In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Introducing and welcoming Dr. Nabulsi:Dear viewers, As-Salam Alaikum wa rahmatu Allah wa Barakatoh.
Welcome to a new episode of your program Faith is good conduct. We are still making use of the overflowing knowledge of Professor Muhammad Rateb Al-Nabulsi, the lecturer at the Faculty of Education in Damascus University. Welcome Dr. Rateb.
Welcome Mr. Alaa'.
Recalling previous topic and connecting it with the next one: lusts are neutral:
We stopped last episode at discussing lusts, and we talked about the lust of sex, then the lust of money and the yearning of man to possess money. It was clear to us through the past few episodes that money is the backbone of life and that it is endeared to man's ownself. Allah says:
﴾ Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), ﴿
You also told us that money is a neutral matter, and that man's characteristics are neutral as well in matters like envy, yearning to possess and longing for leadership or fame. Also, you mentioned that fortunes in life are neutral like having a beautiful voice, a good looking, a beautiful face and many other things which might be used by man for good or evil purposes. Moreover, you said that longing for things other people possess is also neutral as long as man does not wish that these possessions perished from their possessors, for this will be distasteful envy, and envy in this respect is a disease, so to speak.
Dr. Rateb, some people say, "Money is a major means to draw close to Allah", and though there are endless paths to Allah which are as many as the number of people on earth, some people consider money the major means to draw close to Allah, what can you tell us about that?
Money is one of the means with which we get close to Allah:Dr. Rateb:
In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and blessings and peace be upon our Master, Prophet Muhammad, the Truthful and the Faithful.
1- The good deeds and their plenty ways and paths:Mr. Alaa', first, the paths to Allah are as many as the number of people on earth. Thus, there are a million paths to reach Allah, but these paths differ from one another according to the thing man loves, Allah says:
﴾ And you love wealth with much love! ﴿
2- Man is molded to love money:Man loves money very much, and money is the fuel of lusts since money is the backbone of life and since enjoying life needs spending money, such as buying a luxurious house, getting married or buying an exquisite car. Hence, it is true that money is the fuel of lusts, and man is molded to love it, and though it is neutral, it is endeared to mankind.
Blood is shed over money, so are wars. Treasures are essential and what is happening on earth is ascribed to the yearning for money and treasures. Thus money is a very dangerous matter. Nevertheless, money is the most crucial and effective means to draw close to Allah. Allah says:
﴾ It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, and each and every act of obedience to Allah, etc.) that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al-Masakin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and gives the Zakat﴿
There is a delicate indication in this Ayah:
﴾ Such are the people of the truth and they are Al-Muttaqun (pious). ﴿
3- Giving money in spite of love for it:"Giving money in spite of love for it", is mentioned before Iqamat-as-Salat and giving Zakat which are obligations.
Do you mean that this is something other than Zakat?
When a citizen pays taxes, he will not be praised for it, because it is obligatory to do so, but when he does something good to his society, such as building a university, he will be honored by the government. Much in the same line, giving Zakat is an obligation that guarantees social solidarity.
One has no option in that.
Yes, but he will be rewarded upon paying Zakat and will be sinning if he abstains from paying it. Originally, Zakat is a non-negotiable and an unavoidable obligation, and it should be paid. I mentioned in previous lectures that Zakat purifies the rich from stinginess and his soul will be exalted upon paying it, whereas it purifies the poor from grudge and his soul will be exalted as well, not to mention that Allah preserves the money whose Zakat is paid and makes it grow in two ways: by Ma'roof (good deeds) and by the Divine Providence.
Zakat also is the glue that combines the member of society together.
This is true Mr. Alaa', for when you spend on the needy and the poor, you use the money you own and need and you give it in spite of your love for it. You give away part of the backbone of your life and the fuel of your luxury life. Thus, the one who gives sh3er from his money proves strongly that he loves Allah. This is why Allah called spending money on the poor "Sadaqah" (Sadaqah is the Arabic word for honesty), because spending money on the needy proves man's honesty with Allah.
