We all fear poverty but the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam feared wealth. His fear of wealth was reflected in his words, as narrated by Hadrat Kaab bin Iyad Radiyallaahu Anhu who said that the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, “Verily, there is a Fitnah (trial) for every nation and the trial for my nation (or Ummah) is wealth.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Money, either more of it or the lack of it has become the cause of untold stress and anxiety in almost every life today. A love/hate relationship typifies our approach to money which needs to be seriously addressed considering that causal to a large share of the world’s problems is money.

 Money is important undoubtedly but not so important that it changes our entire outlooks on life and makes us forget that to be happy you don’t need money. Often its the poorest of people who are happiest and the most miserable being the richest, proving just this. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything often with limited money!

That is why it is imperative that the attitude to money changes. It is important undeniably but to what extent is what needs to be examined.

Financiers say that going bankrupt is as damaging to one’s health just as heart disease is. Stress can have such a powerful effect on health and few things can cause as much stress as money. Put money and relationships together, and you can see why it’s advisable not to go into business with family or friends.

A few days back I happened to meet up with some old friends and then on the spur of the moment decided to do some catching up over a cup of coffee and some light refreshments.  

The little get together went well as we laughed over past incidents and became teary when we recalled those sad and painful occasions but on the whole our spontaneous get together became another priceless memory. As the little stint ended and it was time to foot the bill, I pulled out my wallet and insisted on paying the bill which totalled about R500.00.

 I then drove back home happy with our little get together after such a long time. As I made my way home a thought of just how happy I was for the time spent with my friends.

It was when I stopped at the garage to refuel that I realised the R500.00 that was in my wallet was for my weekly fill up. This meant my budget was now off-track.

 So here I was, a part of me being happy with the time spent with my friends and another apart of me anguishing over my inability to work on a budget and adhering to it.

A simple act of having a light snack and coffee with some friends caused me anxiety, despite only costing R500.00. As I pulled away from the garage, reconciling this difference, I considered two facts. Firstly, if I died tonight, would I regret not socialising with friends on my last night on earth? Secondly, will spending R500.00 effect my ability to live this month, or even next month? Somehow because my unplanned expenditure caused me some frustration I asked myself if I was true to my words when I said, “Aaagh, it’s just money” and money is not everything!

The answers calmed my anxiety. Of course I enjoyed the socialising because it was good and for all things good there’s a price tag.

However, the anxiety is interesting. A friend always warned that money was a positive energy as long as it was not spent. The negative energy happens when it is spent.  The advice was clearly directed at me, someone who used to strictly maintain spreadsheets detailing past and future spending, budgets, savings and every last detail of my personal finances. I could tell you how much money I had last month, how much now and how much I should have in three weeks-time. This changed when I decided to live up to my words, “It’s just money” and “money is not everything”.

Therefore, my anxiety around money is now a thing of the past.   Budgets create targets which lead one to be either severely austere or too generous. I am not de-meriting budgeting totally. It is important, but within reasonable limits-not the budgeting that turns you into an uncle Scrooge and changes your objective of life into becoming a money making machine.

At the bottom of this money anxiety and control lays the myth of scarcity, that there will never be enough or that we will face poverty. This is the handiwork of the devil who threatens poverty. This is what the Qur’aan tells us:

“Shaytaan promises you poverty and commands you to be niggardly. And Allah promises you forgiveness and abundance. And Allah is All Encompassing, All Knowing.”(Suratul Baqaraah, verse: 268)

 This fear of scarcity exists mostly around money for most of us.

Yet it is just that, a myth. There is enough of everything for everyone in the provision of Allah Ta’ala, we don’t need to defend, protect and count everything especially when we believe that our provision comes from above and is already pre-destined. It reminds me of an incident which took place in the time of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam between him and his beloved companion Hadrat Bilal Radiyallaahu Anhu who was counting dates for distribution when the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam walked in on him doing so. On seeing this the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam said to him, “spend freely O Bilal and do not fear a restraint from the One Who is the Possessor of the Mighty Throne i.e Allah Ta’ala. Is this not what we all fear when we spend too much?

In another incident He, Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam said to Hadrat Ayesha Radiyallaahu Anhaa when he saw her too, counting dates. He said to her, “O Ayesha, do not count when distributing for it will be counted on you too”, meaning that Allah Ta’ala will count his blessings when He gives them to you.

Fear begets fear, meanwhile, unconditional love can only be experienced once we have given it. The moment we start counting love, or putting conditions on it, we restrict how much love we will also receive.

The same goes for money. Obsessively defending it and counting it is unhealthy, just like love, if everything is conditional on ‘how much’, the joy is taken out of it. Even in business, if work becomes just about the money, then the happiness is gone.

Money is not everything for those who firmly believe in that it will all be left behind someday. For those who believe differently money is everything. For a muslim it has to mean ‘money is not everything’. He has to live by it. It is not a matter of choice!


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