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Question:

Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. I have a little of asset and still working. The question is, is it necessary for me to save some of my property or should I donate everything as fi sabilillah. The reason is, I heard that we don’t need to save any property for ourselves. What is your opinion?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Wealth is something that is any rational person would want and love. There are numerous evidences stating this fact:

  • Allah SWT state:

وَتُحِبُّونَ الْمَالَ حُبًّا جَمًّا

“And you love wealth with immense love.”

Surah al-Fajr (20)

Al-Maraghi said: Humans really love wealth and are passionate in amassing their wealth. Thus, their love for Allah and gratefulness for His blessings are weak and less. (See: Sofwah al-Tafasir, 3/567)

  • Allah SWT state:

زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَاللَّـهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ

“Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.”

Surah Ali Imran (14)

Al-Wahidi said: Humans are creations with great desires, where they would be inclined towards amassing their properties. (See: al-Wajiz fi Tafsir al-Kitab al-'Aziz, 1/306)

In answering the above question, we detailed it in the following points:

  • You should understand that there are costs of living that you are responsible for in terms of taking care of yourself and your family members in order to maintain the honour of yourself which is commanded in Islam.
  • The principle of Islam states that you should not be a burden to others and it is better that you help someone rather than being the one who is helped. Hence, it is crucial to ensure we are financially secure, so that we wouldn’t need help from others.
  • Our future is an uncertainty. We may fall sick, be in an accident or in dire need of money; hence, we would need our savings in facing life’s tests.
  • A person should be wise in donating his wealth, so that he himself would not end up asking from others. This is a form of bad financial management.
  • Donating is an honourable and encouraged act of worship. The upper hand (who donates) is prioritized than the lower hand (who are in need). From Hakim bin Hizam RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

الْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ الْيَدِ السُّفْلَى وَابْدَأْ بِمَنْ تَعُولُ وَخَيْرُ الصَّدَقَةِ عَنْ ظَهْرِ غِنًى وَمَنْ يَسْتَعْفِفْ يُعِفَّهُ اللَّهُ وَمَنْ يَسْتَغْنِ يُغْنِهِ اللَّهُ

 "The upper hand is better than the lower hand (i.e. he who gives in charity is better than him who takes it). One should start giving first to his dependents. And the best object of charity is that which is given by a wealthy person (from the money which is left after his expenses). And whoever abstains from asking others for some financial help, Allah will give him and save him from asking others, Allah will make him self-sufficient."

Sahih al-Bukhari (1427)

Al-Mubarakfuri said: The upper hand means the hands who are giving or donating, while the lower hands are those who are in need. (See Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, 3/289)

  • Donation are from a part of one’s wealth. It is recorded when the Prophet PBUH’s companion, Sa’d fell ill, he expressed his intention to donate all of his property, although he has a daughter. The Prophet PBUH only permits him to donate a third of his property. From Sa’ad Ibn Waqqa RA, he said:

عَادَنِى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فِى حَجَّةِ الْوَدَاعِ مِنْ وَجَعٍ أَشْفَيْتُ مِنْهُ عَلَى الْمَوْتِ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ بَلَغَنِى مَا تَرَى مِنَ الْوَجَعِ وَأَنَا ذُو مَالٍ وَلاَ يَرِثُنِى إِلاَّ ابْنَةٌ لِى وَاحِدَةٌ أَفَأَتَصَدَّقُ بِثُلُثَىْ مَالِى قَالَ « لاَ ». قَالَ قُلْتُ أَفَأَتَصَدَّقُ بِشَطْرِهِ قَالَ : لاَ الثُّلُثُ وَالثُّلُثُ كَثِيرٌ إِنَّكَ أَنْ تَذَرَ وَرَثَتَكَ أَغْنِيَاءَ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَنْ تَذَرَهُمْ عَالَةً يَتَكَفَّفُونَ النَّاسَ وَلَسْتَ تُنْفِقُ نَفَقَةً تَبْتَغِى بِهَا وَجْهَ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ أُجِرْتَ بِهَا حَتَّى اللُّقْمَةُ تَجْعَلُهَا فِى فِى امْرَأَتِكَ

“Allah's Messenger () visited me in my illness which brought me near death in the year of Hajjat-ul-Wada' (Farewell Pilgrimage). I said: Allah's Messenger, you can well see the pain with which I am afflicted and I am a man possessing wealth, and there is none to inherit me except only one daughter. Should I give two-thirds of my property as Sadaqa? He said: No. I said: Should I give half (of my property) as Sadaqa? He said: No. He (further) said: Give one-third (in charity) and that is quite enough. To leave your heirs rich is better than to leave them poor, begging from people; that you would never incur an expense seeking therewith the pleasure of Allah, but you would be rewarded therefor, even for a morsel of food that you put in the mouth of your wife.”

Sahih al-Bukhari (4409) and Sahih Muslim (4296)

This is the answer the Prophet PBUH had given to his companion regarding wealth that should be inherited by one’s child which is up to two thirds of the whole wealth one owns. The reason stated by the Prophet PBUH was clear which to not leave one’s heirs in need that they would ask from others.

  • I’m reminded of an authentic narration which narrates a great story we could all learn from in managing our wealth which could benefit us in the hereafter. From Abu Hurairah RA, he said: the Prophet PBUH said:

بَيْنَا رَجُلٌ بِفَلاَةٍ مِنَ الأَرْضِ فَسَمِعَ صَوْتًا فِى سَحَابَةٍ اسْقِ حَدِيقَةَ فُلاَنٍ. فَتَنَحَّى ذَلِكَ السَّحَابُ فَأَفْرَغَ مَاءَهُ فِى حَرَّةٍ فَإِذَا شَرْجَةٌ مِنْ تِلْكَ الشِّرَاجِ قَدِ اسْتَوْعَبَتْ ذَلِكَ الْمَاءَ كُلَّهُ فَتَتَبَّعَ الْمَاءَ فَإِذَا رَجُلٌ قَائِمٌ فِى حَدِيقَتِهِ يُحَوِّلُ الْمَاءَ بِمِسْحَاتِهِ فَقَالَ لَهُ يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ مَا اسْمُكَ قَالَ فُلاَنٌ. لِلاِسْمِ الَّذِى سَمِعَ فِى السَّحَابَةِ فَقَالَ لَهُ يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ لِمَ تَسْأَلُنِى عَنِ اسْمِى فَقَالَ إِنِّى سَمِعْتُ صَوْتًا فِى السَّحَابِ الَّذِى هَذَا مَاؤُهُ يَقُولُ اسْقِ حَدِيقَةَ فُلاَنٍ لاِسْمِكَ فَمَا تَصْنَعُ فِيهَا قَالَ أَمَّا إِذَا قُلْتَ هَذَا فَإِنِّى أَنْظُرُ إِلَى مَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا فَأَتَصَدَّقُ بِثُلُثِهِ وَآكُلُ أَنَا وَعِيَالِى ثُلُثًا وَأَرُدُّ فِيهَا ثُلُثَهُ.

“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 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 matter? 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.”

Sahih Muslim (7664)

Hence, we would like to advise you to balance your life, so that you will neither prioritize just you worldly life nor just the hereafter, but focus on attaining happiness in both worlds. Let us together understand the following supplication taught to us by Allah SWT to attain happiness in our lives:

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

"Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire."

Surah al-Baqarah (201)