Man talks and words do not cost him a thing, he expresses his sentiments, which might not exist and he longs for things which are unavailable to him, all of which are meaningless matters, but spending from your own money, like paying 1000 or 2000 in order to build something useful, or when you save a poor family or treat a patient from illness which might cause his death, makes you feel that Allah honored you. Allah says:
﴾So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness﴿
Man exalts by spending on the needy to the highest ranks in the Sight of Allah, but paying Zakat is an obligation, and the Muslim has no option in paying it. Hence, one exalts by spending Sadaqah and by giving money in spite of the love for it, and this love might be interpreted either by giving money in spite of the love for the money itself, or by giving money, because he loves Allah and he does that for His Sake.
Mr. Alaa', if someone takes a handful of sand and gives it to a poor man, will he exalt in the Sight of Allah? It is worthless. This is why the noble Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to give the needy from the best of their possessions. On the other hand, there are people, who give the needy the things they do not like or which they hate, or they give the poor the food they dislike, and this is a huge error. Allah says:
﴾ By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc., it means here Allah's Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah's Cause) of that which you love ﴿
You should donate from the things you like. Qabil (Cain) offered a sacrifice from the worst of his possessions, whereas Habil (Abel) offered a sacrifice from the best of his possessions, so Allah accepted Habil's sacrifice and rejected Qabil's one, so the latter threatened Habil of killing him, and ever since people are divided into two groups: Qabil group and Habil group. People are either powerful men who build their prosperity on the wreck of sh3er depending on their power and have no right to do so, or the men who have rights but they are weak. Therefore, our Ummah should own both the power and those who have rights in order to unite. Although our Ummah is privileged with the Divine Revelation which manifests the power of the right, she should become materially powerful in order to become a strong nation. Allah says:
﴾ And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery, etc.) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, ﴿[Al-Anfal, 60]
The rich has plenty of options to offer good deeds:Since we are talking about money, let me remind the viewers with a word I said before: Money is power, and the one who owns money has uncountable options and means to draw closer to the Almighty Allah, for he can build an orphanage, a nursing home, a hospital, a school, or a house for a poor family, or he can help the youth to get married or have job opportunities for them.
The projects which can be done with money are countless, thus you should own money not because you love money, but because you love offering good deeds with it.
This concept is expressed by some scholars, who have pious hearts, by saying, "Money should be in your hands not in your heart". Therefore, you should long for being rich if the way, to accomplish that, accords with Allah's Method.
This explains the following Prophetic Hadith:
((Narrated 'Abdur-Rahman bin Samurah: that 'Uthman went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) with one-thousand Dinar" - Al-Hasan bin Waqi (one of the narrators) said: "And in another place in my book: 'In his garment when the 'army of distress' was being prepared. So he poured them into his lap.'" - 'Abdur-Rahman said: "So I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) turning them over in his lap, saying: 'Whatever 'Uthman does after today will not harm him,' two times."))
The rich in this Ummah have now a great opportunity to exalt to the highest ranks in the Sight of Allah, because they can solve the problems of people with their money. The charitable man is a very exalted person, he is someone with a merciful lenient heart, he owns good conducts and he is a believing religious man. Allah says:
﴾And do good. Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).﴿
Is there any higher rank than being loved by the Almighty Allah? If you read the Ayat in the Quran, you will find that there are about 13 Ayat in which Allah's love for the believers is mentioned:
﴾ Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves (by taking a bath and cleaning and washing thoroughly their private parts, bodies, for their prayers, etc.)﴿
Dealing with Allah is very comfortable, for it is based on constant laws. On the other hand, dealing with people might be troublesome, because you deal with a moody creature who does not deal with you on solid grounds, but rather according to his mood. In fact dealing with such a person is very difficult, because he has no principles, and he has million standards, unlike dealing with the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Whose Principles are crystal clear, and Whose Treatment towards you is determined by you. In other words, the ball is in our court, so if we follow Allah's Path, He will love us. As an Ummah, the ball is in our court not in our enemies', so when we reconcile with Allah and go back to His Path, He will grant us victory (over our enemies). Allah says:
﴾ And (as for) the believers it was incumbent upon Us to help (them). ﴿
﴾ Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) in this world's life ﴿
﴾ And that Our hosts, they verily would be the victors. ﴿
﴾ Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth ﴿
This is a Divine Law.security after their fear
﴾As He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe
The vanishing of the universe is much easier to Allah than keeping His promises to His believers unfulfilled. Thus, being, as Muslims, in such miserable situation reflects a flaw in our lifestyle. The Almighty Allah says:
﴾ Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salat (the prayers) [i.e. made their Salat (prayers) to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times, etc.] and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell.﴿
It was said, "Means to approach Allah are as many as the number of people on earth." Nevertheless, there is a very clear path through which man should sacrifice for real, like paying from his own money which he loves, and this is why money is the greatest means to draw closer to the Almighty Allah.
