RA).
After the Prophet ﷺ passed away and during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (RA) and then Umar (RA), the Muslims had come into many riches from the lands which had joined under the banner of Islam. Many of the Muslims who were rich had started getting too involved in worldly matters and some rulers even began treating Muslims in an incorrect manner and started favoring themselves over others. They began collecting wealth for themselves and overlooked the needy. Abu Dharr (RA) could not keep silent when faced with such corruption and abuse of power and began preaching to the rulers to be just to the people and to distribute the wealth and resources among Muslims on an equal basis.
He was often found reciting the following verses of Surah Taubah:
And those who hoard up gold and silver and spend them not in the way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment. The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said], “This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard.
(Al Qur’an; Chapter 9: Verses 34-35)
What beautiful lessons we can draw from such a man who stood like a mountain against the winds of injustice. We should constantly be reminding ourselves of what we are sending ahead of us to our “bank account” in the Aakhirah (Hereafter), rather than how much we are accumulating in the banks of this world which we will eventually leave behind.
The average age of people of our Ummah as mentioned by our Prophet ﷺ is 60-70 years while some will die even younger. We need to humble ourselves and learn from our pious predecessors, such as Abu Dharr (RA), who was humble in his needs of this world yet strong in his desire of equality among the people. He advocated fair distribution of wealth to take care of the orphans and needy whilst constantly reminding the wealthy of the trials and torments of the Akhirah (Hereafter) if they do not abide with the commandments of Allah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ.
Such are the lives of Allah’s ﷻ beloved. Instead of following the desires of this world, they focus on spending towards what pleases their Creator knowing that the promise of their Lord is true. Such should be our case as well, if we truly believe, because spending in the way of Allah only increases our wealth in the true sense.
Whoever desires the harvest of the Hereafter – We increase for him in his harvest. And whoever desires the harvest of this world – We give him thereof, but there is not for him in the Hereafter any share.
(Al Qur’an; Chapter 42: Verses 20)