An Islamic Perspective and Commentary
Islamic concept of wealth is in general agreement with the statements in this Chapter. However, there is a possible divergence of interpretation of what Jesus (peace be on him) says to his desciples. It is stated in the Holy Quran that the preference should be given to the Hereafter:
Ye prefer the life of this world; But the Hereafter is better and more enduring. And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation),- The Books of Abraham and Moses. (87:16-19)
The same concepts are delineated in the following verses from the Quran:
Yea, I have given the good things of this life to these (men) and their fathers, until the Truth has come to them, and an apostle making things clear. But when the Truth came to them, they said: "This is sorcery, and we do reject it." Also, they say: "Why is not this Qur'an sent down to some leading man in either of the two (chief) cities?" Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of thy Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in the life of this world: and We raise some of them above others in ranks, so that some may command work from others. But the Mercy of thy Lord is better than the (wealth) which they amass. And were it not that (all) men might become of one (evil) way of life, We would provide, for everyone that blasphemes against (God) Most Gracious, silver roofs for their houses and (silver) stair-ways on which to go up, And (silver) doors to their houses, and thrones (of silver) on which they could recline, And also adornments of gold. But all this were nothing but conveniences of the present life: The Hereafter, in the sight of thy Lord is for the Righteous. If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of (God) Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one, to be an intimate companion to him. Such (evil ones) really hinder them from the Path, but they think that they are being guided aright! (43:29-37)
At another place, God Almighty instructs Muhammad (peace be on him) thus:
And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; no obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds. (018.028 )
While giving charity is part of Islamic faith, Islam is not opposed to acquiring wealth by Islamically lawful means. It may be that Jesus only wanted his desciples to "cast away their purse and walk with no sandals" and this wasn't a general directive. After all, he had also said that he had not come to destory the Torah, and we know that prophets Solomon and David, for example, lived a wealthy life. May peace and blessings be on all the prophets of God, the Almighty. At the same time, it should be noted that prophet Muhammad lived a very simple life and there were times when he and his household had nothing to eat for days. Whenever he happened to have any wealth, he gave it away in charity. We see the same moral excellence from many of his companions.