Sacrificing money comes after sacrificing the soul, doesn't it?
Giving money precedes sacrificing one's soul:Dr. Rateb:
Definitely, this is correct! Sacrificing money comes immediately after sacrificing the soul in more than 18 Ayat in the Quran, except in one Ayah it is the other way round:
﴾ Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. ﴿
Allah started with the soul then the money, because it is much easier to spend money than sacrificing the soul. Thus, in more than 18 Ayat Allah started with sacrificing the money then the soul except in one Ayah:
﴾ Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties;﴿
If you own a 100 acre land and a car, giving the land for Allah's Sake is more appreciated than giving the car, for price of the former is many folds. Hence, you start with the most expensive. In this Ayah, Allah starts with the most precious, substantial and valuable (the soul).
What I meant is that regarding donations, money comes first, because it is easier to be spent, right?
Well, man would pay all his wealth for a surgical operation to save his life, which means that his ownself is more valuable than his money.
It is funny to say: spending on the poor causes poverty:Mr. Alaa':
Let us move to another matter. In the biography of Sahabah (the Prophet's Companions, may Allah be pleased with them) we read the story of Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf when he gave away half of his wealth to the poor and for charity purposes many times (in the biography it was mentioned that he did that 20 or 30 times) in his life, yet his wealth grew again through trading, and he became the first merchant in Al-Madinah, and he was even the best merchant in the entire Arabic Peninsula. It was mentioned that when his caravans used to come to Al-Madinah, clouds of dust and sand were stirred up and blown in the wind in addition to the rumbling sound from the bells hanged on the necks of camels. However, some people say, "Spending money (on the needy and poor) causes poverty"
This is ridiculous, because it contradicts Allah's Words. Allah says:
﴾And whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's Cause), He will replace it.﴿
((Spend, O Bilal, and do not fear that the One Who is on the Throne will withhold from you.))
In Qudsi relic it is reported:
((Spend on charity, O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.))
((The wealth of a man will not diminish by Sadaqah (charity), so give Sadaqah.))
The statement you mentioned contradicts a Quranic Ayah, and it is merely a Satanic whisper. One should know that when he spends money on the needy, he will exalt in the Sight of Allah, because money is endeared to man. Nonetheless, the Prophet, peace be upon him, never accepted a donation of an entire wealth except from Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, because of his position in the heart of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Accordingly, scholars came up with a new term which is, "The poverty of spending", and it exalts man to the highest ranks, because he spends his entire money for Allah's Sake. Nevertheless, the Quranic instructions are as follows:
﴾And spend in the Cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad of all kinds, etc.) and do not throw yourselves into destruction (by not spending your wealth in the Cause of Allah)﴿
Some scholars said "This destruction results from abstaining from spending in the Cause of Allah", while other scholars said, "This destruction is the effect of spending one's entire money". The Almighty Allah says:
﴾ And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes). ﴿
Dr. Rateb, concerning the will, one cannot spend more than one third of his wealth and the one third is still considered too much, right?
