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18-05-2024
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Friday sermon (1030): Wealth and subsistence
   
 
 
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  
 

First Sermon :

 Praise be to Allah, we praise him, ask for His help and guidance. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil in our souls and the sinfulness of our deeds. He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided, and he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no guiding advocate. And I bear witness that there is no god to be worshipped but Allah, in testimony of his divinity and in constraint to those who have denied him and disbelieved and I bear witness that our master Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is the master of Allah’s creation and mankind, as far as the eye has seen, and the ear has heard. O Allah, may your prayers and blessings be upon our master Muhammad and the members of his household, his companions, his progeny, his supporters and followers till the Day of Judgment. O Allah, teach us knowledge that is useful to us, and make useful to us what you have taught us and increase our knowledge, and show us the truth as truth and guide us to follow it and show us falsehood as falsehood and guide us to avoid it and let us be among those who listen to what is said and follow what is best, and let us be, by your mercy, among your righteous servants, bring us forth from the darkness of ignorance and illusion, to the enlightenment of knowledge and science, and from the murkiness of desires to the bliss of good deeds.

 Distinguished brother, man, by instinct and nature, cares about his subsistence as much as he cares about his life. As the saying goes, “cut off a man’s head but don’t cut off his subsistence.”

Eleven questions about subsistence that torment people:

 How to overcome worries about subsistence. How to avoid committing sins for the sake of subsistence. How to avoid demeaning situations for the sake of subsistence. What is the philosophy of wealth in Islam? Who owns wealth? How is Man made responsible for it? Why should we look after money? Why did Allah prohibit extravagance, squandering and waste of wealth? Why did Islam make it compulsory that every Muslim should earn his living? Are there unlawful means of earning many Muslims are unaware of? How does subsistence increase through the Qur’an and Sunna?

Wealth as described in the Qur’an, Sunna, and the sayings of the companions of the Prophet (assalaf assaleh):

1- To Allah belong the kingdoms of the heavens and earth, in terms of creation, acts and fate:

 My esteemed brother, Allah created the heavens and earth and what is in them and He is the sole owner of what is in the heavens and earth and what is in between, and what lies beneath the earth in terms of underground wealth. Allah, exalted be He, says what can be translated as,

“To Him belong whatever is in the heavens, and whatever is in the earth, and whatever is between them, and whatever is beneath the ground.”

(TMQ , 20:6)

2- Wealth is that of Allah:

 Wealth was described in the Holy Qur’an as the wealth of Allah,

“And bring them of the wealth of Allah that He has brought you.”

(TMQ, 24:33)

 

 Allah has described the wealth put in the hands of people Allah’s wealth.

3- Wealth is a mean of succession:

 Wealth was also referred to as a mean of succession; Allah says what can be translated as,

“Believe in Allah and His Messenger; and expend of that to which He has made you successors. So the ones of you who have believed and expended will have a great reward.”

(TMQ, 57:7) 

All that is in the universe be it in the heavens, on earth, or beneath it belong to Allah, in terms of creation, action and fate, for the original ownership is to Allah, exalted be He, all his servants can do is act upon that. Allah will ask you how you earned this wealth and how you spent it.
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,

"This world is sweet and verdant and Allah Almighty has appointed you as successors in it to see what you do.”

[Muslim]

4- Wealth attributed to Man as a blessing and affliction:

 In some instances wealth was attributed to Man, as in the following ayaat,

“Indeed you will definitely be tried in your riches and your selves and indeed you will definitely hear much hurt from the ones to whom the Book was brought even before you, and from (the ones) who have associated; (i.e. have associated sh3er with Allah) and in case you are patient and pious, then surely that is (an indication) of (true) resolve concerning His (i.e. the Commands of Allah) Commands.”

(TMQ, 2:186)

 

 “Indeed you will definitely be tried in your riches” according to scholars, there is a reason behind attributing wealth to Man in this manner. Man owns wealth as a blessing and affliction and trial.

5- Wealth is one of Allah’s graces:

 Wealth is one of Allah’s graces, an expression of His mercy on mankind. Allah says what can be translated as,

“Did He not find you an orphan, so He gave (you) an abode, / And He found you erring, so He guided (you) / And He found you in want, so He enriched (you)?”

