Yesterday I had to have words with my sons.
It is a FACT of life that oftentimes you just need to be brought back down to Earth, lest you lose yourself.
It is also a FACT of Religion that whenever a Prophet came to his people from GOD, reminding them of their eventual return, it is the POOR people who were the more receptive. Cynics will say that this is because those Religions offered the dream of more; of a distant appeasing Heaven.
But this doesn't explain the opposite FACT that the rich were never really disposed to belief. Again cynics will say that they didn't need a distant Heaven, because their Heaven was here and now.... there and then.
However when you are free from the burden of the rat race, of one-upmanship, of keeping up with the Jones's or Shah's, you will realise that the rich are in more NEED of Heaven than the Poor. So many people do realise this fact and that is why so many people do drop out of that race, willingly.
HEAVEN doesn't explain why the rich are indisposed to Religion and hence conversely it doesn't explain why the poor are disposed to it.
What does explain it and explains much more besides is...
POOR People have more capacity to CHERISH.
FACT of life: When you have much, you tend not to appreciate the much that you have.
You lose yourself, who and what you are, in your possessions.
You forget to CHERISH the taste of a morsel of food, the slow sip of refreshing water, the roof over your head, the company of your family, and much more besides.
And when you are poor, the little you have means much.
You are grateful for what little you have, cherish even the small things and are happy.
The Great Religions.
It is this that all great religions teach. Not that you should be poor, but that you should cherish what you have, be grateful for it, realise it's fragility and your dependence. And that is a richness in the heart that no amount of poverty, or lack of means, can touch. And that is the saying of Muhammad (saw), may GOD bless him unendingly, "Poverty and Richness are of the heart. No amount of richness will satisfy a poor man...." (Forgive me paraphrasing that great man's words for I am no Scholar!)
No matter how rich or influential or powerful you are, it is your dependence which is the reality. That even in your hour of power, your world might just fall apart... your body might give out, your currency or stocks in trade might devalue, your people might dessert, your judgement might come.
And then because you were not a cherisher, you will not be cherished. Because you were arrogant and felt yourself self-sufficient, no-one will come to your aid, no intercessor will you have and no friend.
The great religions call you to life, call you to realising the reality of the fragility of life, call you to cherishing every moment.... so that when the time comes, which it shall, your world will not fall apart.
And in that case Islam goes beyond all else. For it is discipline. And it is an edifice that lends itself to both strength and the search for meaning.
Cherish that meaning.
Cherish the soul.
Cherish these words.
ALL Glory belongs to ALLAH t'ala, the most High, the most Gracious... to whom is the return of ALL, both Great and Small!
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