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The technical and practical treatment of Greed

The technical and practical treatment of Greed

One of those  destructive factors that is stressed in Sahifeh Sajjadieh is “ greed”. This issue is also from those that are avoided both in Quran, Tradition and sayings of Infallibles (a). In Sahifeh Sajadieh as a source of light and guid, men are provided with a treatment for greed. In “ The Land of lovers” Professor Hossein Ansarian elaborates on this issue. 

Technical treatment

Always remind yourselves of the good feelings, honesty, self-respect, and freedom embodied in the trait of contentment. Also remember the wickedness, misery and harsh feelings embedded in following your lusts and whims. Remember, as well, the one who does not prefer self-respect over lusts, is suffering from lack of wisdom, and he is defective in his faith.

One should also pay heed to the fact that amassing and hoarding wealth would entail worldly hazard and awful consequences in the Hereafter. He should also consider the fact that the prophets and God's men lived a simple life while the infidels and money-mongers lived a luxurious one.

Having considered all these options, one should not hesitate in adopting the best sample from among the genuine believers for himself to follow.

. Practical Treatment

This involves adopting a moderate life and excluding from his life plan all the unnecessary expenditures. Contentment could not be adopted by the one who is used to extravagance.

One may be given a lot of assets by Allah; however, a high income does not mean the involvement in prodigality and wasting money. He should manage his livelihood, but spend the rest for the needy.

The Messenger of God has said:

ما عالَ مَنِ اقْتَصَدَ. [1]

One who continues a moderate life shall never be in need of anything.

قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ3: ثَلاثٌ مُنْجِياتٌ: خَشْيَةُ اللهِ في السِّرِّ وَالْعَلانِيَةِ، وَالْقَصْدُ فِي الْغَناءِ، وَالْفَقْرِ، وَالْعَدْلُ فِي الرِّضا وَالْغَضَبِ.

The Prophet of God has said: There are three things which will save man: a genuine fear of God both openly and in secret; moderation in both poverty and affluence; and justice in both gaiety and anger.

The Prophet(s) has also stated:

الْتَدْبِيرُ نِصْفُ الْمَعِيشَةِ.

Contrivance and management are one's half-life.

عَنْ أمْيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَA: الْقَصْدُ مَثْراةُ، وَالْسَّرَفُ مَتْواةٌ.

Imam Ali(s) has said: moderation is the source of affluence and overindulgence is devastating.

قالَ الْسَّجّادُA: لِيُنْفِقِ الرَّجُلُ بِالْقَصْدِ وَبُلْغَةِ الْكَفافِ، وَيُقَدِّمْ مِنْهُ الْفَضْلَ لآخِرَتِهِ، فَإنَّ ذلِكَ أبْقى لِلنِّعْمَةِ، وَأقْرَبُ إلى الْمَزِيدِ مِنَ اللهِ تعالى، وَأنْفَعُ فِي الْعافِيَةِ.

Imam Sajjad(s) has said: a man should spend moderately and send the rest of his income to the next world; this approach would strengthen the foundation of the assets and would lead to an increase of one's wealth.

قالَ الصّادِقُA: إنَّ الْقَصْدَ أمْرٌ يُحِبُّهُ اللهُ، وَإنَّ السَّرَفَ أمْرٌ يُبْغِضُهُ اللهُ، حَتّى طَرْحَكَ النَّواةَ فَإنَّها تَصْلَحُ لِشَئٍ، وَحَتّى َصَبَّكَ فَصْلَ شَرابِكَ.

Imam Sadiq(s) has said: God loves moderation and abhors over-indulgence: The throwing away of the date-seed, or drinking water is an example of over-indulgence.

إنَّ السَّرَفَ يُورِثُ الْفَقْرَن وَإنَّ الْقَصْدَ يُورِثُ الْغَناءَ.

Over-indulgence creates poverty and moderation brings forth affluence.

Regarding the issue of livelihood and wealth, one should not envy his superiors; rather, he should have an eye on his inferiors. This is because shaitan tempts man to be jealous of his superiors. Shaitan would seduce man by saying: look at the rich and see how luxuriously they live. In the issue of religion, shaitan would make us concentrate on such misleading sentences such as: why do you bother fearing God so much when those more learned than you fear God less!?[2]

Abuzar has said: The Prophet(s) has recommended that I look at my inferiors in the worldly issues.

قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ3: إذا نَظَرَ أحَدُكُمْ إلى مَنْ فَضَّلَهُ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الْمالِ وَالْخَلْقِ، فَلْيَنْظُرْ إلى مَنْ هُوَ أسْفَلَ مِنْهُ.

When one of you look at an affluent person, he should look at an inferior one as well.

In sum, being greedy in wealth, lust and social position would ultimately end in one's destruction both here and in Hereafter: this is a fact substantiated by science, experience and man's history.


*  *  *  *

Concerning greed and the greedy ones there are many maxims narrated from Imam Ali(s):

الْحَرِيصُ تَعِبٌ. [3]

A greedy one suffers a lot.

الْحِرْصُ مَطِيَّةُ التَّعَبِ.  [4]

Greed is the palfrey of pain and sufferings.

الْحِرْصُ عَلامَةُ الْفَقْرِ  [5]

Greed is the sign of rational, and spiritual poverty.

الْحَرِيصُ لا يَكْتَفِي.  [6]

A greedy one shall not be content with anything.

