Many years ago, while waiting for my father to pick me up from school, I sat in front of the Masjid playground, mesmerized by the sand all around me. It was a sunny day, and the sand glittered in the sun like gold. As I picked the shimmering golden beads of sand up and let them slip through my fingers, I felt like I was the richest man in the world…
A few years later a close friend of mine, was shooting a documentary for Al-Huda School and had decided to name the film, “Mud or Gold“. I asked the reason behind it and stopped dead in my tracks as he simply said,
“Children have such an innocence that they can’t even tell the difference between mud or gold.”
A flood of memories came rushing back as I remembered that nostalgic playground incident that happened so long ago. I was too victim of what he was stating…
Fast forward to the present and I find myself having to read Candide for a World Literature class. Book was extremely pointless if you ask me – guy falls in love, goes around the whole world to find that lady, and then ceases to love her because she becomes ugly, and they live miserably ever after. However, what really caught my eye was when Candide and his fellow, Cacambo, arrive at El Dorado, the fabled Kingdom of Gold. They see gold lying in the streets all around them and they quickly start to greedily hoard as much as they can. They soon find themselves inside a public house in which they are served food and “Cacambo believed as well as Candide that they might well pay their reckoning by laying down two of those large gold pieces which they had picked up” (Voltaire Ch. XVII).
Wow, gold pieces for just a meal? Check out their hosts’ reactions:
“The landlord and landlady shouted with laughter and held their sides. When the fit was over:“Gentlemen,” said the landlord, it is plain you are strangers, and such guests we are not accustomed to see; pardon us therefore for laughing when you offered us the pebbles from our highroads in payment of your reckoning.”
Puts things into perspective, eh?
Think about it for a second, though. We see people killing each other for pieces of paper, otherwise known as dollars. We see massacres committed for mud and pebbles, otherwise known as gold and silver.
Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong in desiring gold, as even Allah mentions it as an incentive once we enter Jannah, but it should never become our means or our purpose in life. Think back to the time when you and I were children. What do you miss most about being a child? When you see a child, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Innocent. Candid. Clear Conscious. Carefree. Qualities all of us would (hopefully) desire to have once more, for our Fitras (natural dispositions) were as pure as snow and not as tarnished as mud. We can get there once more Insha’Allah, but only if we realize that this life is all about insignificant amusements compared to Jannah.
“الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا”
“Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope.” – Surah Kahf, Ayah 46
May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) help us to keep our focus in mind and work for what is truly important. Ameen…
Picture source by lepiaf.geo via Flickr