The Relationship Between the Desire for Wealth and Mental Well-Being

Lal Khan Malik, Amir Jama’at Canada

Editor’s note: The following is the transcript of the concluding address of the 45th Jalsa Salana Canada, delivered by Lal Khan Malik Sahib, Amir Jama’at Canada, on July 16, 2023, at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

“And this life of the world is nothing but a pastime and a sport, and the Home of the Hereafter – that indeed is Life, if they but knew!” (29:65)

Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah!

For my concluding remarks, I would address a topic that is often misunderstood and overlooked—the relationship between the desire for wealth and mental well-being.

We live in a world where the pursuit of wealth is seen as the ultimate goal, the key to happiness, and the solution to all our problems.

This is a fallacy.

While important for our survival and comfort, money does not solve mental health issues. In fact, it can be the cause of them.


In December 2022, in a mulaqat [meeting] with Syedna Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aa), I mentioned the prevalence of mental ailments in Canada.

Huzoor-e-Anwar (aa) said: “It is the result of frustration caused by unfulfilled worldly desires. We should remind the members of the Jama’at about the futility of the pursuit of worldly objects and about the love of the Hereafter.”


As guided by Huzoor-e-Anwar (aa), financial stress and economic anxiety has profound effects on mental health. They can lead to a scarcity mindset, characterized by a heightened focus on what one lacks, resulting in negative feelings.

This mindset reduces the enjoyment derived from the blessings that a person already has.

However, engaging in acts of generosity, regardless of their size, can enhance personal and collective well-being, in-still hope in a person, and foster a sense of abundance.

This shift in perspective can help alleviate stress, and facilitate connections with the community, which are crucial for maintaining mental health, particularly during challenging times.

There is a way of dealing with these challenging times.

The Holy Qur’an states:

“…And he who fears Allah—He will make for him a way out, And will provide for him from where he expects not…” (65:2-3)

Dear members, mental health is a complex issue that is influenced by a variety of individual, social, and spiritual factors. It is a state of well-being that allows individuals to handle life’s difficulties, fulfill their potential, and contribute to the community.

It’s a dynamic state that varies from person to person. Nevertheless, it is part of being human. As the Holy Qur’an states:

“And We will try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives, and fruits; but give glad tidings to the patient”. (2:156)

We have all heard the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness,” yet we continue to chase it, believing that the next big purchase will bring us the peace and satisfaction we crave.

But the truth is, money can never be enough. It’s a mirage that keeps us running but never quenches our thirst.

Many members arrive in Canada from countries where they are denied basic religious and civic rights. They come here seeking freedom, peace, and a chance to live according to their beliefs. But if your focus is solely on financial well-being; on trying to get ahead of your neighbours, then you cannot truly succeed in life.

I am sure you know families that suffer from mental health issues due to financial concerns or lack of wealth at their desired level. We also know of delays in marriages due to waiting for a match with suitable socio-economic status. Not to mention post marriage disputes and separation that occurs due to an ever-increasing desire for higher financial status. How often do you come across people who have mental health issues due to worrying about their personal spiritual fitness? Not very often!

Dear brothers and sisters. Peace comes from the satisfaction of the heart. As Allah has told us time and time again:

“Only in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” (13:29)

This remembrance can take many shapes and forms. It could be the gratitude you feel for living in a society where you are free not only to practice your faith but also preach it, where you are free to pray, recite the Holy Qur’an, teach good moral values to your children, or do simple things such as giving charity.


Mental health disorders, particularly depression and anxiety, impose a substantial economic burden, costing trillions annually around the world. However, investing in the treatment of these disorders yields a fourfold return in terms of work capacity and economic contribution. Understanding the relationship between mental health and economic wealth is crucial, suggesting that mental well-being is not a luxury but a fundamental aspect of human development and economic progress.

Nevertheless, our pursuit of financial success should not overshadow our concern for others. It is imperative to acknowledge the rights of the less fortunate in society and consider their well-being as well. As the Holy Qur’an states:

“And spend for the cause of Allah, and cast not yourselves into ruin with your own hands, and do good; surely, Allah loves those who do good.” (2:196)

A society that values financial status over other attributes creates risks for the believers. The pursuit of wealth can blind us to these blessings. It can make us forget the peace that comes from gratitude, from prayer, and from living a life aligned with our religious values and beliefs. The pursuit of money can lead us down a path of stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction - the very mental health issues we thought money would solve.

Recall the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), who told us:

“Wealth is not in having many possessions, but rather (true) wealth is feeling sufficiency in the soul.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 6446)

This true richness of the soul comes from fulfilling our responsibilities, from caring for our families and from living a life in accordance with our beliefs. After all, how much money is enough? We find a golden rule:

“Contentment is a treasure that is never depleted.”