الْحَرِيصُ عَبْدُ الْمَطامِعِ.  [7]

A greedy one is the servant to his greed.

الْحِرْصُ عَلامَةُ الأشْقِياءِ.  [8]

Greed is the sign of the wicked and the miserable.

الْحِرْصُ يُفْسِدُ الإيقانَ. [9]

Greed destroys one's conviction.

الْحِرْصُ يُذِلُّ وَيُشْقِي. [10]

Greed makes one wretched.

الْحِرْصُ يَنْقُصُ قَدْرَ الرَّجُلِ، وَلا يَزِيدُ في رِزْقِهِ. [11]

Greed would degenerate a man and would add nothing to his subsistence.

الْحَرِيصُ فَقيرٌ وَإنْ مَلَكَ الْدُّنيا بِحَذافِيرها. [12]

A greedy one would be, in fact, empty-handed although he were given the whole world.

لا حَياءَ لِحَرِيصٍ. [13]

A greedy one is indecent.

الْحِرُصُ مُوقِعٌ في كَثيرِ الْعُيُوبِ. [14]

Greed would lead man to be inflicted with a lot of short-comings.

Greed would kill the greedy one. قَتَلَ الْحِرْصُ راكِبَهُ [15]

سُئِلَ أميرُ الْمُؤمِنِينَA: أيُّ ذُلٍّ أذَلُّ؟ قالَ: الْحِرْصُ علَى الْدُّنْيا. [16]

Imam Ali(s) was asked: which humility is the meanest? He replied: Greed over this world.

الْحَرِيصُ أسيرُ مَهانَةٍ لا يُفَكُّ أسْرُهُ. [17]

A greedy one is captive to a sort of means from which he has no release.

عَنْ أبي بَصيرٍ قالَ: قالَ لي أبُو عَبْدِاللهِA: أما تَحْزَنُ؟ أما تَهْتَمُّ؟ اما تَألَمُ؟ قُلْتُ: بَلى واللهِ، قالَ: فَإذا كانَ ذلِكَ مِنْكَ فَاذْكُرِ الْمُوْتَ وَوَحْدَتَكَ في قَبْرِكَ، وَسَيَلانَ عَيْنَكَ عَلى خَدَّيْكَ، وَتَقَطُّعَ أوْصالِكَ، وَأكْلَ الدُّودِ لَحْمَكَ، وَبَلاكَ، وَانْقِطاعَكَ عَنِ الْدُّنْيان فَإنَّ ذلِكَ يَحُثُّكَ عَلَى الْعَمَلِ، وَيَرْدَعُكَ عَنْ كَثيرٍ مِنَ الْحِرْصِ عَلَى الدُّنْيا. [18]

Abu Basir says: Imam Sadiq(s) told me: Do you sometimes become depressed? I replied: yes. Imam, then, said: If you are dominated by sorrow, remember your loneliness and death in the grave, when your body disintegrates, when the worms start eating you up, when your body decays, when you are detached from the world; such an act will entice you to work for Allah and will stop you from greed.

عَنْ أبي عَبْدِاللهِA قالَ: حُرِمَ الْحَرِيصُ خَصْلَتَينِ، وَلَزِمَهُ خَصْلَتَانِك حُرِمَ الْقَناعَةَ فَافْتَقَدَ الرّاحَةَ، وَحُرِمَ الرِّضا فَافْتَقَدَ الْيَقِينَ. [19]

Imam Sadiq(s) has stated: A greedy one loses two traits, but receives two other traits instead: He loses contentment, but is inflicted with sorrow; and loses his reliance on God and then would suffer dubiety.

عَنِ الصّادِقِA، عَنْ أبائِهِG قالَ: قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ3: مِنْ عَلاماتِ الشَّقاءِ جُمُودُ الْعَيْنِ، وَقَسْوَةُ الْقَلْبِ، وَشِدَّةِ الْحِرْصِ في طَلَبِ الرِّزْقِ، وَالإصْرارُ عَلَى الذَّنْبِ.[20]

Imam Sadiq(s) narrates from his ancestors who report from the Prophet(s): There are four signs for wretchedness: dogmatism, tyranny, excessive greed for sustenance, and insistence on committing wrong-doings.


*  *  *  *

Imam Sadiq(s) says: when Noah got off his ship, Satan came to him, saying: By asking God to get rid of the evil-doers you have released me of my job to follow people and seduce them. Do you want me to teach you two programs? Avoid being jealous because jealousy did to me what you can see now; and stay away from greed since it did to Adam what you saw.[21]


[1] Safineh Al-Behar, Vol.2, P 431.

[2] The Islamic ethic, Vol.2, PP 137-146, Summarized.

[3] Qerarol Hekam 13,14,16,24.

[4] Op Sit.

[5] Op Sit.

[6] Op Sit.

[7] Op Sit.

[8] Op Sit.

[9] Qerarol Hekam 24,26,30,59,69.

[10] Qerarol Hekam 24,26,30,59,69.

[11] Op Sit.

[12] Op Sit.

[13] Mizan Al-Hekmah, Vol.2, Pp 356-357.

[14] Op Sit.

[15] Op Sit.

[16] Op Sit.

[17] Op Sit.

[18] Behar, Vol. 76, P 322.

[19] Behar, Vol. 73, P 161.

[20] Behar, Vol. 73, P 161.

[21] Beahr, Vol. 73, P 163.

source : land of lovers
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