A good start

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | SOULVEDA

Here are my entire life’s savings. So saying, an elderly scholar, who had spent his whole life reading and writing, in the utmost simplicity placed a cheque for Rs 10,000 in the hands of his newly wed daughter and son-in-law. He explained that he had been able to save this amount of his meagre income by living frugally and never wasting anything. “I could have spent all this on lavish wedding celebrations,” he added, “but I preferred to hand it over to you young people so that you could make a good beginning in life.

The young couple were extremely grateful for this decision and lost no time in investing the money in a small business. To begin with they had to work very hard to make a success of it, and passed through various difficult stages. But they never lost courage, and a time eventually came when they had considerably increased their profits and were able to live a happy, comfortable life. Knowing, too, that their children’s future was assured. But without the scholar’s initial providence, foresight and courage in resisting public opinion, they might never have had the wherewithal to make a start in life at all and might well have ended their days in penury.

One’s wedding is a very serious event in life, not just an occasion for senseless showing off. It is rather a day to shoulder life’s responsibilities as mature, grown-up people and future parents. It is a day for a man and a woman to enter into a ‘firm contract’ (Quran 4:21), not just an opportunity to impress friends, neighbours and relatives with one’s spending ability. It is at all events advisable that the marriage ceremony should be simple and straightforward, thereby avoiding pointless expenditure. Before anyone spends his entire life’s savings, on gaudy displays—for money, after all is hard earned and difficult to accumulate—he should reflect seriously on the above-mentioned incident.

All things considered, would it not be better to avoid ostentation altogether and to think of how best one can help the young couple concerned? If this practice were to be widely adopted, it would not only benefit young people in general, but would actually make a positive contribution to national construction. The millions of rupees which are habitually lavished on short-lived magnificence could then be channelized into areas of the national economy which are at present unfairly neglected, thus creating favourable conditions for general economic uplift.