Thursday, May 2, 2013

when success gets to the head

The businessmen of Quraisy, as we all know, made two business trips every year. To as-Syam (Syria) in the summer and Yemen in the winter. They depended upon this trade for their livelihood. We know that this trade was extremely crucial because when he was in Madinah, Rasulullah engaged in economic warfare and raided the trade caravans of Quraisy to weaken their economic power.

Allah made reference to these trips in surah Quraisy.

"For the accustomed security of the Quraysh. Their accustomed security [in] the caravan of winter and summer. Let them worship the Lord of this House, Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear." (Quraisy: 1-4)

Allah reminded them to worship Him, because He 

"Fed them, (saving them) from hunger".

Makkah is a barren land, yet they benefited from this trade and obtained necessities and luxuries from faraway lands, and could live comfortably in the middle of the scorching desert.

"And made them safe from fear"

The trade routes were not PLUS highways with patrol cars and cameras (even then its not really safe, we still have bedouins driving on malaysian roads). There were highway robbers and thugs and all sorts of nasty stuff. But the Quraisy were guardians of the Kaabah, and we know how Allah sent down birds hurling fiery missiles on Abrahah when he wanted to destroy the Kaabah. In the Arab mind, 'dude you don't want to mess around with them Quraisy. God'll be sending hell on you'.

So the Quraisy enjoyed great prestige and wealth because of this honour of guarding the Kaabah, a blessing given by Allah. It is only appropriate that Allah commands them to 'worship the Lord of this House'.

Let's put those final ayahs in a more, ermm, local context.

"Fed them, (saving them) from hunger."

Malaysia is truly blessed when it comes to natural resources. We have oil, rubber, palm oil, sun, lots of rain (lots and lots of rain if you ask the motorists stranded beneath bridges on the highway), forest produce, wood, fisheries..and the list goes on and on. And we're situated in the middle of a major trade route, a third (1/3) of the world's shipping passes through the south china sea. We could have been born as inuits in the frigid north pole or bushmen in the desert, but allah chose us to live in a land where resources are plenty. 

"And made them safe from fear"

The history of this nation could have been very different. If, say, communists won the guerilla war against the british and the malayan armed forces and established 'the communist republic of malaya', america could have intervened like they intervened in vietnam and full-scale civil war could have broken out. That is just one example of how allah kept the country mostly at peace, with a few riots here and there.

"Let them worship the Lord of this house"

For all this wealth and security, all we have to do is to worship Allah and thank him.

And worship Him in every aspect of life.

In our values, in our system of governance, in our system of law, in our homes, in our jobs, in our mosques or outside our mosques, our way of life only comes from the One, the Provider and the Most-Generous.

Because everything ultimately comes from Allah. Not from the nods of the powerful or the purses of the wealthy.