Essay No. 235:
Materialism Is The Death Of Spirituality: At the very outset, the connotation of materialism may be noted. It means exclusively devotion to bodily wants, denying the existence of spirit and maintaining that there is but one substance i.e., matter. On the other hand, spiritualism means that spirit has a real existence apart from matter. This shows materialism and spiritualism are two distinct philosophies, opposed to each other.
The pursuit of materialism is thus the denial of spirituality. In the present day word, there is excessive pursuit of materialism in the economically developed countries of the West and the US, as the objective is to raise the level of economic affluence and prosperity. The objective is to provide material conveniences of life to the people in an increasing degree.
The West thus has accepted materialism as the main philosophy of life, which it pursues with full devotion. That enables the West to increase the pace of conveniences of life through Research and Development. The West chases materialism with all its vigor and energies. People seem to have abandoned religion and no longer listen to its calls.
The churches on Sundays are practically empty while the public houses (pub houses) where wine, whisky are served, are seen full of men, women, the young, the old. People indulge in merrymaking and seem to extricate themselves from the worries of life momentarily. The West has come to learn by the force of bread only.
That is why all its energies are canalized in material channels to the utter neglect of the spirit i.e., the soul. The West thus stands apart from spiritualism. The Third World countries are in a ferment state as they wish to exterminate poverty to open up modern ways of living to the people. Their living standards are appallingly low as compared to the developed countries.
Hence the stress is on the diminution of poverty with a view to bringing about a qualitative change in the living style of poor people. The educated people raise their material expectations to a high a level which they cannot easily satisfy. They get frustrated in life though they have comparatively a high level of achievements to their credit.
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Materialism has greatly gripped people in the Third World countries. Industrialists, businessmen indulge in in malpractices to earn money. They are seen openly eulogizing moral values but practicing anti-moral values just to grab material advantage. No wonder, societies in the Third World become bedrocks of immoral values, exhibiting a vivid contrast between profession and practice.
The phenomenon is observable in the field of politics, economics and administration. The moral values have been weakened due to the invasion of materialism. People observe religious rituals, yet are hollow of moral soundness. This is due to the rampage of materialism, which has eclipsed the ethics of individuals and nations. Materialism indicates the negation of spiritually.
One may say materialism and spirituality are poles apart. Islam is a practical way of living. It enjoins upon believers to pursue materialism within normal bounds to satisfy their basic economic needs. Body has to be fed to ensure man’s physical existence. It believes that body and spirit need both to be looked after, as body cannot exist without soul or spirit.
Both are complementary to each other though on face of things they are different entities. Body cannot be neglected. It has to be looked after well. However, body should not take precedence over other needs of man, like love, affection, aesthetic activates like painting, music and other forms of art. Man must look into his inner urges to avoid his soul of starvation.
He must seek a blend of materialism and spiritualism. He should not allow either of these urges to starve. The best approach is to earn bread in a legal way avoiding all sorts of moral impurities and also to cater to the spiritual urges of life. One should thus adopt a balanced approach combining therein material and spiritual requirements of life.
Hence neither of the tow should be allowed to overshadow human life. The maxim that man does not live by bread alone, should be practically demonstrated in life. Let there by a balance between materialism and spiritualism. Man should seek the deliverance of his soul by frequently reciting the remembrance of Allah, besides earning his bread in a lawful manner.