In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
MANY, many years ago a motivator cum business manager told me: "There's a lot of money around us - they are inside people's pockets, in their wallets, in the banks, in the drawers of shopkeepers and even under the beds of some people - the 'problem' is how are we going to 'transfer' them into our own pockets, wallets or bank accounts!
He said there are two ways to do it - one is the 'haram' (forbidden) way and the second is the 'halal' (permissible) way. Simple examples of the 'haram' ways are like robbing or cheating people of their money and examples of 'halal' ways are like coxing them into buying our 'trustworthy products' or rendering them our services or work for them.
By doing 'those work', - money from their pockets would eventually 'be moved' into our pockets! But it is up to you; to do it the 'halal' or 'haram' ways! Generally the harder you work or win their hearts, more money would be transferred from their pockets into your pockets.
I felt interested and started thinking how 'nice' it would be if I have 'the power' to 'withdraw' money from other people's pocket and made them mine. The motivator then coaxed me into joining his multi-level business, selling a product.
It was a direct selling job; one has to be a member of the said company. I became a member of that company after paying RM10 for registration. Then after a simple briefing and paying another RM50 for the company’s products that were multipurpose detergent in plastic containers, I was on my journey ‘to become a rich and famous businessman one day’.
Yes, I was naive in the thinking that it was easy to make people pull out their money from their pockets to buy my 'wares'. For six consecutive days I sold nothing during my rounds and on day 7; I went to the business manager's office, returned the wares and got my money back.
From that day, I realized that business was not my line of work. I was no good in coaxing people in giving up their money. That experience gave a great impact on me; the pain of failure in business scared me and I realized that it was not that easy to made people searched for money inside their pockets and 'surrendered' them to me!
After that, I tried to do a few more business ventures such as selling books and opening a tuition centre but they all failed, I was convinced that my hands did not suit businesses; perhaps they are good at other fields such as writing. I admitted I did not had 'the skill' or bold enough to pull people's money by doing business.
If I fail badly in making people 'surrendering' their money to me, I was amazed at certain people who could coaxed me into giving my money to them.
For example years ago, a team of young women came to my mother's house and after examining some kitchen wares, told my mother that her cooking utensils such as frying pans and pots were too old and needed to be change. They unveiled some new and shinning cooking utensils which they claimed all were priced at RM1,000 but they would gladly sell them at half the price, RM500.
My mother agreed, but as she did not have enough money, she turned to me who was busily attending to other chores at that time. Without checking the items, I 'surrendered' RM500 to the ladies. Later on that evening only I realized that I had been conned...the items they sold to my mother could not be more than RM200!
After working for about 25 years in the media industry, I opted to retire at the age of 50. I started gardening in a small plot of land owned by my wife. I planted 'easy to grow' plants such as 'serai' (lemon grass), 'ubi kayu' (tapioca) and 'tebu' (sugarcane).
About five years ago, I had planted some 'rambutan' trees - only two 'survived' on the 'hard and barren land'. A few years back, they started 'producing' fruits by the 'abundance'. 'Syukur' alhamdulillah (All praise be to Allah), He had given me the opportunity 'to make money' with the 'new ventures' but sadly, I was no good in doing business - I failed in marketing 'my products'. Yes, once again I must admitted that I was no good in making people 'surrendering' their money to me.
When the rambutans were ripe and 'abundance' in the trees, I placed I notice board on a side of the tree which read: "These rambutans are for 'sadaqah', please pluck them yourself."
I read a 'hadith' with the meaning: "If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him." - Imam Bukhari
In Sahih Muslim, it was reported: "Our Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Never does a Muslim a plants a tree, but that he earns the reward of charity because what is eaten from it; and likewise what is stolen from it, what the wild beasts eat out of it, what the birds eat out of it, and what people take from it is charity for him.”
Well, only now at 'old age' I realized that 'money is not everything'; perhaps during my younger years, I was greedy for money and wealth but it seemed that Allah did not wish 'fast and huge' amount of money 'to fell into my hands'.
About greediness, I was not alone because men are men, they are greedy for material wealth; in a hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik, the Prophet s.a.w. said: "If Adam's son had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys, for nothing fills his mouth except dust. And Allah forgives him who repents to him." (Bukhary)
For some of us having a lot of money would spoiled us for one of the most wisest person in the world, Sayidina Ali bin Abi Talib said: "Learned men live after death; ignorant men are dead although alive." He also said that you need to guard your property and wealth but if you have knowledge it would protect you.
Subhanallah, why think a lot about money and properties, why not have a thought on what's the purpose we are sent into this world? In 'ayah' 56 Surah of Surah l-dhāriyāt (The Wind that Scatter) Allah SWT says: "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me."
Our journey in this world is to please Allah SWT before 'we met' Him in the Hereafter; therefore should we burdened ourselves with having a lot of money (at old age our needs such as food is so little) especially which is not ours. What's the point of having billions and billions of ringgit transferred into our accounts if it involved 'haram' transaction!