By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan Rimlawi
In the era of Prophet Musa, his people used to suffer from two persons. The first is Pharaoh who turned them into slaves, which made the Prophet include in his demand to take the children of Israel with him freeing them of their slavery and all the practices of Pharaoh who used to kill their children and enslave their women.
This is demonstrated by what Musa said to Pharaoh when they started thief long debate. And is it a favor of which you remind me that you have enslaved the children of Israel.
And we know how Allah sent Musa to Pharaoh to ask him to believe in God, while Pharaoh claimed that he himself was God, encouraged by his rule over the whole of Egypt. But Pharaoh's end was that Allah drowned him in the sea, having gathered his army to chase Musa, But Allah enabled Musa to cross the sea, while he gave the body of Pharaoh to his people to learn a lesson and to know that he is no god. "This day, shall we save thee in the body".
Another personality of Musa's people is that of Qaroun, the very rich man who exploited the poor and the downtrodden. He used to show off and act arrogantly. But some of the people whom he wronged were wise; they were not influenced by his wealth, nor did they see it as a privilege. Rather they believed that he exploited this wealth to boost his position and act in arrogant manner, like most of those who have enormous wealth, whether individuals groups or states.
Such people were afraid of the calls of the prophets, since it might encourage the downtrodden to rebel against them. The Quran who considered these as self-indulgent have mentioned this attitude in several ayahs. It quotes them as saying: we do not see any have followed you but those who are the meanest of us. This is the mentality which governs the major powers who have huge wealth that they had usurped from the Third world during the colonial period. The luxury the West enjoys now is a result of depending on the wealth of the downtrodden.
Those are the Qarouns of our age. Qarouns whom the Quran talked about is not an ordinary man. He is a model of arrogant people, whom we might find people like in our Muslim community, who get rich as a result of exploiting workers peasants and the people who have certain needs or rights.
Let us read what Allah says about this personality. Surely Qaroun was of the people of Musa, but he acted insolently towards them- he was able to make a fortune by exploiting his people.
“And We had given him of the treasures, so much so that his hoards of wealth would certainly weigh down a company of men possessed of great strength. When his people said to him – who did not fall under his influence and who were wise and wanted to advise him : Do not exult, surely Allah does not love the exultant; do not be arrogant , for Allah wants us to use our wealth in doing good”.
And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode- there is an end for all this ; a day when you will be held accountable and do not neglect your portion of this world – you are a man who has certain needs which Allah wants you to attain , but by lawful means - and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you- Allah has given you the chance to make all that money , and you have to return this favor by being good to the people . Your physical, mental and materialistic potential are but Allah’s trust which you should use in helping His servants.
Thus, just as man should use these potentials to promote his personal interests, he should use it to reduce the pains of others and help them reach a higher level: and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers. Do not use your money in harming others and trade in prohibited goods; as some do in the South Suburb, when they sell wine and drugs or other goods that create ethical and social corruption.
Then there are those whom I always warn from; who import frozen meat and sell it as fresh and lawful. Those people you are not allowed, from the religious point of view, to buy from them because they are selling the meat of dead animals.
I say to all my brothers and sisters. Any restaurant that offers wine should by boycotted, and any shop that sells frozen meat is prohibited to buy from him.
Any butcher who sells meat that Allah's name was not mentioned when the animals were slaughtered; you should boycott him.
Boycott also all what has to do with political corruption such as buying your votes or your conscience or any attempts to fall under the influence of the rich who are used by the foreigners in order to dominate people.
What was Qaroun’s reaction to all that. He said: I have been given this only on account of the knowledge I have. I am clever and know how to make money. But is this money going to last forever? Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him of the generations of those who were mightier in strength than he and greater in assemblage? And the guilty shall not be asked about their faults.
So he went forth to his people in his finery – to impress the people. Those who desire this world's life said: O would that we had the like of what Qaroun is given; most surely he is possessed of mighty good fortune.
And those who were given the knowledge said: Woe to you! Allah's reward is better for him who believes and does good. Money perishes, and none is made to receive this except the patient. Who tolerates deprivation and hardship, and do not fall but continue to obey Allah
Thus:“We made the earth to swallow up him and his abode; so he had no body of helpers to assist him against Allah nor was he of those who can defend themselves. And those who wished to be like him realized how mistaken they were and that it is Allah’s satisfaction that counts.
And those who yearned for his place only the day before began to say: Ah! (know) that Allah amplifies and straitens the means of subsistence for whom He pleases of His servants; had not Allah been gracious to us, He would most surely have abased us; ah! (know) that the ungrateful are never successful. (As for) that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil).”
These are supplies we ought to provide ourselves with and this is what we should compete in.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.