Money and Sustenance

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Dear brothers, innately a human being is as deeply concerned about his money as about his life and it has even been said that it is easier to kill a man than to deprive him of his means of subsistence.

Questions relating to man’s concern about his sustenance:

What is the philosophy of money in Islam?
How could a man stop worrying about his sustenance?
How could he avoid doing wrong in order to obtain his sustenance?
How could he avoid having to accept humiliating positions to earn his living?
Who is the (real) owner of money?
How did man come to be its administrator?
Why should we take care of money?
Why has Allah prohibited prodigality, extravagance and any other act of wasting money?
Why does Islam make it obligatory for a man to earn his living as an individual duty?
Are there any illicit means of obtaining sustenance which most Muslims are unmindful of?
How could we increase our sustenance according to the teachings of Islam mentioned in the Noble Qur’an and in the Sunnah of the Prophet?
These are the questions people are often anxious about, and they are the subject of this lecture.

The description of money in the Qur’an and the Sunnah:

1 – To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth:

Dear brothers, Allah Most High has created the heavens and the earth and everything between them, and He is the Only Owner of everything to be found there, and of everything between them, as well as of everything below the surface of the earth(including the underground resources).
Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

(To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and all that is between them, and all that is under the soil.)

[Taha, 20:6]

2 – Wealth belongs to Allah the Almighty:

Dear brothers, money is described in the Noble Qur’an as the Wealth of Allah.
Allah the Almighty says:

(And give them something yourselves out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you.)

[An-Nur, 24:33]

So, Allah the Almighty refers to the money owned by people as His Own Wealth.

3 – Money as a means of making people administrators:

Allah the Almighty also calls money a tool for making man (its) administrator.
He says in the Noble Qur’an:

(Believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you as believe and spend (in Allah’s Way), theirs will be a great reward.)

[Al-Hadid, 57:7]

Everything in the Universe, in the heavens and on earth, and everything under its surface is owned by Allah, both in terms of creation or action (it is under the Power of Allah), and destination (it will return to Allah). Basically, Allah the Almighty owns everything, while man just has the right of dealing (with it), and Allah the Almighty will call him to account on the Day of Resurrection and he will be questioned about his money, the way he acquired and spent it.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

The world is sweet and green, and verily Allah is going to install you there as successors in order to see how you act.


4 – Money is ascribed to man as benefit and trial:

Actually, in some ayaat, the possession of money is ascribed to man.
Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

(You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah, but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is from the great matters, [which you must hold on with all your efforts].)

[Al-Imran, 3:186]

(You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties) The commentators of the Noble Qur’an said that the ownership of wealth and properties is ascribed to man in terms of benefit, trial and test. So Allah the Almighty has granted you the ownership of money in order that you may get benefit from it and to be tested through it.

5 – Money as one of Allah’s blessings:


Dear brothers, money is one of the blessings of Allah the Almighty which shows His Mercy with regard to man.
Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

(Did He not find you (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) an orphan and gave you a refuge?* And He found you unaware (of the Quran, its legal laws, and Prophethood, etc.) and guided you?* And He found you poor, and made you rich (self-sufficient with self-contentment, etc.)?)

[Ad-Duha, 93:6-8]

6 – The good (that there is) in money:

Dear brothers, money is named in the Noble Quran as something good.
Allah says:

(It is prescribed for you, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves wealth (that which is good), that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable manners. (This is) a duty upon Al-Muttaqun)

[Al-Baqarah, 2:180]

Wealth was also praised by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who said:

How great is the goodness of wealth when put in the hands of a righteous man!

7 – Money is the lifeblood of existence:

It has been transmitted that one of the companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

How excellent wealth is! Through it I protect my honor and get closer to my Lord.

This noble companion defined thus the goals of earning money. Allah the Almighty clarified that money is the lifeblood of existence and that people’s sustenance is based on it.
He, Glory to Him, says in the Noble Qur’an:

(And give not unto the foolish your property which Allah has made a means of support for you, but feed and clothe them therewith, and speak to them words of kindness and justice.)

