Allah (swt) says in the verse 43:33- 35 of the Holy Quran,
‘And if it were not that the people would have become one community (of disbelievers), We would have made for those who disbelieve in the Most Merciful - for their houses- ceilings and stairways of silver upon which to mount’. And for their houses- doors and couches (of silver)- upon which to recline’. And adornments of gold. Yet all this (i.e. the doors, stairways, roofs thrones etc) would have been nothing but an enjoyment of this world. And the Hereafter with the Lord is only for the pious’.
In order to understand the above mentioned verses it will be necessary for us to look into a previous verse, i.e. 43:32, in which Allah (swt) explains to mankind the reason why He has made differences amongst human beings in term of wealth, power, intellect etc. Allah (swt) says that the reason behind these disparities is that it enables a human being to use the services of another. For example, if all people were of the same standing in the society, then suppose if a rich person wanted a building for himself then he would not have been to find any mason to build it for him. So the disparities between people have been created with much Wisdom by Allah (swt) and they aim to produce inter-dependency amongst the human beings. Due to this inter-dependency not even a billionaire can manage his life properly all by himself. He may need several people to help him at every step of life, whether it is his chauffeur, his laundry man or his cook.
Allah (swt) says in verse 43:33 that if He wished He would have made the houses of the disbelievers of both gold and silver, as variety makes things appear more beautiful. Allah (swt) would have given the disbelievers such houses in which the doors, staircases and couches were made of gold and silver if there did not exists the possibility of all the people becoming disbelievers. If the believers would have seen so much opulence in the houses of the disbelievers then they would have been tempted to jump on the bandwagon. So if the risk of the believers losing their faith did not exist then Allah (swt) would have granted houses made of gold and silver to the disbelievers. This verse proves that the wealth of this world, such as the gold and silver is so worthless in the Eyes of Allah (swt) that He would not have minded giving it to those who did not follow Him. In order to further elucidate this point from the Quran it would be apt to mention a hadith here: Narrated Sahi bin Sa’d that Prophet Mohammad (saw) said, ‘If the world to Allah was worth a mosquito’s wing then He would not have allowed a disbeliever to drink a sip of water’. (Muslims, Tirmidhi).
Gold and silver symbolize worldly wealth and it will be left behind because even a billionaire has to depart from this world empty-handed. So this shows the triviality of the worldly wealth to which some people attribute so much importance to.
These Quranic verses establish an important truth that the lowly wealth of this world is not the right yardstick with which the character of a person can be gauged. With this explanation Allah (swt) has silenced the critics of Islam, i.e. the disbelievers, who were ignorant enough to argue (in verse 43:31) that Allah (swt) should have chosen His Prophet from amongst the rich and the powerful people.