Miserliness and Extravagance in Islam

Miserliness and Extravagance in Islam

Miserliness and extravagance both are condemned in Islam. This world is a test for everyone. Here Allah, the Exalted, has tested man with various things, one of which is in the form of wealth which is called fitna in the Quran. 

Allah says: 

اِنَّمَاۤ  اَمۡوَالُکُمۡ وَ اَوۡلَادُکُمۡ  فِتۡنَۃٌ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ  عِنۡدَہٗۤ   اَجۡرٌ  عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۵﴾‏ 

Meaning: Your riches and your children are merely a trial. And there is a mighty reward in the presence of Allah. [64:15] 

Wealth, whether more or less, is a test in every case. There are generally two categories of people, one who do not believe in Allah Almighty and consider themselves all in all. They believe that our high ranks, wealth and everything we have are due to our hard work so we are free to decide where to spend and where to not, we are not bound by anyone. These are, in fact, the followers of Pharaoh, Qarun and Haman etc. who consider themselves the owner and master of their lives.

The second, who believe in Allah and believe that they do not own anything, their honor, wealth, each single breath of their lives and what else they have is of Allah Almighty. Allah has bestowed them all these blessings of life as a trust. So they are not the owners but the trustees. Hence, they consider themselves liable to spend their lives according to the will of their Master, Allah Almighty. These are on the footsteps of the sacred Companions. Likewise, they have firm belief upon Allah. Therefore, they spend their wealth generously in the way of Allah. So they are the beloved servants of Allah who are not stingy.

Definition of Miserliness According to Islamic Teachings 

Miserliness means to hold fast to something, to be greedy for it, and to restrain others.

Miserliness is a bad habit. It is a symbol of ignorance. Moreover, Allah dislikes stingy person. This is an evil character that affects every aspect of a person’s life through his thought and action. Hence, he could not get rid of this habit throughout his life.

Miserliness In Quran

The holy Quran states ten times very clearly and many other times incidentally about miserliness. 

Allah says: 

مَنۡ یَّبۡخَلۡ  فَاِنَّمَا یَبۡخَلُ عَنۡ نَّفۡسِہٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ الۡغَنِیُّ  وَ اَنۡتُمُ الۡفُقَرَآءُ ۚ ﴿٪۳۸﴾‏ 

Meaning: And whoever acts miserly does it only against himself. And Allah is Independent and you (all) are dependent. [47: 38] 

Stinginess, in term of meaning, is opposite of graciousness. Graciousness includes donations and generous spending. Whereas, stingy holds his hands from spending where required. 

Allah says: 

جَمَعَ   فَاَوۡعٰی ﴿۱۸﴾‏ 

Meaning: And (he who) accumulated wealth and then held it (from distribution). [70: 18] 

Generosity and miserliness are like two rivers that flow parallel to each other. Although the water of river generosity is cold and sweet but very few people can be seen inside and on its banks. In fact, these are lucky people. In contrast, the water of river miser is salty and of bad taste but inside and on its banks, there is a throng of people. These are materialistic misfortunes.

Hadiths on Miserliness 

There are also Hadiths condemning miserliness.  Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), the Seal of Prophethood and the mercy upon both the worlds, said:

  • Two hungry wolves free among sheep are no more destructive to them than a man’s desire for wealth and honor is to his religion. (Tirmidhi) 
  • Abu Hurairah narrated that the Holy Prophet pbuh said, ‘Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, ‘O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,’ and the other (angel) says, ‘O Allah! Destroy every miser.’ (Sahih Bukhari 1442) 
  • Jabir bin Abdullah narrated that Prophet Mohammad pbuh said, ‘Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection and be on your guard against stinginess for stinginess destroyed those who were before you, as it incited them to shed blood and make lawful what was unlawful for them.’ (Sahih Muslim 6576)

Effects Of Miserliness

Miserliness is due to dominance of animal traits. Man becomes a slave of wealth, neither his Lord nor the creatures please with him. 

A famous saying is: 

  • Even the enemies of a generous person begin to love him, while the children of the stingy hate him too. 

