A Muslim's Income and Expenditure

Ways and means of income, earning one's livelihood and spending such income should confirm with the Shari'ah. Hadhrat Ibn Mas'ood (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi 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..."—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. riba, dealing in unlawful items, usurping the rights of others, cheating, defrauding, withholding the inheritance of any one, etc. Many people violate the Shar'ai 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 Salaah is neglected, Aakhirah is forgotten, Zakaah and Hajj are not discharged and no time remains for one to ac-quire 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 facet of live should, therefore, never be neglected.

Income should not be expended in such ways, avenues and practices which are condemned by Deen. Extravagance, spending in customs which have no Shar'ai sanction, spending for the sake of gaining name, spending in unnecessary luxuries— luxuries which are far in excess of one's needs, etc. are an 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 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 Deeni activities which require wealth. Therefore, a man of wealth can obtain great thawaab by earning and employing wealth in accordance with the Shari'ah. Aiding the poor and needy, contributing to Deeni projects such as Masajid, Madrassahs, works of Tableegh, etc. are wonderful channels in which to employ wealth and thereby build up one's capital in the Aakkirah.

Hadhrat Abdullah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The seeking of a halaal earning is the (next) Fardh (duty) after the Fardh (Salat)."—Baihaqqi

Hadhrat Abu Khimari (RA) narrates a lengthy Hadith in which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The world is for four (types) of persons. (One among the four) is a man whom Allah 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. The man is the noblest... Tirrnidhi

Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri (RA), narrating a lengthy Hadith, said that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Wealth is an object of pleasure. Wealth acquired in a rightful way (in accordance with the Shari'ah) and spent in a rightful way will be an aid for its owner." — Bukhari, Muslim

Hadhrat Amr Ibnul Aa's (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Wholesome (pure) wealth for a noble person is good."—Ahmad

According to Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (RA), wealth during the time of the Ashaab 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 Ashab and the early Muslims refrained from its acquisition. However now (says Hadhrat Abu Sufyaan Thauri (RA)) wealth has become the shield of a Mumin. 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, they compromise their Deen for worldly comforts.

Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (RA) 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. Hazrat Sufyaan Thauri (RA) 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.

Hazrat Abu Saeed (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: 'An honest and upright trader will be with the Ambiya, Siddiqeen and Shuhadoa (on the Day of Qiyaamah)."—Tirmidhi

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

Hazrat Miqdam Bin Ma'di Karuba (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The noblest food ate by one is that from his (lawful) labour. Hazrat Dawood (AS) ate from the labour of his hands."—Bukhari

Islam teaches the nobility and dignity of work and labour. The Ahadith explain much significance of labour. Hazrat Dawood (AS) earned his living by making armour. However, this significance applies to only such occupations which are in accordance with the teachings of Shari'ah. Haraam forms of labour and occupations, etc are haraam forms of earning. The proceeds from unlawful occupations are likewise unlawful.

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "There was not a Nabi who was not sent as a shepherd." The Ashab asked: "You also tended to sheep?" Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: "I tended the goats of the people of Makkah..."—Bukhari

This Hadith too asserts the significance of manual labour. Ambiya (AS) were shepherds who would look after the sheep and goats of people. Hadhrat Musa (AS) remained a shepherd, tending the goats and sheep of Hadhrat Shuaib (AS) for eight or ten years.—Ahmad, Ibn Maajah.

The episode of Hazrat Musa (AS) being a shepherd is narrated in the Holy Qur’an as well. This again brings out the significance of manual labour.

Hazrat Thaabit Ibn Dhullaak (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) permitted hiring out of land. Income derived from land and property hiring is also a lawful occupation in Islam as this Hadith indicates.

Among the noble ways of earning is farming. Much significance of farming has been mentioned in Ahadith. Hadhrat Anas (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that if any man, animal or bird eats from any tree or farm planted by a Muslim, its owner obtains the thawaab of Sadqah thereby

Hazrat Anas (RA) narrating a lengthy Hadith says that a man from among the Ansaar came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and requested something. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) sent someone to bring a mug and a mat from one house. These items Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) auctioned among the Ashab. With the money obtained for the items Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) bought some food and an axe. Giving these to the Ansaari, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi 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 Maajah

This Hadith establishes that a lawful occupation, no matter how menial and inferior, is better than begging.

Hadhrat Ibn Umar (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Allah Ta'ala loves a Mumin 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 (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would give his wives expenses at one time for the whole year. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam) advised the Ashab to retain some wealth as this is better for peace of mind. This was specifically stated by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam) to Hadhrat Ka'ab Ibn Malik (RA) who head expressed his desire to contribute all his wealth in the path of Allah Ta'ala.

In one Had ith, Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam) said: "I detest a man who is use less. He is neither engaged in any worldly activity not any Aakkirah activity." Ahmad, Baihaqqi

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 other hand, those fully involved in Deeni activates, should repose their trust in Allah Ta'ala. He is the Provider. He will most certainly provide for them.

Workers of the Dean should not in the least be worried in regard to their Rizq.

Extravagance or waste is evil. The Shari'ah prohibits waste. Allah Ta'ala states in the Holy Qur'aan: "Do not waste. Verily, the wasters are the brothers of shaitaan."

Hadhrat Mugheerah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam) said: "Allah Ta'ala detests that you destroy wealth (i.e. by means of fasting)." Bukhari, Muslim

Hadhrat Anas Abu Umaamah, Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (RA) and All (RA) narrate that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alahi 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. Over-spending more than 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 Alaihi Wasallam) has sounded dire warnings in regard to unpaid debt. Even martyrdom is no absolution for debt. A Shin heed (martyr) will be forgiven all his sins, but debt. Debt will be demanded even in the Aakkirah. In this regard, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "I take oath in Whose possession is my life that the man who is in debt will not enter Jannah even if he is martyred (in the Path of Allah); then is resurrected arid again martyred; then again is resurrected and again martyred. He will not enter (Jannah) until his debt is paid." Targheeb, Nimbi, 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.

So in sum, wealth acquired lawfully and spent in accordance with the Shari' is a na’mat (bounty) from Allah Ta 'ala. 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 Deeni life then indeed it will be an evil. In Surah Taghaubun, 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 Ayah mentioning that family can be one's enemy also states that wealth can be one's enemy. Thus when one's family and wealth cause one to forget the Aakkirah they will be one's enemies.

A Mumin should make use of the bounties of Allah Ta'ala like an obedient salve and not a rebellious traitor.