Greed is the Enemy of the Soul
Greed is the excess fondness of money and fortune. It is one of the bad manners that draw to various evils and sins.
Amir ul-Mu'minin (A.S) said: “Know with certainty that you cannot achieve your desire and cannot exceed your destined life. You are on the track of those before you. Therefore, be humble in seeking and moderate in earning because often seeking leads to deprivation. Every seeker of livelihood does not get it, nor is everyone who is moderate in seeking deprived. “(1)
Imam Hassan (A.S) said: “People’s perdition lies in three things: arrogance, greed, and envy. Arrogance is the perdition of the religion. Because of arrogance, Eblis (2) was cursed. Greed is the enemy of the soul. Because of greed, Adam was dismissed from Paradise. Envy is the pioneer of evil. Because of envy, Cain killed Abel –the two sons of Adam--.”
Imam Baqir (A.S) said: “In his love for the world, the greedy is like the silkworm: the more it wraps in its cocoon, the less it has of escaping from it, until it dies of grief.” (3)
Imam Sadiq (A.S) said: “If son of Adam were to possess two valleys of gold and silver, he would long for a third. Son of Adam, your stomach is but an ocean or a valley that cannot be filled in with anything except dust.” (4)
“The destruction that the fondness of fortune leaves on a man is more effective than the deed of two ravenous wolves that attack a shepherdless herd””one from the front and the other from the back. The Muslim’s honor, however, lies in his religiosity.” (5)
Disadvantages of Greed
Greed enslaves man and causes him grief. The greedy cares only for collecting fortunes without stopping at any limit. Whenever he achieves a goal, he works for achieving another and, so, he becomes the slave of avidity until death strikes him. He, also, exerts laborious efforts for collecting riches, but he is the less beneficiary. He tires for gaining fortunes, but death comes unexpectedly upon him to deprive him of enjoying that fortune. The heirs, then, enjoy his fortune so easefully. Furthermore, greed takes to the slips of sinful matters that produce problematic situations in the world to come. It also hinders from doing charity.
Treatment of Greed
* It is necessary to keep in mind the disadvantages and the worldly and religious inconveniences of greed and to remember that man will be interrogated about the legally gotten pleasures of this world, punished for the illegally gotten, and blamed for the suspicious.
* It is necessary to ponder over the aforementioned virtues of satisfaction, contemplating the life accounts of the great personalities, such as the prophets, their successors, and the saints, especially in the field of asceticism.
* It is advisable to avoid looking enviously to the richer ones and those who enjoy false luxuries of this world, and to consider the less rich.
* It is necessary to achieve living moderation, for it is the most important factor that contributes in alleviating the tension of greed.
Imam Sadiq (A.S) said: “I guarantee for the moderate that he will not see poverty.”
1. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha.
2. Eblis is the name of the Devil.
3. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 152 (quoted from al-Kafi.)
4. Quoted from al-Wafi; 3/154 (as quoted from as-Saduq’s Men la Yahdhuruh ul-Faqih.)
5. Quoted from Mir’aat ul-Uqoul; 2 (The Explanation of al-Majlisi’s al-Kafi) as quoted from al-Kafi; page 303.
By: Sayyid Mahdi as-Sadr
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