yesterday 24 Feb. 2014, in the The Sun - Vincent Tan's free paper, it was the celebration of the year for Vincent Tan and his Berjaya Group of Companies when a dragon cake was held high by him to demonstrate his happiness on his birthday and the 4th Berjaya Founders Day at Berjaya Times Square. Vincent Tan was very lucky and fortunate in life. He became household name as a very successful businessman during Mahathir's primiership and was, and, I believe, still is a close friend of Mahathir. Recently, the Sultan of Johor, appears closer to Vincent Tan when the former bought shares in his stable of companies, including a stake in Berjaya Times Square, and the recent most being a substantial stake in MOL. Vincent prides himself for being named as one of the most philanthropic man in Malaysia, besides being amongst the company of the richest in Malaysia. He is a known philanthropist unlike many of his billionaire peers, who are less known and publicised.
According to The Sun, this time around the Better Malaysia Foundation, which is Vincent Tan's vehicle to donate moneys for charity and charitable organizations, is giving some RM 25.6 million to 90 NGOs. In addition, according to his son, Robin Tan, who took over the reigns of power over all of his father's companies, his father and Berjaya collectively contributed some RM 64.0 million so far for donations. We praise him and his son and Berjaya.
But, the moneys actually donated by Vincent Tan and Berjaya actually do not belong to him, but belong to the people of Malaysia, since it is against the tax reliefs which otherwise he and his companies have to pay to the Inland Revenue as corporate taxes! Hence, these donations are nothing but a means to benefit from tax exemptions. It would be commendable if Vincent Tan, Robin Tan and Berjaya were to donate his or his companies' moneys instead - meaning to say that over and above the tax exemption that they obtained from the government under Clause 24 of the Company's Act, they forked out whatever moneys they wanted donated.Then that is real donations from him and his businesses. That would be true spirit of donation. However, how many such philanthropists would do that? I guess none!
Bros, what I want to relate here is not so much Vincent Tan's philanthropic spirit, which is well as good. But, within the context of the message we want to inform readers - Muslims and non-Muslims alike - in this blog is only one. Allah (a.w) is mankind only God. Muhammad (s.a.w) is Allah's Messenger to mankind from the beginning of time - the time of the creation of Adam until the End of Days. Allah's fundamental command that: 'And, I (Allah) creates jinn and man with no other purpose than to serve Me' - Verse 56: az-Zariat. To serve Allah (a.w) means to obey Him - Verse: 13, an-Nisa': Whoever obeys Allah (a.w) (i.e. follow and abide by the al-Quran) and whoever obeys Rasulallah (s.a.w) (i.e. follow and abide by the Prophet's as-Sunnah) shall enter Paradise. And, whoever refuses, then Allah (a.w) says: 'Whoever disobeys/refuse Allah's command (i.e. rejects the al-Quran) adn disobeys/refuse to abide by Rasulallah's as-Sunnah) and whoever flout the limits od actions stipulated in the al-Quran and as-Sunnah, shall enter the Hellfire - Verse 14: an-Nisa'. And, Allah commands that: whatever Muhammad brought forth as guidance must be adopted and accepted, and whatever he forbids, one must shy away from it - Verse 7: al-Haysr.
Allah command's that He establishes Islam as the religion to satisfy compliance of the command - Verse 56: az-Zariat - above. Allah said in the al-Quran that if you are not a Muslim, whatever good deeds you do in this lifetime benefits you only in your lifetime, and nothing is waiting for you in the Hereafter. You are rewarded in this world. But, in the next life there is nothing for you. But, if you are a Muslim, whatever good deeds you perform in this life will be rewarded in this lifetime (in the forms of name, praise, position, company you are in, status in life, title accorded to you, happiness, respect etc etc) as well as in the after life. The reward of the after life is Paradise. If you are not a Muslim, Allah says that your wealth and your children - however rich and however good and however generous your are - means nothing to Allah, and your end in the Hereafter is Hell or Hellfire. We have seen what Allah said in Verse 7: as-Syura: there are only two destinations for man when he dies - one is Paradise and the other is Hell or Hellfire. And, the Hell or Hellfire is reserved for those who refuse to be Muslim, refuse to accept Muhammad as Allah's Messenger and refuse to accept the al-Quran as Allah's Book of Guidance and refuse to accept Islam as the religion of Allah (a.w) mandated for man. Allah says that no matter how rich and wealthy one is - owning richness equivalent to, say, the value of all things in the earth and multiply such wealth many times over, it is useful only in one's lifetime, but in the Hereafter, he cannot trade it for a place in Paradise! And, nothing can save him from Hell if he is not a Muslim in his lifetime.
Hence, the message is clear to people like Vincent Tan and others. They fail to prepare themselves, when they have many chances, to 'buy' a place for the good life after death. If a person such as Vincent Tan were a Muslim, he is given by Allah (a.w) an easy passage to the best of abode in Paradise because he has the means and the mentality to share his wealth with the less fortunate among man in his lifetime. In Islam philanthropists can reserve for himself a place of his choice in the Paradise.
But, as always it all boils to one gift and one word 'Hidayah'. Allah (a.w) provides the ultimate guidance to success in this life and success in the Hereafter. But, man have to choose. Allah (a.w) has the right to accord whoever He wants to receive His Guidance (= Hidayah). But, a man can search for that guidance, strive by learning and understanding Allah (a.w) and His command. If Allah (a.w) bestow His Guidance, we are very fortunate. Lets hope that before his life end a person the like of Vincent Tan will realize and answers Allah's command, and be successful in the Hereafter, Amin.
Bros in Islam, let's note that. Being Muslims do not automatically admits oneself to Paradise. There are two pre-conditions to be satisfied if one wants to be a true and successful Muslim: namely, one needs to accept and adopt and be guided by the as-Sunnah (Verse 13: an-Nisa' and Verse 7: al-Haysr); and secondly, one must be in a formal congregation ( Verse 103 ali-Imran). A Muslim can achieve the status of dweller of the Paradise if he satisfies the condition laid out in the al-Quran, particularly Verse 13: an-Nisa'. The relevant conditions are mentioned in this blog and highlighted in all postings. A Muslim who does not perform his mandatory prayer, for example, will never be admitted into Paradise. This is one example of a Muslim's failure in this life to prepare for his afterlife. The second failure is a Muslim who refuse to follow the command of Verse 103: ali-Imran - that he must in the formal congregation (Jema'ah) - will not be admitted into Paradise, because all his good deeds are not accepted and rewarded by Allah (a.w), he has nothing for the Hereafter. The third failure is the prevalence of bid'ah in one's practices in performing what Allah (a.w) and Rasulallah (s.a.w) comanded one do in one's obligations, such as in prayers, in performing the fasting, the Haj and Umrah, in paying the zakat and in infaq (= donation) for Islam, etc ( i.e. ibadah and amalan). In this posting we are commenting not just the lost opportunity for people the like of Vincent Tan to reserve for themselves a place in Paradise, when he/they have the chances in life, because the rich opens for them any doors to Paradise, if and only if ... Similarly, we remind the Muslims who are rich and wealthy, they will not enter the Paradise unless they infaq substantial portion of their wealth fi sabilillah (i.e. for Allah's cause) - promote and contribute towards Islamic cause and help needy Muslims, assist in spreading Islamic knowledge to make people understand Islam, and become Muslim, etc etc.