Sunday 20 November 2022

Believers!! Do not be Parsimonious

Squandering is a habit that is mostly done as a show off of one's wealth and living a life that is far away from the life of a true faithful of Allah. Those who fear Allah are generally humble and very careful in their spending, no matter how wealthy they may be. Instead, they are always on the lookout to help the needy and poor and helping them with what is extra of their needs.

In our series of posts on Important DOs and DONTs, we have posted a connected verse to what is being shared today. The 26th verse of Surah 17. Al-Israa (The Night Journey), already shared, tells the believers not to squander their money, for squanderers are the friends of Satan. While squandering is not liked, being miser is also not liked by Allah and His messenger Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. For such people keep counting their money and do not spend it on the needy and the poor, already posted as "Do not withhold your money by counting it". Allah enjoins moderation in living. He condemns miserliness and forbids extravagance.

In the same context, today we share the 29th verse of Surah 17. Al-Israa (The Night Journey) which cautions believers not to be parsimonious:

وَلَا تَجۡعَلۡ يَدَكَ مَغۡلُوۡلَةً اِلٰى عُنُقِكَ وَلَا تَبۡسُطۡهَا كُلَّ الۡبَسۡطِ فَتَقۡعُدَ مَلُوۡمًا مَّحۡسُوۡرًا‏ 
(17:29) (vi) Do not keep your hand fastened to your neck nor outspread it, altogether outspread, for you will be left sitting rebuked, destitute. "Do not tie your hand to your neck" is the 'literal translation of the Text which means: "Do not be parsimonious"; "nor stretch it without any restraint" means, "Do not be extravagant". If verses 27 and 29 are read together, it becomes obvious that the Qur'an desires the people to follow the golden mean, i.e., they should neither be so parsimonious as to prevent the circulation of wealth nor so extravagant as to destroy their own economy. On the contrary, they should learn to behave in a balanced manner so that they should spend money wherever it should be spent and refrain from becoming spendthrifts so as to involve themselves in trouble. As a matter of fact, it is ingratitude towards Allah's favor to spend money for the sake of show, luxury and sinful acts and similar things which are neither man's real necessities nor useful. Therefore, those people who spend money lavishly on such things as these are the brethren of Satan

These clauses coo, are not merely meant to be moral instructions for individuals. They are intended to safeguard the Islamic Society against extravagance by moral instruction, collective pressure and legal restrictions. Accordingly, in the Islamic State of Al-Madinah practical steps were taken to safeguard the community against extravagance. First, many forms of extravagance and luxury were forbidden by law. Secondly, legal measures were taken against it. Thirdly. Social reforms were introduced to put an end to those customs which involved extravagance. The Government was empowered to prevent people from the obvious forms of extravagance. Above all, Zakat and voluntary charity helped to break parsimony and the lust for hoarding money. Besides these measures, a public opinion was created that enabled the people to discriminate between generosity and extravagance and thrift and parsimony: so much so that parsimonious people were looked down upon as ignominious and the thrifty people were regarded as honorable. This moral and mental attitude became a part and parcel of the Muslim society, and even today the parsimonious people and boarders are looked down upon in the Muslim society, while the generous people are respected everywhere.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
(And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck,) this means, do not be miserly and stingy, never giving anything to anyone, as the Jews - may the curses of Allah be upon them - said, "Allah's Hand is tied up (i.e., He does not give and spend of His bounty)''. They attributed miserliness to Him, Exalted and Sanctified be the Most Generous Bestower!

(nor overextend it (like a spendthrift)) means, nor be extravagant in spending and giving more than you can afford, or paying more than you earn, lest you become blameworthy and find yourself in severe poverty. If you are a miser, people will blame you and condemn you, and no longer rely on you. When you spend more than you can afford, you will find yourself without anything to spend, so you will be worn out, like an animal that cannot walk, so it becomes weak and incapable. It is described as worn out, which is similar in meaning to exhausted.

As Allah says: (Then look again: "Can you see any rifts' Then look again and yet again, your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation and worn out. ) (67:3-4) meaning, unable to see any faults. 

