(Chapter 19)

Income and expenditure

Ways and means of income, earning one’s livelihood and spending such income should conform with the Shariah.
Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
On the Day of Qiyaamah no one will be able to move (on the occasion of Hisaab-reckoning) until a reckoning of five things has not been taken …..”                                                                 (Tirmizi)

Among the ‘five things’ mentioned in the above hadith, two questions pertain to income and expenditure. One will be asked: ‘How did you earn your living and how did you spend your income?”
Earnings and expenses are also matters controlled and regulated by the Deen. In this sphere too, there should be no contraventions of the Shariah, Income must not be derived by unlawful means, e.g. riba, dealing in unlawful items, usurping the rights of others, cheating, defrauding, withholding the inheritance of any one, etc. Many people violate the Shari laws of inheritance and deprive the rightful heirs of their Islamic share of the inheritance. In this way the usurpers add to their income what is haraam and what does not belong to them.
Among the ways of earning which conflict with the Deen, is to become involved so intensively in trade and commerce that even Salaat is neglected. Aakhira is forgotten, Zakaat and Hajj are not discharged and no time remains for one to acquire the essential teachings of the Deen. One should not become so much involved that there remains no time to sit in the company of some saintly person, to learn from him the essentials of the Deen. Association with the pious-with the Auliya-is an important requirement for the spiritual progress of a Muslim. This fact of life should, therefore, never be neglected.

Income should not be expended in such ways, avenues and practices which are condemned by the Deen. Extravagance, spending in customs which have no Shari sanction, spending for the sake of gaining name, spending in unnecessary luxuries-luxuries which are far in excess of one’s needs, etc. are all evil ways which bring about ruin in both mundane and spiritual life.
There is nothing wrong with earning and accumulating wealth provided that one abstains from extravagance, haraam and all ways and means unlawful in Islam. Wealth can and should be used constructively for one’s own benefit as well as for the benefit of others and for rendering service to the Deen. There are a variety of Deeni activities which require wealth. Therefore, a man of wealth can obtain great thawaab by earning and employing wealth in accordance with the Shariah. Aiding the poor and needy, contributing to Deeni projects such as Musjids, Madressahs, works of Tableegh, etc. are wonderful channels in which to employ wealth and thereby build up one’s capital in the Aakhirah.
Hadhrat Abdullah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“The seeking of a halaal earning is the (next) Fardh (duty) after the Fardh (Salat).”
                                                                (Baihaqi)

Hadhrat Abu Khimari (radiallahu anhu) narrates lengthy hadith in which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The world is for four (types) of persons. (One among the four) is a man whom Allah Ta’ala granted wealth as well as understanding of the Deen. He fears his Rabb and is kind (and renders service) to his relatives. And, in regard to the wealth he follows the commands of Allah and discharges rights. This man is the noblest …..”
                                                                (Tirmizi)

Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri (radiallahu anhu), narrating a lengthy hadith, said the Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Wealth is an object of pleasure. Wealth acquired in a rightful way (in accordance with the Shariah) and spent in a rightful way will be an aid for its owner.”
                                                       (Bukhari, Muslim)

Hadhrat Amr Ibnul A’s (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Wholesome (pure) wealth for a noble person is good.”
                                                                 (Ahmad)
Hadhrat Miqdam Ibn Ma’di Karuba (radiallahu anhu) narrates that he heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) say:

“There will come a time when only gold and silver (wealth) will benefit people.

According to Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (radiallahu anhu), wealth during the time of the Sahaabah was not preferable since their hearts were ennobled with strong Imaan. Since they possessed a very strong Imaan there was no need for them to seek strength and confidence in wealth. In view of the evils normally attendant to wealth, the Sahaabah and the early Muslims refrained from its acquistion. However, now (says Hadhrat Abu Sufyaan Thauri) wealth has become the shield of the Mu’min. Since Imaan is no longer as strong as it was during former times, poverty creates worry and frustration in people. The result is deterioration in the worldly and spiritual conditions of Muslims as they no longer are able to stand up to the rigours of poverty.

Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (radiallahu anhu) also said that if we did not have wealth, the wealthy worldly people (those puffed up with pride) would have despised us, held us in contempt and trampled over us in any way they wished. Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (rahmatullah alayh) also said that whoever is in possession of wealth should increase it and not squander it because in this age the first thing which will suffer in the event of poverty and want is one’s Deen. Since people, on account of weakness of Imaan, are no longer capable of enduring the rigours of poverty, they compromise their Deen for worldly comforts.

Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (radiallahu anhu) said that Halaal wealth does not tolerate extravagance or waste. Therefore, spend carefully and be not reckless. If you are reckless in spending, you will be overwhelmed by worry and frustration.

Hadhrat Abu Saeed (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“An honest and uprighteous trader will be with the Ambiya, Siddiqeen and Shuhadaa (on the Day of Qiyaamah).”
                                                                (Tirmizi)

The great significance of lawful trade is stated in this hadith. The lawful trader who is honest and uprighteous will enjoy the association of the Ambiya, Saints and Martyrs in the Hereafter.

Hadhrat Miqdam Bin Ma’di Karuba (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The noblest food ate by one is that from his (lawful) labour. Nabi Dawood (radiallahu anhu) ate from the labour of his hands.”
                                                                (Bukhari)

Islam teaches the nobility and dignity of work and labour. The ahadith explains much significance of labour. Nabi Dawood (alayhi salaam) earned his living by making armour. However, this significance applies to only such occupations which are in accord with the Shariah. Haraam forms of labour and occupations, e.g. photography of living objects, musical instruments, cinemas, etc. are haraam forms of occupations. The proceeds from unlawful occupations are likewise unlawful.
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“There was not a Nabi who was not sent as a shepherd.”
The Sahaabah asked: You also tended to sheep?”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied.
“I tended the goats of the people of Makkah …….”
                                                                (Bukhari)

This hadith too asserts the significance of manual labour. All Ambiya (alayhi salaam) were shepherds looking after the sheep and goats of people. Hadhrat Nabi Musa (alahis salaam) remained a shephered, tending the goats and sheep of Nabi Shuaib (alayhis salaam) for eight or ten years. (Ahmad, Ibn Majah). The episode of Musa (alayhi salaam) being a shepherd is narrated in the Qur’aan Shareef as well. This agains brings out the significance of manual labour.

