The pursuit of halâl wealth Part 1

Bahishti Zewar, Fiqh, Part 5-Principles of Business / Monday, November 29th, 2010

Hadith One: It is mentioned in a Hadith that to earn halâl wealth is a fard after other farâ’id. In other words, it is fard to earn halâl wealth after other farâ’id which are the pillars of Islam, such as salât, fasting, etc. This means that although it is fard to earn halâl wealth, the status of this fard is less than that of the other farâ’id which form part of the pillars of Islam.

This fard (of seeking halâl wealth) is fard on the person who is in need of spending on the necessities of life. This is irrespective of whether it be for his own necessities or for the necessities of his wife and family. As for the person who has the basic necessities, this is not fard on him. Such as a person who owns a few properties or has received wealth through some other means. This is because Allah Ta‘âla has created wealth for the fulfilment of one’s needs and so that man will fulfil his basic necessities and occupy himself in the ‘ibâdah of Allah Ta‘âla. This is because one cannot engage oneself in ‘ibâdah without eating and clothing oneself. From this we can deduce that wealth is not the main object, instead, it is merely a means towards the fulfilment of another object (i.e. the ‘ibâdah of Allah).

Once a person has acquired sufficient wealth, he should not unnecessarily seek more wealth out of greed, nor should he unnecessarily try to increase his wealth. It is not fard on the person who has acquired sufficient wealth to seek more wealth. In fact, it should be clearly understood that the greed to increase wealth is something that causes one to be neglectful of Allah, and the abundance of wealth makes one prone to committing sins.

One should always be cautious in acquiring halâl wealth. At no time should Muslims turn towards haraam earnings. This is because such a type of wealth has no barakah, such a person is disgraced in this world and in the hereafter, and he is punished by Allah. Some ignorant persons are under the misconception that in present times it is impossible to earn halâl wealth and that there is no hope of earning halâl wealth. This is absolutely wrong and is actually a delusion of shaytân. You should remember that the person who acts in accordance with the Sharî‘ah is assisted in unseen ways. The person who has the intention of earning halâl and abstaining from harâm is provided with such type of wealth by Allah. This has been experienced by many, and the Quran and Hadith have promised this in numerous places. Even in these turbulent times, those servants of Allah who have controlled their nafs from harâm and doubtful things, have been provided with the best of halâl wealth from Allah. Such servants are living with greater comfort and honour than those who are devouring harâm wealth. The person who experiences this himself, who notices this in other persons as well, and finds this mentioned in several places in the Quran and Hadith cannot even bother about what these ignorant persons have to say. If you read this (what the ignorant persons have to say) in any reliable book, then the meaning of it is not what these ignorant persons have taken it to be. When you happen to read such an article, refer to a religious-minded and qualified ‘âlim and ask him to explain the meaning of it to you. Inshâ Allah, your doubts will be cleared and such foolish thoughts will disappear from your heart.

When it comes to wealth, people are extremely neglectful and indifferent. They take up prohibited professions and employments and also violate the rights of others. All this is harâm.

Remember that there is no shortage in the treasures of Allah. You will definitely receive what has been predestined for you. So where is the intelligence in having evil intentions and making preparations for entry into the fire of jahannam?
Since people pay very little attention towards halâl wealth, this subject has been mentioned time and again with great emphasis. The actual purpose for the creation of man and jinn is that they engage in the ‘ibâdah of Allah. You should therefore bear this in mind in all your dealings and transactions. You have been asked to eat and drink in order to gain strength to remember Allah. This does not mean that you should occupy yourself night and day in the pleasures of this world thereby forgetting Allah and disobeying Him. Some ignorant persons are under the misconception that they have come into this world in order to eat, drink and enjoy the luxuries of this world. This is an extremely blasphemous concept. May Allah destroy this affliction of ignorance.

