Riches and Power

The Qur'an XXXVIII 76 - 88

Qarun was doubtless,
Of the people of Moses; but
He acted insolently towards them:
Such were the treasures We
Had bestowed on him, that
Their very keys would
Have been a burden to
A body of strong men,
Behold, his people said to him:
"Exult not, for Allah loveth not
Those who exult (in riches).

" But seek with the (wealth)
Which Allah has bestowed on thee,
The Home of the Hereafter,
Nor forget thy portion in this
World: but do thou good,
As Allah has been good
To thee, and seek not
(Occasions for) mischief in the land:
For Allah loves not those
Who do mischief. "

He said:" This has been given
To me because of a certain
Knowledge which I have."
Did he not know that Allah
Had destroyed, before him,
(Whole) generations, - which were
Superior to him in strength
And greater in the amount
(Of riches) they had collected?
But the wicked are not
Called (immediately) to account
For their sins.

So he went forth among
His people in the (pride
Of his worldly) glitter.
Said those whose aim is
The Life of this World:
"Oh! that we had the like
Of what Qarun has got!
For he is truly a lord
Of mighty good fortune!"

But those who had been granted
(True) knowledge said: "Alas
For you! The reward of Allah
(In the Hereafter) is best
For those who believe
And work righteousness: but this
None shall attain, save those
Who steadfastly persevere (in good)."

Then We caused the earth
To swallow up him and
His house: and he had not
(The least little) party
To help him against Allah,
Nor could he defend himself.

And those who had envied
His position the day before
Began to say on the morrow:
"Ah! It is indeed Allah
Who enlarges the provision
Or restricts it, to any
Of His servants He pleases!
Had it not been that Allah
Was gracious to us, He
Could have caused the earth
To swallow us up! Ah!
Those who reject Allah
Will assuredly never prosper."

That Home of the Hereafter
We shall give to those
Who intend not high-handedness
Or mischief on earth:
And the end is (best)
For the righteous.

If any does good, the reward
To him is better than
His deed; but if any
Does evil, the doers of evil
Are only punished (to the extent)
Of their deeds.

Verily He Who ordained
The Qur-an for thee, will bring
Thee back to the Place
Of Return. Say: "My Lord
Knows best who it is
That brings true guidance,
And who is in manifest error."

And thou who hadst not expected
That the Book would be
Sent to thee except as
A mercy from thy Lord:
Therefore lend not thou support
In any way to those
Who reject (Allah's message).

And let nothing keep thee
Back from the signs of Allah
After they have been revealed
To thee: and invite (men)
To thy Lord, and be not
Of the company of those
Who join gods with Allah.

And call not, besides Allah,
On another god. There is
No god but He. Everything
(That exists) will perish
Except His own Face.
To Him belongs the Command,
And to Him will ye
(All) be brought back.

I have quoted the above at length because even though there are dangers in a kindergarten literalism which is so often the ground of fanaticism and impossible obsession and should therefore be eschewed at all costs, still there is enough of a timeless message that never goes away.

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