Money in Islam deviates far from the conventional wisdom of economics. In Islam money acquires a social inclination in addition to its economic objective. So in Islam how money is earned, how it is spent, purification of money and spending on social cause (zakat) has its due importance apart from the function of being a medium of exchange.
Everything in universe, heavens and on earth and everything under its surface is owned by Allah. Basically, that means everything including wealth and money is owned by Allah. We are just given the right of dealing with it. Allah intends to know how man deals with money and on the Day of Resurrection he will be questioned about his money and wealth, how he acquired it and how he spend it.
In Islam Money was created to be a medium of exchange to buy goods or services not to buy more money with money. Money is not a commodity which can be utilised directly without exchanging it for some goods or service.
Money is not something which is discouraged in Islam. It is stated that a person who is able to earn his living is obliged to do so in order to suffice himself and the people on whom he is obliged to spend. And a person who neglects this obligation of earning a sufficient livelihood is sinful by not doing so.
Islam is in favour of trade and commercial activities. But at the same time during the conduct of these activities upholding brotherhood, high moral values, principles and fear of almighty is of utmost importance. Wealth should be acquired only through socially acceptable norms and money earned through illicit means is haram. In fact, a person can perform good deeds with money and earn Jannah on the basis of how he spends the money. He can perform Hajj, Umrah, give Zadaqa, help the needy, build mosque and host of other things that are spiritually uplifting and beneficial.
Prophets Dawud (A.S.) and Sulaiman (A.S.) were rulers at their time. They were very rich and yet they were prophets. There were also some very rich Ashb-e-Rasool (S.A.W.), the richest of whom was Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Auf, who was what would be termed a billionaire today. Yet, he was so religious that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) was informed by angel Jibrael that Hazrat Abdur Rahman is a ‘jannati’. This shows that money is not something that is discouraged in Islam. In fact, a person can acquire a lot of good deeds and a place in heaven by earning as well as by spending money justly.
More the money, the more your responsibility
Money is one of worldly possession which has the power to blind one’s eyes. Money should be seen as a blessing of Allah, for which you need to be thanking him for bestowing it on you. You need to spend it wisely and in just manner. Should avoid extravagance and luxury in your spending. You may spend sufficiently for your families wellbeing, but at the same time Islam discourages hoarding of wealth. Allah is watchful on how you earn the money and how wisely you spend it.
One should do his utmost to fulfil his own necessities of life in a moderate way and render the rights of his relatives, neighbours and other needy persons as well. This attitude will help create the spirit of cooperation, sympathy and justice in the collective Islamic life. Thus every relative will cooperate with the other and every rich person will help the needy in his neighbourhood and a wayfarer would find himself an honourable guest among generous hosts. The conception of rights should be so extensive so broad that, every person should consider that all other human beings have rights on his person and his property so that he should serve them with the idea that he is rendering their rights and is not doing any favour to them.
When you eat, drink, give charity and wear clothes, let no extravagance or pride be mixed up with what you do. (Ibn Maja, Nasai).
“And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, justly moderate” (Quran 25:67).
“And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveller, and do not spend wastefully. Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful” (Quran 17:26-27).
It is narrated by Abu Musa Ashari that the Prophet said: After the major sins which must be avoided, the greatest sin is that someone dies in a state of debt and leaves behind no asset to pay it off. (Darimi)
In Islam wealth is a means to protect once honour and part of that wealth need to used for charity, pilgrimage and other rightful causes.
It is prescribed for you, when death approaches any one of you, if one leaves wealth(which is pure), that he makes it sufficient to parents and dear ones, according to reasonable manners, is a duty upon a pious and righteous person.
“And do not make your hand as chained to your neck or extend it completely and thereby become blamed and insolvent.” (Quran 17:29).
The virtues to follow while you engage in earning money;
Money if not earned and spend properly will result in spiritual depletion and degradation.
• Know the moral boundaries to wealth creation; One should not engage in a trade or job which directly or indirectly linked to great sins in Islam. These are namely dealing in riba (interest, dealing in loans and pledging), Murder (unlawful killing ,weapons for killing and destruction), adulteration, consuming orphans wealth.
• Take an extra mile; When engaging in a trade, job or service give more than expected to the person you are dealing with so that they will be happy to be dealing with you.
• No exploitation rather promote sustenance; Any form of exploitation need to be avoided. Be it in a job or trade avoid any unruly price hikes or demands to exploit situations like food shortage or drought/famine. During situations of drought or famine do not engage in hoarding to jack up prices. Conduct yourself as a person of respect and value, one who promotes sustenance of fellow beings.
• Never over promise and be just; When you engage in a deal in trade or personal life never over promise, if you know that you cannot deliver it as committed.
• Moral values; In every personal or trade conduct ensure you adhere to the values of fairness, dependability, reliability and integrity, commitment ,generosity and honesty.
• Pay your dues; Pay your dues and debt on a timely and honest manner. After the major sins which must be avoided, the greatest sin is that someone dies in a state of debt and leaves behind no asset to pay it off. If you have any form of debt how much small be it keep a record of it and ensure you have provisions to pay it off in an unfortunate event.
How to spend money
Money spend in the ways of Allah is the most meaningful and most rewarding. What better way to spend money other to spend in Allah’s ways and buying your place in Jannah.
Its good if you could afford the comforts of this world, enjoy good food and ensuring quality of life for loved ones. At the same time you have a moral responsibility to avoid extravagance, luxury and excessive spends.
Money in Islam has more of social inclination than the economic medium of exchange. Islam directs one to earn for his family but at the same time spend money wisely and stay devoid of debts. Spending money on charity is a honour and one need to feel exalted at the opportunity given by Allah to spend through your hands his blessings for the poor and the needy.
Continue reading here for part II.