[Al-Nisa, 4:5]

It is a must to take care of money and avoid wasting it:

Dear brothers, given that money is a blessing, goodness, and the lifeblood of existence, as mentioned in the Noble Qur’an, we should take care of it and handle it properly in order to satisfy our basic needs. Furthermore, the ayah of debt, the longest one in the Noble Qur’an, stresses the necessity of the correct dealing with money, of taking care of it, and of refraining from wasting it, through registering the debt, bringing in witnesses, and taking a surety bond. So, Islam has forbidden wasting money with which Allah Most High has entrusted people.
AL-Mugheerah transmitted that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

I heard the Prophet say, ‘Three are the things that Allah hates for you: idle tittle-tattle, wasting wealth and asking too many questions.


The spendthrift:

On the other hand, Allah the Almighty has described those who waste their money as the “brothers of the shayatin”.
He, Glory to Him, says in the Noble Qur’an:

(And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift .* Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil – Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord.)

[Al-Isra, 17:26-27]

Given that Shaytan is ungrateful to Allah, and the spendthrift is a brother of Shaytan’s, if follows that the spendthrift is ungrateful to Allah as regards the blessing of having money, which could be a means of his attaining a high station in Paradise.
Allah Most High also says:

(But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter.)

[Al-Qasas, 28:77]

The extravagant:

By contrast, a person who spends money wastefully (on what is permitted), rather than a spendthrift is considered somebody extravagant.
Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

(O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawaf of) the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).)

[Al-Araf, 7:31]

And He also says:

(And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach (like a spendthrift), so that you become blameworthy and in severe poverty.)

[Al-Isra, 17:29]

The above means that you are worthy of blame if you do not spend your money, and you may end up in deep poverty if you spend your whole wealth.

Moderation in affluence and in poverty:

Dear brothers, there are three deeds that deliver you from Hell and there are three other deeds that take you there. The former are: fearing Allah in secret and in public; telling the truth when you are content or discontent, and moderation in affluence and in poverty (which means spending moderately, neither extravagantly nor stingily; being neither lavish nor miserly.)
Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

(And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes).)

[Al-Furqan, 25:67]

Thus, man should be moderate in wealth and in poverty.
While the three deeds which take you to Hell are following your desires, miserliness, and conceit, which is the worst among them.

Man should seek for licit wealth:

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Seeking lawful earnings is compulsory for every Muslim

[Al-Jami Al-Saghir]

Offering salah, observing fast, performing umrah and hajj, and paying zakah are obligatory acts. In order to carry out these Islamic duties one should satisfy one’s basic needs, such as eating, drinking, having a roof over one’s head, and so on. Therefore, what is essential to perform an obligatory duty is also considered an obligation; what is essential to perform a fundamental practice is also considered a fundamental practice; and what is essential to perform a sunnah is also considered a sunnah. Furthermore, according to Allah’s Way, you should marry and spend money on your family; therefore, you should earn your living.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Seeking lawful means (of earning your living) is obligatory after having fulfilled (other) obligations.

[Al-Jami Al-Saghir]

In this regard, the Prophets set the best example for us.
Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

(And We never sent before you (O Muhammad) any of the Messengers but verily, they ate food and walked in the markets.)

[Al-Furqan, 25:20]

They were human beings and so they were in need of food in order to live:

(They ate food and walked in the markets.)

[Al-Furqan, 25:20]

Thus, they had to earn their living and therefore frequented markets. Given the fact that such was their practice, it should, naturally, be adopted by the believers. Had not the Prophets been human beings, with human characteristics just like all other people, they would not have been the models for mankind that they are.
Al-Miqdaam, may Allah be pleased with him, transmitted that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

No one has ever eaten better food than that paid for with what his hands have earned. And indeed the Prophet of Allah, Dawud, would earn his living with (the work of) his hands.


Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, transmitted that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Allah has not sent Prophets but they were all shepherds. His companions asked him, “Did you do the same?” The Prophet replied, “Yes, I used to tend the sheep of the people of Makkah for some qirats.


Hence, having a job through which you earn your living is considered as a great honour.
Anas ibn Malik transmitted that a man from the Al-Ansar asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, (for help). The Prophet asked him:

Do not you have anything in your house?” He replied, “Yes, a piece of cloth, a part of which we wear and a part of which we spread (on the ground, to sleep on it), and a wooden bowl from which we drink water.”
He said, “Bring them to me.” The man then brought these articles to him and he (the Prophet) took them in his hands and asked, “Who will buy these?” A man said, “I shall buy them for one dirham.” He said twice or thrice, “Who will offer more than one dirham?”(which proves the lawfulness of an auction or a bid) Another man said, “I shall buy them for two dirhams.”
He gave the things to this man, took the two dirhams and, giving them to the Ansari, he said, “Buy food with one of them and hand it to your family, and buy an axe (with the rest) and bring it to me.” When the Ansari returned with an axe, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, fixed a handle on it with his own hands and said, “Go, gather firewood and sell it, and do not let me see you for a fortnight.” The man went away and did as he had been told.
When he had earned ten dirhams, he bought a garment with part of the money and food with another part, and went to see the Messenger of Allah, who said, “This is better for you than that begging, lest it should result in a spot on your face on the Day of Judgment.”
Begging is right only for three (kinds of) people: one who is in grinding poverty, one who is deeply in debt, or one who is responsible for (paying) blood money (and finds it difficult).

[Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah]

Dear brothers, we know from this story that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not give that man money, rather he relieved him psychologically by suggesting him the way to provide for his family so that he would stop thinking about their hardship for some time and give his entire attention to work. He also advised him how to alleviate his family’s difficulties and anxiety, and then encouraged him to earn his living by manual labor.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

One should take a rope, cut wood and carry it rather than ask others to give them (something) or not.


Prohibition of taking other people’s wealth unlawfully:

Dear brothers, in contrast, Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

(And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.)

[Al-Baqarah, 2:188]

Allah the Almighty describes here other people’s property as “your property”. To illustrate the point, consider the example of a man who takes the money out of his right-hand pocket and puts it into the left-hand one. Naturally, there will be no difference. It is likewise with this ayah, which describes rhetorically the property of your fellow-brother as your own as regards its protection, which means that you should preserve it as if it were your own. It follows, then, that you are also expected, with even more reason, to refrain from appropriating it.
Dear brothers, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

All things of a Muslim are sacred for his brother-in-faith: his blood, his property, and his honor

[Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, and Ibn Majah]

Avoiding to take one danek (a sixth of a dirham) earned unlawfully is better than performing eighty hajj (journeys) after the obligatory one.

[Agreed upon]

Some unlawful ways of earning money:

The First -Fraud and its types:

Dear brothers, fraud is a way of taking other people’s property illegally, so whoever cheats commits this kind of wrongdoing. Fraud itself is of many kinds, all of which carry the meaning of deceiving, which implies demonstrating one thing while hiding the opposite inside (oneself).

1 – Lying:

It is when you define something as good while in fact it is bad, or to present a cheap product as a valuable one.

2 – Mixing bad articles with good ones:

Another kind of fraud is to mix bad articles with good ones, then to sell them all at a high price (of the good merchandise) without clarifying the reality or the truth.

3 – Misleading (others) about the price:

It is a kind of fraud when the seller lies to the buyer about the real price of an article to increase exorbitantly the margin of his profit.

4 – Hiding imperfection and manipulating weight:

Yet another kind of fraud is to hide the defect and to manipulate the weight, the measure, the number, the length, the area and the volume.

5 – Falsify the origin, quality or date something is valid to:

It is to alter fraudulently the origin, source, quality or expiry date of goods.

6 – Camouflaging defects of goods on display:

It is a kind of fraud in which goods are displayed in a way which highlights their attractiveness and conceals their deficiency.

7 – Exploiting the buyer’s ignorance of the stock:

It is to sell deteriorated merchandise to the buyer exploiting his ignorance of the type of goods.

8 – Exploiting the buyer’s ignorance about real prices:

It is a kind of fraud in which the buyer’s ignorance is exploited as regards the price of the goods, in order to raise it manifold. Actually, the buyer who is ignorant of the quality and price of the goods is called al-mustarsel (a dupe).
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Cheating al-mustarsel is a kind of riba, and is prohibited

[Al-Jami Al-Saghir]

9 – Exploiting the seller’s ignorance of the value of his goods:

Just as the seller may deceive the buyer, the buyer may deceive the seller, and it is when the former exploits the latter’s ignorance of the true value of his goods. Therefore, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prohibited buying from travelers outside the city limits because they would be ignorant of the real value of their goods (in that country) until they have entered its markets.

The Second –Stockpiling:

Stockpiling is a kind of appropriation, whose exact definition is: holding money or benefit or work, and refraining from selling it until its price increases due to its scarcity or lack, while people are in dire need of it. Imam Abu Yusuf said:

All that hurts people by being withheld is called stockpiling.

Some modern scholars said:

Any act of deluding or misleading people which causes increase in the demand for an article to increase its price is called stockpiling.

