By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
01 August 2017
(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
Parts-1 & 2 of the Reflections drew on Qur’anic passages from the Meccan period - first 13 years of the revelation (610-622). This reflection is based on the following three passages from the Medinite period (622-632) of the revelation, when the Prophet was stationed in Medina.
“They ask you (O Muhammad,) what they should spend. Say: ‘Whatever fair (earnings) you spend, should be on (your) parents, relatives (aqrabin) orphans, the needy and the traveller’ (ibn al-sabil)* (Remember,) whatever good you do, God remains Cognizant of it” (2:215).
“(God does not love) those who are miserly and encourage people (to be) miserly, or hide what God has given them of His bounty. (Remember,) We have prepared a humiliating punishment for the deniers (of this message) (4:37): those who spend their wealth for publicity, but have no faith in God or the hereafter. (Remember,) anyone who takes Satan for a friend, has an evil companion” (4:38).
As in the Reflections, the word Aqrabin (synonym of Qurba) includes all those with whom we have any close connection and thus it will include domestic aids employees, friends, and colleagues. The expression ibn al Sabil may be applied to the countless homeless people and uprooted refugees that have no place to live and take shelter on street sides and various public places.
Every human being this day, regardless of income level, craves endlessly to raise his living standard. He wants to rent or book the most posh flat, to build or buy the biggest house, acquire the most expensive furniture, the latest model of all essential as well as supplementary necessities of life cars, ACs, TV, mobile, I-phone, I-pad and all household decoration items, paintings, crockeries, cutleries and kitchen appliances and gadgets. But this is not all. He wants to travel as far as possible for holidaying, stay in the 5-7 star hotels, dine in the most exclusive restaurants and travel by business or first class. And when he has everything that money can buy in his homeland, he wants to have parallel homes in the major capitals of the World – a house in Karachi, a condo in Singapore, a bungalow in Dubai, a mansion in London, a chateau in Paris suburb and then if he has all these, he wants to acquire planes and ships that he can beat others in wealth and splendor. The Qur’an warns that such people have taken Satan for a friend and they will incur divine punishment.
There is of course another way to look at the spending trend of this era. The people, who pay heavy taxes and are engaged in a time demanding and stressful job, need change and recreation to regain their energy with recreation, entertainment and travel – none forbidden in Islam. The Qur’an only forbids an obsessive craving to spending money with complete disregard of one’s social responsibilities.
Such people, the Qur’an says, have no faith in God or the hereafter and are dominated by the Satan.
Takeaway for Muslims: All affluent Muslims must budget their expenses and do not succumb to the temptations of Satan by spending like crazy, and must share their income with those in need in the community that may be the elderly parents, next of kin, orphans, widows, old servants and maids and any other contact.
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
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