Qaroon’s Mindboggling Wealth
And His All-Too Contemporary Logic
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Even after 3500 years or more, Qaroon’s logic and language are as fresh and contemporary today as they ever were or they ever can be.
Qaroon was of the Qawum – people – of Musa, Alaihis Salam, says the Qur’an:
Inna Qaroona Kaana Min Qawumi Musa.
Allah had given Qaroon enormous wealth. So much wealth, the Qur’an seems to indicate, it is almost impossible for many people to imagine.
People, especially those people whose eyes and hearts were entirely focused on the glitz and attractions of This World, envied Qaroon. They said openly:
“We wish we had what Qaroon has.”
Yaa Layita Lanaa Mithla Maa Ootiya Qaroon!
But then there were those people among Qaroon’s Qawum who had been blessed by God with vision and understanding and with a love for the Next World. They said to Qaroon:
“Don’t be so arrogant!
Allah does not like arrogant people.
Use your wealth as a means for the Next World.
Do take from your wealth what you need for your own personal use.
But do good to others as Allah has treated you so well.”
Qaroon was puzzled. To Qaroon, this argument did not make much sense. It was beyond Qaroon’s comprehension.
He argued that his wealth came from his own personal earnings. And his earnings were a product of his own talent and training and hard work.
And, more than anything else, his fortune is the result of his education and his knowledge. He said:
Innamaa Ooteetuhu Alaa Ilmin Indee!
That Aayat never stopped hitting me like a bludgeon every time I read it.
“My wealth is the result of my training and my education.
And my superior knowledge!”
That logic is as fresh today as it was 3000 or 4000 years ago. And it is as powerful in our own times, and in our own societies and cultures, and in our own personal lives today, as it was in the life and times of Qaroon so many centuries ago.
All the Ivy League MBA programs come to mind, where some of the most learned teachers inculcate in some of the smartest minds of our younger generations the cult of ruthless competition, and unbridled profit maximization, regardless of their human cost or social consequences.
Wall Street and its shenanigans of greed float into ken.
Books like Den of Thieves come to mind. Names like Mike Milken and Ivan Boesky suggest themselves.
Going back even earlier, one is reminded of writings highlighting the lives and questionable business practices of the so-called Robber Barons.
In fact, the entire logic and philosophy and history of Hedge Fund Management, Takeovers and Mergers, Acquisitions and Breakups swim before your mind’s eye.
Even the names of disgusting people like Martin Shkreli are hard to keep away from your consciousness, with his slogan of Billion Dollars, Here I Come!
Well, what about a nice family man and mainstream politician, and a Mormon to boot, like Mitt Romney?
Who can ever forget the Senate Testimony, I think it was under oath, of the Seven Super Tobacco Executives (The Seven Sisters, right?) each one of them standing up ramrod straight, and raising their right hand, and declaring:
I swear: “Nicotine Is Not Addictive!”
Oh, how I cried for honesty, integrity, and truth that day.
And for America and American People!
Poor, poor American People, fooled and lied to and taken advantage of by every crook and criminal and charlatan and Con Artist.
And now, more recently, history comes back full circle with the role of Big Pharma (giant pharmaceutical corporations) coming to light, with their systematic efforts to create a market for their drug products by putting the American People on an inexorable and cruel path to Opioid Addiction and miserable life.
Go and see town after town of beautiful Upstate New York and the devastation caused by this addiction that perhaps could only be called Man-Made Addiction – at least to a significant degree.
Just like Nicotine Addiction used to be.
And just like Alcohol Addiction is!
And what a taboo subject that is! To talk about Alcohol Addiction in America!
And go and travel through beautiful states like New Hampshire.
Or just about any part of America.
Those who are in any form or shape, and to any degree, are instrumental in perpetrating these horrors on the American People are all latter-day practitioners of the Religion of Greed and Arrogance and Selfishness, and Unchecked Profit Maximization, that Qaroon represented in his life, and that the Bible condemned so clearly and emphatically through its Commandments.
It is clear that the religion of Unchecked Profit Maximization is a dangerous one for humanity’s health. In reality, it is a dangerous social disease that hollows out the moral core of societies from within and that unleashes a reign of all kinds of confusion, injustice, misery and terror around the world.
Allah brought the Muslims to the West – to Europe and the Americas in particular – and gave them an opportunity to provide the West – and the rest of the world – a cure for this social disease – and for all other social and moral diseases of the West and the world in general.
But Muslims, instead of becoming a Solution to the Problem, ended up becoming Part of the Problem themselves, as Malcom X, Allah bless him, once put it, I think, so eloquently.