- The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you,
- Until you visit the graves (i.e. till you die).
- Nay! You shall come to know!
- Again, Nay! You shall come to know!
- Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge (the end result of piling up, you would not have occupied yourselves in worldly things)
- Verily, You shall see the blazing Fire (Hell)!
- And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight!
- Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the delight (you indulged in, in this world)!
What is Takathur?
It means rivalry in worldly increase. Competition for more of material wealth, which is not necessarily needed but simply wanted for satisfying one’s Nafs (desires), flaunting or having it as a source of honour and power in the society.
The mindset of Takathur (collection) also ensues Taqaabul (competition), Takhafur (boastfulness) and Tawwun (support culture). Tragically, most of us are unknowingly presently involved and united in the above stated sins.
Some selected Ayahs can help us understand, where we stand in relation to this social corruption highlighted by the Quran. Likewise, we should learn how we, as individuals, can alter our priorities and re-align our goals for attaining salvation in Aakhirah and success in Duniya.
‘I thought it was mine’
Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi states that the Quran breaks the news of the true nature of man. Later, he has been reprimanded. Allah (swt) warns about this attitude of heedlessness, by which people become oblivious to the purpose of their life and instead indulge in useless rivalry of wealth and children. The Arabs competed in this back then, and people still do it today.
They are considered as dead personalities, as their bellies maybe full but their souls are starving due to Allah’s (swt) disobedience.
Adam’s son cries out: ‘My wealth! My wealth!’ However, what he spent is gone. What he gave as Sadaqah has been invested in the Akhirah. The rest will be distributed among others after he dies. The value of that wealth will be negligible, as the dead person won’t be able to use it and the one who inherits it will not value it, since he never worked hard to earn it.
Shaykh Sadi in his Tafseer observes that the first Ayat does not explicitly highlight what man collects. It could be wealth, social connections, material possessions, business ventures, servants or valuables.
Actually, this may just include also the number of gadgets we accumulate and keep upgrading, not as per genuine need but simply for status. It may include the vacations we take simply to keep up with the Jones. Or the choice of schools, universities, and careers for our kids simply so that we can boast about. Or the wardrobe full of designer-wear, collection of high priced art, furniture and home décor. For the religious appearing ones, it may include the rivalry in worship – for instance, number of Hajj and Umrahs, amount of Sadaqah and Zakah.
But none of the above mentioned persons is Khaalis (pure) for his Rabb (swt). All his energy, endearment, etc. is invested in the temporary world and he is just bothered about its returns. He has little or no concern about meeting Allah (swt) and living in his final abode. His heart is attached to the world and he doesn’t even want to find out what Allah’s (swt) Jannah offers him.
‘Coming to my funeral?’
Imam Al-Qurtabi mentions that man is in a state of delusion. While he assumes that he is growing in riches, he is actually decreasing in life, which will give him less time to spend and use all that he is collecting. And this deception will continue, until he ends up in his grave.
Ali (rtam) very wisely stated: “People are sleeping right now. They will wake up the day they die.”
‘Time to thank is now’
Shaikh Ibn Taymiyah highlights in his Tafseer that Allah (swt) will question man regarding his gratitude for the bounties bestowed upon him. It is obligatory upon believers to offer thanks. And the essence of a grateful soul is that he humbly obeys his Lord (swt). Hence, immediate obedience is a true sign of a grateful believer. This will also prevent us from a grilling accountability session held in Allah’s (swt) court on Yaum ul-Akhirah.
What should we compete for?
Good deeds! They will be our sole companion in the grave, on the Day of Judgement and on the bridge of Sirat, leading us to the everlasting Jannah.
On the Day of Resurrection, the one who is withheld even for a single question to answer or account for is doomed. For this very reason, the Prophet (sa) taught us:
“Allahumma hasibni hisabay yaseerah”
“O Allah! Grant me an easy reckoning.” (Al-Hakim)
In order to maintain a true perspective about life it is highly recommended to visit the graveyard. It helps man keep a reality check over him.
“A Treat from Allah (swt)”
The Prophet (sa) willingly opted for poverty. Abu Hurairah (rtam) narrated that once during a day or a night Allah’s Messenger (sa) came out and found Abu Bakr (rtam) and Umar (rtam). He said: “What has brought you out of your homes at this hour?” They replied: “Hunger, O Allah’s Messenger (sa).” He said: “By Him (Allah) in Whose Hand my soul is, I too have come out for the same reason for which you have come out.” Then he said to them (both): “Come along!” And he went along with them to a man from Ansar, but they did not find him in his house.
The wife of that man saw the Prophet (sa) and said: “You are welcome.” Allah’s Messenger (sa) asked her (saying): “Where is so-in-so?” She replied: “He has gone to fetch some water for us.” In the meantime, the Ansari man came, saw Allah’s Messenger (sa) with his two companions and said: “All the praise and thanks be to Allah: today there is none superior to me with regard to guests.”
The he went and brought a part of a bunch of date-fruit, having dates, some still green, some ripe and some fully ripe and requested them to eat from it. He then took his knife (to slaughter a sheep for them). Allah’s Messenger (sa) said to him: “Beware! Do not slaughter a milch sheep.”
So he slaughtered a sheep (prepared the meals from its meat). They ate from that sheep and that bunch of dates and drank water. After they had finished eating and drinking to their fill, Allah’s Messenger (sa) said to Abu Bakr (rtam) and Umar (rtam): “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, you will be asked about this treat on the Day of Resurrection. He (Allah) brought you out of your homes with hunger and you are not returning to your homes, till you have been blessed with this treat.” (Bukhari)
Adapted from Tadabbur wa Amal by Safiya Khan.