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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Put your wealth not in your heart

Several years ago, someone I know said to me, rather proudly, "I once had a million ringgit." At that point in time when he said those words, he no longer had such amount of money. On the contrary, he was borrowing money from people just to keep up with his rather lavish lifestyle.

When a mutual friend passed away, he asked me for RM1,000 on the pretext of borrowing it to help out the family of the mutual friend. At that time, I was also in some difficult times, but I helped out because I felt the need to help the deceased friend's family. I just smiled when the friend who asked for the "loan" gave the money to the widow as if the donation came from him personally. Never mind, I said to myself. The person who provided the money to the person who handed the donation would surely be bestowed with even greater rewards from Allah SWT. Even to this day, I hold firmly to this belief.

This debt was never recovered. My conscience is clear. Even if this particular loan was not repaid, I regard it as my own donation to the deceased friend's family. True enough, five years on, the qard al-hasan remained unpaid. Instead, the debt grew. Promises were made, only to be broken. I could list down all the empty promises made, but I won't. Suffice to say that with more promises made, the level of trust eroded slowly but surely.

What saddens me is that he does not even show a sense of guilt. He goes on living lavishly on, what some people may argue, other people's money which is due to them. People talk, and people will continue to talk. And this friend goes on living as if people are oblivious.

He also once told me that people will look up to others because of two things, i.e. the car you drive and the shoes you wear. Both these things, according to his materialistic philosophy, will open up gates and doors to important people and opportunities.

Frankly, I could not care less about what car a person drives or what brand of shoes one is wearing. The car I drive is based on the needs of my family. I don't buy cars because of their brand names. Why drive a Mercedes when I cannot afford it and if it does not serve my purpose? If you can afford luxury cars and shoes, by all means, go ahead. If, on the other hand, you are like me, a pair of Bata shoes costing RM50 will last me for up to two years. If you don't believe me, just take a gander at my shoes the next time you see me.

One of the things I hate in life is owing people something. If I have debts with other people, I will have difficulties sleeping. When the debts are repaid, I find myself at peace. That is why I will do my very best to avoid borrowing money from people. Even when the need arises, I will make it a point to settle it as soon as possible.

I do not want people who help me during my times of need having to ask for what is rightfully theirs. Worse still, I do not want people to feel like beggars when they ask about their repayment. Unfortunately, this is how I feel each time I inquired about the money that is owed to me. The creditor should not be made to feel like a beggar. It is the debtor who should feel guilty for not paying up.

I know this is very much a personal jotting. But please allow me to use this blog as an avenue for me to put this down. It is not my intention to put anyone down. I just feel that there is great injustice in the way some people act.

Even if one has a mountain full of money, the money will certainly run out if one is lavish. If one borrows money just to cover his lavish lifestyle, at the end of the day, one will have debts the size of a mountain instead. No doubt, money is important. But if one puts money as one's priority, one will end up getting addicted to it.

I like what I read somewhere that gives the advice: "Put your wealth in your hands and not in your heart." In other words, you should control your wealth, and not let your wealth control you.

After much thought, I figured that this friend must have put his wealth in his heart, otherwise he would not only still have his million, but also would have doubled or tripled his million. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lots of people would say that this is a kind of outdated value that will get one nowhere in life. One must know what one wants and goes after it with such determination and tenacity of a lioness hunting a prey, otherwise one is a loser.
Like the writer of the piece, I do not mind a bit being branded a loser if I can make myself no burden to anyone and I still feel the pains and sufferings of others, regardless of what shoes I wear nor what car I drive.