When you lose sight of basic contentment and try to achieve financial goals beyond your immediate needs, you are losing valuable time that you could spend with your family and improve your personal spiritual well-being. Time that you could use to help your family become better Ahmadi Muslims. Time that you could use to help them understand the lay of the land and navigate the new reality of Canada.

Your children are like young saplings, they need your care and attention to grow into strong trees. Without your personal example, they may become like lifeless leaves, falling off come autumn. What would all the wealth be worth if you lose your children in the process of acquiring worldly treasures? Remember, lip service or empty prayers are not sufficient. It is your personal example that will help your family plant their feet firmly on the ground and grow into strong trees.

This is a responsibility that cannot be outsourced and is a task that no amount of money can accomplish. In your pursuit of wealth, you risk losing your peace of mind to the marital issues that arise when you are not around at home to support your spouse.

Moving to a new country is already a challenging experience, and your spouse needs your help to navigate these unfamiliar waters. A healthy family needs your support to stand firm in faith and start a new life in Canada. Your presence, your understanding, your support—these are things that a healthy mind needs. These are essential for the health and happiness of your family, and they are things that you risk losing when you prioritize wealth over your loved ones. We should try our level best not to let the allure of wealth distract us from what truly matters.

Do not let it become your sole focus, your measure of success. Wealth, within reason, can provide comfort and peace. But uncontrolled pursuit will cause dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and a feeling of loss. As guided by Huzoor-e-Anwaraa it is the primary cause of mental health issues. A decline in mental health due to our shortcomings is a reality. However, we should not lose hope. The Holy Qur’an is our guide. Allah states:

“Never despair of the Mercy of Allah; Surely, He forgives all sins.” (39:54)

We must keep faith in our Creator. As the Holy Qur’an states:

“Allah is the Friend of the believers, He brings them out of everydarkness into the light.” (2:257)

Khilafat is a source for promoting mental health. Our affiliation with the Institution of Khilafat is a profound spring of tranquillity. It invokes a sense of mental and spiritual calmness. Following guidance from Khalifatul-Masih is pivotal in improving our mental well-being. Peace comes from within, but our worldly desires extract that peace from our lives. While you are new to Canada, new to a life that has been bestowed upon you as a favour from Allah, you must understand that financial stability will come with time.

When you look around and see people who have achieved the success that you desire, you must take into consideration that they have had years, perhaps decades, to reach that goal. With time and prayers, you will get there, Insha’Allah. Unrealistic worldly desires will result in undue stress and family issues, leading your mental health to suffer. Remember, the key to prosperity is given to us in the Holy Qur’an:

“The response of the believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger in order that he may judge between them, is only that they say: ‘We hear and we obey.’ And it is they who will prosper.” (24:52)

My dear brothers and sisters: The institution of Khilafat is a divine system of guidance granted by Allah to a community of believers for their spiritual development. This Divine bounty has been described as the ‘rope of Allah,’ like a guidewire that keeps the intrepid seeker of God on track. What is important is that you have a personal relationship with Allah and His Khalifa. Therefore, listening and obeying every guidance from Khilafat should be our daily priority. May Allah enable us to be true servants of Khilafat!


My dear brothers and sisters, we have read the commandments from the Holy Qur’an. We have heard the call of our beloved Imam to improve our mental health and how to do so. Now it’s time for us to ponder upon what actions we must take. We are blessed and fortunate to have accepted the Imam of time, the Promised Messiah (as). Through this acceptance, we have become one nation, one Ummah, under the banner of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). We are indeed, privileged. As the Holy Qur’an states:

“You are the best people raised for the good of mankind; you enjoin what is good and forbid evil and believe in Allah…” (3:111)

This blessing of unity comes with a profound responsibility. Being Ahmadi Muslims, we should do our best to convey the message that brings peace to the entire world. Guidance from Khilafat, on achieving mental health, is an invaluable tressure in our lives. This places a huge responsibility on us. After all, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) has admonished us that:

“None of you is a true believer unless he likes for others that which he likes for himself.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 13)

As Ahmadi Muslims,

(I) It’s our duty to share this message of Islam to the farthest corners of the earth.

(II) We are tasked with the noble endeavour of spreading peace to every soul, every heart, and every land.

(III) Every living being has the innate right to peace, and it is upon us to guide them toward it.

Let the serenity of Islam bring peace to our minds and homes. Then, make it your mission to share this message of peace with our brothers and sisters, and through them, to every human in this world. May Allah enable us to fulfill this task! Amen!