Greed nets unlawful gains


The birthplace of Islam, which gave rise to the ultimate religion and social guidance, should have been a haven for religious, moral and sincere ethics. If one is to truly adhere to the principles of our religion and society, there is much to be thankful for. But surprisingly there are shortfalls.

What we find is that a segment of our society has deviated from its Islamic ideals in the chase for selfish and earthly ends, even at the expense of the betrayal of trust, the destruction of the lives of the innocent and helpless, and the usurping of the rights of the vulnerable and gullible.

Such is the greed of these self-righteous people that they would not stop to harm even their closest family members or relatives. In their twisted thinking, they believe that all they need to do to redeem themselves in the eyes of society is to make some grand charitable act with all its pomp and glory in the name of piety, as they carry on the pretense of being God-fearing Muslims. But will they be redeemed in the judgment of Almighty God who has warned us to be wary of such hypocrites whose impure hearts remain hidden under a façade of piousness?

A case in point is the present circumstances of Hadeel, a schoolteacher in Jeddah who narrated the following: “My mother was deprived of her lawful inheritance by her own sister and brother-in-law during her lifetime. They claimed that they were singled out for a sizeable legacy, a wasiyyat (a will) in my grandparents’ estate. After her death, the legacy dwindled even further and her offspring received just a fraction of what was due to them from her assets, with total disregard for the laws of inheritance according to Shariah.

“So, she was swindled not by an unknown outsider but by her close relatives whose greed had blinded their conscience and by denying her what was lawfully hers, they left my mother devastated, betrayed and too ill to bear living any longer.”

What is disgusting is how these conniving people throw dust in the eyes of others with their pretensions of being honorable Muslims. These people stole from the poor woman and used some of the money to build mosques. They assume that they can fool society and themselves by their acts of benevolence. How can they believe that they can comfort their souls and conceal from Almighty Allah the devious darkness festering in the depths of their hearts? No, they cannot, for on Judgment Day they will be exposed.

Contrary to their thinking, there is something called divine justice, which protects the innocent and helps them thrive. Another good thing is that our society can still distinguish between the honest and the crooked and honor those innocent victims of hypocrisy irrespective of their material status. And most importantly, a pure heart is the most precious possession one can have. Those who have it can surely go to sleep with a clean conscience.

Is Hadeel’s situation a unique one? Not to my knowledge. Most of us are aware of similar situations involving family members usurping the legitimate rights of their own relatives. Victimized by their own blood, and unwilling to cast public shame on their deceitful family, many have chosen to forego legal action in pursuit of their rights, while they silently pray to God for redemption.

The Holy Qur’an states, “Let those (disposing of an estate) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own if they had left a helpless family behind: Let them fear Allah, and speak words of appropriate (comfort). Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a fire into their own bodies: They will soon be enduring a blazing fire!” (4:9-10)

And in verse 2:188, “And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way, e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.”

In Islam a will is not made to give whom one wants how much, or not to give to one or to give less to whom one wants to. It is narrated in a hadith: “Allah has given every rightful person his right, so there is no wasiyyat for him.”

And yet these people continue to manipulate, steal and plunder what is rightfully the property of other family members. No number of mosques built or the Holy Book memorized verbatim will absolve them of their wicked deeds on Judgment Day. There will be no time for repentance. There will be no escape from the wrath of the Almighty for those whose injustice bends the backs of others.

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