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Income and Expenses -Prophetic Injunction

Islam encourages THE GOLDEN MEAN

Hadith Translation:

Hadhrat Ibn Mas'ood (ra) narrates that Rasulullah (saws) 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... (Tirmidhi)


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 Shari'ah. Income must not be derived by unlawful means, e.g. interest, dealing in unlawful items, usurping the rights of others, cheating, defrauding, withholding the inheritance of any one, etc. Many people violate the Shari'ah 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 engrossed in trade and commerce that even salah is neglected, the hereafter is forgotten, zakah and hajj are not discharged and no time remains for one to acquire the essential teachings of Islam. 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 religion. Association with the pious with the auliya is an important requirement for the spiritual progress of a Muslim. This facet of our spiritual lives should, therefore, never be neglected.

Income should not be expended in such ways that are condemned by Islam. Extravagance, spending in customs which have no Shari'ah sanction, spending for the sake of gaining name, spending in unnecessary luxuries luxuries, which are far in excess of one's needs, etc. are evil ways which bring about ruin in both mundane and spiritual spheres.

There is nothing wrong with earning and accumulating wealth provided that one abstains from extravagance, haraam and all ways and means un-lawful 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 deen. There are a variety of Islamic activities, which require wealth. Therefore, a man of wealth can obtain great thawab by earning and employing wealth in accordance with the Shari'ah. Aiding the poor and needy, contributing to Islamic projects such as masjids, madrasas, works of tableegh, etc. are wonderful channels in which to employ wealth and thereby build up one's capital in the hereafter.

Hadhrat Ibn Umar (ra) narrates that Rasulullah (saws) said: "Allah (swt) loves a mo'min who engages himself in lawful means of earning a living." (Tibrani, Baihaqqi)

It is a person's own interests that he saves up some money to ward off 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 money in order to satisfy their needs. It is therefore necessary to abstain from waste and at the same time save up money. According to a hadith, even Rasulullah (saws) would give his wives expenses at one time for the whole year. Rasulullah (saws) advised the companions to retain some wealth as this was better for peace of mind. This was specifically stated by Rasulullah (saws) to Hadhrat Ka'ab Ibn Malik (ra) who had expressed his desire to contribute all his wealth in the path of Allah (swt).

Hadhrat Anas, Abu Umaamah, Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas and Ali (ra) narrate that Rasulullah (saws) 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. Over-spending and failure to budget one's income lead to debt which in turns brings disgrace, worry and frustration. People are financially ruined when they overspend and along with such worldly ruin comes spiritual ruin as well.

So to sum up, wealth acquired lawfully and spent in accordance with the
Shari' ah is a nia'mat (bounty) from Allah (swt). Wealth becomes an evil when it is acquired and expended in contravention of the Shari'ah. When wealth (like even wives and children) impedes one's spiritual development and interfere with one's spiritual life then indeed it will be an evil. A m'omin should make use of the bounties of Allah (swt) like an obedient slave and not a rebellious traitor.

(Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)


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