‘Dunya’ is an Arabic word which means the temporal world, and its possessions – it refers to the occupation with and possession of wealth and its expression. Literally, ‘dunya’ means ‘closer’ or ‘lower’.
The Qur’an and Sunnah has cautioned us about the danger of the fleeting nature of the ‘dunya’ that is effected through wealth and materialism. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) expressed his fear regarding this in a narration :
“I do not fear that you will fall into ascribing partners with Allah, but I do fear for you the dunya (wealth and materialism) – you shall compete with one another for it and fight each other (because of it), then you will be destroyed, just as people before you were destroyed.” (Sahih Muslim)
Wealth in itself is not destructive. It is beneficial if utilised wisely and correctly, within need and with moderation. However, the nature of materialism is such that few are able to make a proper distinction and strike the required balance, and so we see the corruption and mischief that wealth has brought. If not censored, wealth gradually corrupts even a good person, causing one to become miserly, inconsiderate, jealous, competitive and arrogant.
Love for wealth and engrossment with the world leads a person to spiritual death. Therefore, it is imperative for every person to seek guidance on how to manage the way one lives, his dealings, relationships, spending, charity and his inner temptations and thoughts. These aspects define a person and require constant evaluation and reformation.