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Warning against Extravagance and Wastefulness

Jul 04, 2013

Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdullah Bin Humeed – 12th Shabaan 1434

His Eminence Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdullah Bin Humeed ?may Allah protect him?delivered this week’s Friday Khutbah entitled: Warning against Extravagance and Wastefulness. He spoke about the need for strengthening the economy and rationalising consumption. He also warned against extravagance and wastefulness, illustrating his idea with evidence of the prohibition of such practices in religion. He also pointed out that the Ummah (Islamic nation) has to upgrade its intellectual standards and set higher-order objectives in order to awaken from regression.

Praise be to Allah! Praise be to Allah, the Supreme, the Omnipotent! He has inimitably conceived creation and minutely controlled its operation. May He be exalted and gratified: "The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment, the Bestower (of favours). Lâ ilâha illâ Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), to Him is the final return." [Ghâfir: 3]

I praise Him (?) and thank Him for His abundant bounties and profuse favours. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, with no associate. To Him alone belongs sovereignty and unto Him alone gratitude is due. He imparts life into existence and retreats it thereof. He is totally capable of performing whatever deeds He wishes. I also bear witness that our Master and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) is Allah’s Servant and Messenger, heralding felicitous destiny for believers and portending unfortunate fate for disbelievers. He is the guide illuminating believers’ path. May Allah send His Salat (Graces, Honours, and Mercy) and incessant Peace onto him, his family, his wives, his Companions, and his tabi'în (the contemporaries of the Companions of the Prophet [Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam] after his death), and all those who have followed them righteously and are treading the right path.

Now then, O people! I advise you and myself to observe taqwa (fear of disobeying Allah’s commands). Observe ta?wa ?may Allah have His mercy on you. Whoever observes taqwa will be protected by Allah; whoever initiates action in total reliance on Allah’s assistance will need no external support; whoever thanks Him will be rewarded with further bounties; and whoever invests for Allah’s sake will be abundantly recompensed. So, make taqwa the pillar of your existence and the purifying catalyst of your vision. As a rule, all action devoid of (good) intention is literally null and void; none will be recompensed for good deeds which are not intended to please Allah without any lucrative drive; straightforward reproach is better than hidden feelings of resentment; and advice is better than flattery concealing hatred: "O you who believe [in MUsâ (Moses) (i.e. Jews) and ‘Îsâ (Jesus) (i.e. Christians)]! Fear Allâh, and believe in His Messenger (Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ????), He will give you a double portion of His Mercy, and He will give you a light by which you shall walk (straight). And He will forgive you. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Al-?adîd: 28]

O Muslims! There is no merit to a nation to set tables full of different copious dishes, to possess various types of luxurious vehicles, or to buy and wear a whole range of opulent life-style garments. On the contrary, besides believing in Allah and declaring Him to be one, the whole merit resides in the fact that the nation should have men with sound health, lucid vision and mind, and unimpeded volition.
 
A nation can only be considered powerful if, besides believing in Allah and declaring Him to be one, it has a strong economy; and its economy will not be powerful unless its savings and reserves exceed what both its population and government tend to consume, whether they be individuals or groups. This is mainly because a nation’s savings and reserves in terms of its nutritional resources as well as its total produce do represent its real power to be handed down to the future generations.

The staple diet of your Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and his Companions (?) used to be only dates and water, although they had conquered immense non-Islamic territories (for spreading the word of Allah). What is more, their military administration would simply provide them with small sacks of dates and scanty amounts of drinking water.
 
Yes, indeed ?may Allah guard you! A great nation will enjoy glory and immunity if its people is characterised by a number of qualities, the most important of which are moderate spending and consumption. By contrast, extravagance, wasting wealth and excessive consumption indicate submission to capricious pleasures and instinctive desires. They are indicators of submission to impulsive caprices which disregard common good, miscalculate repercussions, abuse individual and communal integrity, and fail to heed people’s rights.
   
Excessive consumption is the enemy of economising on riches and resources and the short-cut to impoverishment and bankruptcy. Preserving one’s property and resources means preserving one’s faith, good repute, and dignity. The ancient dictum wisely states, “Whoever preserves his property will, by the same token, preserve the two noble assets: religion and good repute.” Addressing his relatives, a wise man said, “Spending the night starved but endowed with entitlements is much better than spending the night satiated with nutriments but penniless.” In the same vein, Omar Al-Far?q  (?) says, “In my view, irrational spending is more risky for you than poverty; for scarcity hardly inflicts someone endowed with common sense, and wealth will generally dissipate if managed by corrupt minds; indeed, optimal management of existing resources is better than half of one’s earnings.”
 
O Muslims!

Dissipation of wealth and a weak economy are due to extravagance, wasting wealth and excessive consumption. Controlling the economy of the Ummah and preserving its resources could only be achieved after restraining the irresponsible behaviour of dissipaters of wealth and corrupters, be they organizations, institutions, households, or individuals.
 
O Servants of Allah!
 
Extravagance manifests itself in exceeding limits, going beyond recognised bounds in terms of speech, action, and behaviour. Extravagance means ignorance of due rights and lack of awareness of where and to whom they should be given. Extravagance equally implies either unnecessary expenditure or pertinent and necessary expenditure that exceeds the limits of necessity.
 
When our religion permitted us pleasant things and when our Lord reminded us of His permission for us to enjoy adornments of life, it has been conditioned by His prohibition of extravagance: "O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawâf of) the Ka‘bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allâh) likes not Al-MusrifUn (those who waste by extravagance)" [Al-A’râf: 31]. Wahb Bin Munabbih says, “It is a sort of extravagance when someone eats and drinks that which he does not possess; and whatever is beyond sufficiency is wastefulness.”
 
O Muslims!

 Consider this Hadîth: ‘The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) once hosted a disbeliever and asked that a sheep be milked for him. The disbeliever drank all of its milk; then, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) ordered another sheep to be milked and he drank all of its milk. The disbeliever ended by drinking the milk of seven sheep. The following day, the man embraced Islam. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) had the first sheep milked for the Muslim convert, who drank its milk but could not finish the milk of the second sheep. So, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “The believer ingests in a single intestine whereas the disbeliever ingests in seven intestines.” [Narrated by Imam Muslim]
 
Al-?afiz Ibn Rajab ?may Allah have mercy on his soul? said, “While eating, the believer abides by the propriety rules of religion; so, he ingests in one intestine; however, the disbeliever ingests in seven intestines, as his ravenous appetite is stimulated by great desire and greed.” Some Muslim scholars say, “When this man was converted from the disbelief of Jahilîya (i.e. pre-Islamic mode of life) to the enlightenment of Islam, he got acquainted with his Lord and with the religious rites he had to perform. Consequently, his mind was more inclined to reckon up his destiny on Doomsday. As his ambition to adopt a morally elevated lifestyle became irresistible, he abstained from consuming the surplus of milk offered to him.”

Consider ?may Allah bless you? this ‘seven-intestine’ concept. Look at how our contemporaries are bound by materialistic drives and lavish spending habits. Sin-tainted statistics on consumer behaviour report about what is daily thrown off in garbage cans and junkyards. In this regard, developed as well as underdeveloped, big and small countries behave in the same way. There is equally a huge gap between the rich and the poor, which is mainly due to extravagance, wastefulness, and the ‘seven-intestine’ mode of life.  

In modern terminology, expenditure is referred to as consumption. Producer countries seek to promote their products by enticing both domestic and foreign buyers into further consumption. According to their economic principles and marketing rules based on the ‘seven-intestine’ concept, the more people spend extravagantly, the more these countries produce. How close this notion of consumption is to consumptive pathology which has lethal effects!
 
The principles on which marketing practices and customer enticement into further consumption are based require intervention on the part of wise men and governments to protect people, contribute to consumer guidance and rationalisation.

What corrupters and extravagant people do is actually inspired by the ‘seven-intestine’ policy. Their actions include arms race, weapons of mass destruction, policies of flooding markets, abusive homicide, destructive deforestation, overgrazing, detrimental irrigation, and monopolising services and facilities. All such acts represent horrifying instances of extravagance.

It is indeed for some good reason that Allah, Exalted may He be, said: "And follow not the command of Al-MusrifUn [i.e. their chiefs: leaders who were polytheists, criminals and sinners]" [Ash-Shu-arâ: 151] "Who make mischief in the land, and reform not." [Ash-Shu-arâ: 152]. He (?) also said: " Then We fulfilled to them the promise. So We saved them and those whom We willed, but We destroyed Al-MusrifUn (i.e. disbelievers in Allah, in His Messengers, extravagants, transgressors of Allâh’s limits by committing crimes, oppressions, polytheism and sins)." [Al-Anbiyâ: 9]. And He (?) again said: "… and Al-MusrifUn (i.e. polytheists and arrogants, those who commit great sins, the transgressors of Allâh’s set limits): they shall be the dwellers of the Fire!" [Ghâfir: 43]

What is indeed most striking about contemporary generations is their relentless extravagance. Wealthy people are maintaining their extravagant spending behaviour while those suffering from tight budget are borrowing money in order to indulge in extravagance and lavish spending on what they do not actually need.
 
 O Muslims!

 Extravagance leads to poverty and neediness. There are many instances of households which were ably managed by fathers who adopted a moderate strategy of consumption but were succeeded by extravagant children who are overcome by opulence. Thus, they gave free rein to their capricious desires until their households collapsed and they were ruined.
 
Extravagance breeds low moral standards, such as cowardice, injustice, dishonesty, and abstention from charitable acts. Strong attachment to the pleasures of life strengthens one’s bonds with the herein and weakens one’s commitment to sacrifice and benevolence.    
Extravagance also affects health. Empirical evidence shows that overeaters do not enjoy the same sound health conditions as moderate eaters do. In a Hadîth, we read that “The worst receptacle one may fill is his own stomach; suffice it to eat a few mouthfuls of food which would keep one’s metabolism functional; in extreme cases, it would be enough to reserve one third (of one’s nutritional needs) for food, one third for beverages, and one third for respiration.” Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), Allah’s select Messenger, indeed spoke the truth. May my father and mother be made his ransom!

 Extravagance incites people to perpetrate wrongdoing, as people submerged in extravagance would exclusively seek to satiate their desires by whatever means, extending their hands to other people’s property using all kinds of indirect and suspicious methods. Extravagance urges extravagant people to refrain from doing and serving communal good; for whoever becomes enslaved by the pleasures of life will devote his whole attention to satisfying his own insatiable desires in terms of food, clothes, vehicles, and furniture.

O Muslims!
The distress and grief infesting families are generally initiated by boastfulness in expenditure and the manifest, pretentious and shameful display of spending and luxury. Such habits only result in the accumulation of debts, stress, and the spoiling of one’s temperament. They could even lead to falling into haram (anything or act that is Islamically unlawful), depravation and dereliction of one’s obligations vis-à-vis Allah. Borrowing money for leisure traveling and for throwing such lavish parties is prompted by nothing else but vanity and unbecoming habits. This has for so many years –if not for a lifetime? burdened heads of families with heavy debts and embittered their lives. Such negative outcomes are –by your Lord– only caused by extravagance, wastefulness and the absence of rationalistic disposition.

Those households taking special interest in flatulence, satiety and ardent passion for renovation and development in the areas of cooking, food and consumables in general have nothing to offer down the path of righteousness nor do they possess the will for sacrifice or giving.

Now then, dear brothers and sisters in Islam!

The following excerpts include constants and values pervading our Islamic culture and venerable heritage; it is the ‘single-intestine’ culture:

Ibn Hubayra says: “When it comes to common sustenance a Muslim may not take anything beyond what he needs as it is the livelihood of others as much as it is his own. Equitable distribution of shares among Muslims may only be determined through what is commonly approved of as tacit understanding of their needs. It follows then that taking more than one’s share from common sustenance is considered an infringement on the rights of others that is measured in proportion with the degree of encroachment therein.”  

Sumra Ibn Jundub (?) was once told: “Your son suffered indigestion from overeating last night.” He replied: “Had he died because of this I would not have prayed on him” Commenting on this incident, Sheikh al-Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, says: “This means that he would have been involved in taking his own life. Therefore, he would be considered to have committed suicide.”

Still in the same vein, Abu Ishaq al Nadh?m says: ‘My neighbor, Al Marwazi, saw me after I had sucked a bunch of sugar canes and picked them up to dispose of them. He told me: “If you presently have no furnace or children, then give these sticks to someone who does. Never get into this habit! For the time being you are still single and at ease, but you never know how many children you may have in the future. Also bear in mind that disposing of just a little is eventually conducive to much waste.”

Such extravagance is but a form of wastage, destruction, spoiling of the souls and the environment and deprivation for the coming generations. An ummah (such as ours) seeking to rise from its stumble must put an end to extravagance and wasteful spending and invest along the line of righteousness and reform.

I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan: "And it is He Who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and date-palms, and crops of different shape and taste (their fruits and their seeds) and olives, and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in taste). Eat of their fruit when they ripen, but pay the due thereof (its Zakât according to Allâh’s Orders 1/10th or 1/20th) on the day of its harvest, and waste not by extravagance[1]. Verily, He likes not Al-MusrifUn (those who waste by extravagance)." [Al Anaam: 141]

May Allah benefit me and you with the Great Qur'?n and the Guidance of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). I say this, and I ask Allah to forgive my sins, yours, and those of all the Muslims, so ask Him for forgiveness from every sin, for He is the Forgiving, the Merciful!

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