Hadith Two: Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “No person has partaken of a meal better than that which he has eaten through the earning of his own hands. Without doubt, Dâ’ûd ‘alayhis salâm used to earn with his own hands.” This means that it is best for one to earn with one’s own hands, e.g. one should engage in some occupation, business, etc. and should not be a burden to others. Nor should one show any contempt for any occupation or menial job. When the Ambiyâ ‘alayhimus salâm had taken up such occupations, who is there who is greater than them in honour and respect? In fact, no one’s rank is equal to theirs, where can it ever be higher or greater than theirs? It is mentioned in a Hadith that there isn’t a prophet who did not graze sheep. Understand this well and save yourself from ignorance.

It is the belief of certain persons that if you receive halâl wealth through inheritance or through any other avenue, i.e. it is not acquired through your own hard work, then they feel that they should still work and they regard this as an act of ibâdah. This is a gross error. Instead, it is preferable for such a person to occupy himself in the ibâdah of Allah. When Allah has given you peace of mind and removed the concern of acquiring sustenance, it is a sign of great ingratitude that you do not remember Him and instead worry about increasing your wealth. All halâl wealth is good no matter how it comes to you provided you do not have to bear any disgrace. This is a great bounty of Allah, one has to value it, spend it in the proper manner, and do not allow any wastage and extravagance.

The import of the Hadith is that people should not burden others and should not beg from others as long as there is no alternative which has been recognized as such by the Sharî‘ah. The Hadith also teaches that no occupation should be regarded as contemptible, halâl wealth should be pursued, and that earning should not be considered to be a blemish. This topic has been discussed in detail so that people do not consider earning with their own hands to be below their dignity, and that they can eat, feed and spend in charity from their earnings.

This Hadith does not mean that halâl wealth other than that which has been earned through one’s own hands is not halâl or that it cannot equal wealth that has been earned with one’s own hands. In fact, at times, other wealth is better than that which has been earned with one’s own hands. Certain ignorant persons criticize and condemn those pious persons who have placed their trust in Allah and use this Hadith as a proof that such persons ought to earn through their own hard work and that they should not merely sit back, have tawakkul, and depend on gifts from others. This is actually a sign of their immaturity and this objection of theirs goes right up to Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Such persons should fear Allah in this regard, as there is the possibility that by their showing disrespect, criticizing and censuring these pious servants, they will be punished in this world and in the hereafter. By being disrespectful to the auliyâ of Allah, there is the fear of one losing one’s îmân and dying in a state of kufr. May Allah make such a person extinct before he can criticize the auliyâ because this will be best for him.

If one ponders over the Quran and Hadith with an open mind, one will learn that it will be preferable for a person who fulfils the qualities of tawakkul to practice tawakkul instead of earning a living. This is the highest stage of wilâyat. Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself was a mutawakkil. The income that a person receives as a mutawakkil is much better than the income that one earns through one’s own hard work. There is special barakah and special nûr in such income whereby Allah Ta’ala has granted such a person such a high status, foresight, understanding and nûr. The person can see the barakah of this with his open eyes.

This subject will be dealt with in detail at another place. Because this is a concise article, it is not possible to go into much detail. It will be sufficient to understand over here that such an opinion is absolutely wrong as has already been explained. Furthermore, it is an act of great injustice that a person is not pious himself and yet when someone else has any piety in him, he begins to criticize and censure him. How will the person have the courage to face Allah when he is causing such harm to His auliyâ?

Apart from the above-mentioned benefits of tawakkul, there are many other Dînî benefits. As for the mutawakkilîn who are engaged in teaching and guiding the masses, it is fard to serve them to the extent that their necessary expenses are paid for. So if they are accepting this right of theirs, why should it be considered to be wrong? More so when those who are not mutawakkilîn also demand their rights by arguing and fighting, while the mutawakkilîn accept their rights with great respect and by honouring the people. It is apparent that there is only good in accepting gifts – when there is no possibility of disgrace, the person is independent, he takes it without really worrying about it, and especially when the person who gave it will be greatly perturbed if it were returned to him. The reality is that persons who are true mutawakkilîn receive their sustenance with great honour. However, their intention and their attention is only directed towards having complete trust in Allah. Their eyes are not set on the creation. As for the one who hopes to receive something from the creation and sets his eyes on their wealth, he is an imposter and is not included in our discussion.

