Adapted from an article written in Malay by USTAZ HAMREY MOHAMAD titled “Luaskan pintu rezeki dengan bersedekah”.
In this era of consumerism, it is increasingly difficult for us to turn away from the wealth and luxuries of life. Certainly, the desire to own expensive things is tempting - from large houses, to luxurious, powerful vehicles, to the latest mobile phones.
Now, with loans becoming increasingly easier to obtain, a luxurious lifestyle can be afforded by anyone, whether they have a large salary or not.
However, from a religious perspective, the concept of spending within one’s means without taking loans represents a commitment to the nature and purpose of human creation, as stated by Allah s.w.t. in the Quran:
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient...”
This verse clearly shows that this life is not free from challenges such as fear, hunger, loss of wealth, and so on.
There is none among us who knows whether or not our sustenance has been set, nor the level at which it has been set for each individual. Rasulullah s.a.w. in the narrations of Imam At-Tirmidzi explained that Allah s.w.t. has divided our disposition (akhlak) in the same way that He has divided our sustenance (rezeki).
Our ability to achieve success in both our disposition (akhlak) and sustenance (rezeki) stems from our attitude towards changing them. Effort can increase success.
Thus, we have to change our attitude, as well as take the steps that will lead us toward success. Here are 2 ways to help us do so:
A hadith narrated by Ali r.a. said:
“The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. once stood in front of the deceased, and was silent for some time. Then, he poked at the soil and said:
“There is none among you who have been exempted from a place in hell or in heaven.”
One of them said, “Can we just have faith in God (tawakkul), oh Rasulullah?”
He replied, “No, (but) do good deeds... for the affairs of each of you will be eased (by doing good deeds).”
Afterwards, he recited this verse of the Quran:
“As for he who gives and fears Allah and believes in the best [reward], We will ease him toward ease. But as for he who withholds and considers himself free of need and denies the best [reward], We will ease him toward difficulty.””
There are several things that we can glean from the above hadith.
Firstly, Allah s.w.t. is the One who determines everything; whether we succeed in entering heaven or hell. Therefore, it is also clear that He has ordained our sustenance (rezeki), and that that is His decree and His right.
Secondly, however, the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. also said, “No, (but) do good deeds...” and this serves as a reminder for us to work hard in everything that we do and to be steadfast (istiqamah). This is in parallel with his saying that: “The best deeds are done in steadfastness (istiqamah), no matter how small”. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Moreover, the characteristic of having faith in Allah (tawakkul) should only come after one has made an effort, as taught by Nabi s.a.w.: make effort, make prayer (du’a), and have faith in Allah (tawakkul).
Allah explains from the start of Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 261, that spending in His way reaps benefits akin to planting a seed that grows seven stalks, and that each stalk then produces a hundred seeds.
It is also akin to a fertile garden that is located on high ground, which yields its fruits in double (Surah Al-Baqarah: 265).
Furthermore, while giving charity and carrying out noble deeds, it is important for us to be mindful of our behaviour. Our good deeds can be nullified, or not bring us any blessings, if we indulge in frequent self-praise or hurt the feelings of others in the process (Surah Al-Baqarah: 262-264).
On the other hand, Allah has promised that the reward for spending wealth in His name is akin to rewarding our own selves. For the wealth that has been given to someone, the poor have a right over a portion of it, whether they ask for it or not (Surah Al-Baqarah: 272-273).
From this, we can understand that when we spend our wealth in the way of Allah s.w.t. in an indirect manner, we are shaping and training pure and praiseworthy characteristics within ourselves. As a result, we can develop into people who do not grieve or become fearful, no matter the circumstances, because we depend only on Allah s.w.t. (Surah Al-Baqarah: 274).
Giving charity or spending in the way of Allah advances people’s ecosystems so that they are able to survive the daily necessities of life, as well as keep the economy running. It is a system that is of utmost importance in ensuring that mankind is able to continue living in a way that is peaceful and harmonious.
Moreover, if we do not disregard others, Allah certainly will not disregard us in this life and open our doors of sustenance wide, inshaAllah. After all, He has true ownership over our lives.