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What is the Meaning of “Union with God”

Guide Posts RICHES (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) “Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods but from a contented mind.” (Holy Prophet). Nothing is more coveted than money. The acquisition of more and more wealth is the paramount concern of the majority of people throughout the world. The rich want to become richer even though they are already surrounded with abundance. They have little realisation or faith in God but live from day to day seeking ways and means to better their material life. There is no harm in trying to improve one’s material lot in life but one’s whole attention should not be riveted on this project to such an extent as to overlook and neglect one’s spiritual obligations. God declares in the Holy Quran: “Surely he is very keen for the love of the world.” (100:9). How true this is; and also how unfortunate. Little attention is given to the acquisition of spiritual and moral qualities which are essential ingredients for the development of a noble character which is the mark of real wealth: “Character is property. It is the noblest of possessions.” (Samuel Smiles). There are many people who are devoid of worldly riches but on their heads they wear a crown studded with jewels of virtue which makes them wealthier than the richest monarch. We read in the Holy Quran: “Verily, the most honourable among you in the sight of Allah is he who is most righteous.” (49:14). Excellence of character—unlike gold and silver — is a treasure from which GUIDE POSTS 3 we are not parted at the time of death, for it colours the soul both here and in the Hereafter. How poor is the person who owns nothing more than a large bank balance and material possessions. .”And it is not your wealth or your children that will bring you near us in rank but – those who believe and do good works will have a double reward for what they did.” (Quran 34:38). “Mutual rivalry in seeking increase in worldly possessions diverts you from God.” (Quran 102:2). “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for- a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24). “The amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatory; no idol more abasing.” – . ‘ ‘ • • • • . ‘ • (Andrew Carnegie). Conversely, the striving to excel one another in virtue and good works draws one nearer to God: “Vie then with one another in good works.” (Quran 2:149). This is the means of becoming rich in this world and in the world to come. O the delight of spiritual riches! Their value far exceeds the material ornaments of this life: .. “Wealth and children are an ornament of the life of this world. But enduring good works are better in the ^sight of thy • Lord in respect of immediate reward and better in respect of future hope.” (Quran 18:47). The Bible states: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). This does not imply that money itself is the root of evil but rather the love of money. Gold and silver have become gods of the time. It is idolatory at it’s worst. Who is rich? Not the person possessing material wealth and comforts but 4 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS the one who lives for God, does good works and treats his fellow beings with compassion and kindness. The owner of a tranquil spirit and a heavenly heart. It has been truly stated: “Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods but from a contented mind.” (Holy Prophet). “A good name is more to be desired than great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1). “No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that maketh a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.” (Henry Ward Beecher). Our life span on this planet may be likened to a few seconds compared with the age of the universe which has been rolling around in space for billions of years. We come and go in a moment of time. The angel of death awaits us all. Real prosperity does not lie in the acquisition of wealth and property but through purity and righteousness: “Verily he truly prospers who purifies himself.” (Quran 87:15). “Do good that you may prosper.” (Quran 22:78). “The best provision is righteousness.” (Quran 2:198). Benjamin Franklin — the eighteenth-century American scientist and statesman—remarked that money has never made a man happy. The more he has the more he wants. The rich man is he whose mind is full of golden thoughts and who radiates spiritual sunshine wherever he goes. May we truly enrich our lives more and more day by day —• Amen.