Thursday, 21 April 2011

Spendthrift or spend wisely

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

Surah Al-Jumu'ah verse 11 "Yet no sooner than they saw some trading or amusement, they flocked to it and left you standing by yourself. Tell them: "That which is with Allah is far better than amusement and trading. Allah is the Best Provider of sustenance." "
Although this incident refers to a trading caravan which had arrived in Madinah from Syria exactly at the time of Friday Prayer, it indicates a kind of weakness of faith or their wilful preference for worldly benefits over the Hereafter. Even though we are encouraged to earn an income, we should not be obsessed with it (or be materialistic) and should live according to Islamic principles of circulating the wealth.

Ferrari 430 in my neighbourhood in Malaysia
It is evident that we see today some of us live luxurious life. Some who are wear handbags that might worth millions, some who upgrades their luxury cars just to make it look "nice" or to showoff.  The wealth is then not being circulated but is being stucked to the rich. Although the money is being transferred from one to another in the transaction (of buying the handbag/spending on the car), the asset/entity is stucked to that particular rich person. This will be a sort of symbol where "I" (the rich person) can afford and "you" can't! Gradually this will come to a stage where it is provoking the poor. Therefore it is advisable for a muslim not to spend extravagantly according to the verse of the Holy Qur'an "(The true servants of the Merciful One are) those who are neither extravagant nor niggardly in their spending but keep the golden mean between the two;" (Surah al-Furqan verse 67). "Do not keep your hand fastened to your neck nor outspread it, altogether outspread, for you will be left sitting rebuked, destitute. (30) Certainly Your Lord makes plentiful the provision of whomsoever He wills and straitens it for whomsoever He wills. He is well-aware and is fully observant of all that relates to His servants." (Surah Bani Israil verse 29). The Arabic idiom 'to keep one's hand fastened to one's neck denotes' miserliness and 'to outspread it, altogether outspread' denotes extravagance according to Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi.

Pininfarina near my neighbourhood in the UK
"Allah has favoured some of you with more worldly provisions than others. Then those who are more favoured do not give away their provisions to their slaves lest they become equal shares in it. Do they, then deny the favour of Allah?" (Surah Al-Nahl verse 71) In this verse, people are reminded of an actual fact of life where they do not share their wealth even if it is not theirs (which has been bestowed upon them by God). This verse supports the the symbol of "I" (the rich person) can afford and "you"(the poor) can't because of their fear of being equalled to the poor. This also leads to these certain group of people who believe that they deserve more to be protected (i.e gated community, bodyguards and etc) because they consider themselves better or richer.

We need to remind ourselves that the economy revolves around everyone, not only leaders even though leaders are given the authority/power. By spending appropriately it does not only benefit individuals but the performance of the country will be improved. Ibn Khaldun explains that over indulgence of materialism causes people to abandon religion resulting in the disintegration of a nation and government.

Let us remind ourselves that we have obligations to fulfil and should always look at the bigger picture (the whole community) rather from a narrower persepective (individual).

Surah Bani Israil verse 26 "Give to the near of kin his due, and also to the needy and wayfarer. Do not squander your wealth wastefully"

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