The avarice of plenitude keeps you occupied till you reach the grave. But you will come to know soon – indeed you will come to know soon. And yet if you knew with positive knowledge, you have indeed to behold Hell; then you will see it with the eye of certainty. Then on that day you will surely be asked about the verity of pleasures.
Besides egocentrism of both individuals and groups, which is the eternal pitfall of humankind, greed is by far the greatest problem of this day and age. The obsession with wanting, owning and consuming has spread all around the globe. Yet transcendence of the soul can never be bought, not with all the gold in the world. You can’t exchange all the possessions on the globe for a single step closer to God.
The deep needs of the soul are ignored simply because people always want a bit more of this or much more of that. Yet when we get stuck in the emptiness of meaninglessness, we feel the pain of realizing that we haven’t fulfilled the purpose of our soul. For that purpose is to love and to bring beauty – not to buy stuff or amass wealth.
Is it wrong then to seek financial stability and work for our livelihood? Of course not. What is wrong is the exaggerated greed that never feels satisfied and disregards the need of others. For it does not only create an emptiness of the soul, it does not only make the world into a dessert, but it also makes society into a hell for those that become exploited in order to fulfill the greed of the rich.
What Christians can learn
The balances of power are certainly changing in today’s world even though the US undeniably remains the richest and most powerful country in the world. It buys resources all over the globe to produce a status of living that can impossibly be upheld by everyone in the world since that would quickly prove to be unsustainable. It begs the very question therefore why exactly the US prints the phrase ‘In God we trust’ on its dollar bills. Do they truly do so? Or do they trust in money? Did Christ not say that we can’t serve God and the mammon, the God of money, at the same time? I therefore always found it strange that such a sentence would be printed on money. Perhaps it would be a nice idea if some Christian groups would lobby to take it away. Unless it is printed on money exactly to remind people that God is more important. But is that really the message that people understand when they look at their dollar notes?
Questions for Muslims
The disparity between the wealthy and the poor is huge in many Islamic countries. It’s quite obvious for anyone who has travelled some of those countries that many of the greedy elite reserve the wealth of their countries for themselves. They do so both through politics as well as business or through a(n often corrupt) combination of the two. On top of it that same elite doesn’t refrain at all from (ab)using ‘Islam’ in their election campaigns by trying to show how devout they are. They easily play on the religious sentiments of the masses to get more votes. Is it not time for them to see that it is pure hypocrisy? Or are they aware of their own hypocrisy and do they just continue their ways knowingly? But if that is so, is it not time then for scholars, spiritual leaders and artists to gather the masses and make them stand up to the greed of the elite, exactly because such greed is un-Islamic?
The Arab spring got rid of certain oppressors. The fight against others is still going on as I write these questions. Yet I believe these revolutions will never truly finalize until they also get rid of the greed that feeds on many of their leaders. For it wasn’t a couple of demonic individuals, but the greed of many that truly kept and keeps an enormous amount of people under oppression – in the Arab world certainly but also far beyond.