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The harms of Materialism – Part 16

Jul 17, 2021

We continue today to take a look at the harms of Materialism
Materialism obscures many of the best things in life, which are free
Some of life’s greatest blessings are just as available to the poor as to the rich, and often they are far more appreciated by the poor, whose lives are less cluttered and distracted by material wealth. The only things worth buying cannot be bought with money. As the famous saying goes,

Money can buy you a bed, but not sleep. It can buy you a house, but not a home; books but not brains; food but not appetite; finery but not beauty; medicine but not health; luxuries but not culture; amusements but not happiness; a passport to everywhere but not heaven.

Materialism leads to pride and elitism.
The Holy Quraan is full of references proving that our tendency in prosperity is to believe we deserve the credit for what we have and to grow proud and thankless. Elitism boosts our egos by making us think we are somehow more worthy than others. Few things are more repugnant than the rich despising the poor. Yet our organisations and social circles, sometimes even our religious centres, foster this very attitude.

Materialism promotes injustice and exploitation.
The rich man will usually be materialistic. The materialistic man will always be unjust. The wealthier the man, the greater his opportunity for injustice. It`s a vicious cycle where normally the poor suffer the most.

Materialism fosters immorality and the deterioration of the family.
Those who enjoy prosperity, power, and privilege also commonly indulge in sexual immorality. For years studies have shown a connection between marital infidelity and an increase in income. Of course, the point is not the income itself, but the lifestyle it underwrites. A person can be extremely wealthy, donate generously, live modestly, and avoid much of the added temptation to immorality. It’s not how much we make that matters. It’s how much we keep.
A consequence of adultery is often divorce, and the consequences of divorce in the lives of children are inestimable. Even when adultery doesn’t result in divorce, it destroys the fabric of marriage and prevents the home from being a moral sanctuary from the corruption of the world. Anything that contributes to an increase in immorality, as materialism clearly does, directly contributes to the breakdown of families and the deterioration of society.

Materialism distracts us from our central purpose.
Like the circus plate spinner who runs frantically from one plate to the next, quickly spinning each one again before it can fall and crash, many of us centre our lives around possessions, concerns, and activities that demand our constant attention and thereby draw attention away from what Allah has called us to be and do.

Let’s Not Fail to Prepare for the Life Ahead
After striking a large deposit of gold, two miners in the Klondike gold rush were so excited about unearthing more and more gold each day that they neglected to store up provisions for the winter. Then came the first blizzard. Nearly frozen, one of the miners scribbled a note explaining their foolishness. Then he lay down to die, having come to his senses too late. Months later, a prospecting party discovered the note and the miners’ frozen bodies lying on top of a huge pile of gold.
Obsessed with their treasure, these men hadn’t taken into account that the fair weather wouldn’t last and winter was coming. Hypnotized by their wealth, they failed to prepare for the imminent future. The gold that seemed such a blessing proved to be a deadly curse.

Dazzled by riches and the prospect of having more, materialists live out their life on earth as if this were all there is. They fail to prepare for the long life ahead. One day, sooner than expected, materialists will find out they were wrong. They will discover the truth that all the wealth in the world can do nothing for them. If they don’t make that discovery until they die, it will be too late to go back and change the way they lived.

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