(TMQ, 93:6-8)

6- Wealth is beneficial:

 Wealth was also referred to in the Qur’an as benefit,

“Prescribed for you, when death is present to any of you, in case he leaves behind some charitable (benefit), is to make testament to parents and nearest kin, with beneficence-truly (binding) on the pious”

(TMQ, 2:180) 

  The Prophet has also praised wealth saying, “How great is good wealth when put in the hands of a righteous man!”
 It was also reported that one of the Prophet’s companions said, “great is the wealth that helps me protect my honour and get closer to my Lord.”

7- Wealth is the foundation of living:

 That esteemed companion pinpointed the reasons for earning a living and Allah, Almighty, clarified that wealth is the foundation of life, as He said what can be translated as,

“And do not bring the foolish ones your riches that Allah has made for keeping you up, (i.e., as a means of support) and provide for them out of it, and give them raiment, and speak to them beneficent words.”

(TMQ, 4:5)

The necessity of looking after one’s wealth and not wasting it:

 Since wealth is a grace and benefit, and these are all definitions from the Qur’an, since wealth is a grace, benefit and the foundation of living, we have to look after it to meet our basic needs. It should not be wasted. The ayah of loan is the longest ayah of the Qur’an. It emphasises the importance of looking after one’s wealth and not squandering it by writing down loans and taking witnesses and guaranties. Islam has forbidden the squandering of the wealth that Allah entrusted us with.
Al-Mugheera said,

“I heard the Prophet saying, ‘Allah has hated for you three things: Vain talk (gossip), wasting wealth and asking too many questions (in disputed religious matters) or asking sh3er for something (except in great need).’”

(Muslim) 

 On the other hand, Allah describes those who waste their riches as the brethren of the devils,

“26- And bring to a near kinsman his true (right) and (to) the indigent and the wayfarer; and do not squander wantonly (Literally: in “wanton” squandering).
27- Surely the squanderers have been brethren of Ash-Shayâtîn (The all-vicious ones, i.e., the devils), and Ash-Shaytan has ever been ever-disbelieving to his Lord.”

(TMQ, 17:26-27)

 The devil is ever disbelieving and a squanderer is a brother of the devil hence an ever-disbelieving: ever-disbelieving in this grace that can be a mean for him to reach lofty positions in heaven.

 

“And seek, in whatever Allah has brought you, the Last Home…”

(TMQ, 28:77)

 

 However, those who spend their money in things that are allowed have not been described as squanderers but extravagant,

“O Seeds (Or: sons) of Adam! Take your adornment at every mosque, and eat and drink, and do not be extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.” (TMQ, 7:31)
“And do not set up your hand shackled to your neck, (i.e., Do not be niggardly) nor outspread it widespread altogether, (Literally: outspread it all outspreading, i.e., do not be a spendthrift) for then you will sit blamed and regretfully rejected.”

(TMQ, 17:29)

 

  Blamed if you do not spend and regretfully rejected if you squander all your wealth.

 Esteemed brother, three things bring salvation and three bring damnation, the first three are the fear of Allah openly and in private, telling the truth in contentment and in anger, and wise spending in wealth and financial difficulty.
 Allah, Almighty, says what can be translated as,

“And the ones who, when they expend, are neither extravagant nor grudging; and between that is an upright (mean).”

TMQ, 25:67)

 As for the damning things they are: following whims, giving into miserliness, and vanity, and the latter is the worst of all.

 

 Now the Prophet says that

“seeking lawful living is a duty on every Muslim.”

The duty of Seeking honest means of wealth and not asking for charity:

 Since prayer is an ordinance, as well as fasting, Umra is a duty, Hajj is an ordinance, as well as Zakat (obligatory charity), and since ordinances need a source to satisfy their hunger, thirst and to rest in, then the means that are necessary to achieve the ordinance become ordinances as well and the means necessary to accomplish a duty become a duty in themselves, likewise the means necessary to do a sunna become a sunna as well. Therefore the Prophet (PBUH) says in another s7adeth,

“Seeking lawful means (of earning) is an ordinance after completing the ordinances”

(al-Jame’ as-Sagheer, narrated by Ibn Ma’ood)

 

  Since Allah’s methodology is for you to marry, have children, provide for your wife and all this requires money, then:

“Seeking lawful means (of earning) is a duty on every Muslim”

(Al-Jame’ as-Sagheer, Narrated by Anas)

 

 Prophets are role models, Allah says, what can be translated as,

“And in no way did We send before you any of the Emissaries, except that surely they indeed ate food and walked in the markets.”

(TMQ, 25:20)

 

  They are human beings that need food to survive and need to earn the money to pay for their food, and they need to go to the market. Hence, if this was of the features of Prophets and Messengers, then the believers ought to follow suit.
 Hadn’t the messengers been human beings in every sense, they would not have been the best of mankind nor their role models.

 Narrated by al-Miqdaam:
 The Prophet said,

"Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one's own hands. The Prophet of Allah, David used to eat from the earnings of his manual labour."

(Al-Bukhary, Ibn-Majah, Ahmad)

 Narrated by Abu-Hurayra:
 The Prophet said,

"Allah did not send any prophet but shepherded sheep." His companions asked him, "Did you do the same?" The Prophet replied, “Yes, I used to shepherd the sheep of the people of Makkah for some Qirats.”

(Al-Bukhary)

 

 Having a job as a mean of earning a living is a matter of pride.
 It is narrated by Anas Ibn-Maalek that a man of the Ansaar came to the Prophet (PBUH) and begged from him. He (the Prophet) asked,

“Have you nothing in your house?” He replied, “Yes, a piece of cloth, a part of which we wear and a part of which we spread (on the ground), and a wooden bowl from which we drink water.”
He said, “Bring them to me.” He then brought these articles to him and he (the Prophet) took them in his hands and asked, “Who will buy these?” A man said, “I shall buy them for one dirham.” He said twice or thrice, “Who will offer more than one dirham?” A man said, “I shall buy them for two dirhams.”
He gave these to him and took the two dirhams and, giving them to the Ansari, he said, “Buy food with one of them and hand it to your family, and buy an axe and bring it to me.” He then brought it to him. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) fixed a handle on it with his own hands and said, “Go, gather firewood and sell it, and do not let me see you for a fortnight.” The man went away and gathered firewood and sold it.
When he had earned ten dirhams, he came to him and bought a garment with some of them, and food with the sh3er. The Messenger of Allah then said, “This is better for you than that begging should come as a spot on your face on the Day of Judgment.
Begging is right only for three people: one who is in grinding poverty, one who is seriously in debt, or one who is responsible for compensation and finds it difficult to pay.”

(Abu-Dawood, Ibn-Majah)

 

 There is a lesson in this s7adeth, rather than giving the man money, the Prophet prepared him psychologically, asking him to provide his family with food, so that he stops worrying about them for a while and gets on with work. He provided his family with food so that they are not anxious about food; he then pushed him to earn his living by working and said, 

“It is better for anyone of you to take a rope and cut the wood (from the forest) and carry it over his back and sell it (as a means of earning his living) rather than to ask a person for something and that person may give him or not.” 

(Al-Bukhary, narrated by Zubayr Ibn-al-Awwaam)

Prohibition of taking other people’s wealth unlawfully in any way:

 Allah, exalted be he, said what can be translated as,

“And do not eat up your riches among yourselves untruthfully...”

(TMQ, 2:188)

 

  “Your riches”, if you had two pockets in your Jacket and you took a thousand Syrian Pounds from one pocket and put it in the other pocket, what would that be?
However the eloquence of this ayah is that it considered your brother’s wealth yours from one angle, in that you have to look after it as if it were yours. Therefore it is more appropriate that you do not try to take it unlawfully.
 Hence, the Prophet (PBUH) says,

“A Muslim is sacred to other Muslims in his blood, honour and property.”

(Muslim- at-Tirmidhy- Abu-Dawood-Ibn Majah, Narrated by Abu-Hurayra)

“And do not eat up your riches among yourselves untruthfully and do not proffer them to the judges, that you may viciously eat up some (i.e. a portion; literally a group) of other men’s riches, (while) you know (it).”

(TMQ, 2:188)

 It is also narrated that refusing one sixth of a dirham earned unlawfully is better than performing eighty hadj trips after converting to Islam.

Some ways of unlawful earning:

 Deception in all its forms:

 One of the ways of taking people’s money unlawfully is deception, and deception has many forms but it relies in essence on presenting things in a way contrary to their reality and concealing their true nature:

1- Cheating.

 Cheating in presenting things, presenting bad quality merchandise as good, and cheap as expensive. 