We have only confined ourselves to explaining the condition of the true mutawakkilîn. It is a major sin to despise anyone especially if such a person is one of the special servants of Allah. These pious servants are not harmed in any way by your criticisms. Instead, they only benefit from them because on the day of judgement they will receive the good deeds of those who spoke ill of them. Harm will only come to those who speak ill of them and they will be destroyed in this world and in the hereafter.

It should also be remembered that the Sharî‘ah has not granted permission for tawakkul to every one. It is extremely difficult to take up the task of tawakkul and to fulfil all its conditions. It is for this reason that we find so few persons like this. In fact, there are so few, it is as if there is no one. It should be remembered that something that is very good is very scarce. We express our gratitude to Allah that through a little pondering and thinking, this subject has been written very well. May Allah grant you and me the ability to practice on this. Âmîn.

Hadith Three: It is mentioned in a Hadith that Allah is tayyib and that He only accepts that which is tayyib. Allah has commanded the believers with that which He commanded the prophets. Allah addressed the prophets saying: “O prophets! Eat that which is pure (i.e. halâl) and do good deeds.” And He addressed the believers saying: “O you who believe! Eat of the pure things which We have provided for you.” Thereafter, Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam mentioned a person who has undertaken a very long journey and who is in a very untidy and dishevelled state (on account of his journey). He raises his hands towards the heavens saying: “O Allah! O Allah!” (i.e. he beseeches Allah again and again asking Him for His mercy and the fulfilment of all his needs), while his food is harâm, his drink is harâm, his clothing is harâm, and he has been brought up in harâm. So how can his du‘â be accepted?”

In other words, despite his bearing such burdens, on account of this harâm wealth, his du‘â will never be accepted. Even if he realizes his goal and ambition, it will not be on account of his du‘â but on account of it already being predestined in his favour. Just as the goals and ambitions of the kuffâr are realized.

The meaning of a du‘â being accepted is that Allah looks at a person with mercy. It is through this mercy that He grants him whatever he wishes for, and because of his asking, Allah rewards him. So this can only be attained by the person who confines himself to the dictates of the Sharî‘ah and asks for whatever he wishes from Allah alone. From this we learn that halâl wealth has an abundance of barakah and that it has a great influence (on the person’s life). By consuming halâl wealth, one gets the power to do good and one’s limbs act in accordance with one’s intellect.
Abu Hâmid al-Ghazzâlî rahmatullâhi ‘alayh narrates from a great sûfi by the name of Suhayl rahmatullâhi ‘alayh who said that when a person eats harâm, his limbs give up following his intellect. That is, his intellect commands his limbs to do good but they do not obey it. However, this is only known to those whose hearts are illuminated. As for those whose hearts are black, they are preoccupied day and night in luxuries and following their desires, and this has no effect on them. May Allah protect the sensitivity and insight of our heart. Âmîn.

Malfûz Four: ‘Abdullah bin Mubârak rahmatullâhi ‘alayh says: “I prefer returning one dirham which is doubtful than giving 600 000 dirhams in charity.” From here we can deduce the serious nature of doubtful wealth. It is extremely sad that today people do not even give up haraam wealth. All they are interested in is acquiring wealth irrespective of how it is obtained while the pious servants of Allah used to regard doubtful wealth with abhorrence. It is necessary to safeguard oneself from haraam wealth and essential to exercise extreme caution in this regard. By consuming haraam wealth, numerous evils are born in the soul. This is what destroys man.

