How many of the sahaabah lived in poverty?
You can probably count them on at least one hand.
If you’re like most Muslims, you will assume that most of them were poor.
Their stories are shared over and over. Their financial status has been emphasized so much that their poverty becomes their most memorable, and commendable trait. But is that how we should remember, and emulate them?
Due to this and other influences, there’s this understanding amongst Muslims that being wealthy is unIslamic…even haraam.
So what do we do about the ahadeeth and ayaat that warn about wealth and dunya things? How do we deal with pursuing wealth as Muslims who are trying to fear Allah? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Here are some points to ponder about the earliest Muslims, the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, and their relationship to wealth:
- Khadeejah and Abu Bakr both used their great wealth to support the cause of Islam. In fact, if it wasn’t for their wealth, the course of Islamic history would have been changed drastically.
- Uthmaan ibn Affan’s wealth is known well amongst Muslims, for his generous donations to the cause of Islam. If his great wealth was a source of scorn, we surely would have hadith which showed the Prophet warning him about dealing in business to that degree.
- Umar ibn al Khattab was a businessman, and when he was khalif, he established business schools and trading centers throughout the Muslim world.
It’s funny that we know these things already, but we may never have thought about them in this way.
It is good for a righteous Muslim to have wealth, because they will spend for the sake of Allah. She will be given blessings, and rewards in this life and the next for spending on others.
It is bad for a Muslim to have wealth and be stingy with it and refuse to help others. If the goal is to collect wealth only and have status in this life only, there will be no reward in the next life.
As with everything else in Islam and life, there must be balance.
The beautiful thing about it, as you can see from the list of successful Sahaabah above, is that being wealthy, and giving your wealth freely, can earn you Paradise!
I’ll let that sink in for a minute.
We have been brainwashed to shun wealth, and to look down on those who pursue wealth. But why did Rasul Allah say this, if having wealth is to be avoided?
Abu Umamah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “O son of Adam, it is better for you to spend in charity. To withhold is evil for you, yet there is no blame if you do so out of necessity. Begin spending on your dependents, for the upper hand that gives is better than the lower hand that takes.”