What to Do with Affluence, Blessings & Privilege...

N450/600 million mansions, expensive cars, latest technological gadgetry, docile personal assistants, luxurious lifestyles…

Affluence. Authority. Power. Ease. Comfort.

The phrase “everything the heart desires... and more” probably best sums up the natural human instinct that makes us all want and wish for everything ‘good’ in life.

We all want to have a fortunate, happy life, full of blessings- intangible blessings such as honor, love, happiness, peace, popularity and respect, in addition to tangible ones, such as health, good looks, a beautiful home, a loving family, lots of friends, money, a successful career, and swanky material comforts that make our life easier to live.

We all want to live a happy, comfortable life free of misfortunes and hardships.

Suppose that you had it all. Just close your eyes and imagine for a moment that you have everything that anyone could possibly ask for in this life, in addition to lofty levels of faith and righteous deeds as well.

In fact, imagine that you ruled over a dominion so vast that hitherto no one had been granted anything like it before; that you could travel within seconds to any place you wanted to visit in the world, without a ticket or a visa?

What would you do?

Father and son, Prophets Dawud (David) and Sulaiman (Solomon) (peace be upon them) were granted such blessings (and more) by Allah, in great abundance.

They had kingship, dominion, political authority, power, palaces, troops and armies (of men, jinn, and animals) at their disposal, in addition to prophethood and deep knowledge/understanding of Deen, and other special blessings,- the likes of which no one else has ever been granted in this world. (Tafsir ibn Kathir)

Let’s take a look at the way they behaved, how they lived, and what they did with these blessings, after being granted so much fadl (extra, surplus) from Allah.

Blessings Should Lead to Gratefulness & Humility

In the Quran, Allah has mentioned that He granted Prophet Dawud special excellence in this world.

Here are a few blessings that Prophet Dawud had been exclusively granted: a beautiful and melodious voice with which he used to glorify Allah in the natural surroundings; having animals and mountains repeat after his singing of Allah’s praises.

Iron was softened for him by Allah so that he could fashion metallic garments (made of chain mail, not plated armor) for warriors to wear while fighting. He was himself a very strong and able warrior who fought to uphold the rule of Allah’s Deen on earth.

According to Tafsir ibn Kathir, Prophet Dawud didn’t need to heat or beat iron in order to twist it and mold it in shape. He could do it with his bare hands, like one twists a rope or thread. This was a special gift for him from Allah.

As for Sulaiman, his son, who was also a Prophet of Allah: he was granted the ability to travel long distances in a very short time, due to Allah making the winds subservient to his command. This should not be difficult for us to understand at all in this day and age, when our planes, jets, and rockets are able to transport us and our heavy goods across oceans and continents in less than a day.

At that time, when men were traveling on foot or on animal back for days and months on end in order to reach a destination, Prophet Sulaiman was able to reach anywhere in a jiffy because of the wind being under his control.

Also, Prophet Sulaiman had armies of jinn who worked for him day and night to construct many large things, such as huge indoor cisterns and cauldrons. Allah would Himself punish any jinn from Sulaiman’s troops who’d digress from his work, byburning him.

Allah mentions these unique, exclusive blessings in the Quran, and commands the family and people of Prophet Dawud to give thanks to Him for them:

{Labor, O David’s people, in gratitude and few are the truly grateful among My servants!} (34:13)

Indeed, the point for all of us to heed via the example of Prophet Dawud is to not just bring to mind all the special privileges, abilities and blessings that Allah had granted him (and his family) beyond the kind of things most wealthy and affluent people among mankind are granted today, but to also note how he showed gratitude to Allah for them.

Prophet Dawud would show his gratitude to Allah for blessings by increasing in nafl(extra) acts of worship. He would use his beautiful voice to go out and sing Allah’s praises in nature, which the mountains and birds then echoed after him.

He would pray supererogatory prayers during the night and fast supererogatory fasts on every alternate day.

Abdullah ibn Amr narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,

“The most beloved of prayer to Allah is the prayer of Dawud. He used to sleep for half the night, stand in prayer for a third of it and sleep for a sixth of it. The most beloved of fasting to Allah is the fasting of Dawud. He used to fast for a day then not fast for a day, and he never fled the battlefield.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim, 187)

Many a time in today’s contemporary world, it is very surprising for most people to discover someone who is extremely wealthy, powerful, influential, popular and talented, to also be very religious and Allah-fearing.

This is because most of the time, an abundance of resources such as wealth, power, political authority, money, social prestige, influence over the masses, and possession of special privileges - leads to a person’s or group’s moral degradation and corruption over time.

It is therefore not uncommon to witness wealthy and influential people move away from religion and its practice as the worldly favors of Allah increase upon them, and to witness them decline into moral decadence, sinfulness, and arrogance instead of increasing in their worship, servitude, and gratitude towards Allah.

This is a sad reality, because the examples of Prophets Dawud and Sulaiman clearly teach us the opposite lesson that the more we receive extra, exclusive worldly favors and blessings of Allah (which other people do not possess), the more we should increase in humility and righteousness, and the more we should show gratitude to Allah, by not just increasing our personal nafl acts of worship, but by also using all of these special blessings only in the service and pursuit of Allah’s pleasure.

So, for example, if a Muslim today notices that Allah has given him or her deep understanding/knowledge of Deen, physical strength, a melodious voice, a successful career, money, vast troops of servile and dutiful subordinates/employees/servants, multitudes of properties (real estate), automobiles/private jets/ships, political power/clout, great influence over people, and special talents/skills/abilities that allow him/her to perform laborious tasks more quickly and easily than others, then they should acknowledge the favors of Allah upon them by increasing in worship and showing gratitude in their righteous and positive use of these blessings.

It is very important, therefore, for the more powerful, wealthy, knowledgeable and influential Muslims today to keep a stern and watchful check upon their personal acts of worship: have these increased or decreased with the abundance of Allah’s blessings and favors upon them?

Conclusion: Justice and Repentance

In the end, I would like to highlight one more important aspect of the desired effect of power, privilege and affluence upon a righteous believer, once again from Prophet Dawud’s example.

Once, Prophet Dawud was busy praying in his private chamber, or Mihrab, when two men who wanted him to resolve a dispute between them climbed over its walls and entered it without his permission (Tafsir ibn Kathir).

Most readers go into the details of the dispute itself, whereas the mention of this incident in the Quran brings more to light the humility of Prophet Dawud, who didn’t have the two ‘trespassers’ who entered his private property without permission evicted, by immediately summoning a member of his massive troops to get rid of them before giving them a sympathetic ear, for which they both appealed.

Once he had heard them out, he executed justice between them, and as soon as he did that, something made him realize that Allah had in fact tested him through their dispute.

As soon as he realized this, he fell to the ground in prostration (sujud) of repentance, asking Allah for forgiveness.

How many powerful leaders and presidents do we know of today, who’d behave the same way if two ‘common’ men were to enter their private office/suite without their permission?

Would the common man even trust one of today’s leaders to judge between them with justice?


Curled with mild editing from onislam.net


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