Richest Man in the Cemetery

Abū al-Dardāʾ رضى الله عنه used to say “We eat and drink and the rich eat and drink. We dress and the rich dress. The rich have excess wealth and they look at their excess wealth and we look at their excess wealth. But they will be questioned about it, and we will not.”

These are real words of wisdom from Abū al-Dardāʾ رضى الله عنه.

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى addresses His Messenger ﷺ and says:

Your Lord will give you until you are content [Sūrat al-Ḍuḥā, 93:5]

We should remember that this verse is to do with the ākhirah. The truth is that insān, on earth, is never content, unless he trains his mind, soul and heart. No matter what we achieve in the dunya, we are not satisfied and do not stop. This is the very nature of man. Steve Jobs once said ‘Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me’. That is ultimately what it is; no matter how wealthy we may become, we must ultimately enter the grave. At that point, what does all our wealth account for? It is meaningless.

We should therefore shift our gaze and focus from the dunya to the ākhirah. One way of training our minds is by reflecting on the profound statement of Abū al-Dardā. What does his saying mean? No matter how rich you become, there is only so much you can consume, wear and benefit from. Any excess wealth will just be on display.  

[This short excerpt is based on a lecture delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 22nd November 2019]

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