Miserliness is a fire and it can be extinguished only by generosity, provided it is done out of fear of Allah and piety instead of pride and self-glory.

A Moral Incident About Miserliness

During the reign of Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) a huge fire broke out in the city, half of the city was burnt down. People poured water and vinegar on it but it was raising higher and higher. People came to Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) and told him in great worry that the fire was not being extinguished by water. He replied, “This fire is one of the signs of Allah and its flame is due to your miserliness. Stop pouring water on it, extinguish it by distributing breads, repent from miserliness and give alms.” The people said humbly, “We always used to give alms and we are very generous.” At this Umar ibn al-Khattab ra said, “You do it for the sake of showing off, not out of fear of Allah and piety.” (Anwar ul Uloom, vol. 1)

Satan Likes Miserliness

Miserliness is the biggest obstacle in the path of Faqr because Faqr is intense love and love demands sacrifice. Therefore, a miser cannot walk through it due to his miserliness. 

Once Yaḥya ibn Zakariya (AS) met Satan in his original form. He asked him: “O Satan! Tell me, to whom you love the most and to whom you hate the most?” Satan replied, “I love stingy the most and dislike a wicked generous because I fear that Allah may accept his generosity.” Then he left and said, “If you were not Yaḥya ibn Zakariya AS, I would not have told you this.” (Ahya ul Uloom, vol. 3)

Condemnation of Extravagance

Spending unnecessarily and exceeding the limit is called extravagance.  

  • Sufiyan Soori (ra) said that wealth spent in disobedience to Allah is extravagance. 

Islam teaches us simplicity, moderation and temperateness in every field of life. It not only forbids extravagance, show off, luxury and pleasure but also strongly condemns it. 

What does Quran say about extravagance (Israf)?

Allah says: 

وَّ کُلُوۡا وَ اشۡرَبُوۡا وَ لَا  تُسۡرِفُوۡا ۚ اِنَّہٗ لَا  یُحِبُّ الۡمُسۡرِفِیۡنَ ﴿٪۳۱﴾‏ 

Meaning: And eat and drink, but do not spend extravagantly because certainly He does not like the extravagant. [7: 31] 

Islam not only condemns extravagant but also called such persons the brothers of Satan.  

Allah says: 

اِنَّ الۡمُبَذِّرِیۡنَ کَانُوۡۤا اِخۡوَانَ الشَّیٰطِیۡنِ ؕ وَ کَانَ الشَّیۡطٰنُ لِرَبِّہٖ کَفُوۡرًا ﴿۲۷﴾‏ 

Meaning: Surely, the spendthrifts are the brothers of Satan, and Satan is most ungrateful to his Lord. [17: 27] 

Extravagance Is A Cause Of Allah’s Wrath

In fact, extravagant underestimates the blessings of Allah Almighty which is the biggest cause of Allah’s anger and wrath. 

Allah says: 

وَ اِذۡ  تَاَذَّنَ  رَبُّکُمۡ  لَئِنۡ شَکَرۡتُمۡ لَاَزِیۡدَنَّکُمۡ  وَ لَئِنۡ کَفَرۡتُمۡ  اِنَّ عَذَابِیۡ لَشَدِیۡدٌ ﴿۷﴾‏ 

Meaning: And (recall) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you are thankful, I shall certainly increase (My blessings on) you, and if you are ungrateful, then My torment is surely severe.’ [14: 7] 

Islam does not preach renouncing the pleasures of World and the priesthood but prevents illegal ways of earning and spending. Spending on the legitimate needs of oneself, wife, children, parents and relatives is act of virtue. Extravagant means spending illegally at legitimate places. Simplicity is the grandeur of a Muslim.

