Effects of Materialism on Society and its Solution in the Teachings of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo (R.A)
Tauqir Aamir | January 13, 2017
Any object and element of universe which is observed by our physical senses is called material. Materialism means a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comforts as more important than spiritual values (Oxford Dictionary, 7th Edi).
Usually, we attach materialism with duniadari and a materialist is called duniadar. When a person fully involves himself in duniadari, he started getting away from Allah and loses his actual aim of life that is to recognize Almighty Allah. An individual aspiring materialism excessively often fell a prey to physical imbalance as well as spiritual decline. An isolated individual becomes the very reason behind an isolated society.
Materialism in the light of Holy Quran and Hadith
Allah Almighty warned against materialism. According to Quran:
“O you, who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of ALLAH and whoever does that then those are the loser”(63:09).
“And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement” (29:64).
“So let not the worldly lives delude you” (31:33).
According to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) we should always prefer relationship with Almighty ALLAH to materialism as it is obvious from some quotes:
Hazrat Abu Hurairah said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAWW) saying: “This world is cursed and what is in it is cursed, except the remembrance of Allah (dhikr) and what is conducive to that, or one who has knowledge or who acquires knowledge” (Tarimzi, Ibn e Maja, Mishkat Sharif ).
"Do not take to the estate, such that you become desirous of the world" (Jami` at-Tirmidhi).
“Love of mundane world is root cause of all evils” (Mishkat Sharif).
It was narrated that Sahl bin Sa’d said, “We were accompanying Messenger of Allah in Dhul-Hulaifah, when we saw a dead sheep lifting its leg (because of bloating). He said: ‘Don’t you think this is worthless to its owner? By God in Whose hand is my soul, this world is more worthless to Allah than this (dead sheep) is to its owner. If this world was worth the wing of a mosquito to Allah, the disbeliever would not have a drop to drink from it” (Tarimzi, Masnad e Ahmad).
Jabir b. Abdullah reported that Allah's Apostle (SAWW) happened to walk through the bazar coming from the side of 'Aliya and the people were on both his sides. There he found a dead lamb with very short ears. He took hold of his ear and said: “Who amongst you would like to have this for a dirham? They said: We do not like to have it even for less than that as it is of no use to us. He said: Do you wish to have it free of cost? They said: By Allah, even if it were alive (we would not have liked to possess that), for there is defect in it as its ear is very short and, now it is dead also. Thereupon, Allah's Messenger (SAWW) said: By Allah, this world is more insignificant in front of Allah than it (this dead lamb) is in your opinion” (Sahi Muslim, Mishkat Sharif).
Mustawrid bin Shaddad said: “I was riding with the Messenger of Allah (SAWW) when he came across a dead lamb that had been thrown out’. He said, “Don’t you think that this is worthless to its owners”? It was said: ‘O Messenger of Allah (SAWW), it is because it is worthless that they have thrown it out, - or words to that effect. He said: ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, this world is more worthless to Allah than this is to its owners’ (Sahi Muslim, Mishkat).
Materialism according to the teaching of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo (R.A)
Many Sufis talked about the materialistic world, but Sultan Bahoo (R.A) not only discussed materialistic world but also highlighted the greediness, fray, etc. Sultan Bahoo (R.A) was not against wealth rather, Sultan Bahoo urges people to acquire wealth for the right cause (Faheem, 2011). As he says:
Half curse upon the world and full curse upon mundane Hoo
Those who have not spent on the path of Almighty, enraged punishment they will Obtain Hoo
It makes fathers slaughter sons, damn you o worldly ploy Hoo
Those who have abandoned the world ‘Bahoo’ spring gardens pleasure they will Enjoy Hoo
Sultan Bahoo (R.A) not only negated but also hated worldly desires. He condemned the only love for World. He said that loving the world is synonymous to greed for material possessions and abandoning worldly desires means loving Allah and nurturing one’s spiritual values. Materialistic worries causes depression, stress and anxiety as well as faded away the love of Almighty Allah.
This materialism is unclean like woman menstrual and never purified same Hoo
In the house of Faqeer where is worldly wealth his life is dam Hoo
World love turn away from Allah with unnecessary worry and tension Hoo
Divorce worldly wealth three times ‘Bahoo’ if truths to mention Hoo
The love of wealth is impious like a woman's menses which cannot be purified so one should keep aloof from such kind of love. It is said, that wealth is like water and, heart is like a boat, and if water inters the boat, it will sink. It applies excessive love of wealth ultimately ruins one’s life. Desirer of Faqr, who takes material wealth to his heart his life, is accursed because his heart should have been purified and preserved for love of Allah Almighty. A heart which is devoid of the love of Allah is accursed and Almighty Allah will not show mercy to such heart, where there is love for worldly filthy carrion and where love for other than Allah Almighty exists and Divorcing three times in Islam is divorce absolute and there is no compromised it (Khan, 2016).
