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Consumer Behaviour

The consumer behaviour is a complex phenomenon determined by such diverse forces as habits, customs, traditions, fashions, religious beliefs, and resources at the disposal of an individual. In the Western economic analysis, the consumer behaviour is discussed in the short run, when most of the socio-cultural factors remain unchanged. Keeping these variables constant, it is assumed that the consumer is sovereign and he behaves rationally and while doing so, he maximises his utility and minimises his costs; Thus the analysis is built on market variables alone and non-market variables are locked out, although their significance is theoretically recognised and accepted. In Islamic economics, due importance is attached to the injunctions of the Shari’ahwhich regulate consumer behaviour. The Qur’an describes it by the term ‘iqtisad, which literally means ‘moderation’ but in the overall context of the Shari’ahit is a cluster of values. A Muslim is required to adopt a moderate attitude in the acquisition and utilisation of resources. The two extremes of consumer behaviour, ‘israf (extravagance) and bukhl (niggardliness) have been condemned both in the Qur’an as well as by the Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam). The Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) himself offered an example of an ideal Muslim consumer. He led a simple and rough life. His companions adopted his model and in this way simplicity and low consumption became value of Islamic society. The Holy Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) dissuaded people from a life of tana‘um (luxury) and forbade the consumption of all those things which may lead to such a lifestyle. Significant example of luxury in those days were squandering of wealth on gambling and drinking, ostentatious dresses (mostly silken wears by men), paintings and portraits, rearing of dogs, and precious metal utensils. In these days, with the advancement of technology, certain other forms of luxury have come into being. Keeping in view the overall spirit of the Shari’ah, its value-system and the distribution of wealth in the society, the level of tana‘um would be defined from time to time. But this would retain the basic set of instructions issued by the Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as inviolable. The life of tana‘um is discouraged in Islam both by educating people and by public action if necessary. For example, the state may discourage or even ban the production and import of such articles, which by a social consensus lead to a life of tana‘um. In still another case, the state may apply the classical instru_ment of hijr to forestall a luxurious behaviour. Hijr literally means, ‘forbidden’ but the concept has been derived from the Qur’anic instruc_tion of forbidding the minor orphans to have an access to their own resources until they obtain majority. On the analogy of this it has been suggested by some that those persons who have resources but not wisdom to spend them so that they squander it on luxuries, may be forbidden to use those resources, except to the extend it is necessary for a reasonable, moderate living. The state may institute regulations in this behalf.

The above description suggests that Islam visualises a low-cost, low-consumption economy. Minimum resources are expended on con_sumer needs, since the life-style encourages simplicity and moderation. This links up with the overall world-view of Islam, which treats the life in this world a transitory phase in the march towards ‘Akhira. A Mus_lim’s outlook rates possessions of this world at a low scale.


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Although the level of consumption is kept at a minimum, there is hardly any restriction in the production of resources. Instead a number of injunctions of the Shari’ah induce Muslims to strive hard for the production of resources. Consequently, a surplus is generated at the individual level, which is diffused socially. This is known as infaq. Infaq is not alms or charity, which has been known in all civilised societies. Instead it has been termed as a haqq (right) of the deprived in the wealth of those who have a surplus. Moreover, infaq also in_cludes expenditure on ones’ own self and in one’s own family. Thus it is a wider concept than the commonly known ‘charity’. The Qur’an and hadith have exhorted Muslims to diffuse their surplus. A high value is attached to infaq in Muslim society. The Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) issued instructions about the quality and manners of infaq.

The institution of infaq provided a secure, costless and socially vigilant social security system. The deprived were looked after by the society at no public cost. The society watched against parasitic idleness and the social conscience forced such persons to take up any gainful pursuit. It provided a stable family-system also. Members of one family looked after each other as and when needed. The problem of incentives which the contemporary Western society is facing in provid_ing public assistance to the poor was absent from Muslim society. The institution of infaq was organized on voluntary basis and it oper_ated successfully for centuries.

Jabir b. ‘Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “There should be a bedding for a man, bedding for his wife and the third one for the guest, and the fourth one is for the Satan.”

