[Chapter 45] Putting our Money where our Iman is

Dec 23, 2010

Chapter 45
Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

Putting our Money where our Iman is

It is all part of that new culture of Islam – remember Culture Change? – that we said we needed to build. It is part of creating a new awareness and a new understanding. It is part of our tracing our way back to our original Islamic culture – the culture of the Qur’an and the Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and the Sahabah Kiram, Radiyallahu Anhum – so that we can move forward with a new consciousness, commitment and a new sense of awakening into a new future.

According to that culture money, wealth and worldly possessions play a key role in the life of Muslims. They are not abominations, but Allah’s bounty and blessing. He confers them on whom he wants; and according to the scale and measure he wants. To strive for them is part of striving in the path of Allah – provided you have your bearings right; provided your alignment is right; provided you are wedded to the goal of working for Allah.

Allahu Akbar! How beautiful this Islam is!

You work day and night to make money, to build your career and to attain worldly success, and Allah counts all of that as your involvement in and contribution to his work? Only the maker of the world could create a system like that!

Now, there are three things that we need to remember here. One, while we are doing all this – making money, getting rich, getting professional advancement – we should not for a moment forget that we are doing it all for Allah.

Two, we should not lose sight of the fact that these are all tools and resources that we need for use in the path of Allah – when we are working for Allah.

Third, money – we need to find ways of spending it in the path of Allah. And it is this third point that concerns me here most immediately: spending money.

First of all, let us get this very clearly: In the West, money matters more than in other places and in a place like America it matters most. Ordinarily speaking, not much can be achieved in the West without adequate funding being available for achieving it. This is a point about the nature of life in the West that we need to understand clearly. As a result, generally speaking, we need to be able to spend money if we expect to be effective in the West.

Second, money should be spent generously. “Spending” is a key requirement of Islam. It doesn’t matter what you have. It does not matter whether you are rich or poor. What is required is that regardless of the station of life you are in, and regardless of your financial condition, you are still required to “spend.” Because what you have – whatever that may be – is given to you by Allah. And Allah wants you to spend of that – that which he has given you. The Qur’an says (in paraphrase):

From that which we have given them, they spend.

Wa Mimma Razaqnahum Yunfiqoon. (2:3)

So, the logic is, what you have – whatever it is – is Allah’s. So take out a part of it and give it back to Allah. Allah is so gracious that he calls it a loan. What a magnanimous master! He doesn’t say: Come give some money to Allah. Instead he says (in paraphrase):

Believers, give Allah a loan!

Ya Ayyuhalladheena Aamanu, Aqridullaha Qardan Hasana.

Allahu Akbar! Is it a surprise to anyone that if this Qur’an had hit a mountain that mountain would have gone to smithereens? I don’t know about you, but to a simple man like me, I need no further proof that this Qur’an is directly from the creator of the heavens and earth, that this Qur’an is not a human handiwork.

So, we need to learn to spend money – and do so liberally, freely and generously. And I am talking here about voluntary spending that is over and above Zakah, which is compulsory. This is the culture that Islam wants to see prevail in a Muslim society. Islam wants to create a culture of spending. I wish I had the time to go into it in greater depth. Read the Qur’an carefully and you would know what I am talking about.

Third, we need to be smart spenders. To the extent we can, we need to make sure that the money we spend goes to the right people and purposes. We need to know who the people are that we are giving money to; we need to be able to trust them fully; they need to be completely open about how the money is being spent; we need to have access to books and records for accounting and auditing purposes; and all of us need to monitor the spending process in an ongoing manner.

Finally – for now – let us not convert Jum’ah into a fundraising instrument for our favorite causes and charities, as has been done in the United States since the beginning of the 1980s. Jum’ah has a larger and much more important and fundamental function than raising a few hundred or thousand pounds or dollars for this or that charity. What we need to do with Jum’ah is to revive it as part of the process of reviving and rebuilding the Ummah and of regenerating Islam as a whole in the community.

So let us make up our minds to put our money where we say our Iman is and to be part of this new culture of spending in Islam.

Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

© 2003 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.

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