In the house of hypocrite or infidel worldly wealth reflect Hoo
It will decorate itself colourfully like woman puts makeup to attract Hoo
It glitters like lightening and hovers our mindset Hoo
Like bullion of Jesus ‘Bahoo’ it slaughters travelers in its quest Hoo
The love of wealth only suits to a hypocrite or infidel as they prefer materialistic gains to the love of Allah and indulges themselves excessively into luxuries of life. In contrast, those who are in love with Allah they have enough to go by but they are content with what they have. The materialistic world looks colorful apparently. In fact, it is full of pain and sorrows. It remains hovering overhead like lightning and never fades away its colour. It ultimately embraces its lover with aimless death. In this respect, Hazrat Sultan Bahoo presents an example from the reign of Prophet Jesus (blessings be upon him) while symbolizing a gold bullion with lust for worldly wealth and power. A group of three people was travelling together when they found gold bullion. In the mean time, all of them becomes greedy aspiring the sole proprietorship of that gold bullion. Two of them planned to kill the third one and send him to bring food from the market. He poisoned the food in order to become the sole owner of the gold. On his coming back, he was killed by his fellows. Same was the fate of his fellows who were killed by poisoned food. The gold bullion remains there, where he was after serving his purpose of ruining the lives of three friends.
Hazrat Sultan Bahoo says:
Worldly materialistic dogs are wondering door to door in confused state Hoo
Over bone they persist in fighting all their life’s trait Hoo
Fools do not understand and their search for water never abate Hoo
Without remembrance of Allah ‘Bahoo’ rest is feeble tale’s spate Hoo
Those, who pursue worldly affairs as their sole aim of life, are just like dogs. (Here a dog symbolizes a greedy man who always seeks for wealth and power). They wander from door to door (in search of wealth). They fight over a bone (which means worldly and materialistic things) and waste their lives in quarrelling over it (the world). They are absolute fools who do not understand but wish to make butter by chumming water. Without remembrance of Ism-e-Azam (the name of God), O Bahoo, all else is a fake story.
Solution to deal with materialism
An in-depth study of the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH) present a very beautiful example of balance between materialism and spiritualism. He established universal rules of trade. Holy Prophet (PBUH) did trade and presented a role model of spirituality for His followers. The reign of Khulaf-e-Rashideen is full of universally acknowledged principles that how they present themselves as role model in the field of trade, administration, politics, justice and economic affairs while maintaining a perfect balance between material and spiritual world and succeed in attaining the love of God (Tafseer e Naeemi).
Hazrat Sultan Bahoo (R.A) does not advocate the life of isolation. He maintained the due importance of worldly affairs in accordance with the injunctions of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. This is the role model, which is an example for all of us to emulate. In the present environment of uncertainty, materialism, strife and disunity, the teachings of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo (R.A) have greater importance and significance. I believe that solutions of the problems facing the country, the Ummah, and indeed the humanity, at large, will be resolved if we follow the teachings of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo R.A in letter and spirit (Hamdani, 2001).
In twenty first century, teachings of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo (R.A) are a fundamental source of guidance, inspiration, and help towards establishing a tolerant, purposeful and pluralistic society. They are a basic source of strength in guiding Muslims in this modern age and in establishing peace within themselves and their environment as well as in seeking pleasure of Allah (Mirat-ul-Arifeen, 2011).
In this respect, Hakeem-ul-Umat Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal said:
نکل کر خانقاہوں سے ادا کر رسم شبیری
In this Materialistic age, descendant of Hazrat Sultan Bahoo, Hazrat Sultan Muhammad Ali is presenting himself a role model in accordance with the spirit of Quran-o-Sunah in this regards.
- Ahmad, Saeed. (2012). Greater Sufi Wisdom: Sultan Bahoo. Rawalpindi, Adnan books, Stationers and Computer Accessories.
- Faheem, Aasim. (2011). Socio, Economic Views of Hadrat Sultan Bahoo. Sultan Bahoo Number (2nd edition).p.813, Al-Arifeen Publication, Lahore.
- S. Ahmad. (2001). Hadrat Sultan Bahu: Life and Work. Quetta, Nashad Publishers.
Hussain, Iqbal. (2011).21th Centaury and Teachings of Hadrat Sultan Bahoo. Sultan Bahoo Number (2nd edition).p.833, Al-Arifeen Publication, Lahore
- Khan, M. A. (2016). Abyat e Bahoo. Retrieved from www.sultanbahoo.net