Sunday, December 23, 2007

Misconception regarding luxury (taraf)

Allah (swt) said:

Till when We grasp the (town’s) luxurious ones with punishment, behold! They started to supplicate.” [Al-Mu’minun: 64].

The luxurious ones here means the arrogant tyrants.

Allah (swt) said also:
And We sent not unto any township a warner, but its luxurious ones declared: Lo! We are disbelievers in that which you bring to us.” [Saba’a:34]

The luxurious ones are those who are haughty (arrogant) towards the believers because of their high level of wealth and children.

Allah (swt) also said:
The wrongdoers followed that by which they were made surrounded with luxury.” [Hud: 116]
What is meant by those who were surrounded with luxury is that they turned towards their whims i.e. followed their whims.

Allah (swt) said:
And when We would destroy a township We send commandment to its tyrant folk (luxurious ones) and afterward, they commit abomination therein.”[Al-Isra: 16]
What is meant by tyrant folk is their tyrants who live at ease.

The meaning of Luxury(taraf)

Luxury (Taraf) linguistically means vanity and arrogance due to living a life of ease and comfort.When we say wealth made somebody luxurious, we mean it made him arrogant and corrupted him. That the person became luxurious means that he insisted on tyranny. He also transgressed and became haughty. Thereupon the luxury (Taraf) which the Qur’an condemned, and Allah prohibited and considered a sin is the Taraf that linguistically means haughtiness and arrogance due to ease of living, but not the ease of living itself. Therefore it is wrong to interpret Taraf as enjoying the wealth and ease of living by that which Allah provided, because ease of living and enjoying the provision of Allah are not condemned by Shari’ah.

Say: Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought for His servants and the good things of His provision?” [Al-A’raf: 32]

At-Tirmidhi narrated from Abdullah ibn Amr who said: ‘The Prophet (saw) said, “Allah likes to see the signs of His favour (bounties) on His servant,’” i.e. He loves for His servants to enjoy His favour and enjoy the good things He has provided for him. But Allah hates the haughtiness, arrogance and transgression that may result from a life of ease. So Allah hates the life of ease if it produced haughtiness, transgression, arrogance and tyranny. Since a life of ease and comfort by the abundant wealth could lead some people to arrogance, tyranny and haughtiness; that is it creates Taraf in them, Islam prohibited that type of luxury. So Islam prevented corruption if it resulted from the abundance of wealth and children, making people arrogant and tyrannical. Islam prohibited that strongly. So when it is said that Taraf is Haram it does not mean the life of ease is Haram, it rather means that arrogance which results from the easy use of wealth is Haram, as Taraf would mean linguistically, and as luxury (Taraf) would mean from the verses of the Qur’an.



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Dr Latib said...


I fully agree with your perspective and sentiment on this issue, I feel as muslims we have an unfounded negativity towards wealth and ease and it is important to see these issues in the correct light.