Hadith About Extravagance

Al-Mughira bin Shuba narrated that the Holy Prophet pbuh said, “Allah forbade disobedience to parents, burring daughters alive, beg others due to miserliness, useless talk and questions and extravagance. (Sahih Bukhari)

Quote Of Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra)

Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said: “He who is proud of extravagance becomes poor and humiliated.” (Ghurar al-Hikam)

Reasons Of Extravagance

Following are some of the reasons of extravagance: 

  1. The first reason is lack of knowledge and ignorance. There are many aspects of extravagance when a man spends his money, he could not realize all the aspects due to his lack of knowledge about all the aspects. 
  2. The second reason of extravagance is pride and vanity. Sometimes a person spends money in order to prove his superiority over others. 
  3. The third reason for extravagance is the desire of fame. 
  4. The fourth reason of extravagance is negligence and carelessness. This means a man knowingly spends in the activities of extravagance due to his carelessness about wrath of Allah. 

Quotes Of Famous Saints About Extravagance

  • Abu Sufyan Al-Thawri said, “Except for obedience to Allah, even if the money spent on any matter is very small, it is extravagance.” 
  • Al-Zuhri said, it means that do not spend in matters of sin. 
  • Mujahid (ra) said that one is extravagant if he does not oblige rights of Allah. Moreover, if the Abu Qubays mountain is of gold and a man spends all of it in the way of Allah, then he would not be extravagant but spending a dirham in disobedience is extravagance. (Batini Bemarion ki Maloomat) 

Concluding Words

Allah is the Creator and Owner of everything. He has blessed His servants with everything, but He has put some restrictions and we as humble slaves should follow His restrictions. Therefore, we are not allowed to be stingy or extravagant. Miserliness is not only applicable on wealth but also on love, giving smile and showing sympathy. In short, a stingy is stingy in every act of giving. With the passage of time many faults of man are removed but miserliness increases over time. A miser is like a thirsty camel which carries water on its back. 

Extravagant is in fact ungrateful to Allah’s blessings and Allah hates the ungrateful. The crux of discussion is one should avoid miserliness and spend generously in the way of Allah. On the other hand, one must avoid extravagance and adopt the modest way to fulfill legitimate needs. 

These both are inner spiritual diseases and only be cured by the alchemic spiritual sight of a perfect spiritual guide. In present era, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is purifying the innerselves of Divine seekers from inner spiritual diseases. Divine seekers visit Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen & Masjid-e-Zahra village Rangil Pur Sharif via Sundar Adda Multan Road Lahore every Sunday and get the beneficence of the company of perfect spiritual guide. 

May Allah protect us from evil tricks of Satan and inciting Innerself. Ameen 

Note:

This article was published in Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore (monthly Urdu magazine of Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr) titled as  

بخل اور اسراف کی مزمت 

Bukhal Or Israf ki Muzammat in the issue of May 2022. It was originally written by Faqiha Sabir Sarwari Qadri and translated in English by Faiza Fahad Sarwari Qadri. 

Questions:

Q1: What does Quran say about extravagance (Israf)?

Allah says: 

وَّ کُلُوۡا وَ اشۡرَبُوۡا وَ لَا  تُسۡرِفُوۡا ۚ اِنَّہٗ لَا  یُحِبُّ الۡمُسۡرِفِیۡنَ ﴿٪۳۱﴾‏ 

Meaning: And eat and drink, but do not spend extravagantly because certainly He does not like the extravagant. [7: 31] 

Islam not only condemns extravagant but also called such persons the brothers of Satan.  

Allah says: 

اِنَّ الۡمُبَذِّرِیۡنَ کَانُوۡۤا اِخۡوَانَ الشَّیٰطِیۡنِ ؕ وَ کَانَ الشَّیۡطٰنُ لِرَبِّہٖ کَفُوۡرًا ﴿۲۷﴾‏ 

Meaning: Surely, the spendthrifts are the brothers of Satan, and Satan is most ungrateful to his Lord. [17: 27] 

Q2: What does Islam say about miser?

Miserliness is a bad habit. It is a symbol of ignorance. Moreover, Allah dislikes stingy. This is an evil character that affects every aspect of a person’s life through his thought and action. Hence, he could not get rid of this habit throughout his life. 

The holy Quran states ten times very clearly and many other times incidentally about miserliness. 

