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Miserliness Causes Misery!

5th April, 2015

Let not those who are miserly with what Allah has given them from His Bounty think that it is good for them. Rather, it is bad for them. They will be made to wear what they withheld, owing to their miserliness, as a necklace (of fire) on the Day of Resurrection. And unto Allah is the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is well informed of all that you do. (3:180)

The literary definition of ‘miserliness’ is ‘an excessive desire to save money and the quality of being small or inadequate.’ A miser is a person who finds it extremely difficult to spend money, to the point that they willingly deny themselves basic comforts and necessities, in order to hoard money.
 
Allah has frowned on such behaviour as the person becomes enslaved by their greed for worldly possessions, and forgets to thank their Provider, or spend it in His way in order to achieve a reward in the form of Jannat.
 
Zakat has been established as the fourth pillar of Islam, by Allah. This is so that people can be tested of their faith in Him by physically parting with a fraction of their possessions, so that the poor can be clothed and fed. An Ahadith of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) narrates:

"Allah has enjoined upon rich Muslims a due to be taken from their properties corresponding to the needs of the poor among them. The poor will never suffer from starvation or lack of clothes unless the rich neglect their due. If they do, Allah will surely hold them accountable and punish them severely." (related by At-Tabarani in Al-'Aswat and as-Saghir).

It is human nature to be slightly pained when parting with our money, especially if it could buy us a comfort we would relish for some time or a holiday that could de-stress us, but think about the couches we will inherit in the Hereafter; how we will recline on them wearing green silk and brocade, gold and pearls, and having beautiful spouses. Yes, all these have been promised to the righteously striving believers who continuously prove to Allah, both spiritually and physically, that they are in complete submission to Him!!!
 
Will being miserly and hoarding get us this everlasting reward? Or will giving from our property a) ensure our place in Jannat and b) increase our wealth for the forthcoming year simply because we have demonstrated to Allah that we believe in Him?
 
What will happen to us if we deny the poor and the needy their due by withholding the payment of Zakat? Allah (The Rehman and Raheem) has strongly warned those who are negligent in the fulfilment of these duties that, ‘

Those who hoard up treasures of gold and silver and spend them not in the way of Allah; give them the news of a painful punishment, on the Day when that (wealth) will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their forehead, their sides, and their backs, (and it will be said to them:) 'This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard. See for yourselves what they feel like’ (9:34-35)

Do we really want such a terrible punishment just because we don’t want to part with what is given to us by Allah as a means of a test for us? The wealth that we possess is not because we have amassed it but rather, we have been bestowed upon by Allah as a favour, as He is the true owner of everything man possesses.
 
Why else has Allah commanded us to give Zakat? It has both spiritual and physical benefits. When we fulfil a command of Allah, we feel great happiness and gratitude towards Him because we hold the belief and hope that we have amassed a reward for our Hereafter.
 
The soul is elevated and freed of any greed and selfishness we may have felt over the year, the lightness of our soul has a great effect on our mental state as it cleanses the mind of all mental and emotional unhappiness and distress, and this is the dictionary definition of ‘misery’.
 
The physical benefits of giving Zakat are that we can live in a fair and just society because if Zakat is practiced honestly, it frees the society of corruption, class distinction, envy and miserliness, producing a community who can live in harmony, peace, mutual love and respect, and empathy.
 
This is an act through which we can redeem ourselves of any sins we may have committed, knowingly or unknowingly. Extra rewards for the wealthy are the prayers that the poor give as their suffering is alleviated, which can help to secure our chance of a place in Jannat. All this can be earned simply by fulfilling the command of Allah, of paying Zakat.
 
The choice is ours! Do we practice miserliness where our greed for wealth denies us the comfort of basic necessities and leads us to live a life of misery; not just our own, but our family’s? Because if one can’t spend on themselves, they will never be able to spend on their family. Or do we give of the favours Allah has given us and free ourselves of mental and emotional unhappiness and distress? Learn more about Islam and Zakat by navigating to our homepage today.