The ongoing and never ending ‘Nigerian corruption drama’ is a pointer to the fact that we have failed to follow Allah’s injunction as regards what we eat, earn and spend: In short, the fear of God is no more in us. Let us fear Allah with regards to what we eat and our earnings: but most important of all, the source of our wealth.
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.
Earning provisions and seeking sustenance, is something that is commanded to be done by Allah: Allah has made the day for seeking livelihood and He commanded us to walk among the slopes of the earth and eat of His provisions. He says:
Thy Lord doth know that thou standest forth [to prayer] nigh two-thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and so doth a party of those with thee. But Allah doth appoint night and day in due measure He knoweth that ye are unable to keep count thereof. So He hath turned to you [in mercy]: read ye, therefore, of the Qur’an as much as may be easy for you. He knoweth that there may be [some] among you in ill-health; others travelling through the land, seeking of Allah’s bounty; yet others fighting in Allah’s Cause, read ye, therefore, as much of the Qur’an as may be easy [for you]; and establish regular Prayer and give regular Charity; and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls ye shall find it in Allah’s Presence,- yea, better and greater, in Reward and seek ye the Grace of Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. ” (Quran 73:20).
The Prophet said: “Never has anyone eaten a better food than what he has procured through his manual work”. Bukhari. From the narrations reported about Issa (Jesus), that when he saw a man and said: “What do you do?” He said: “I am worshiping,” He said: “Who is providing for you?” he said: “My brother” he said: “Where is your brother?” he said: “In the field” He said: “Your brother is more of a worshiper to Allah than you”. This is reminiscent of those so-called worshippers we see all over the place; who go about in Soutane (worship garments) and heavy turbans on a Monday morning when all innocent people are rushing to their places of work. The same thing is noticed on our highways on working days; you see able bodied men and women turned into religious signposts advertising one revival meeting or the other, instead of being at work. When you see a church, mosque or center of worship filled to capacity on a working day, be sure, you are seeing indolent and perverse people. They are not worshiping God as Prophet Isa said. In their offices and places of work and at meetings, it is prayer before business of the day and closing prayer afterwards; even when the business of the day is on how to commit robbery. Armed and ‘pen’ robbers, kidnappers and treasury looters have been known to have their personal pastors and Alfas who intercede and stand in garth for them; sure of a bountiful harvest after the operations. We have turned worshiping God into a vocation, that has become more important than earning a living. It is this spiritual malaise that has exacerbated corruption in our society. People want to reap where they did not sow and where they do, they look for what is far above their normal income. They steal money and after that run to their church and mosque to pay tithe and Zakat from these ill-gotten monies, which the churches and mosques receive with alacrity. But, they forget that you cannot mock God; such monies cannot buy salvation.
Worship is not only by standing on your feet and praying day and night, fasting and hallucinating and going into trance in the process; while someone else goes to seek your provisions. Rather you go seek the lawful earning and worship: That is the panacea to salvation.
Being independent of people by earning lawful provisions is a great honor and strength, so much so that the Khalifa Umar Ibn Khattab said: “I would not prefer to die in a position better that a position where I am buying for my family or trading”.
Lawful earnings and sound wealth, safeguards the religion, protects one’s honor and results in a strong position. It is obvious from all these that seeking lawful provisions is desirable. Allah does not accept but what is good and lawful. Allah commanded the believers as He commanded the messengers, when He says:
O ye messengers! enjoy [all] things good and pure, and work righteousness: for I am well-acquainted with [all] that ye do.
Allah also says:
O ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him ye worship. (Quran 2:172).
Seeking lawful provisions and searching for it, is an obligation and a must for no slave’s feet will be moved on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about his wealth. How he earned it? How he spent it? It is incumbent upon every Muslim male and female to look and search for lawful provisions and chaste and pure work, to eat of the lawful and spend on the lawful.
A good example is Abubakar who had a slave who brought him some food, which he ate. After which the slave asked him if he knew from where he had gotten the food. Abubakar asked: from where did you get it? He replied: “I acted as a soothsayer for a man in the pre-Islamic period, and not being good at it I deceived him. Today he met me and rewarded me for that soothsaying. From this you have eaten. Therefore, Abubakar put his hand in his mouth and vomited up all that he ate.
In another narration, he said: “If it would not have come out except with my soul, meaning except with my death, I would have still forced it out. O Allah I ask you to excuse me for what my veins has carried from this and what has mixed in my stomach”. (Bukhari).
In addition, Umar drank some milk, which he liked. He asked the one who gave him the milk: “Where did you get this?” He said: ” I passed by the camels of Zakaah while they were drinking water so I took from its milk”. Umar put his hand in his mouth and vomited it up”.
Moreover, a righteous woman advising her husband saying: “O husband fear Allah, and the provisions you bring us, for we can persevere through hunger but we cannot stand and persevere through the punishment of hell fire”. These are the righteous ones. They do not exist in our clime where wives encourage their husbands to earn illegal incomes and chastise them if they don’t abuse their office to make money. There are even cases where the women become more corrupt than the men. In other cases, aggrandizement has become a competitive sport: ‘My loot is fatter than yours’, has become the order of the day. In the past, people bring out whatever is unlawful or questionable out of their stomachs, though it was something they had taken unknowingly from food or drink. However, generations came after them, earning unlawful provisions, filling their stomachs and the stomachs of their families with it.
The Prophet mentioned a man in a Hadith: “He travels for long periods, his hair tousled, his feet dusty, raising his hands in supplications to the heavens saying, My Lord, My Lord, but he eats from unlawful earnings, he dresses from unlawful earnings, and he lives by unlawful earnings? He will never be answered”. This man has symptoms of humility, and poverty and his situation invokes pity, compassion, and the desire to help him in his need: But, he has lost his way, his journey is long, and he feels like a stranger, he has lost everything, because he has lost connection with his Lord and has deprived himself of the support of his Lord. So, his dua (supplications) are not accepted. He ate from the unlawful, dressed from the unlawful and has lived on unlawful earnings, so his supplication was rejected.
We ask, what is left of man if he loses his connection with his Lord, his dua (supplication) is rejected and he is denied the Mercy of Allah?
Some of the Salaf said: “If you stand up in worship like a pole, meaning for a long time without giving up. It will not benefit you, until you watch for what goes in your stomach”.
Eating from unlawful means blinds the insight, weakens the religion, hardens the heart, darkens the mind, prevents the body from worship, entraps one in this life and prevents one’s dua (supplication) from being accepted. Allah does not accept, except from the righteous. Unlawful earnings and provisions have bad effects on the individual and the community. It removes blessings and causes the spread of diseases, disasters, financial crisis, unemployment, oppression, and disputes.
Woe to the ones who eat from unlawful provisions, raise their children and family by means of unlawful earnings. They enjoy unlawful provisions and they use twisted means – usury, gambling, stealing forcefully taking, and they give insufficient measures and weights. They conceal deficiency in items: They use okpo, ekurube, fortune telling and marabouts, to usurp the property, not only of orphans and minors but also that of the community; they lie when they swear, they deceive, they conspire, they forge, they cheat and they betray, – all twisted, dark ways.
Lawful provisions are satisfying, brings ease, enlightens the heart, energizes the limbs and the body, rectifies and reforms the situation of the person, makes the body healthy, and Allah accepts the dua (supplications) of such a person.
So, fear Allah and may He be merciful to us. Fear Allah in yourselves and with your families and guard yourselves from the fire; the fuel of which is people and stones and has angels harsh and severe, they do not disobey Allah in what he commands them, but do what they are commanded to do.
Barka Juma’at and Happy weekend.