Who is truly rich?
The answer to this question will vary from person to person. The most common answer is bound to be: “The one who has the most amount of money.” However, let us hear the answer from the leader of all mankind, from the one who was granted the most amount of knowledge by Allah Ta‘ala, from that heart which was blessed with direct divine guidance, from none other than Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “A person’s being rich is not dependent upon him owning much worldly possessions. Rather, being truly wealthy is to be rich in one’s heart.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6446)
If one is “rich in his heart” by being content with whatever Allah Ta‘ala has blessed him with, irrespective of the amount, he is truly rich. On the other hand, if a millionaire is hankering after the “next valley of gold,” he is indeed poverty stricken.
Excessive wealth can never grant a person peace until and unless his heart is also at peace. If one’s heart is tormented by worldly worries, despite all the wealth in the world there will be really no “life” — it will just be a dreary existence living from day to day.
The peace of the heart which comes as a result of contentment is acquired by the remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala. The remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala means total obedience to Him, i.e. fulfilling all that He has commanded and refraining from that which He has forbidden. Included in this is the aspect of continuously engaging in verbal zikr, which will liven the soul and generate life in one’s ‘ibaadah.
Involvement in sins destroys peace of mind and the contentment of the heart. As a result, the world becomes one’s object in life, as Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) says: “If the son of Adam (‘alaihis salaam) had a valley of gold, he will wish that he had two valleys of gold. And nothing will fill his belly except the sand of the grave, but Allah Ta‘ala forgives those who repent.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6439)