Hadith Five: It is mentioned in a Hadith that Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The halâl is clear and the harâm is clear. In-between these two, there are many doubtful things. The person who abstains from these doubtful things has in fact safeguarded his Dîn and his honour. As for the one who consumes the doubtful things, he will soon consume that which is harâm. Similar to the shepherd who grazes his flock around the sanctuary of a king. It is highly possible that he will very soon fall into that sanctuary. Beware, every king has a sanctuary, and the sanctuary of Allah is all those things which He has made harâm. Behold, there is a piece of flesh in the body, if it is sound, the entire body will be sound. But if it is unsound, the entire body will be unsound. Behold, it is the heart.”

Hadith Six: It is mentioned in a Hadith that Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “May Allah destroy the Jews. Fat was made harâm upon them, but they melted it and sold it.”

Hadith Seven: Rasûlullâh sallallâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “It is not possible for a person to earn harâm wealth, give it in charity, and expect to receive any reward for it. Nor is it possible for him to spend such earnings and expect to receive any blessings in it. Nor is it possible for him to leave it behind and expect it to be a source of provision for him in the future. Instead, he will enter hell. Without doubt, Allah does not wipe out evil with evil. Instead, He wipes out evil with good. Without doubt, harâm wealth does not wipe out sins.”

Hadith Eight: It is mentioned in a Hadîth that the flesh which has been brought up and nurtured with harâm wealth will not enter jannah. And all such flesh is most suitable for jahannam. In other words, a person who devours harâm will not enter jannah without expiating for his sins. This does not mean that he will never enter jannah like the kuffâr. Instead, if he dies a Muslim but was involved in devouring harâm wealth, he will be punished for his sins and eventually admitted into jannah. If he repents for his sins before his death and fulfils the rights of those whom he owes, Allah will forgive him and he will be safe from the punishment which has been mentioned in the Hadîth.

Hadith Nine: It is mentioned in a Hadîth that a person will not be a complete believer until he abandons those things in which there is no fear (of it being harâm) because of something in which there is fear. In other words, there are certain things which are absolutely halâl, while others are merely permissible. However, by turning one’s attention towards the latter and consuming such wealth, there is the possibility and fear of committing a crime. Therefore, even such halâl wealth should not be consumed nor should such halâl activity be carried out. This is because although there is no sin in engaging in such halâl activity or consuming such halâl wealth, there is still the possibility of falling into sin. And we know that the means to an evil is also considered to be an evil. For example, it is permissible and halâl to eat and wear expensive food and clothing. But because by one becoming pre-occupied in such luxuries beyond the limits, there is the possibility and fear of committing sins. Piety and righteousness demands that such food and clothing be abstained from.

It is makrûh to consume wealth that is doubtful. By consuming it, there is a great possibility that one will lose control over one’s nafs and thereby fall into harâm. Such wealth should therefore be abstained from.

Hadith Ten: ‘Â’ishah radiyallâhu ‘anhâ narrates that Abû Bakr radiyallâhu ‘anhu had a slave who used to give him khirâj. Abû Bakr radiyallâhu ‘anhu used to consume this income. One day, this slave brought something and Abû Bakr radiyallâhu ‘anhu ate it. The slave then asked him: “Do you know what you ate?” Abû Bakr radiyallâhu ‘anhu asked: “What was it?” He replied: “In the times of jâhilîyyah (days of ignorance or pre-Islamic era) I had given certain information to a person according to the rules and regulations of the fortunetellers. However, I did not know this art (of fortune telling) very well. I deluded this person into believing whatever I had told him. This person met me and gave me that which you ate as a compensation for the information that I had given him. That which you have eaten is actually what he gave me.” Upon hearing this, Abû Bakr radiyallâhu ‘anhu inserted his hand down his throat and vomited everything that was in his stomach.

In other words, as a precaution and out of complete piety, he expelled everything from his stomach as it would have been impossible to expel only that which was given by this slave. Even if he did not vomit it out, he would not have been committing any sin.

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