A cardinal principle for Muslim investors: An Important Reminder about wealth & Earnings

Abu Hurayrah [RA] narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“O people! Allaah is at-Tayyib [pure] and He only accepts that which is pure! Allaah has commanded the believers, with what He has commanded the Messenger, for He said, O Messengers! Eat from the pure foods, and do right, and He said, O you who believe! Eat from the pure and good foods we have given you.” (Muslim)

This hadeeth relates to the verse of the Qur’an where Allah says:

“O Messengers! Eat of the good foods and do righteous deeds. Verily, I am well acquainted with what you do.” (Q23 [Al-Mu’meen]:51)


Good Means Halaal

Imaam Abu Hameed Al-Ghazalee (RAH) explained that the term ‘good foods’ denotes those things that are halaal [permisssible]. If one consumes what is haraam, whether in the form of haraam earnings, or haraam food, or otherwise engages in activities one’s good deeds will suffer as a result. Clearly the halaal alluded to in the verse include halaal earnings. Moreover, the command to partake of the ‘good foods’ is given before the command to work righteousness, or to do good deed. As the order of the command indicates precedence, it should be clear that one’s earnings and eating of the ‘good foods’ is even more important than one doing good deeds.


Be Good Trustees

Equally important is that the Muslim understand that whatever wealth that he or she accumulates is in reality the property of the almighty over which He has granted him or her a temporary right. Allaah says:

“Nay, to Him belong all tha is in the Heaven and on Earth and all surrender with obedience (in worship) to Him.” (Q2[Baqarah]:116)

viewed from this perspective, wealth and its management becomes a religious responsibility. A Muslim partaking of the ‘good foods’ therefore, means that his or her earnings are halaal.

Likewise, when Allaah ask the Muslims to spend from his or her earnings, primary, that wealth must be halaal. Allaah says:

”O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it,(though) you will not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allaah is Rich (Free from all needs), and Worthy of all praise.”(Q2[Baqarah]:267)


When Less is More and Better

Let us now consider another verse from the Qur’an. Allaah says:

”Say (O Muhammad): not equal are al-khabeeth (evil and bad things, food etc.) and at-tayyib (all good things, foods etc.) even though the abundance of al-khabeeth may please you. So fear Allaah, O men of understanding in order that you may be successful.”(Q5[Maidah]:100)

This verse presents a different scale for the measurement of success, one that differs considerably from the scale used by most people. On the surface of things, for example, N100 is clealy a greater sum than N5. But if those N100 were earned by unlawful means, they would be impure and therefore devoid of blessings. Whereas, if the N5 had been earned by halaal means, they will be good and pure: and far more valuable than the tainted N100.

What is impure, regardless of its quantity, will never equal the good and pure. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “ O Ka’b ibn Ujrah! Any flesh that has been nourished with haram will not enter Paradise! And any flesh that has been fed on haram has more right to the fire of Hell.”(Tabarani) From this we see that any and all types of impure earnings or wealth are a cause for entering the fire of Hell, and prohibit one from entering Paradise. Similarly, what is puer, regardless of its small or meager quantity, will always grow into magnificent proportion with Allaah.

The the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

” Whoever gives charity equivalent to a date, from his pure earnings and Allaah only accepts it with His right hand, then He will nurture it for its companion, like one of you nurtures his foal, until it becomes like a mountain.”(Bukhari)


Seek Halaal Earnings

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (RA) narrated from the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) that he said:

“The seeking of halaal sustenance is an obligation upon the Muslim”(Mishkat)

This narration is not authentic [and Allaah knows best], but its meaning is correct and firmly established from the fore-going. Also, in commenting on the hadith that “Seeking Knowledge is duty of every Muslim,” certain scholars have noted that the menaing is seeking knowledge of the halaal and the haram.


Further, it is related that Sa’d asked the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) to request Allaah to make him, Sa’d, one whose every prayer is answered. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied: “Ensure that what you consume is halaal, and your prayers will be answered.” In another narration, Sa’d ibn Abee Waqqas (RA) was asked, Why is it that your du’aa are responded to amongst all of the other companions? He replied, “I do not raise to my mouth a morsel except that I know where it came from and where it came out of. (Sharh al-Arba’in)


Guiding Principles For The Muslim Investor

From the foregoing it should be clear that halaal earnings have importance for Muslims that goes beyond the obvious, worldly benefits of those earnings On the other hand, the detriment to Muslims of prohibited earnings will be felt in this world and the next. Allaah says:

So, give to the kindred his due, and to the poor and to the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek Allaah’s countenance; and it is they who will be successful. And that which you give in gift [to others], in order that it may increase [your wealth through interest etc] from other people’s property, has no increase with Allaah; but that which you give in charity [zakaat, sadaqah etc] seeking Allaah’s countenance, then those they shall have manifold increase.”(Q30[ar-Ruum]:39)

Let us conclude here by reviewing these texts and attempting to extract from them a set of principles to guide the Muslim as he buys or sells shares. A muslim investor must be careful to seek halaal earnings and avoid what is haraam. Seeking halaal earnings requires that a Muslim first seek knowledge of what is halaal and what is haraam. There is a clear relationship between one’s paraking of the halaal and one’s doing good deeds. Haraam earnings, even if they appear to be great are of no real value. Seeking halaal earnings will lead to success in this world and the next.

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited



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