mill, and the loaf to be baked in an oven. So too in the arrangement of all things there is a certain slow deliberation decreed by God’s wisdom. If on account of greed one fails to act with slow deliberation, one will fail to notice the steps one must mount in the arrangement of all things; he will either fall or be unable to traverse the steps, and in either event will not reach his goal.
O brothers giddied by preoccupation with your livelihood, and drunk on your greed for this world! Greed is harmful and pernicious; how is it then that you commit all kinds of abject deed for the sake of your greed; accept all kinds of wealth, without concern for licit or illicit; and sacrifice much of the hereafter? On account of your greed you even abandon one of the most important pillars of Islam, the payment of zakat, although zakat is for everyone a means of attracting plenty and repelling misfortune. The one who does not pay zakat is bound to lose the amount of money he would otherwise have paid: either he will spend it on some useless object, or it will be taken from him by some misfortune.
In a veracious dream that came to me during the fifth year of the First World War, the following question was put to me:
“What is the reason for this hunger, financial loss, and physical trial that now afflicts the Muslims?” I replied in the dream:
“From the wealth He bestows upon us, God Almighty required from us either a tenth or a fortieth1 so that we may benefit from the grateful prayers of the poor, and rancour and envy may be prevented. But in our greed and covetousness we refused to give zakat, and God Almighty has taken from us a thirtieth where a fortieth was owed, and an eighth where a tenth was owed.
“He required of us to undergo, for no more than one month each year, a hunger with seventy beneficial purposes. But we took pity on our instinctual souls, and did not undergo that temporary pleasurable hunger. God Almighty then punished us by compelling us to fast for five years, with a hunger replete with seventy kinds of misfortune.
“He also required of us, out of each period of twenty-four hours, one hour to be spent in a form of divine drill, pleasing and sublime, luminous and beneficial. But in our laziness we neglected the duty of prayer. That single hour was joined to the other hours and wasted. As penance, God Almighty then caused us to undergo a form of drill and physical exertion that took the place of prayer.”
A tenth, that is, of wealth like corn that every year yields a new crop; and a fortieth of whatever yielded a commercial profit in the course of the year.