Tuesday September 11, 2012
Spending in the cause of Allah
IKIM VIEWS by MOHAMAD AZHAR HASHIM, Fellow Centre for Economics and Social Studies, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia.
It is imperative that whenever we face situations that warrant us to make financial decisions pertaining to spending in the cause of Allah, we must conquer our emotion, and eliminate in our hearts the fear of losing wealth or falling into poverty.
MANKIND, by the nature of his creation, is predominated with the love of wealth, and therefore, he may claim that he is the absolute owner of his wealth.
The holy Quran has enlightened us on this matter, where Allah says: “Indeed mankind, to his Lord, is ungrateful. And indeed, he is to that a witness. And indeed he is, in love of wealth, intense” (100: 6-8).
In another verse, it is stated: “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return” (3:15).
Hence, man who thinks that his endeavours have solely brought him his wealth would naturally fear the losing of his hard-earned wealth or to a certain extent; he may fear falling into poverty should he spend in the cause of Allah.
As a result, man would keep his wealth to himself, and refrain from giving away or spending a small portion of it with his fellow men who are in need.
Consequently, man will fail in fulfilling his duty as the “trustee” of wealth, as mentioned in the Quran: “And those within whose wealth are a known right, for the petitioner and the deprived” (70: 24–25).
In the context of intermediation in an economy, this act will invariably disrupt the flow from surplus to deficit.
Spending in the cause of Allah in whatever form prescribed by Syariah (zakat, sadaqah (charity), waqf, hibah etc.), is actually a part of our financial decision-making process.
In other words, we need to make the best possible decisions in our daily life with our financial resources.
Therefore, the element of fear will naturally creep into our minds as we contemplate our sustainability.
Thus, Allah has revealed his guidance through the Quran and hadith of the Prophet, on how man can conquer his fear in order to spend his wealth in the cause of Allah.
The following discussions are attributed to the verses of the holy Quran and a hadith of the Prophet that will provide us the guidance and motivation to conquer our fear whenever we need to spend in the cause of Allah.
Allah says in Chapter 2 verse 268 of the holy Quran: “Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality, while Allah promises you forgiveness from him and bounty. And Allah is all-Encom-passing and Knowing.”
This verse signifies that the threat of poverty to mankind actually emanates from the devil who whispers in the man’s heart. Being an avowed enemy of man, the devil will like to see hatred and enmity prevail among human society.
Instead, if man spends in the cause of Allah, it will strengthen the relationship among man and indeed, the devil does not like this to happen!
Hence, to eliminate such fear in our financial decision-making, we must turn ourselves to Allah and seek his protection against the devil’s whisper.
The following two verses of the Quran provide us with compelling motivation in our financial decision-making.
In chapter 34 verse 39, Allah promises those who spend their wealth to help the poor and needy with abundant rewards and blessings.
The verse reads: “Say (O Prophet): “Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts [it] for him. But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.”
The rewards from Allah are illustrated in Chapter 2 Verse 262: “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”
Further motivation can be found in a hadith from the Prophet, where he emphasised that the best charity is when a man spends his money when he is in fear of poverty.
According to the hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, a man came and asked the Prophet: “O Allah’s Messenger! What kind of charity is the best?”
The Prophet replied: “To give sadaqah (charity) when you are healthy and greedy hoping to be wealthy and afraid of becoming poor. Don’t delay giving in charity till the time when you are on the death bed when you say, “Give so much to so-and-so and so much to so-and so”, as at that time the property is not yours but it belongs to so-and-so (i.e. your inheritors)” (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.11).
Another significant lesson from this hadith is that we should not delay in doing good, for we do not know for how long we will live.
We must remember that when death is prescribed upon us, we are no longer the owner of the wealth, and consequently, we cannot decide on how to spend it any more.
Whenever we face situations that warrant us to make financial decisions pertaining to spending in the cause of Allah, we must conquer our emotion and eliminate the feeling of fear of losing wealth or falling into poverty.
We must remember that the fear within ourselves is the devil’s whisper and thus, we must place our trust solely in Allah as from He is the source of all the rewards and blessings.
The opportunity that Allah has given us to live in this world should be used wisely as to seek Allah’s rewards as much as possible in order to earn our share in the hereafter.
As we can still decide what to do with our wealth, let us spend a portion towards achieving the pleasure of Allah.