1- The forbidden will:Dr. Rateb:
Mr. Alaa', there is a forbidden will, but which one? When someone owns only a 100 square meter house, and he bequeaths one third of this house to the poor in his will, this means that after his death this house should be sold and his children will become homeless. Therefore, this kind of will is not accepted. As for the one who is very rich, he should keep his family with enough money after his death. The one, who lives worshiping Allah for 60 years then he is unjust in his will, will be admitted to Hellfire. Your family should be priority:
((…It is better for you to leave your inheritors wealthy than to leave them poor begging sh3er…))
Spending money needs profound wisdom, and it is art, it is a method and it is a value. Also, spending money should be cautiously, because money is the backbone of life.
2- Man should not spend his money excessively in lawful or unlawful ways:The heedless immoral people, who spend money, spend extravagantly and lavishly (Israf and Tabtheer), and when they are tight, they avoid spending out of stinginess and niggardliness, given Israf is to spend money extravagantly in lawful ways, whereas Tabtheer is to spend money lavishly in sinning and unlawful ways. Allah says:
﴾And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, ﴿
Dr. Rateb, let us talk about being charitable and openhanded. Money, as you said earlier, is the greatest means to draw close to the Almighty Allah, so my question is, are charity and donation categorized under altruism, or altruism is something different?
Comparison between spending and altruism:Dr. Rateb:
Altruism is much wider than spending on the poor and needy. You are altruist when you give your seat in the bus, the food you have, or the leadership to your brother. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((…Cooperate with each other and do not become divided.))
When I obey my brother's orders for the common interest, I will be a hero. Thus, altruism is a very wide concept, and the general basic rule concerning it is that there is no altruism in goodness, and all goodness lies in altruism. According to this rule, you cannot stop giving your mother the money she needs in order to give space to your brother to do so and be rewarded for that, because what if your brother does not give her money? Hence, altruism cannot be in performing good deeds, whereas goodness is manifested in altruism in general.
Stories from reality without any fiction:Mr. Alaa', Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf has a special story: The Messenger (peace be upon him) associated every two of his Companions as brother, a Muhaajir (Emigrant) from Makkah with an Ansaar (Helper) from Al-Madinah. This association took place in an astounding way. Each Ansaar in Al-Madinah shared with his brother Muhaajir everything that he owned, even his bed. If he was married to two women, he would divorce one for his brother to marry! It had never been reported that any of the Muhaajireen took anything from any of The Ansaar.
The Noble Messenger (peace be upon him) associated Abdul Rahman lbn Awf and Sa'd Ibn Ar-Rabi'ah as brother one day. Let us listen to the noble Companion Anas Ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, narrating to us what happened:
Sa'd said to Abdul Rahman, "O brother, I'm the richest in Al-Madinah. Take half of my fortune. And I have two wives. Choose the one you like better and I'll divorce her for you to marry." So Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf said, "May Allah bless your family and money. Show me the way to the market." He went to the market, bought, sold, and gained profit.
He said once, "What should I do if I spend 100 in the morning and they come back 1000 in the evening"
It is reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((I saw Abd Ar-Rahman Ibn Awf crawling into Paradise.))When some of his friends informed him of what 'Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, he remembered that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say this Hadith more than once in various forms, and he said, "What should I do if I spend 100 in the morning and they come back 1000 in the evening"
((The wealth of a man will not diminish by Sadaqah (charity), so give Sadaqah.))
By Allah, I have countless stories about Allah's abundant honoring to the charitable persons. I have a friend whose relative died, so he went to offer condolences to his family, and he said to his sons, "Does your father have any debts?" They said, "Yes he has", to which he said, "I will pay all his debts". He thought that his debt could be 20.000 or might be 30.000, but few days later he knew that his debt was 380.000, yet he paid it all. He swore to me by Allah that Allah compensated him that sum of money with more than it.
((Whoever abandons something merely for the Sake of Allah, will in return receive things from Allah serving him better here and in the Hereafter.))
((Spend (on charity), O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.))
((The wealth of a man will not diminish by Sadaqah (charity)))
Mr. Alaa', Allah knows what you spend on the poor. Basically, man is keen on making sure that his gift for a friend, for example, is acknowledged and for that purpose he writes a card signed by him and he puts it inside the present to make sure that his friend knows it is from him, and so this card will not get lost if his friend's son receives the gift (This keenness of man is the same on his charity deeds or donations and Allah knows all about that). Allah says:
﴾ And whatever you spend for spendings (e.g., in Sadaqah - charity, etc. for Allah's Cause) or whatever vow you make, be sure Allah knows it all. ﴿
Allah assures you:
﴾And whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's Cause), He will replace it.﴿
Money is the greatest means to get close to the Almighty Allah. Unfortunately, we are running out of time, and we should move to the scientific part of this meeting, so what have you chosen for us?
The phenomenon of the camouflage amongst animals:Dr. Rateb:
We are still discussing animal camouflage, which is a delicate topic, and we will go on with it next episode insha' Allah.
1- The camouflage of the potoo bird:The potoo bird lives in the forests of Venezuela, and it is very skillful in camouflaging. Its feathers are very much like the trunk color and both colors are amazingly the same. Here you can see the line between the bird's feathers and the trunk.
Had this line not existed, we would not have been able to tell that there is a bird on this tree trunk.
Look at the feathers of this bird and the trunk, the tree trunk is on the left side and the bird is on the right side, and one cannot tell which is which. The only thing which distinguishes the bird is its peak and eyes. This bird uses skillfully the colors of his feathers.
When does the potoo use its camouflage tricks?:
When this bird is in danger, it starts its camouflage trick. First it shrinks itself and closes its eyes and peak firmly, so that you cannot see it at all on the tree trunk, and it looks just like one of the tree twigs. This is wonderfully designed, for this bird is able to see though its eyes are closed because of an opening between its eyelids. Now when the danger is gone, the bird stops acting and gets some rest. Hence, Who taught this bird this trick? The obvious truth here is that this is something done by the Creator Who perfectly created everything. It is unbelievable that this bird can turn itself into a twig with eyes and peak, and it even holds its breath to look exactly like a twig. All these photos, of this bird, are real.
2- Fish camouflage:Allah inspired His creations to play these limitless camouflage tricks. Some of these creatures hide themselves by using materials from their environment. For example, this small fish prepares a safe place by sheltering in empty shells after taking out all the sand inside them.
3- Octopus camouflage:An octopus might be lurking for its prey using an amazing camouflage trick by collecting shells from around it, putting them in one place and hiding between the shells waiting for its prey while looking for food between these shells. The Octopus plays a marvelous camouflage trick as you have just seen.
The sea crab does a bewildering camouflage, for it cuts parts of certain kinds of plants from the sea surface, but what does it do with these parts? You will not believe the answer! Imagine, it covers its body with these parts just like the soldiers in the battle when they cover their bodies with trees twigs. This crab uses these parts of the plants as a body cover disguising in an outstanding way.
4- The camouflage of sea crabHere is another crab which is putting the twig parts on its head in order to hide easily between the plants, and the amazing thing is that the crab discharges a sort of glue with which it sticks those parts on its body. Allah created very accurate systems in animals' bodies which suit their nature. This crab is cutting the sea sponge into pieces and is putting it part by part on its body as if it is sewing an outfit in order to put it on.
In fact, the crab has never seen itself in a mirror; needless to say that it has no abilities of any kind to plan or think, so how does it know that it should disguise? It uses the same technique used by soldiers in the battle-field when they put tree twigs on them. How does the crab learn that? The crab has never joined a military course, nor has it graduated from a military school. Therefore, the only explanation for its behavior is that it has been inspired by the Creator Who gave this crab these abilities in order to protect itself artfully. This is but Allah's Omnipotence Who created all creations from nothing. All these things are Signs which indicate the Greatness of Allah, Glorified and Sublime, be He.
At the end of this episode, and after we enjoyed this meeting especially the scientific part of it, we would like to thank Dr. Muhammad Rateb Al-Nabulsi, the lecturer at the Faculty of Education in Damascus University. Inshallah, we will meet in a new episode, thank you and As-Salam Alaikum wa Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatoh.