Islamic Perspectives

Why do we fail on the financial fronts?

By  Nisaar Y. Nadiadwala

I happened to visit one of my old friends who had shifted to a new house. The door of his house welcomed me with the Qur’anic verse “Hadha min fadli Rabbi” (“This is the bounty of my Lord”). I was happy to see that announcement, until I was told that the house was bought through a bank loan! What an arrogant display of hypocrisy. It was then that I realized the value of knowledge in Islamic finance and why knowledge in finance is essential for a Muslim in today’s life.

Among things which will be questioned first on the day of Qiyamah, will be: where from did you get the money and where did you spend it? A lot of people incline to haram due to love of wealth and luxury or out of love for their children. These two things weaken our resisting power. The Qur’an cautions us in the 8th verse of Sura Taghabun: “Indeed your wealth and your children are a trial for you.” Many people fail miserably in these two trials. A sahih Hadith acknowledges the Qur’anic verse: “The fitna of my Ummah is wealth”. These days you will find many well-wishers of our community reminding us about the poverty in the community repeatedly. For them, being rich is a sign of prosperity. It is due to our greed for money that many of us refuse to share the inheritance equitably. It is the quest for luxury that people want to acquire things by hook or by crook. Many Muslims take advice about investment and expenditure from people who do not know much about financial dealings according to Islam. There are certain people who encourage interest-based loans for the welfare of the community. If a person fails on the financial front, many of his ibadah (worship) will fail to yield results. Many people earn halal but their expenditure includes a lot of haram, through buying things not required at all but for status symbol. Chapters in Islamic finance also include where not to spend. If you understand this and are able to distinguish between a good investment and a bad one then you can identify a lot of wrong and tempting expenditures and resist them. You can be one of the “qaniteen”, satisfied ones.

During Ramadan, I see a lot of huffaz-e Qur’an lining up for reciting tarawih, each wanting to lead taraweeh prayers in places where rich people pray. At times I pity them. Many of them prefer to lead thetaraweeh in a large congregation hoping to get good income after the khatam-e Qur’an. Here is a batch of people whose status will be envied by others on the day of Qiyamah but in this world they have to wait from Ramadan to Ramadan to solve their financial problems. That is their only source of big income throughout the year. The reason is that people don’t value‘Ilm-e deen. We spend a huge amount on our child’s academic education, hire expensive tutors, buy expensive books, but we bargain when we hire Islamic teachers for our child’s religious education.

I had a discussion with a prominent hafiz and I advised him to build a parallel career so that he may not be dependent on the donation of people in the month of Ramadan. Last month I met him, and he told me that he is buying a small house. The other day I advised a trustee of a prominent madrasa that they should include a subject on accounts in their syllabus. They should also teach essential fiqh and ethics in business dealings too. After all Islamic finance is not only about accounts but accountability as well. Isn’t’ it?

The focusses on socio-economic problems from Islamic view point. He can be reached at nisaar_yusuf@yahoo.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2011 on page no. 28

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