Aspects of Virtue, Material Issues, Principles of Spirituality in the Family (1)

Aspects of Virtue, Material Issues, Principles of Spirituality in the Family (1)

The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Whoever marries and visits his relatives for the sake of God, God shall attend to him by placing a crown like that of the angels on his head.(1)

The Sincerity of One's Intentions

These wise and important words have been reported on the authority of the Prophet (Pbuh): Whoever marries to please Allah and establish a family, God will adorn his head with the crown of angels. Marriage produces numerous benefits: the loving-kindness of a wife and a husband; relief from loneliness; increase in one's daily sustenance; the happiness of two families; maintaining half of one's religion; attaining God's satisfaction; sexual pleasure; having children in one's life and finding support in life, etc. In addition to all these benefits, if one marries for the sake of God and with the best of intentions, then due to his good intentions he has engaged in a great act of worship. Marriage will make him equal in worth to angels and a crown like that of the angels will adorn his head.

Why not act in such a way that God's acceptance illuminates it and places a high most value on it? From the very beginning, let's base the foundation of marriage and the establishment of a new life upon sincerity. Our men and women must give their total attention to this matter so that both the worldly and spiritual aspects of their lives will enjoy the attention, mercy and acceptance of Allah. Imam Ali (Pbuh) has been narrated as having said that none of our acts is of a higher value than the ones accepted by God. This has been narrated in the book Al-Mavaez al-Adadiyah.

The Peak of Sincere Intention

Considering this matter, pay special attention to this very amazing story told by the Prophet Moses (Pbuh) (Musa ibn Umran). One day Moses (Pbuh) watered the Prophet Jethro's flocks of sheep and then in return Jethro (Pbuh) invited him to come home with him. Moses entered that great Prophet's house where the table was already spread for dinner. Jethro requested the young man to sit down for dinner. Moses replied that he could not partake of the food, so Jethro asked Moses if he was hungry. Moses replied he was hungry, but was afraid that the dinner before him was in recompense for his previous good deed. He said we are of a family who will not even exchange a bit of our good deeds for the Hereafter, even an earth full of pure gold. Jethro said: "O, young man! I swear to God that this was not what I had in mind when inviting you to dinner.

I didn't intend to recompense your divine deed with food from my table. It is my father's and my custom to entertain guests and serve them food. After this discussion, Moses sat down at the table to eat.(2)
Really, it is very astonishing that Moses had left Egypt some time ago and been wandering around in the wilderness, but during that time was not able to find any suitable food. He had eaten the sweet plants of the desert and upon entering Jethro's house he saw a prepared and pleasant table of food. Even though he was terribly hungry, he would not partake of the food because he thought that this deed only for God's sake (watering the sheep) might possibly be lessened in the sight of Allah. However, when Jethro insured Moses that he also intended to please God and had sincere intentions in entertaining his guest, then Moses sat down to eat. Jethro's sincerity was the reason why Moses became Jethro's shepherd for the next eight years. And Moses sincerity was the reason why the Prophet Jethro (Pbuh) became Moses's father-in-law.

The Material Issues of the House and the Family

O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of the Evil One, for he is to you an avowed enemy.(3)

The Virtues and Vices of Wealth

A man's need for property and wealth to manage his life's affairs, and especially with the burdensome responsibility of managing a family, is a completely natural need. Wealth and property, business and commerce are not in any way connected with virtue or vice when they are not related to man. For example, iron is a type of property and may be molded into many shapes. Many tools are made from it, but until man gains control over it, it is simply a material having no benefits and no evilness. Iron is beneficial when managed by a polite, dignified and noble believer. When iron falls into the hands of a rude, forgetful, lustful rogue, it becomes an evil material.

When Ibn Muljam had a sword, he could kill the Imam of the Lovers- Imam Ali (Pbuh) in the mosque. Thus, he became the worst of all people and this can be traced back to his bad spirit: And this damage is irreplaceable. When Imam Ali (Pbuh) had a sword he established and spread guidance: the reward of one time of stabbing as the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) says is superior to the all of the worship of the genie and Adam. One stroke of the sword on the day of the Battle of Khandag is superior to all the worship of the Quran and the Prophet's Household. For those adorned with divine etiquette and the Lovers of God, money and commercial goods act as a take-off platform towards Heaven and a means for acquiring His Mercy and Blessings and attaining an eternal and great reward.

Truly, wealth is the commerce for heavenly trade for believers who are noble, kind, generous, compassionate and have divine ethics. For such people, wealth serves as a vehicle driving them towards God's eternal blessings. In addition, it is a means to obtain the good of this world and the Hereafter. That is why God has called the property of one who has died "his good leftovers" in the blessed chapter of the Quran entitled Baqarah. God considers the wealth and property of a believer to be a manifestation of the belief of that believer, his nobility, generosity, mercy and passion. One-third must be spent in a good way according to his will and the remaining two-thirds are to be distributed amongst his inheritors according to the Quranic verses. Imam Sadiq (Pbuh) has said the following in interpretation of a verse in the Quranic chapter Baqara.

 "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter..."(4) The good in the Hereafter is God's Pleasure and Heaven, and the good in this life is a good temper and bountiful daily bread.(5)
Thus, we can conclude that the believers wealth and property are similar to a factory in which God's Pleasure and a musk-scented Heaven are produced. Believers earn their income through legitimate business transactions, abiding by the law and avoiding unlawful transactions. In short, they earn money through continuous lawful transactions and by obeying God. They spend their income for the expenses of their household, paying the alms-tax and the one-fifth levy. They spend the rest to help the deprived, the oppressed, the weak and to aid relatives and friends.

Spending legitimately earned income in these ways is natural and lawful and is in fact considered to be worship and obedience: Or as the Holy Quran has said - It is the good of this world and the Hereafter.
It is for this reason that wealth and property has been interpreted to be good and blessed in Allah's Book. Earning and spending it is considered to be worship for the believers and a cause of great reward and infinite divine gifts. It is interesting to hear the viewpoint of the Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) about wealth in the hands of irreligious, lustful people: Property is the material of lust, is subject to catastrophes, strengthens aspirations and entertains the inheritors. Wealth will raise the status of the owner in this world and lower it in the Hereafter.(6) The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Gold and silver destroyed those before you and will destroy you, too.(7)

He also said: For each nation there is a calf and for this nation the calf is silver and gold.(8) (the calf refers to the golden calf idol made by the Israelites). Truly, wealth enslaves those of weak faith with illegitimate lusts and excitement of their aspirations. They become base in this world and in the Hereafter, and as the Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) has commented: people began to worship the calf in the form of the worship of wealth.

Continue in the next article: ( Aspects of Virtue, Material Issues, Principles of Spirituality in the Family (2) )

NOTES:

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1. [Vasa'il Al-Shia, v.20, p.51, Al-i-Bayt Press]

2. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.13, p.21]

3. [Holy Quran: Baqara 2:168]

4. (Holy Quran: Baqara 2: 201)

5. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.71, p.383]

6. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.9, pp.277-78]

7. [Ibid]

8. [Ibid]