Selected Surahs & Ayaats
Selected Surahs & Ayaats
Originally authored on 3/21/2019 https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-Quran-say-about-greed.
The 102nd Chapter of the Quran called Surah At-Takaathur delivers a clear warning on the subject of greed. The word takaathur signifies the contending together for superiority in (the amount or number of) wealth, children and manpower (influence). These are material things of life that have been made appealing to humankind and we struggle to achieve them with endless desires as Allah ﷻ mentions: (Al Quran 3:14) "Alluring to man is the enjoyment of worldly desires through women, and children, and heaped-up treasures of gold and silver, and horses of high mark, and cattle, and lands."
The fact that these material things have been made appealing to us is why our desires generate the characteristic of greed and the surah that deals with this matter is called At-Takaathur or Chapter of "Greed For More & More", as translated by Asad in his Message of the Quran: (Al Quran 102:1–8) YOU ARE OBSESSED by greed for more and more until you go down to your graves. Nay, in time you will come to understand! And once again: in time you will come to understand! Nay, if you could but understand [it] with an understanding [born] of certainty, you would indeed, most surely, behold the blazing fire [of hell on earth]! In the end you will indeed, most surely, behold it with the eye of certainty: and on that Day you will most surely be called to account for [what you did with] the boon of life!
(Asad Translation - Surah At-Takaathur - Greed For More & More)
This surah teaches that our obsession for greed is what obscures our understanding and realization of our final destination i.e. hereafter. The unrestrained appetite for the duniya (worldly temptations), is what makes us forget our purpose in life which is to take from it only what is necessary and be prepared for the hereafter. Just as Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: "Be in the world like a stranger or a passerby, and count yourself among the inhabitants of the grave." Being conscious about the accountability in grave keeps us focused and once death comes then our situation will be different from the ones who never gave any thought about grave and the hereafter. Ali ibn Abi Talib (r.a) said "people are asleep when they die they wake up." Greed is like the blanket that we cover ourselves with while asleep, we remain heedless and when death comes we wake up. Removing the blanket of greed will keep us conscious of the time to wake up and about the reality of this world and its temptations, just as reminded "if you could but understand [it] with an understanding [born] of certainty, you would indeed, most surely, behold the blazing fire [of hell on earth]" - Asad comments that this "blazing fire" is not that of hereafter, but in fact, the one here on earth which those who remove the cover of greed can see how mainstream humankind have fallen in to. The unrestrained greed to have more and more, powered by technological progress has given us a wrong mode of life and made this world a living hell for us. The appetite for more and more will never be fulfilled because that is how human nature is (nafs or lower self), it remains unfulfilled as much as you give it, its never satisfied. The desire for greed is not only in those who are wealthy and can afford more and more but is even shared by the poor who cannot afford yet the desire for greed is strong in them. Both are no different from each other. Not removing the blanket of greed will result being eventually removed by the angel of death and that is when accountability of how we spent our lives will begin. Easy will be for non-greedy and difficult will it be for the greedy.