“O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Quran, ordering all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences, etc.) in your breasts, – a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things, etc.) for the believers.Say: “In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Quran); -therein let them rejoice.” That is better than what (the wealth) they amass.” (Al-Qur’an, Surah Yunus,Ch.10: Verses 55-58) (Muhsin Khan Translation)
Those who were first to receive the Qur’ān recognized this superior value. Hence
`Umar denied that the camels and cattle he, as the ruler of the Muslim state, received in land tax were aspects of the bounty and grace God bestowed on them, and for which they should rejoice. `Umar had a keen insight into the Islamic faith. Hence, he realized that the most important aspects of God’s grace and bounty were what God had revealed to them: an admonition from their Lord, a cure for what is in people’s hearts, as well as guidance and mercy for believers. Material wealth had nothing to do with it. They appreciated the great change which Islam had brought about in their lives. They were able to remove themselves from the abyss of ignorance to something far superior.
Islam brings about people’s freedom from enslavement to others, and ensures
their submission to God alone. This determines that their concepts, values, morals and manners are placed on a much higher level. Their whole life is transformed from bondage to freedom. Material provisions, facilities and power all come as a result of such freedom, as happened in the history of the early Muslims. When they gained power and became the undisputed masters, they showed the rest of humanity how to believe in God, so that they too would enjoy what God bestows of His grace.
Those who lay too much emphasis on material values are the enemies of
humanity. What they advocate is not promoted with good intent. Rather, what they want is to destroy the values inculcated by faith and the belief which makes people aspire to something higher than animal needs, without overlooking their own human needs. It gives them further necessities which they seek to fulfil together with their needs for food, shelter and sex.
Much fuss is being made of material values and production, making them
people’s central preoccupation. Thus human beings become no more than machines,whilst spiritual and moral values are lost and trampled on. Yet this does not come about by itself; it is all according to an elaborate plan which seeks to replace old idols with new ones, and treat these as the supreme power that controls all values.
When material production is thus transformed into an idol around which people
turn in reverence, all values and considerations, including morality, family, honour, freedom and security, are sacrificed for its sake. Nothing is allowed to have a negative effect on material production. If anyone disputes that this is a worshipped idol, let him tell us what a worshipped idol is like. It is not necessary that idols be made of stone or wood. An idol may take the form of a certain value, a concept or principle.
The supreme value then must continue to be assigned to God’s bounty and grace,
epitomized in His guidance which cures people’s hearts, gives them their freedom
and attaches more importance to human values. Under this supreme value,people can continue to enjoy, and benefit from, the provisions God has given them and thematerial comforts generated by industrialization. They will feel their burden
lightened by such comforts, but they will be free of the pressures characteristic of jāhiliyyah societies.
Without such a supreme value, material provisions, facilities and production
become a curse that brings misery and distress to all humanity. In the absence of this supreme value, these are used to enhance animal values and needs at the expense of human ones. God certainly tells the truth as He says: “O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Quran, ordering all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences, etc.) in your breasts, – a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things, etc.) for the believers.Say: “In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Quran); -therein let them rejoice.” That is better than what (the wealth) they amass” (Verses 57-58)