Zujaja Khan, London
On Friday 8 December 2017, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, threw light on the impact of materialism on one’s relationship with Allah the Almighty. His Holiness spoke in detail about the meaning of Arabic term shahwat, an intense desire or yearning for something and a constant worry regarding it. It also denotes a thing or a goal, which is merely based on selfish desires. For example, His Holiness spoke about the wrongful prioritisation of wealth and power within governments, and how this has catalysed a culture of corruption within political regimes.
In this sermon on materialistic societies, His Holiness touched upon the subject of youth. He relayed guidance from the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), who had emphasised the importance of using one’s youth as an opportunity to address one’s materialistic nature. As young people, we often find ourselves inundated by pressures to be successful as soon as possible, to make as much money as we can, to race through life climbing social ladders ahead of others. However, this kind of competitive attitude is diametrically opposed to the guidance given in the Holy Qur’an, and the teachings given by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him).
Our faith Islam recognises the Day of Judgment, and the fleetingness of this world. Therefore, it is our duty to prepare ourselves for the afterlife. It is related that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) said: “you should live in the world as if you are a visitor or a passer-by.” This is corroborated by the verse in the Holy Qur’an that His Holiness quoted in his aforementioned Friday sermon:
‘Know that the life of this world is only a sport and a pastime, and an adornment, and a source of boasting among yourselves, and of rivalry in multiplying riches and children. This life is like the rain the vegetation produced whereby rejoices the tillers. Then it dries up and thou seest it turn yellow; then it becomes broken pieces of straw. And in the Hereafter there is severe punishment, and also forgiveness from Allah, and His pleasure. And the life of this world is nothing but temporary enjoyment of deceitful things.’ (57:21).
Thus, it is definitively clear through this guidance that no material objectives should come before the remembrance of Allah.
Sermons of His Holiness are excellent sources of wisdom, and as always, I was struck by the timeliness of his words. Not only do they speak to the current political climate in the world, but they also resonated with my personal life. I admit I am very much a perfectionist (and not in a good way). Over the past few weeks, I know I have been guilty of investing too much of my life in my work: focussing too intensely on excelling at my job and stressing when the smallest thing goes wrong.
In his book ‘Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues’, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV touched upon the features of a materialistic society, noting that “[Islam] advocates an ideology which declares that life on this earth is not the be-all and end-all of things but that there is a life to come hereafter.” However, if one obsesses over material objectives in this life, then surely this would mean that they have lost sight of the temporary nature of this world.
Rather than indulging in my worries, my priority should always be my service to Allah the Almighty- no objective can be successful, no real contentment can be achieved, without the will of Allah. Striving for success cannot come before striving for Allah’s blessings. It is at this crucial stage in our lives that we young people should do our utmost to address our negative behaviour, and improve our relationship with Allah.
InshaAllah with His Holiness’s guidance, we young Ahmadi Muslims should treat our youth as a treasure, cultivating the best means of spirituality we can with Allah to ensure lifelong fulfilment. May we all strive to follow the guidance given to us by Allah in the Holy Qur’an, teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and what the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) told us which His Holiness constantly reminds us of. Ameen.
 Words of Wisdom: Sayings and Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Dr Karimullah Zirvi, Majeed A. Mian, Syed Sajid Ahmad (Majlis Ansarullah: Maryland), 2000, p. 252.