2- Mixing good with bad.

 A mean of deception is adding bad quality substances to good quality ones and selling everything at the price of the higher quality goods concealing the truth. 

3- Cheating in the price.

 If a trader says that he bought something for x amount of money, adding to its value, to conceal to the listener his margin of prophet, this is also considered deception.

4- Concealing defects and cheating in the weight etc.

 Concealing defects and cheating in the weight, amount, number, length and volume are all considered means of deception. 

5- Falsifying the source of the goods and their description and expiry date.

 Deceit also encompasses falsifying the source of the goods and their description and expiry date. 

6- Displaying goods in an appealing way that conceals defects.

 Displaying goods in a way that increases their appeal and conceals their defects is also deceit. 

7- Taking advantage of the buyer’s ignorance about the nature of product.

 Recommending dead stock to a buyer because of his lack of knowledge about the nature of the product is also deception. 

8- Taking advantage of the buyer’s ignorance about the price of the goods.

Taking advantage of the buyer’s ignorance about the price of goods and increasing their value is also deception. The Prophet said,

“Deceiving a person who does not know the nature of the product or its price is equal to taking interest and it is unlawful.”

(Aj-Jame’ as-Sagheer, narrated by Jaber and Ali)

9- Exploitation of the Seller’s ignorance of his Merchandise.

 Just as the seller can deceive the buyer, the buyer can also deceive the seller when he takes advantage of the ignorance of the seller for the true value of his goods.
Therefore the Prophet prohibited buying from travellers until they entered the market so that they could find out the true value of their goods. 

Monopolization or hoarding of riches:

 Monopolization is also a form of taking people’s money unlawfully. Its definition is: withholding wealth, benefit or work and abstaining from selling it or putting it to use until its value increases excessively beyond the norms due to its scarceness or unavailability while being needed. The Imam Abu-Yussuf said, “All that causes harm to people by being withheld is called Hoarding.”
 Contemporary scholars also said, “Any misleading or deception aiming to increase demand on a product that is not supplied in quantity to increase its price is called monopolization.”

 The excessive profit earned by the hoarding party is unlawful, because it does not reflect an increase in the goods or their qualities. Nor does it reflect a special service presented by the seller, or taken with the true satisfaction of the client. Rather it is forcing those in need of these goods to buy them at a higher value than their real price.

 The monopolizer, and watch out for this part, the monopolizer according to the as7adeth of the Prophet, is dammed, and this is a grave thing. He is dammed and a sinner, and Allah renounces him and threatens him with Hellfire.
Ma’mar Ibn-Abdullah reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said,

“no one hoards but the sinner.”

(Muslim)

“He who brings goods to the market is blessed with bounty but he who withholds them is cursed.”

(Ad-duramy, narrated by Umar ibn-al-Khattab)

“If anyone withholds grain for forty days out of the desire for a high price, he has renounced Allah, and Allah has renounced him.” (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh’

( narrated by Ibn-Umar)

“Indeed, the man who hoards goods is evil! If prices fall by Allah’s will he grieves and if they rise by His will, he is happy.”

(Al-Bayhaky, narrated by Mu’aadh) 

 By Allah, my dear brother, if you owned goods that Muslims are in dire need of, and you lowered your prices to relieve Muslims, not achieving the profit you expected, if you were a true believer you would rejoice by your lower profit for relieving Muslims. This is the sign of your faith.

The means and reasons for increasing subsistence:

 Is there a way to increase earnings?

1- Righteousness:

 Is there a link between subsistence and righteousness?
 The Qur’an answers this question:

“And that if they had gone straight on the right mode (of life), indeed We would have made them to drink copious water.”

(TMQ, 72:16) 

 Today the entire wheat crop is at risk, our beloved country produces 6 million tons a year, but now the whole crop is at stake due to the lack of rain:

“16- And that if they had gone straight on the right mode (of life), indeed We would have made them to drink copious water.
17- That We may tempt them therein;…”

(TMQ, 72, 16-17)

“And if the population of the towns had believed and been pious, We indeed would have opened upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they cried lies, (and) so We took them (away) for what they were earning.”

(TMQ, 7:96)

2- Prayer:

 Is there a link between subsistence and prayer?
 Allah, exalted be He, says what can be translated as,

“And command your (extended) family to (observe) the prayer and constantly (endure) patiently in it. We do not ask of you (any) provision. We, Ever We, provide you, and the end is to (the ones having) piety.”

(TMQ, 20:132) 

  A house where the five compulsory prayers are performed and a shop where the five daily prayers are performed by the owner and the employees is a blessed shop according to this ayah. 

3- Asking Allah for forgiveness (Istighfaar):

 

 Is there a link between subsistence and asking Allah for forgiveness?
 Allah, exalted be He says what can be translated as,

“So I have said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord; surely He has been (The) Superb Forgiver; He will send down on you (rain) from the heaven showering plentifully, And He will supply you with riches and sons, (Or: seeds) and will set up (Literally: make) for you gardens, and will set up for you rivers.”

(TMQ, 71:10-12)

4- Thanking Allah:

 Is there a link between thanking Allah and subsistence?
 Allah says what can be translated as,

“And as your Lord has notified (you), “Indeed in case you thank (Him), indeed I will definitely increase you and indeed in case you disbelieve, surely My torment is indeed strict.”

(TMQ, 14:7) 

 The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to appreciate any grace, no matter how small it is. When he went to the privy then came out he used to say,

“Praise be to Allah who made me enjoy it (food), made me keep from it what is useful, and relieved me from what is wicked.”

(al-Jame’ as-Sagheer, narrated by Ibn-Umar)

 He was thankful for the slightest thing. 

5- Ties of kinship:

 Is there a link between subsistence and ties of kinship?
 The Prophet (PBUH) said,

"Whoever is pleased that he be granted more wealth and that his lease of life be prolonged, then he should keep good relations with his kith and kin.”

(Bukhary, Muslim, Abu-Dawood, Ahmad, narrated by Anas Ibn-Malek)

6- Charity:

 Is there a link between subsistence and charity?
 The Prophet (PBUH) said,

“Seek subsistence by giving charity.”

(al-Jame’ as-Sagheer, narrated by Jubayr Ibn Mut’em)

 There is also a great saying,

“righteousness is wealth”

(Al-Jame’ as-Sagheer, narrated by Anas ibn-Malek)

 The righteous person owns the dearest thing on earth, people’s trust. And when people trust you they give you. 

7- Perfection of work:

 Is there a link between subsistence and perfection of work?

“Allah likes when one does a job that he perfects it.”

(Al-Jame’ as-Sagheer, Narrated by Lady Aisha) 

  It is noticeable that in times of economic stagnation, only the good craftsmen find work, while the less meticulous workers don’t find something to do. Therefore, perfection, righteousness, honesty, keeping ties of kinship, giving thanks, asking Allah’s forgiveness, prayer, faith, fear of Allah are among the reasons that increase one’s earnings according to Qur’an and Sunna.

 Esteemed brother, call yourselves to account before you are called to account, weigh your deeds before they are weighed for you, and know that the angel of death has left us for another person, but will leave someone else for us too. The astute is the one he gives himself credit, and works for the hereafter. The hopeless is the one who follows his whims, and seeks Allah’s rewards.
 All praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Second Sermon:

 Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and I bear witness that there is no god to be worshiped but Allah, patron of the pious, and I bear witness that our master Muhammad is his servant and Messenger, the one with the magnificent character, May the blessings and prayers of Allah be on our master Muhammad and the members of his household and all his companions.

Abu-Haneefah, the learned scholar, the honest trader:

 Abu Haneefah an-Nu’maan, may Allah have mercy on his soul, the great scholar, dignified his science and his person by insisting on working to earn his living. This is a heroic act: the great scholar Abu-Haneefah decided to eat from his manual labour, so he can always be his own man. He knew well that nothing tastes better than food earned with one’s own labour. Therefore, he dedicated part of his precious time to trade in textile. He had a famous shop, were people headed to find honest dealing and righteous trading. They also found great taste. He used to take the money and use it well. At the end of every year, he would calculate his profit, take from it the amount that covers his expenses, then use the rest to buy the needs of the reauthorrs (of Qur’an), narrators (of s7adeth), scholars, knowledge seekers, and cover the cost of their subsistence and clothing.

 Abu-Haneefah, the great scholar, set a great example to people in earning a living. This is the greatness of Islam, it has a realistic methodology that befits the human nature and that is full of pride and dignity.

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