1) Abu Wa‘il said: Mu‘awiyah visited Abu Hashim lbn ‘Utba who was a patient, to enquire after his health. He said: “Dear uncle, what makes you weep? Have you some pain that agonises you or it is the covetousness of the world?”  He replied, “I have none of all these things. But Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) made a covenant with me which I have not fulfilled.” He said: “A sufficient amount of property for you to gather is a servant and a mount in Allah’s path, and I find myself today that I have gathered all these things.” (He referred to his worldly possessions).

2) Salmah b. ‘Ubaidullah b. Muhdin al-Khutami reported on the authority of his father with whom he had cordial relations that the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “If anyone among you is secure in mind in the morning, healthy in body, possessed of food for the day, it is as if the whole world had been brought into his possession.”

3) ‘Uthman b. Affan reported that the Apostle of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said:  ‘The son of Adam has no right except to the following: a house in which he lives, a garment with which he conceals his private parts dry bread and water.”

4) Abu Umamah reported the Apostle of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “The most enviable of my friends in my estimation is a believer with little property who finds pleasure in prayer, who performs the worship of his Lord well, who obeys Him in secret, who is obscure among them, who is not pointed out by people, and whose sustenance is bare sufficiency, with which he is content.” Then he snapped his fingers and said: “His death will come up speedily, the women who mourn over him will be few, and what he leaves will be little.”

And with this chain of transmitters, it has been reported from the Apostle of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam): My Lord offered to turn the valley of Mecca into gold for me but I said: ‘No, my Lord, but let me have enough to eat a day and be hungry on the other.” He said this thrice or so: “When I am hungry I shall make supplication to Thee and make mention of Thee, and when I have enough shall thank Thee and praise Thee.” And he (the narrator) said: “This is a hasan hadith”.

‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr reported the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “He is successful who has accepted Islam, been provided with sufficient for his want and been made contended by Allah with what He has given him.” This is a Hasan Sahih tradition.

Abu Ali ‘Amr b. Malik al Jalaby reported from Fudala b. Ubaid that he heard the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) saying: “Delighted is the person who has been guided towards Islam, been provided with sufficient for his life, and been content.” The narrator said: “The name of Abu Hani is Humaid b. Tariq.”

5) Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “O Allah, make for the family of Muhammad the provision which is a bare subsistence.”

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “O Allah! Provide for the family of Muhammad their subsistence”, and in the narration transmitted on the authority of ‘Amr (the words are): “O Allah, provide us subsistence.”

‘A’isha reported: Never had the family of Muhammad (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) eaten to the fill since their arrival in Medina with the bread of wheat for three successive nights until his (Holy Prophet’s) death.

‘A’isha reported: Never could the family of Muhammad (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) (afford to eat) the bread of wheat for two days successively. Even (out of these two days) one (was such wherein he could get) only dates.

‘A’isha reported: We the family of Muhammad (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) used to spend (the whole) month in which we (did not need to) kindle the fire as (we had nothing to cook); we had only dates and water (to fill our bellies).

‘A’isha reported that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) died (in such a state) that there had been nothing in my wooden tub which a living being could afford to eat but a handful of barley therein. I had been eating out of that for a fairly long duration when I thought of measuring it and it was almost finished.

‘A’isha used to say to ‘Urwa: Son of my sister, by Allah, I used to see the new moon, then the new moon, then the new moon, i.e. three moon in two months, and fire was not kindled in the house of Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam). I said: “Auntie, then what were your means of sustenance?”  She said: “Dates and water.” But it (so happened) that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) had some Ansar as his neighbours and they had milk animals and they used to send to Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) some milk of their (animals;) and he served that to us.

‘Urwa b. Zubair reported on the authority of ‘A’isha, the wife of Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam), that she said: “Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) died (in a state) that it never happened that he could eat to his fill the bread with olive oil twice during a day.”

‘A’isha reported this hadith through other chains of transmitters also (and the words are) that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) died (in a state) when the people could afford to eat two things only, dates and water.

Simak b. Harb reported: I heard Nu‘man deliver an address in which he said that ‘Umar made a mention of what had fallen to the lot of people out of the material world, and he said: “I saw Allah’s Mes_senger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) spend the whole day being upset because of hunger and he could not get even an inferior quality of dates with which he could fill his belly.

6) Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Apostle of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) bought (some merchandise) from a caravan which arrived (at Medina and then sold it) for profit of a few Auqiyah. He distributed this profit among the widows of ‘Abdul Muttalib and said: I do not buy anything until I have the price for it.

7)Anas b. Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “It is also a part of israf (squandering) that you may eat everything that you may (happen to) desire.”

‘Amr b. Shu‘aib reported on the authority of his grandfather through his father that the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: ‘Eat, and spend as sadaqa (in charity) and wear without squandering and pride.”

8) Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) went out and he saw a high domed building. On this, he said, “What is this?” His companions said to him: “This (building) belongs to so and so, one of the Ansars.” The narrator said that he kept silent and kept the matter in mind, and when its owner came to Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) and gave him a salutation amongst the people, he turned away from him. He did this several times till the man recognised that anger was connected with him, and indifference was because of him. So he complained of that to his companions and said: “I swear by Allah that I cannot understand Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam). They said to him: “He went out (once) and saw your domed building.” Upon this, the man re_turned to his building and demolished it till he levelled it to the ground. Then Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) went out one day but he did not see that (building). He said: “What has happened to the building?”  The companions said its owner complained to us of your turning away. So we informed him and he demolished it. He said: “Every building is a misfortune for its owner except what cannot be done without.”

9)‘Amr b. Shu‘aib reported on the authority of his father, who reported from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “Indeed Allah loves that the mark of this blessing be seen on His servant.”

10) Sa‘d b. Abi Waqqas (may Allah be pleased with him) used to instruct these five things and he related them from the Apostle of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam): Allah, I seek Thy refuge in Thee from niggardliness; and I seek Thy refuge in Thee from cowardice; and I seek Thy refuge in Thee that I am made to reach the worst age; and I seek Thy refuge in Thee from the trial of the world and I seek Thy refuge in Thee from the torment of the grave.

Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) forbade the wearing of gold signet ring.

‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) saw a person wearing a gold signet ring in his hand. He [the Holy Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam)] pulled it off and threw it away, saying: “One of you is wishing live coal from Hell, and putting it on his hand.” It was said to the person after Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) had left: “Take your signet ring (of gold) and derive benefit out of it”, whereupon he said: “No, by Allah, I would never take it when Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) has thrown it away.”

‘Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) got fashioned a signet ring of gold but he kept its stone on the inner side of his palm as he wore it; so the people (following his ex_ample) got fashioned (such rings). Then he sat on the pulpit and removed the ring from his finger and said: “I used to wear this ring and keep its stone on the inner side.” Then he threw it away, and said: “By Allah I will never wear it”; so the people threw their rings away.

11) ‘Abdullah b. ‘Ukaim reported: While we were with Hudhaifa in Mada’in, he asked for water. A villager brought a drink for him in a silver vessel. He (Hudhaifa) threw it away saying: “I inform you that I have already conveyed to him that he should not serve me drink in it (silver vessel) for Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) has said: “Do not drink in gold and silver vessels, and do not wear brocade or silk, for these are meant for them (the non-believers) in this world, but they are meant for you in the Hereafter on the Day of Resurrection.”

12) Mu‘awiya b. Suwaid b. Muqarrin reported: I visited al-Bara‘ b. ‘Azib and heard him say: “Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) commanded us to do seven things and forbade us to do seven (things). He commanded us to visit the sick, to follow the funeral procession, to answer the sneezer, to fulfil the vow, to help the poor, to accept the invitation and to greet everybody, and he forbade us to wear rings or gold rings, to drink in silver (vessels) and to use the skins of beasts and to wear garments made of qassi material, or garments made of silk or brocade and velvet.”

13) Umm-e-Salama, the wife of Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “He who drinks in the vessel of silver, in fact drinks down in his belly the fire of Hell.”

14) Ibn ‘Umar reported that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattab saw (someone selling) the garments of silk at the door of the mosque, whereupon he said: “Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) would you command that you buy it and wear it for the people on Friday and for (receiving) the delegations when they come to you?” Upon this, Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “He who wears it has no share (of reward) in the Hereafter” then these garments were sent to Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) and he presented one of these silk garments to ‘Umar. Thereupon ‘Umar said: “You make me wear (this silk garment) whereas you said about the silk garment of ‘Utarid (the person who had been busy selling this garment at the ‘door of the mosque) what you had to say”. Whereupon Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “I have not presented you this for wearing it” (but to make use of its price); so ‘Umar presented it to his polytheist brother in Mecca.

Ibn ‘Umar reported that ‘Umar saw ‘Utarid al-Tamimi standing in the market (and selling) the silk garments, and he was the person who went to (courts of) kings and got (high prices) for these garments from them. ‘Umar said: “Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) I saw ‘Utarid standing in the market with a silk garment; would that you buy and wear it for (receiving) the delegations of Arabs when they visit you?” I (the narrator) said: I think he (Umar) also said: You may wear it on Friday (also). Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “He who wears silk in this world has no share in the Here_after.” Later on when these silk garments were presented to Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) he presented one silk garment to ‘Umar and presented one also to Usama b. Zaid and gave one to ‘Ali b. Abu Talib, saying: “Tear them and make head coverings for your ladies.” ‘Umar came carrying his garment and said: Allah’s Messenger, you have sent it to me, whereas you had said yesterday about the (silk) garment of ‘Utarid what you had to say. He (the Holy Prophet. Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “I have not sent it to you that you wear it, but I have sent it to you so that you may derive benefit of it: and Usama (donned) the garment (presented to him) and appeared to be brisk, whereupon Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) looked at him with a look by which he perceived that the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) did not like what he had done. He said: “Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam), why is it that you look at me like this, whereas you yourself presented it to me?” He said: “1 never sent it to you to wear it, but I sent it to you so that you may tear it and make out head coverings for your ladies.”

‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar reported: ‘Umar b. al-Khattab found a silk garment being sold in the market; he purchased it and brought it to Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) and said: ‘Allah’s Mes_senger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam), get it and adorn yourself (by wearing it) on the Eid (days) and for the delegation. Thereupon, Allah’s Mes_senger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “That is the dress of one who had no share (in the Hereafter).” ‘Umar stayed there so long as Allah wished. Then once Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam sent to him a garment of velvet. ‘Umar came with that garment to Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) and said: “Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam), you said that it is the dress of one who has no share in the Hereafter but then you sent it to me. Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: ‘You sell it and meet your need (with its proceeds).”

15) ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “Indeed, Allah has made unlawful for my Ummah drinking, gambling, beverage made of millet and chess.” And he declared witr prayer as zad (provision for Paradise) for me.  

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “Angels do not enter the house in which there are portraits or pictures.”

16) Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying that Allah, the Most Blessed and High, said: “O son of Adam, spend, and I will spend on you.” And said, “The right hand of Allah is full and overflowing and nothing would diminish it, by overspending day and night.”

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying that Allah said to him: “Spend. I will bestow upon you.” And the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “The right hand of Allah is full and spending (the riches) liberally during day and night will not diminish (the resources of Allah). Don’t you see what (an enormous amount of resources) He has spent since He created the heaven and the earth, and what is in His right hand has not decreased? His Throne is upon the water. And in His other hand is death, and He elevates and degrades (whom He likes).”

17) Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “Verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, would say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘O son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me.’ He would say: ‘O my Lord, How could I visit Thee whereas Thou art the Lord of the worlds?’ He would say: ‘Didn’t you know that such and such servant of Mine was sick but you did not visit him and were you not aware of this that if you had visited him, you would have found Me by him? O son of Adam, I asked food from you but you did not feed Me. He would say: “My Lord, how could I feed Thee whereas Thou art the Lord of the worlds?” He would say: “Didn’t you know that such and such servant of Mine asked food from you but you did not feed him, and were you not aware that if you had fed him you would have found him by My side?” The Lord would again say: “O son of Adam, I asked drink from you but you did not provide Me.” He would say: “My Lord, how could I provide Thee whereas Thou art the Lord of the worlds?” Thereupon He would say: “Such and such servant of Mine asked you for a drink but you did not provide him, and had you provided him drink you would have found him near Me.”

18) Mutarrif reported his father saying, that I came to Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as he was reciting (the Surah): “Abundance diverts you.....” He (then) said: “The son of Adam claims: “My wealth, my wealth.” And he (the Holy Prophet, Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “O, son of Adam, is there anything as your belonging except that which you consumed and utilized, or which you wore and it was worn out, or you gave as charity and sent it forward?”

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “A servant (of Allah) says: My wealth, my wealth, but out of his wealth three things are only is: Whatever he eats and makes use of, or by means of which he dresses himself and it wears out or he gives as charity, and this is what he stores for himself (as a reward for the Hereafter), and what is beyond this (it is of no use to you) because you are to depart and leave it for other people.”

19) It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam): “Which of the merits (is superior) in Islam?” He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: “That you provide food and pay salutations to one whom you know or do not know.”

20) Abu Musa reported that the Holy Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “Feed the hungry, relieve the distressed and visit the sick.”

21) Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “There is never a day wherein servants (of God) get up at morning, but are not visited by two angels.” One of them says: “O Allah, give him more who spends (for the sake of Allah),” and the other says: “O Allah, bring destruction to one who withholds.”

22) ‘A’isha, the Mother of the Faithful, reported that Allah’s Mes_senger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “One who has the longest hands amongst you would meet me most immediately.”  She further said: “They (the wives of Allah’s Apostle. Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) used to measure the hands as to whose hand was the longest and it was the hands of Zainab that was the longest amongst them, as she use to work with her hand and spend (that income) on charity (most generously).”

23) Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “Nothing is more delighting to me than this that (the mountain) Uhud should be of gold for me, and no dinar is left with me out of it before three nights pass except a dinar which I would set aside for the repayment of debt upon me.”

Abu Dharr reported: I walked with the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) on the stony ground of Medina in the night and we were looking at the Uhad. The Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “Abu Dharr!” I said: “Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) I am here at thy beck and call.” He said: ‘What 1 desire is that (equal to) ‘Uhad be gold with me and three nights should pass and there is left not with me any dinar but one coin which I would keep to pay debt. (I love) to spend it among the servants of Allah like this, and he pointed in front of him, and on his right side and on his left side. He then proceeded on and he said: “Abu Dharr.” I said: At thy beck and call, Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam). He (the Holy Prophet. Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “The rich would be poor on the Day of Resurrection, but he who spent like this and like this and like this, and he pointed as at the first time.” We again went on when he said: “Abu Dharr! stay where you are till I come back to you.” He (the Holy Prophet, Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) then moved on till he disap_peared from my sight. He (Abu Dharr) said: I heard a sound and 1 heard a noise. I said (to myself) The Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) might have met (mishap or any enemy). I wished to follow him but I remembered his command for not departing till he would come back. So I waited for him, and when he came I made a mention of what I heard. He said: It was Gabriel, who came to me and said: “He who dies among your Ummah without associating anything with Allah would enter Paradise. I said: Even if he committed fornication or theft? He said: “Even if he committed fornication or theft.”

24) Ahnaf b. Qais reported: I came to Medina and when I was in the company of the grandees of Quraish, a man with crude body and an uncouth face wearing coarse clothes came there. He stood up before them and said: ‘Give glad tidings to those who amass riches of the stones which would be heated in the fire of Hell, and would be placed at the tick of the chest till it would project from the shoulder bone, and would be put on the shoulder bone till it would project from the tick of his chest, and it (this stone) would continue passing and repassing (from one side to the other). He (the narrator) said: “Then people hung their heads and I saw none among them giving any answer.” He then re_turned and I followed him till he sat near a pillar. I said: “I find that these (people) disliked what you said to them.” He said: “they do not understand anything.” My friend Abu‘l Qasim (Muhammad) (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) called me and I responded to him, and he said: “Do you see Uhud?  I saw the sun (shining) on me and I thought that he would send me on an errand for him. So I said: I see it. Upon this he said: Nothing would delight me more than this that I would have gold like it (equal to the bulk of Uhud), and I should spend it all except three dinars. (How sad it is) that they hoard worldly riches, and they know nothing. I said: “What about you and your brothers Quraish? You do not go to them for any need and do not accept anything from them.” He said: By Allah, I neither beg anything from them (from worldly goods), nor do I ask them anything about religion till I meet my Allah and His Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam).

25) It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Mas‘ud al-Ansari who said: “A man brought a muzzled she-camel and said: “It is (offered) in the way of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “For this you will have seven hundred she-camels on the Day of Judgement all of which will be muzzled.”

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Mas‘ud al-Ansari who said: A man came to the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) and said: “My riding beast has been killed, so give me some animal to ride upon. He (the Holy Prophet. Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: I have none with me. A man said: Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam), I can guide him to one who will provide him with a riding beast. The Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: One who guides to something good has a reward similar to that of its doer.

26) Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri reported that it was said: Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) which of the people is the best? Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: ‘The believer who strives hard for the cause of Allah with his life and his property.” They (the companions) said: “Who is then (the best man)?” He (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “One who is in a path out of the numerous paths of mountains fears Allah and the people saved from his evils.”

27) ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar reported that as Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) was sitting on the pulpit and talking about sadaqa and abstention from begging, he said: “The upper hand is better than the lower one, the upper being the one which bestows and the lower one which begs.”

Hakim b. Hizam reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) saying this: “The most excellent sadaqa or the best of sadaqa is that after giving which (the giver) remains rich and the upper hand is better than the lower hand, and begin from the members of your house-hold.” 

28) Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “While a person was in the wilderness he heard a voice from the cloud (commanding it thus): Irrigate the garden of so and so. (After that the clouds slinked aside and poured water on a stony ground. It filled a channel amongst the channels of that land and that person followed that water and he found a person standing in the garden busy in changing the course of water with the help of a hatchet. He said to him: “Servant of Allah, what is your name?” He said: “So and so.” And it was that very name which he had heard from the clouds, and he said to him: “Servant of Allah, why do you ask me my name?” He said: “I heard a voice from the clouds of which it is the downpour, saying: “Water the garden of so and so, like your name. What do you do (for the favour) shown to you by Allah in this mat_ter?” He said: “Now as you state so, I look what yield I get from it, and I give one-third as charity out of it and I and my children eat one-third of it and one-third I return to it as investment.”

29) ‘Adi b. Hatim reported that he heard Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “He who among you can protect himself against Fire, he should do so, even if it should be with half of a date.”

Mundhir b. Jarir reported on the authority of his father: While we were in the company of the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) in the early hours of the morning some people came there (who) were barefooted, naked, wearing striped woolen clothes, or cloaks, with their swords hung (around their necks). Most of them, nay, all of them belonged to the tribe of Mudar. The colour of the face of the Mes_senger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) underwent a change when he saw them in poverty. He then entered (his house) and came out and commanded Bilal (to pronounce Adhan). He pronounced Adhan and Iqama, and he (the Holy Prophet, may peace he upon him) observed prayer (along with his Companions) and then addressed (them reciting verses of the Holy Qur’an): “0 people fear your Lord, Who created you from a single being” to the end of the verse, “Allah is ever a Watcher over you”. He then recited a verse of Sura Hashr “Fear Allah, and let every soul consider that which it sends forth for tomorrow and fear Allah”. (Then the audience began to vie with one another in giving charity). Some donated a dinar, others a dirham, still others clothes, some donated a sa‘ of wheat, some a Sa of dates, till he (the Holy Prophet, Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: (Bring) even if it is half a date. Then a person from among the Ansar came there with a money bag which the hands could scarcely lift; in fact, they could not. Then the people followed continuously, till I saw two heaps of eatables and clothes, and I saw the face of the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) glittering like gold (on account of joy). The Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “He who sets a good precedent in Islam there is a reward for him for this (act of goodness) and reward of that also who acted according to it subsequently, without any deduc_tion from their rewards; and he who sets in Islam an evil precedent, there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden.”

30) Abu Huraira reported that the likeness of one who spends or one who gives charity is that of a person who has two cloaks or two coats-of-mail over him right from the breast to the collar bones. And when the spender (and the other narrator said, when the giver of charity) makes up his mind to give charity, it coat-of-mail) becomes expanded for him. But when a miserly person intends to spend, it contracts and every ring grips the place where it is. This coat-of-mail expands enough as to cover his whole body and obliterates even his footprints. Abu Huraira said: “(The miserly man) tries to expand it (the coat-of-mail) but it does not expand.”

31) It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira (that the Messenger of Allah, Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “Of course the person who gives to the family a she-camel as a gift, which gives milk morning and evening equal to the large bowl, its reward (the reward of this gift) is great.”

32) ‘A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: When a woman gives in charity some of the food in her house, without causing any damage, there is reward for her for whatever she has given, and a reward for her husband for what he earned. The same applies to the trustee. In no respect does the one diminish the reward of the other.

This hadith has been transmitted by Mansur with the same chain of transmitters (with this alteration of words): “from the food of her husband.”

33) Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “A man expressed his intention to give charity, so he came out with charity and placed it in the hand of an adultress. In the morning, the people were talking and saying: ‘Charity was given to an adultress last night’. He (the giver of sadaqa) said: ‘O Allah, to Thee be the praise, to an adultress!’ He then again expressed his intention to give charity; so he went out with the charity and placed it in the hand of a rich person. In the morning the people were talking and saying: ‘Charity was given to a rich person.’ He (the giver of charity) said: ‘O Allah, to Thee be the praise, to a well-to-do person!’ He then expressed his intention to give charity so he went out with charity and placed it in the hand of a thief.’ In the morning, the people were talking and saying: ‘Charity was given to a thief.’ So he (the giver of sadaqa) said: ‘O Allah, to Thee be the praise (what a misfortune it is that charity has been given) to the adultress, to a rich person, to a thief! There came (the angel to him) and he was told: ‘Your charity has been accepted.’ As for the adultress (the charity might become the means) whereby she might restrain herself from fornication. The rich man might perhaps learn a lesson and spend from what Allah has given to him, and the thief might thereby refrain from committing theft.”

34) Hammam b. Munahbih said. “These are some of the ahadith of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam), trans_mitted to us on the authority of Abu Huraira. So he narrated one hadith out of them (as this): The Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “No woman should observe fast when her spouse is present (in the house) but with his permission. And she should not admit any (na-mahram) in his house, while he (her husband) is present, but with his permission. And whatever she spends from his earnings without his sanction, for him is half the reward.”

35) ‘Umair, the freed slave of Abi‘l Lahm reported I was the slave (of Abu‘l Lahm). I asked the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) if I could give some charity out of my master’s wealth. He said: “Yes and the reward is half and half between you two.”

‘Umair, the freed slave of Abi‘l Lahm said: “My master command_ed me to cut some meat in strips; (as I was doing it) a poor man came to me and I gave him some of it to eat. My master came to know of that, and he beat me. I came to the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) and narrated it to him. He (the Holy Prophet, Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) summoned him and said: “Why did you beat him?” He (Abi‘l Lahm) said: “He gives away my food without being commanded to do so.” Upon this he (the Holy Prophet, may peace he upon him) said: “The reward would be shared by you two.”

36) Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect, and the one who shows humility for Allah’s sake, Allah elevates him (in the estimation of the people).”

37) ‘Aqba b. ‘Amir used to say: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) to say: “Every man would be (on the Day of Resurrection) under the shade of his sadaqa till judgement is made among the people (or the narrator felt doubt that he said) till the matter is decided among the people.”

38) Abu Kabasha reported that he heard Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: “There are three things by which I swear and I narrate to you a hadith as well. Commit it to memory.” He said: “The wealth of a person does not diminish by sadaqa; and there is no servant (of Allah) who is subjected to excesses and who shows patience over it, but Allah increases his honour; and no man opens a gate of begging but Allah opens a gate of destitution on him,” [the narrator has some doubt about the exact wording of the Holy Prophet (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) and say] or he said something similar. (The Holy Prophet further said): “And I tell you something, commit it to memory.” He said, “The world is for four persons: First, a person whom Allah grants wealth and knowledge and he fears Allah in regard to them and treats his kith and kin kindly and recognises a right of Allah over these (things). Such a person enjoys an excellent place (in the sight of Allah); Second, a person whom Allah endows with knowledge but does not provide (abundant) provision to him but he has a good intention and says: ‘Had I some wealth, I would have done such and such good work.’ While it is his intention only, the reward of both the persons is equal; Third, a person whom Allah grants wealth but does not endow him with knowledge and who engrosses himself in his wealth without knowledge, nor does he fear his Lord nor does he treat his kith and kin kindly nor does he recognise any right of Allah in it, he is worst person; Fourth, a person whom Allah provides neither wealth nor knowledge and who says: “Had I possessed wealth, I would have done such and such deed therewith, ‘and he has a bad intention the burden (of the sin ) of both is equal.”

 

Source: Economic Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): A Select Anthology of Hadith Literature on Economics, Muhammad Akram Khan. Republished with permission.