Allah says: 

وَ مَنۡ یَّبۡخَلۡ  فَاِنَّمَا یَبۡخَلُ عَنۡ نَّفۡسِہٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ الۡغَنِیُّ  وَ اَنۡتُمُ الۡفُقَرَآءُ ۚ ﴿٪۳۸﴾‏ 

Meaning: And whoever acts miserly does it only against himself. And Allah is Independent and you (all) are dependent. [47: 38]

Comments

40 Comments

  • Waheed Hassan
    May 18, 2022 at 7:59 pm Reply

    Islam teaches moderation and condemns both extravaganza as well as miserliness.

  • Mehreen
    May 18, 2022 at 8:52 pm Reply

    Beautiful Article ❤️

  • sportsman
    May 18, 2022 at 8:59 pm Reply

    Miserliness means to hold fast to something, to be greedy for it, and to restrain others.

    Miserliness is a bad habit. It is a symbol of ignorance.

  • Salma Tabassum
    May 18, 2022 at 9:09 pm Reply

    Miserliness is the biggest obstacle in the path of Faqr because Faqr is intense love and love demands sacrifice. Therefore, a miser cannot walk through it due to his miserliness.

  • Ashiq e Mustafa
    May 18, 2022 at 9:24 pm Reply

    Miserliness and extravagance are the spiritual diseases of innerself.

  • Fazal Dad
    May 18, 2022 at 9:40 pm Reply

    MashaAllah nice article 💯❤

  • Fazal Dad
    May 18, 2022 at 9:41 pm Reply

    MashaAllah great Article 💯❤❤

  • Abeeha
    May 18, 2022 at 10:37 pm Reply

    May Allah save us from extravagance and stinginess and Bless us with wisdom courage to spend in His way generously and lead a modest life Ameen ♥️

  • Ghulam Qadri
    May 18, 2022 at 11:18 pm Reply

    Miserliness is a bad habit.

  • Ahsan Ali
    May 19, 2022 at 12:07 am Reply

    nice explanation of the topic

  • Imama
    May 19, 2022 at 12:39 am Reply

    Very informative article…

  • Zainab
    May 19, 2022 at 1:16 am Reply

    Nice article

  • Abdul Haseeb Sarfraz
    May 19, 2022 at 4:38 am Reply

    In present era, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is purifying the innerselves of Divine seekers from inner spiritual diseases. Divine seekers visit Khanqah Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen & Masjid-e-Zahra village Rangil Pur Sharif via Sundar Adda Multan Road Lahore every Sunday and get the beneficence of the company of perfect spiritual guide.

  • Muqadas Younas
    May 19, 2022 at 5:26 am Reply

    Very informative article 💖

  • Abdul Razzaq Sarwari Qadri
    May 19, 2022 at 12:39 pm Reply

    Best article

  • imran
    May 19, 2022 at 4:43 pm Reply

    Miserliness is a bad habit.

  • imran
    May 19, 2022 at 4:46 pm Reply

    It is a symbol of ignorance.

  • imran
    May 19, 2022 at 4:48 pm Reply

    Very informative

  • imran
    May 19, 2022 at 4:52 pm Reply

    Best Article Masha Allah

    • Mohammed Waseem
      May 21, 2022 at 1:21 am Reply

      Very nice topk

  • Maira Sarfraz
    May 19, 2022 at 11:42 pm Reply

    Miserliness is the biggest obstacle in the path of Faqr because Faqr is intense love and love demands sacrifice. 

  • Asmah
    May 20, 2022 at 12:51 am Reply

    Article is good but I would have liked few examples of extravagant to understand it more better!

  • Asmah
    May 20, 2022 at 12:56 am Reply

    Article is good but I would have liked few examples of extravagant to understand it more better!!

  • Rashid Gulzar
    May 20, 2022 at 10:13 pm Reply

    May Allah save us from extravagance and stinginess and Bless us with wisdom courage to spend in His way generously and lead a modest life Ameen

  • malik
    May 22, 2022 at 11:42 am Reply

    These both are inner spiritual diseases and only be cured by the alchemic spiritual sight of a perfect spiritual guide. In present era, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is purifying the innerselves of Divine seekers from inner spiritual diseases

  • Farrukh amin
    May 22, 2022 at 11:36 pm Reply

    TDF’s teaching with every point

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