Fruits for the Week

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The true Muslim who sincerely seeks to follow the teachings of his religion is generous, and seeks to do good to the members of his society on all occasions and in all circumstances.

When he spends, he does so with the generosity of one who believes that his giving will not go to waste, for it is recorded with One Who has full knowledge of everything: “And whatever of good you give, be assured that Allah knows it well.” (Qur’an 2: 273)

He also believes, when he spends his money generously, that whatever he spends will come back to him manifold and that Allah will multiply its reward in this world and the next: “The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grain. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases: and Allah cares for all and He knows all things.” (Qur’an 2: 261). Allah (swt) said: “Whatever of good you give benefits your own souls, and you shall only do so seeking the face of Allah. Whatever good you give, shall be rendered back to you, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.” (Qur’an 2: 272).

The true Muslim spends his money, with the firm conviction that Allah will compensate him with blessing and increased reward for whatever he spends of his wealth in this world. If he is overcome with miserliness and holds back from giving, then his Lord will decrease his wealth and cause him loss. This is clearly shown in the hadith: “Every morning that the servants of Allah get up, two angels come down. One of them says, ‘O, Allah, give compensation to the one who spends,’ and the other says, ‘O, Allah, cause loss to the one who is stingy.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Muslim who trusts in his Lord does not entertain any doubt that whatever he spends for the sake of Allah will not decrease his wealth at all, for charity increases wealth and does not decrease it. The Prophet (saw) said: “Charity does not decrease wealth.” (Muslim)

The reward for wealth that is pent for the sake of Allah is indescribably immense, for Allah will multiply it many times. Hence, the Prophet (saw) used to say that the only wealth that was really saved was that which had been spent for the sake of Allah. Aishah (ra) narrated that they slaughtered a sheep and the Prophet (saw) asked her, “What is left?” She said, “Nothing but the shoulder.” He said, “Everything is saved except the shoulder.” (Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (saw) was keen to reinforce the spirit of generosity in the hearts of the Muslims, and to make it one of the virtues to attain, which they would compete with one another, as he said: “There is no envy except in two cases: a man to whom Allah has given wealth and caused him to spend in the service of the truth; and a man to whom Allah has given wisdom, so he acts according to it and teaches it to others.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (saw) described spending wealth in support of the truth and having wisdom, acting according to it and teaching it to others, as being equal. He said that there should be no envy (in the positive sense of the word) except in these two cases. Spending for the sake of supporting the truth is of the utmost importance and of great benefit to the social life of the Muslims, as wealth is the nerve-center of life, and spending it for the sake of the truth is a great deed that plays no less important a role in bringing benefit to people than the genius of those who are endowed with the gift of wisdom.

Therefore, the true Muslim spends his wealth in the light of his understanding that it will come back to him with rewards and goodness. So you will see him spending it in a way that will guarantee him reward, without, being unjust to his heirs or depriving them of it, and without being stingy in his spending in support of the truth. He is moderate in his spending and treads a middle path between these two extremes in accordance with the noble aims of the Shari’ah, so that the wealth of his heirs will not be dearer to him than spending for the sake of Allah. Rather, the wealth spent for the sake of Allah will be dearer to him that the wealth of his heirs, because the former is the wealth that is saved and recorded in the book of his good deeds.

This is what the Prophet (saw) referred to when he said: “Which of you loves the wealth of his heirs more than his own wealth?” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, none of us loves the wealth of his heirs more than his own.” He said: “His true wealth is that which he has spent (for the sake of Allah), and the wealth of his heirs is that which he has left behind.” (Bukhari)

Generosity is one of the best characteristics in Islam and of the Muslim. Hence when a man came to the Prophet (saw) and asked him: “Which type of Islam is best?” He said: “To feed people, and to say salaam to those you know and those you do not know.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

However, pursuing this ideal of generosity should not make the Muslim go to the extreme of spending all his wealth and leaving nothing at all for his heirs. Everything in Islam is balanced and integrated, and nothing should be done at the expense of something else. Just as spending for the sake of Allah is obligatory, so taking care of one’s offspring and protecting them from being reduced to the level of begging is also obligatory.

(To be continued)

by Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi