Dear Friday Jemaah,
Last week we were reminded of the importance to enliven the spirit of sharing and giving, including giving away a part of our wealth and assets to charity. Only by spending in the path of Allah, The Eternal, will we be able to experience long-term and everlasting satisfaction and happiness. Prudent financial planning to ensure that we spend our wealth for the sake of Allah s.w.t is essentially striving to increase our taqwa towards Allah. By doing so, we are training ourselves to heed Allah’s commands and avoid His prohibitions.
My dear brothers,
Rushing to give charity was common among the Companions of the Prophet s.a.w. The Companions who were blessed with more such as Sayyidina Abu Bakar As-Shiddiq, Sayyidina Uthman r.a. and even Abdul Rahman Bin Auf r.a., took the opportunity to spend the wealth that they had by giving to charity and making large donations for the benefit of the Muslim ummah.
In this matter, a Muslim must practise prudent financial planning. This is to ensure that they are able to manage their money well, and spend it for noble causes. And among the preparations and careful financial planning is to be smart in setting out priorities or awlawiyyat in planning our finances to meet our obligations and to be spent for causes that will gain Allah’s pleasure.
First and foremost, we have to ensure that the basic needs and the allowance (nafkah) for our family members are met. This was explained by Rasulullah s.a.w. in a hadith which means:
“One dinar that you spend for the sake of Allah, and one dinar that you give to free a slave, and one dinar that you give to the poor, compared to one dinar that you give as an allowance to your dependents (family), and that is greater in reward.” [Muslim]
From the hadith mentioned above, it is clear that the priority and awlawiyyat is in giving the allowance to our family compared to other forms of charity, as it is our obligation to ensure that their needs are met.
In fact, when it comes to spending on our own family, there is also a need to prioritise what we spend on. If we are to choose between buying a new smartphone as a replacement for the old one for our children, and sending them to enrichment classes, we should prioritise the enrichment class as our option.
Just think of the long term implications and far-reaching impact. Perhaps today we are not able to give our children a life full of riches. But with the knowledge that we have given to them, they will someday become people whose hearts are rich with goodness and generosity. With better educational opportunities, we will be able to groom our children to be more knowledgeable, well-mannered and always carrying out good deeds. Surely this will bring more benefits compared to a smartphone which will eventually get spoiled, or outdated. This brings us back to how we understand the philosophy of spending for something that is everlasting and more meaningful.
As I share with you about the importance of saving and planning our funds, there may be some who are wondering, what is the link between financial planning and developing one’s spirituality? How does that bring a person closer to Allah s.w.t.?
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. himself, as reported by Imam Bukhari, had saved for his family’s food supplies for a year. We know how generous Rasulullah s.a.w. was, and he could not bear to see anyone suffer from poverty. However, at the same time, he also prioritised planning for the needs of his family. This means that when we are planning and saving, we are in fact emulating the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Thus, from now on whenever we plan our finances, we should make the intention that we are doing so to enliven the sunnah of Rasulullah s.a.w. and not merely with the intention of saving for our needs in this world.
Remember, the wealth and bounty that Allah has bestowed upon us is an opportunity for us to plan for our eternal future, which is in the Hereafter. When we ensure that our wealth and assets are spent for good measures and to gain Allah’s pleasure, we are in fact planning for our happiness when we meet with Allah eventually. Allah has reminded us about this in the Quran, in surah Al-Hasyr verse 18:
Which means: "O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do."
May Allah grant us wisdom and guide us to plan for goodness in this world and the Hereafter. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 17 May 2013 / 7 Rejab 1434