Hadhrat Thaabit Ibn Dhullaak (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) permitted hiring out land. This hadith too asserts the significance of permitted hiring out of land.

Income derived from land and property hiring is also a lawful occupation in Islam as this hadith idicates,

Among the noble ways of earning living is farming. Much significance of farming has been mentioned in the hadith. Hadhrat Anas (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that whatever man, animal or bird eats from any tree or farm planted by a Muslim, its owner obtains the thawaab of Sadqah thereby.

Hadhrat Anas (radiallahu anhu) narrating a lengthy hadith says that a man from among the Ansaar came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and requested something. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sent someone to bring a mug and mat from onehouse. These items Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) auctioned among the Sahaabah. With the money obtained for the items Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) bought some food and an axe. Giving these to the Ansaari, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Go (to the forest) cut wood and sell it. This is better for you than begging which will be a blot of disgrace on your face (on the Day of Qiyaamah).” (Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah)
This hadith establishes that a lawful occupation, no matter how menial and inferior, is better than begging. Asking is a disgrace, said Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Allah Ta’ala loves a Mu’min who engages in a lawful means of earning a living.”
                                                      (Tibrani, Baihaqi)

A halaal trade or any halaal means of earning should not be despised. Many people consider certain forms of earning as lowly and regard such people with contempt. The hadith shareef in stating Allah’s love for the Mu’min who earns a halaal livelihood, clearly implies the dignity of labour and brings out the great significance of earning one’s living irrespective of how lowly and inferior the work may seem in the eyes of worldly people.

It is in a person’s own interests that he saves up some money so that he may be saved from worry and despondency. It is a fact that most people are not able to undergo hardship. When in need of money, they resort to practices which are unlawful and adopt haraam measures to obtain from waste and at the same time save up money. There is nothing wrong in saving. According to the hadith, even Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would give his wives expenses at one time for the whole year. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advised the Sahaabah to retain some wealth as this is better for peace of mind. This was specifically stated by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to Hadhrat Ka’b Ibn Malik (radiallahu anhu) who had expressed his desire to contribute all his wealth in the Path of Allah Ta’ala.

In one hadith Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“I detest a man who is useless. He is neither engaged in any worldly activity nor any Aakhirah activity.”
                                                       (Ahmad, Baihaqi)

Indolence and inactivity are detestable attributes. A man who is not engaged in Deeni work should involve himself in some lawful worldly activity and earn his livelihood. He should not remain idle and waste away his life. On the otherhand, those fully involved in Deeni activities, should repose their trust in Allah Ta’ala. He is the Provider. He will most certainly provide for them. Workers of the Deen should not in the least be worried in regard to their rizq.

Extravagance or waste is evil. The Shariah prohibits waste. Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Shareef:

“Do not waste. Verily, the wasters are the brothers of shaitaan.”

Hadhrat Mugheerah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Allah Ta’ala detests that you destroy wealth (i.e. by means of wasting).” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Hadhrat Anas Abu Umaamah, Ibn Abbaas and Ali (radiallahu anhu) narrate that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Walk along the middle path.”

This means the adoption of moderation. Moderation in spending is the instruction of Islam. Spend only when necessary. If people are moderate in expenditure and abstain from extravagance, they will never be dependent on others. They will not be forced to ask others, thereby bringing disgrace upon themselves. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that to ask is disgrace. Over-spending and failing to budget one’s income lead to debt which in turns brings disgrace, worry and frustration. People are financially ruined and along with such worldly ruin comes spiritual ruin as well.

Among the worst of calamities is debt, especially if one has no means of paying the debts. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has sounded dire warnings in regard unpaid debt. Even martyrdom is no absolution for debt. Debt will be demanded even in the Aakhirah. In this regard, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“I take oath by that Being Whose possession is my life that the man who is in debt will not enter Jannat even if he is martyred (in the Path of Allah); then is resurrected and again martyred; then again is resurrected and again martyred. He will not enter (Jannat) until his debt is paid.” (Targheeb, Nisaai, Tibrani, Hakim)

However, there are exceptions. If the debt was incurred on account of a real need and one has the intention of paying and at the same time makes effort to pay, then the warning stated in the above hadith will not apply to such debt. In such cases, even if the debt remained unpaid, Allah Ta’ala will settle the rights of the creditors on behalf of the sincere debtor who was genuinely unable to pay.

The discussion in this section shows that wealth if acquired lawfully and spent in accordance with the Shariah is a ni’mat (bounty) from Alah Ta’ala. Wealth becomes an evil when acquired and expended in contravention of the Shariah. When wealth, (like even wives and children) impedes one’s spiritual development and interferes one’s Deeni life then indeed it will be an evil. In Surah Taghaabun, Allah Ta’ala describes even one’s family as one’s enemy. This applies when the family obstructs one in the Path of Allah Ta’ala. The same reasoning will apply to wealth. The aayat mentioning that family can be one’s enemy also states that wealth can be one’s enemy. Thus when one’s family cause one to forget the Aakhirah they will be one’s enemies.

The Mu’min should make use of the bounties of Allah Ta’ala like an obedient slave and not a rebellious traitor.

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