The extra profit obtained as a result of this practice is haram (illicit) because it is not in return for an increase in (the quantity of) goods nor in their quality, nor is it for any special service provided by the seller. Furthermore, the buyer does not pay this extra money with conviction, but rather is forced to buy goods at a higher price.
Pay attention to this, according to the ahadith of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the one who stockpiles is cursed, which is a destructive matter, for his wrongdoing, and Allah abandons him and threatens him with Hellfire.
Muammar Ibn Abdullah narrated that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

No one hoards but the sinner.


Umar ibn al-Khattab transmitted that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

He who brings goods to the market is blessed with bounty but he who withholds them is cursed.


The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also said:

If anyone withholds grain for forty days out of desire for getting a higher price is abandoned by Allah; Allah abandons him.

[Mishkat Al-Masabeeh]

And he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also said:

Indeed, the man who hoards goods is evil! If prices fall by Allah’s Will, he grieves; and if they rise because of his acts, he is delighted.


By Allah, dear brothers, I assure you that if you have goods which Muslims need badly, and you sell them at a low price so that they can satisfy their needs, forsaking thus the profit that you may have expected, then, if you are really a believer, you should rejoice at the lack of profit and at having solved Muslims’ problem. Verily, this is a sign of your faith.

Means and causes of increasing your sustenance:


Dear brothers, is there any way to increase our sustenance?

1 – Uprightness:

Is there any relationship between sustenance and uprightness?
The answer to this is mentioned in the noble ayah below:

(If they (non-Muslims) had believed in Allah, and went on the Right Way (i.e. Islam) We should surely have bestowed on them water (rain) in abundance.)

[Al-Jinn, 72:16]

The whole wheat crop in our country, about six million tons annually, is under the constant threat of damage due to persistent lack of rain.
Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

(And if the people of the towns had believed and had the Taqwa (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied (the Messengers). So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn (polytheism and crimes, etc.).)

[Al-Ar'af, 7:96]

2 – The salah:

Is there any connection between sustenance and salah?
Allah the Almighty says:

(And enjoin As-Salat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them [i.e. the Salat (prayers)]. We ask not of you a provision (i.e. to give Us something: money, etc.); We provide for you. And the good end (i.e. Paradise) is for the Muttaqun (pious).)

[Taha, 20:132]

The house in which the five daily prayers are performed is blessed, and the shop whose owner and its staff perform the five daily prayers is a prosperous one according to the previous ayah.

3 – Asking for Allah’s Forgiveness:

Is there any link between sustenance and asking for Allah’s Forgiveness?
Allah the Almighty says:

(I said (to them): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord; Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving* He will send rain to you in abundance* And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.)

[Noah, 71:11-13]

4 – Being grateful to Allah:

Is there any connection between sustenance and gratefulness?
Allah the Almighty says:

(And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings))

[Ibrahim, 14:7]

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to appreciate any blessing, no matter how small, even relieving himself, when he used to say:

Praise be to Allah who made me enjoy the taste of food, made me keep from it what is useful, and relieved me from what is of no use.

[Jammi Al-Saghir]

So, he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to thank Allah for the smallest Divine Favour.

5 – Maintaining the bounds of kinship:

Is there any link between sustenance and maintaining the bounds of kinship?
Anas ibn Maalik transmitted that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Whoever wishes to have his sustenance increased, and his life-span extended, then let him respect the ties of kinship.

[Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Ahmad]

6 – Giving sadaqah (out of generosity):

Is there any relation between sustenance and giving sadaqah?
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Seek your sustenance by giving sadaqah.

[Al-Jami Al-Saghir]

And he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Righteousness is wealth.

[Al-Jami Al-Saghir]

An upright person has the most precious thing in life which is people’s confidence, and consequently they will be generous to him.

7 – Professional competence:

Dear brothers, is there any connection between sustenance and professional competence?
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Allah likes you to exert your utmost to be competent at (your) work.

[Al-Jami Al-Saghir]

It is noticeable that in the period of economic stagnation the only craftsmen who find work are those who are real experts, while the others tend to be unemployed. Hence, professional competence, honesty, preserving the ties of kinship, being grateful to Allah, asking for His Forgiveness, offering salah, faith and fear (of Allah) are some of the reasons for increasing sustenance according to the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds

Translation : Rana Saraqbi
Auditing : Najat Roszko




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