Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Question: Can you give some information -advice – on how Muslims should respond to financial crisis both in the public and private lives?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.
In short, the answer to dealing with any crisis—whether privately as individuals or publicly as a community—is to return wholeheartedly to the teachings and guidance of the Qur’an and Sunna, which related to financial matters include the following:
(1) Realize the true nature of this world, as explained by the Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in many hadiths, such as:
“This world and all that is in it is cursed, except for the remembrance of Allah, that which He loves, a scholar or a student of knowledge.” [Tirmidhi]
That is, all of this world is blameworthy except for that which is used as a means to please Allah, to draw near to Allah, and to serve Allah and His religion. If one’s worldly efforts are done for the sake of Allah, they are blessed and bring blessings; otherwise, they are devoid of good and become a means of headaches and worries.
(2) Related to that, try to infuse all of your work and career endeavors with a sincere intention—to please Allah, to use your earnings for the sake of Allah, to earn a halal income, to have enough money to support your dependents and donate charity, etc.
Having a job is a great blessing of Allah Most High, and a means to do much good. It is the way of the prophets themselves, as Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No one ever ate better food than from the work of his own hands; and Allah’s prophet Dawud used to eat from the work of his own hands.” [Bukhari]
Take the means to secure a good job, and work hard: be diligent, honest, and upright—all for the sake of Allah.
(3) Spend in charity, and do so regularly. This is a great source of baraka in one’s life and wealth, as well as a means for acceptance of spiritual works, good health, and warding off calamities.
Allah Most High states, as related by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a hadith qudsi, “Spend O son of Adam! I will spend on you.” [Bukhari]
(4) At the same time, be balanced in your charity, and do not neglect your primary financial obligations.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “O son of Adam! For you to spend the surplus is better for you, and for you to withhold it is certainly worse. You will not be blamed, however, for keeping what suffices you; and [when you spend] begin with your dependents.” [Muslim]
A Qur’anic verse that provides a most beautiful summation of the attitude of the believer towards his wealth is:
“And seek, with respect to all that Allah has given you, the next abode; yet forget not your portion for this world; and [when you do spend] do so with excellence, just as Allah has shown excellence to you.” (28:77)
Muslims do not neglect their worldly duties and responsibilities, yet their focus, aim and goal is Allah and the afterlife. And when they do anything for Allah, they do so with excellence and beauty (ihsan).
(5) Have godfearingness (taqwa) in all your affairs, as taqwa is a means to every good in general, and specifically to relief from distress, unforeseen provision, and ease in one’s affairs.
Allah Most High states, “Whoever has taqwa of Allah, He will give him a way out, and will provide sustenance for him from whence he least expected,” (65:2-3) as well as “Whoever has taqwa of Allah, He will make easy his affairs.” (65:4)
(6) Avoid wastefulness (israf), which is a major vice and disease, prevalent at both the individual and societal levels today.
Allah Most High states, “Do not be extravagant: verily the extravagant are the brethren of devils” (17:26–7), as well as
“Eat and drink, but be not wasteful: verily Allah loves not the wasters” (7:31).
For a more detailed discussion on wastefulness, please see:
Global Warming and Wastefulness
(7) Related to avoiding wastefulness, appreciate the immense blessing of wealth, and show much gratitude for it. This is a sure means to keeping the blessing, inshaAllah, as well as finding increase in it.
As Ibn Ata’illah states, “Whoever does not show gratitude for blessings has exposed himself to losing them, yet whoever shows gratitude for them has tied them down by their tethers,” which is based on the Qur’anic verse, “And surely if you show gratitude, I will most certainly give you more” (14:7).
(8) Maintain family ties, which itself is an expression of gratitude for the blessing of family, and also a means to expansive sustenance.
Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us, “Whoever would love for his sustenance to be broadened [and filled with blessing] and for his lifespan to be extended, then let him maintain family ties.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
(9) Make tawba your constant companion in the journey of life. Shun the unlawful and ask much forgiveness.
This should be done for the sake of Allah alone, but Allah does inform us of some worldly benefits of tawba as well, including financial, as He Most High states, “So I said, ‘Seek forgiveness from your Lord, indeed He is Ever-forgiving. He will send down rain upon you in abundance, and He will increase you in wealth and in children’” (71:10-12).
(10) Realize that financial difficulties, as with all difficulties, are tests from Allah. Turn to Him in neediness, lowliness, humbleness, and impoverishment. Raise your hands in supplication, and ask of His favor. Tell Him that you are His weak servant, and He alone is Lord, Master, Powerful, and Free of need.
Persevere, be steadfast, and hold fast to contentment. Take the means to end the trial, and leave the rest to Allah. If we are pleased with Allah, Allah will be pleased with us, and there is no success greater than that.
Please see also this related answer:
Bringing Barakah into Your Wealth and Life
As well as this general article related to dealing with suffering and trials:
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani