It is often seen that people who claim to be religiously inclined praise poverty and look down upon or even negatively upon those that are involved in business, trade, or are simply rich. This is one of the hidden traps that Shaitan lays down in the hearts of many. People claim that being poor leads to spiritual enlightenment. This is far from the truth. If a person claims to have achieved spiritual enlightenment but he is not in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah, then such a person and their words have to be rejected. The knowledge of tasawwuf is fortified by the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.
The Imams of Tasawwuf state that the foundational principles of tasawwuf are built upon 3 things:
- Submitting to the Book of Allah.
- Following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.
- Halal Provision.
This article aims to discuss this over-glorification of poverty, show the heavy emphasis that is laid on being independent and earning enough such that you can benefit the community, and lastly, the correct understanding of zuhd. This is a very important discussion to have as this is holding back a large number of Muslims from reaching their true potential.
Being poor is something that is not good and definitely not something that one should aspire towards. The Imam of Zuhd - Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal رحمه الله liked to often cite the great Tabi'i Abu Qilabah al-Basri's statement to Ayyub al-Sakhtiyani:
الغناء من العافيه
Wealth is part of Health
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The upper hand is better than the lower hand. The upper hand is one that gives and the lower hand is one that takes.” [Bukhari]
He ﷺ also said, “The strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, but there is goodness in both of them. Be eager for what benefits you, seek help from Allah, and do not be frustrated. [Muslim]
The Prophet ﷺ would make dua and say, “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the trials and punishment of the Hellfire, from the trials and punishment of the grave, from the evil of the trials of wealth, and from the evil of the trials of poverty.
Wahb Ibn Munabbih, a famous student of Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه used to say, "Poverty is certainly the greatest death."
Sa’ad رضي الله عنه reported: The Prophet ﷺ visited me while I was ill in Makkah. I said, “I have some wealth. May I donate all of it?” The Prophet said, “No.” I said, “Half of it?” The Prophet said, “No.” I said, “A third of it?” The Prophet said, “Yes a third, but this is still too much. That you leave your inheritors wealthy is better than leaving them dependent, begging for what people have. Whatever you spend on them is charity for you, even the morsel you feed to your wife.” [Bukhari]
What Is Wealth?
The Arabic term for wealth is 'Mal' which literally means anything that one is naturally inclined to acquire, own and possess. It is defined as "something, movable or immovable to which human nature is inclined and which can be stored for a time when it is needed." [al-Qamus al-Fiqhi]
Imam al-Shafi'i stated that Mal is "a thing that has a material value, with which it can be sold." [al-Asbah wal Nazair]
It is also defined in general as "everything that is owned by an individual or by a community, such as useful things, trade goods, real estate, money or animals." [al-Qamus al-Fiqhi]
Ownerhip (al-milk) is defined by the jurists as “a legal connection between a person and a thing that allows him the exclusive right of disposal over it, such that others are preempted from disposing of it." Hence, in relation to ownership (milk), a person's wealth (mal) is something useful and beneficial that he has properly earned (and hence his property), and thereby acquired ownership (milk) of and right of disposal (tasarruf) over as he deems fit, within the ethico-legal parameters of Revealed Law (al-shari'ah). In short, wealth or property is something valuable that is owned or ownable by way of lawful acquisition.
What then is earning a livelihood (al-Kasb)? From the the above definition of wealth, we can then see that earning a livelihood means ethically and lawfully acquiring the ownership of wealth by which a person can provide (infaq) for himself and his family, and by extension, for his community; and this provisioning is an aspect of jihad or striving in the path of Allah.
All of this was beautifully summarised by Imam al-Muhasibi who wrote, "Therefore, when you wish to go out to your market or do something for your livelihood, or take up a craft or become an agent (wakalah), or engage in some other vocations in order to seek the licit, and to imitate the practice of Allah's Messenger-Allah bless him and grant him peace and to seek recompense (thawab) for yourself and your dependents, to earn provisions for them, and in order to be independent of people, while showing compassion to brethren and neighbours, and to pay the obligatory alms and discharge every obligatory right, then hold out hope through these efforts that you shall meet Allah-glorified and exalted be He-while your countenance is as the moon on the night when it is full." [al-Makasib wal-Wara]
Striking A Balance: Halal Wealth + Zuhd
Our scholars for centuries have penned works that talk about the importance of working to earn a halal income and at the same time coupled it with concepts of scrupulousness (wara‘), detachment (zuhd), reliance (tawakkul), obedience (ṭā‘ah), and taking care of the communities that we are a part of. Many might think that scholars that talk about embracing a balance, understanding asceticism while still earning, were writing at a time when they weren't really exposed to the riches of the dunya as we are today or that they were living life like some hermits in the mountains. This is far from truth.
The scholars and their works were woven into the very fabric of the society that they were living in. It is interesting to note that some of the most famous works on zuhd and heart softeners etc were actually penned at the height of the Abbasid power when riches from around the world were pouring into Baghdad. While the scholars were warning people against riba and advising everyone to work hard to attain a halal income, they also saw that many people were mesmerised by the new influx of luxuries that were coming into the capital. Hence, there arose, in the course of this, treatises on abstinence (al-zuhd) and sensitivities of the soul (al-raqa'iq), such as Kitab al- Zuhd by Imam Abdullah ibn Mubarak (d. 181 AH), Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH) and Imam Hannad ibn al-Sari (d. 243 AH). This was to also remind people that while we are focusing on the economics of the material, we should not forget that it is meant to be linked and in service of the spiritual.
Scholars that wrote these works on earning halal, zuhd etc were not just part of the community but they were also teachers holding the highest of posts. Let's look at two famous works. Imam Ibn Abi al-Dunya's Islah al-Mal and Imam Abu Ubayd's Kitab al-Amwal. These books talk about the lens through which we look at wealth, the administration of wealth, property and public revenues rooted in the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Abu Ubayd was the teacher of Ibn Abi Dunya. Both of them were tutors to the princes of the ruling Khalifa, some of whom later on became Khulafa themselves, like al-Mu'tadid (d. 289 AH) and his son Ali (d. 295 AH), who, by virtue of their office, became responsible for the proper administration of public wealth and administration.
Allah Himself tells us how seeking wealth is important but provided it is not at the expense of our obligations,
فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةُ فَٱنتَشِرُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَٱبْتَغُوا۟ مِن فَضْلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرًۭا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ - وَإِذَا رَأَوْا۟ تِجَـٰرَةً أَوْ لَهْوًا ٱنفَضُّوٓا۟ إِلَيْهَا وَتَرَكُوكَ قَآئِمًۭا ۚ قُلْ مَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ خَيْرٌۭ مِّنَ ٱللَّهْوِ وَمِنَ ٱلتِّجَـٰرَةِ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ خَيْرُ ٱلرَّٰزِقِينَ
And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed. But (on one occasion) when they saw a transaction or a diversion, (O Muḥammad), they rushed to it and left you standing. Say, "What is with Allah is better than diversion and than a transaction, and Allah is the best of providers." [Surah al-Jumu'ah, 10]
Other famous works in this genre includes:
- Imam al-Shaybani's (d. 189 AH) Kitab al-Kasb
- Imam al-Muhasibi's (d. 248 AH) al-Makasib wa al-Wara
- al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi's (d. 255 AH) Adab al-Muridin wa Bayan al-Kash
- Imam Abu Bakr al-Khallal's (d. 311 AH) al-Hathth 'ala al-Tijarah
- Imam Ibn Abi al- Dunya's (d. 281 AH) Islah al-Maal
- Imam Abu Talib al-Makki's (d. 386 AH) Qut al-Qulub
- Imam al-Raghib al-Isfahani's (d. 443 AH) al- Dhari'ah ila Mahasin al-Shariah
- Imam al-Ghazali's (d. 505 AH) Kitab Adab al-Kash wal-Ma'ash
Importance of Wealth vs Extravagance
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “By him in whose hand is my soul, if one of you were to carry a bundle of firewood on his back and sell it, that would be better for him than begging a man who may or may not give him anything.” [Bukhari]
Anas ibn Malik رضي الله عنه reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.” Tirmidhi]
This is a golden principle that our beloved Prophet ﷺ has given us. A person cannot just sit at home and claim that Allah will provide him sustenance. We need to do harakah to get barakah. Tawakkul without making use of the means enjoined by Allah is not tawakkul. Even in miracles, Prophet Musa عليه السلام had to strike his stick before the sea parted and Maryam had to shake the tree before its fruits fell for her.
Umar bin al-Khattab رضي الله عنه said, “Let not one of you refrain from working for his provision, supplicating to Allah to provide while he knows that the sky does not rain gold and silver.”
Qadhi Iyadh رحمه الله said, "Neither the Prophets nor the non-Prophets did this. Prophets used to work for hire. The Prophet ﷺ worked for hire, as did Abu Bakr and 'Umar. They never said, 'We shall sit at home until Allah sends sustenance.' Indeed, Allah Most High said in His Book, and seek after the bounty of Allah (Surah al-Jumu'ah, 10). Therefore, one must work for a living."
Using material means and relying on Allah are mutually exclusive: on the contrary, not only complementary's but the Prophet ﷺ made the former a necessary pre-condition of the latter in his famous hadith, "Tie your camel first then rely on Allah."
A man asked Imam Ahmad رحمه الله which is preferable for the traveller, "To carry provisions or rely on Allah?" Imam Ahmad beautifully replied, "To carry provisions AND rely on Allah."
Coming to the importance of wealth. Zubair Ibn al-Awwam رضي الله عنه said, "Wealth enables you to:
- Carry out good (charitable) deeds.
- It enables you to strengthen ties of kinship (by financially supporting one another),
- It enables you to spend in the path of Allah,
- It helps you maintain your good character (by not becoming petty).
- It gives you honour in this life (by not being needy and dependent on others), and
- It enables you to enjoy the permissible pleasures of this world." [Mawsu'ah Ibn Abi Dunya]
يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ خُذُوا۟ زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍۢ وَكُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ وَلَا تُسْرِفُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُسْرِفِينَ
O children of Adam, take on your adornment at every mosque. Eat and drink and do not be extravagant. Surely, He does not like the extravagant. [Surah al-A'rah, 31]
Abdullah Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه said, “Eat what you wish and wear what you wish, so long as you avoid two things: ‘Extravagance and Arrogance.’” [Ibn Abi Shaybah]
There are two things to keep in mind. Allah likes to see his slave use the blessings that He has blessed him with. Allah dislikes extravagance and misuse of wealth.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Verily, Allah Almighty loves to see the traces of blessings on his servant. He does not love one who wallows in misery and pessimism.” [al-Mu’jam al-Kabir]
It was said to Imam Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله, “O’ Aba Sa’eed, do you think that if I buy my wife perfume for the cost of 20 dirhams, would this be considered extravagant?’ Imam Hasan al-Basri replied: ‘No (it is not considered extravagant).’” [Ibn Abi Dunya]
Extravagance or excess is a relative matter. Just because something is extravagance based on our income or situation, doesn't mean it is extravagance for that person as well. If we say that extravagance means overstepping the mark, then this excess varies. Maybe Allah has blessed him with enough money and that is what he spends for maintaining his lifestyle. Extravagance is linked to the status of the doer and not the action that they are doing.
This is something the scholars discuss in length when talking about social status and compatibility when looking for a spouse etc. Imagine this. Imam Mansur al-Buhuti رحمه الله writes about the husband providing coffee, "It should be obligatory (for the husband to have it available) if the wife is someone who habitually drinks it and is something she cannot usually do without, and also based on the culture." [Hidayah al-Raghib]
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله said, “When there is money in your hand but not in your heart, it cannot harm you; even if it is a lot, and when it is in your heart, it will harm you even if there is none in your hands.” [Madarij al-Salikeen]
Imam Mujahid رحمه الله said, "If a person spends all his wealth appropriately, then he is not wasteful, but if he spends a mudd [a small amount] inappropriately, then he is wasteful."
Imam Qatadah رحمه الله said, "Wastefulness is spending wealth in acts of disobedience to Allah, may He be exalted, and inappropriately, and for evil purposes" [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
The Rich Sahaba
Let's have a look at the lives of the best of mankind, the companions of the Messenger of Allah رضي الله عنهم and how wealthy they were, and what they did with their wealth.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "No wealth has benefitted me as did the wealth of Abu Bakr." [Ahmad] It was said that the Prophet ﷺ used his wealth as though it was his own.
It is said that when Abu Bakr accepted Islam he had 40,000 Dinars and he spent all of that in charity. A dinar is 4.25g of pure gold. This means he spent approximately above a million dollars in today's money. This is not a one-off occurrence. This was the style of charity of Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه in aid of Allah's Messenger and the community till the very end.
Aishah رضي الله عنها narrated: "Abu Bakr was the most trade-proficient (atjar) of all Quraysh until he became involved in governance."
Before the battle of Tabuk, finances had taken a hit in Madinah and there was a huge security concern. Uthman ibn Affan رضي الله عنه gave 10,000 gold dinars, 300 fully equipped camels, and 50 horses for this Battle of Tabuk. He also provided complete provisions for nearly 300 of the sahaba. He gave so much one day that the Prophet ﷺ said, "Nothing Uthman does after today will harm him." [Tirmidhi] This was the son-in-law of the Prophet ﷺ. He could have just sat and done nothing except provide for his family and no one could have said anything to him. Yet, he went out and put everything and much more on the line.
During the caliphate of Umar, Madinah suffered a severe draught, to the extent that they resorted to eating tree leaves out of starvation. A caravan of Uthman comprising of 1000 camels loaded with food supplies was approaching. The merchants of the Madinah rushed to him to buy things from him. When he enquired about their offers, they offered double and triple the price of those camel loads and kept raising their offers. He replied, “I have been offered more by Allah Who has promised ten to seven hundred folds”. He gave the whole 1000 camel caravan load in charity to the needy people of the city.
Abu Ja'far narrated: "At the time Uthman ibn Affan was killed the (yearly) revenue (ghallah) of his datepalm orchards had reached 100,000 dinars.
The awqaf of Uthman ibn Affan رضي الله عنه to date continue to bring in money and be of service to Madinah and the Muslims. What a legacy he has left SubhanAllah, just because of his business endeavors, forget all his religious contributions.
Abdul Rahman bin Awf رضي الله عنه was one of the richest from among the sahaba. He started off with just a handful of dinars and ended his life with wealth that if translated in today's terms would equate to a few hundred billion dollars. Just let that sink in. Once he sold a piece of land for 40,000 dinars and he distributed the entire amount among the Banu Zahrah (the relatives of the Prophet’s mother - Aminah), the poor among the Muslims, and the Prophet’s wives.
It is narrated that for the battle of Tabuk, despite there being a drought and an atmosphere of fear in the air, Abdur Rahman ibn Awf came forward and donated 200 uwqiyyah of gold. 1 Uwqiyyah was equal to 40 dirhams.
It is narrated that once a caravan was entering Madinah and its movement into the city made so much sound and stirred up so much sand that people came out of their houses to have a look. This was a caravan of Abdur Rahman ibn Awf entering Madinah comprising of over 700 camels all laden with merchandise and goods. It is reported that he gave the entire caravan in charity after hearing a narration from Aishah رضي الله عنها about the hereafter.
It is said that Abdur Rahman ibn Awf رضي الله عنه used to lend 1/3 of his money, pay off the debts of the people with 1/3 of his money, and with the remaining take care of his family and friends. This is what I call elite mentality. You have conviction in your skills and at the same time you know that by giving, you are only increasing your investment that will have a 700x RoI with Allah.
Despite all this wealth - Imam Ahmad narrated that Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr said: Abdur Rahman ibn Awf رضي الله عنه – who was one of the wealthy sahabah – could not be recognized from among his slaves. [Kitab al-Zuhd]
These were all men promised Jannah. They didn't have to work, they definitely didn't have to give in charity, but they did, and they gave such that just reading about it today can boggle our minds.
Food for thought: A man can only do such acts of charity when he is financially strong and has a firm conviction in Allah. It is said,
لا يمكنك أن تصب شيئاً من قدحٍ فارغ
'You cannot pour from an empty vessel.'
Understanding True Zuhd
Motivational content sells today, just because many are now emotional thinkers instead of intellectual thinkers. Being emotional and doing actions on a 'high' for a bit and then abandoning them is detrimental to one's development.
When the West teaches us about minimalism, we are in awe. They say it is the key to happiness. When we talk about zuhd, people say we are trying to make Muslims poor and make them backward. We need to wake up and avoid the blind following. A person can have zuhd, live a minimalistic life, and yet be of the richest in the community. There is no contradiction here as long as the money doesn't reach his heart.
Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله said, "We must view wealth much as we do the toilet." He replied, "In that, we resort to it whenever needed, but it has no place in our hearts."
A man asked Sufyan ibn Uyaynah رحمه الله, "Can someone be an ascetic when he owns 100 dinars?" He replied yes. "How?" the man asked. Sufyan replied: "If it gets depleted, he does not worry and if it increases, he does not rejoice, nor does he abhor parting with it through death."
Imam Sufyan al-Thawri رحمه الله speaking about the importance of being financially independent used to say, "Money in our time is a weapon." Imagine how much more powerful and true this is in our time when we are living in a riba-infested system.
The Prophet ﷺ said, "The honest and trustworthy merchant will be with the prophets, the truthful, and the martyrs." [Tirmidhi]
He ﷺ also said, "There is no envy except in two: a person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e. religious knowledge) and he gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to the others." [Bukhari]
So what is Zuhd? Zuhd linguistically means to abstain or leave. Imam Ahmad would say that Zuhd is of 3 types:
- Zuhd of the Commoners: Leaving the Haram (Impermissible).
- Zuhd of the Elite: Leaving the Mubah (Permissible).
- Zuhd of the Most Pious: Leaving anything that distracts one from Allah. This is the highest level of zuhd.
There is no monasticism in Islam. It is Haram. We don't retire to caves in search of Nirvana because the world is tough. Rather, this world is our cultivating land for the akhirah. We train our nafs on zuhd so that our hearts don't incline solely towards the dunya. This is no qiyas or universal principles in tasawwuf. It is a case-by-case prescription from experts that does not apply to everyone in general. Why? Every individual is unique and is tested and trained by Allah accordingly. Sometimes a person flourishes in riches whereas another flourishes in poverty. Dunya doesn't just refer to one's money or our rides etc. It also includes our interaction with the people. This is why we have spiritual seclusion or I'tikaf.
Our Sheikh Dr. Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله said, "We have people who don't eat good food or wear good clothes. They believe they are doing zuhd. Zuhd means to stay away from the dunya that which gets in the way of your akhirah. There is no connection between this and the good, halal food, good houses, etc that a person has been given by Allah. When Allah gives a slave something then Allah likes that it is shown on the person for this is showing appreciation for the blessing of Allah.
If you are not going to use the dunya then why was it created? Who are you imitating by doing this?
If you say the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, then we will tell you that his Sunnah teaches us that he ate the best and wore the best of what was available for him. The Prophet ﷺ ate good food but didn't exaggerate. He ﷺ even had a favourite cut of meat. He is the Imam of the Zuhhad. He ﷺ didn't exaggerate such that he would take loans to get things. When the Prophet ﷺ was presented with something, he would choose the best and what he liked the most. From the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ is that he used to always eat from fresh food (when possible) that wouldn't need to be kept till the next day. The Prophet ﷺ is teaching us the best method which is to take only that which suffices our needs.
Islam is simple. You being a religious person doesn't mean that you sit in the Masjid always. No. Being a good Muslim means being first in the masjid but also being productive, mixing with the people, using that which Allah has provided for you, and bringing good to the community.
The concept of Al-Warā is to stay away from anything that harms the akhirah. Zuhd is leaving anything that doesn't benefit the akhirah. Zuhd is more comprehensive and worthy of being adorned with as a characteristic."
The Flip Side
The flip side of this discussion is when we go so deep into wanting to make money, we let our greed get the better of us. We start delving into doubtful ventures and at times even dabble with riba.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Verily, the lawful is clear and the unlawful is clear, and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which many people do not know. Thus, he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, and he who falls into doubtful matters will fall into the unlawful as the shepherd who pastures near a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Verily, every king has a sanctum and the sanctum of Allah is His prohibitions.” [Bukhari]
Over the years, explaining this hadith, our beloved teacher, Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله said, "Everything in the dunya is Halal unless the Shariah states otherwise and everything in the Deen is Haram unless the Shariah stipulates it. What is Halal has been detailed for us and what is Haram has been detailed for us. Either it has been explained directly in the Qur'an or explained indirectly. Otherwise, it has been explained directly in the Sunnah or explained indirectly. Nothing of value has been left out without being explained and made clear to us.
It's always better to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to the Deen. What is clear we take from it and what is not we stay far far away from it, no matter what anyone says about it later. When it comes to doubtful matters we are supposed to ask the scholars. As for the matters which haven't even occurred, then we shouldn't raise it up and confuse people. Focus on that which is happening.
Staying away from the doubts is a source of safeguarding one's honour. Today people want to find any loophole and exert effort in finding any random fatwa to allow them to do all that is doubtful and especially in matters of business transactions. But remember, don't exaggerate in abstaining for that is also an extreme that causes harm. What do you do with something that is really important or means a lot to you? You do your level best to protect it, correct? You don't want it to be harmed nor do you want to put it in a position where it would be harmed? This is your relationship with Allah that is at stake. Preserve your Deen for there is nothing more worthy than that.
If a person does an action without asking a person of knowledge with their own ijtihad, even if this ijtihad is correct the person will garner a sin for not asking a person of knowledge. As for the matters which haven't even occurred, then we shouldn't raise it up and confuse people. Focus on that which is happening.
Allah instructs us in the Quran:
فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
So ask the people of the message if you do not know. [Surah an-Nahl]
Whenever you come across scholars differentiating between something being makruh (disliked) or haram (impermissible) then stay away from it and that is the ultimate good for you. Your leaving it won't be questioned but your doing it could be questioned if it turns out to be wrong. But if the scholars differentiate between something being mustahab (recommended) or wajib (obligatory) then do it to the best of your ability for you will always win.
Know that Shaitan opens doors gradually. If we avoid the path that leads to the Haram then we are safe in avoiding the Haram as well. Block all such paths and be patient instead of taking a chance and suffering in the future and in the hereafter as well.
A person does not reach the peak of taqwa till they abstain from even that which is permissible to them. This was a way to train oneself from going towards the impermissible."
It is reported that Abdullah ibn Masʿud رضي الله عنه said, “Fulfil what Allah has obligated you to do and you will be from the most devout of people, stay away from what Allah has forbidden you and you will be from the most careful of people, and be satisfied with what Allah has apportioned for you and you will be from the richest of people.” [Kitab al-Zuhd]
Sheikh Dr Ibrahim further advised, "Ask the scholars about all that you are setting out to do. If you're doing business, consult a scholar about its working and then go forward. Don't go and ask what is to be done when you have made a lot of profit and it is filled with Riba. The Dunya is very attractive and we need to be careful not to fall into sweet traps that are harmful. Doing good and earning a lot from many businesses is not wrong. It is very good. Rather it is amusing that the wrong means and the businesses that are Haram that is the issue.
Remember! Anything that you earn from the Haram, no matter how big it is; eventually you will lose it without a doubt or it will bring harm. Any transaction that involves riba has barakah removed from it. The one who takes Riba is like one who is at war with Allah and His Messenger. Who can win? No one. If Allah doesn't support you, then Allah will let you destroy yourself by your own deeds.
Take this hadith of the Prophet ﷺ as a gift from me for all those looking to get into a business. Wallahi Wallahi Wallahi! Nothing that is written for you will miss you.
Your rizq is decided in the heaven by Allah. It gives you relief to know that everything from the day you were born till the day you will die has been decided by Allah with no intervention by anyone else.
It was narrated from Jabir رضي الله عنه that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "O people, fear Allah and be moderate in seeking a living, for no soul will die until it has received all its provision, even if it is slow in coming. So fear Allah and be moderate in seeking provision; take that which is permissible and leave that which is forbidden." [Ibn Majah]
Your rizq was decided 50,000 years before the creation of the universe where the Pen writing the decree has dried and the Book has been closed. Knowing this helps us from not being of those who sell their Deen. Those who sell their Deen for money have lost here as well as the hereafter. Knowing where one's rizq comes from, helps one in maintaining their honour, righteousness, and integrity.
There's no point in stealing, cheating, bribing and other Haram means for that which was supposed to come to you in a Halal manner; you have just taken by indulging in the Haram. It's about being patient and working hard to change things. For sure, a person's state changes between a good day and a bad day. Allah Knows what He is doing when He might delay your rizq.
مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّبْرَأَهَا إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ
“No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being - indeed that, for Allah, is easy.” [Surah al-Hadeed, 22]
Always remember! Anything that you leave for the sake of Allah, He will replace it with something better. This is without a doubt. What matters is the strength of our belief and the work that we are ready to put in."
Imam Malik ibn Dinar رحمه الله said, “For a man to leave a dirham which is ḥarām is better for him than to give a hundred thousand dirhams in charity.”
Imam Yunus bin Ubayd رحمه الله said, “There is nothing more honourable than two things:
- A good dirham (money that is earned and spent lawfully) and
- A man who performs an act according to the traditions and practices of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ” [Siyar A’lam an-Nubala]