Similarly, Ibn `Abbas, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ibn Jurayj, Ibn Zayd and others understood this Ayah as miserliness and extravagance. It was reported in the Two Sahihs from the Hadith of Abu Az-Zinad from Al-A`raj that Abu Hurayrah heard the Messenger of Allah say: 
(The parable of the miser and the almsgiver is that of two persons wearing iron cloaks from their chests to their collar-bones. When the almsgiver gives to charity, the cloak becomes spacious until it covers his whole body to such an extent that it hides his fingertips and covers his tracks (obliterates his tracks - or, his sins will be forgiven). And when the miser wants to spend, it (the iron cloak) sticks and (its) every ring gets stuck to its place, and he tries to widen it, but it does not become wide.) This version was recorded by Al-Bukhari in the Book of Zakah. 
In the Two Sahihs it is recorded that Mu`awiyah bin Abi Muzarrid narrated from Sa`id bin Yasar that Abu Hurayrah said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 
(There is no day when a person wakes up but two angels come down from heaven. One of them says, `O Allah, compensate the one who gives (in charity),' and the other one says, `O Allah, destroy the one who withholds.')' 
Muslim recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: (Wealth never decreases because of Sadaqah (charity). Allah never increases a servant who gives in charity except in honor, and whoever is humble for the sake of Allah, Allah will raise him in status.) 

According to a Hadith narrated by Abu Kathir from `Abdullah bin `Amr, who attributed it to the Prophet: (Beware of stinginess for it destroyed the people who came before you. It commanded them to be miserly, so they were miserly; and it commanded them to cut the ties of kinship, so they cut them; and it commanded them to commit immoral actions, so they did so.)

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
A metaphor signifying miserliness and, in particular, unwillingness to help others (cf. a similar expression in 5:64), given as under:
"The Jews say: Allah’s hand is fettered. Their hands are fettered and they are accursed for saying so. Nay, but both His hands are spread out wide in bounty. He bestoweth as He will. That which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord is certain to increase the contumacy and disbelief of many of them, and We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, Allah extinguisheth it. Their effort is for corruption in the land, and Allah loveth not corrupters." - (Surah 5. Al-Maida:64) - Translation Pikthall
Yusuf Ali Explanation
Cf. the phrase for niggardliness in v. 64 (quoted above). We are not to be so lavish as to make ourselves destitute and incur the just censure of wise men, nor is it becoming to keep back our resources from the just needs of those who have a right to our help. Even strangers have such a right, as we saw in xvii. 26 above. But we must keep a just measure between our capacity and other people's needs.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
While explaining the balanced attitude in the prohibition of over and wasteful spending mentioned earlier, it is stated here that a person should neither be miserly nor so prodigal that when he needs his wealth, he ends up yearning for wealth and is reduced to indigence; on the other hand, he should spend in a balanced way and always save something so that he is able to help others whenever needed.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
Within the context of prohibiting the squandering of money, the Qur’ān orders moderation in all spending:

“Do not be miserly, allowing your hand to remain shackled to your neck, nor stretch it out fully to the utmost limit, lest you find yourself being blamed or reduced to destitution.” (Verse 29)

Striking a proper balance is the Islamic rule. To move to either extreme lead to imbalance. The verse employs subtle imagery to enhance the intended meaning. It paints miserliness as a hand tied up to one’s neck, while a spendthrift is shown as one with hands stretched out completely, unable to hold on to anything. The end of miserliness and the end of squander is drawn as a person sitting down, facing blame, powerless. It implies a position of weakness like that which makes an animal refuse to move. This applies to the miserly person whose miserliness weakens him to the point of inaction, and to the spendthrift who finds himself deprived of all power. Both are blamed in the end, one for stinginess, the other for squandering. The best attitude is a middle of the road one, tilting neither towards a tight fist nor towards careless extravagance.

Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
Let us then strike out a balance between squandering and niggardliness. Both extremes have their pros and cons and needed to be balanced so that nor we throw away our wealth in drains, as enticed by Satan, nor become too miser that we become oblivious of needs of the poor around us.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Great Effort with all supported references is suffice for every one to understand that one must be balanced in expending. Actually people do not read Quran with translation for which Divine Command is there.
TY so much for teaching people the essence of leading life in a lifestyle which will never put you in poverty.

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