O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of the Evil One, for he is to you an avowed enemy. [Holy Quran: Baqara 2:168]
The Virtues and Vices of Wealth
A man's need for property and wealth to manage his life's affairs, and especially with the burdensome responsibility of managing a family, is a completely natural need. Wealth and property, business and commerce are not in any way connected with virtue or vice when they are not related to man. For example, iron is a type of property and may be molded into many shapes. Many tools are made from it, but until man gains control over it, it is simply a material having no benefits and no evilness. Iron is beneficial when managed by a polite, dignified and noble believer. When iron falls into the hands of a rude, forgetful, lustful rogue, it becomes an evil material.
When Ibn Muljam had a sword, he could kill the Imam of the Lovers- Imam Ali (Pbuh) in the mosque. Thus, he became the worst of all people and this can be traced back to his bad spirit: And this damage is irreplaceable. When Imam Ali (Pbuh) had a sword he established and spread guidance: the reward of one time of stabbing as the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) says is superior to the all of the worship of the genie and Adam. One stroke of the sword on the day of the Battle of Khandag is superior to all the worship of the Quran and the Prophet's Household.
For those adorned with divine etiquette and the Lovers of God, money and commercial goods act as a take-off platform towards Heaven and a means for acquiring His Mercy and Blessings and attaining an eternal and great reward. Truly, wealth is the commerce for heavenly trade for believers who are noble, kind, generous, compassionate and have divine ethics. For such people, wealth serves as a vehicle driving them towards God's eternal blessings. And it is a means to obtain the good of this world and the Hereafter. That is why God has called the property of one who has died "his good leftovers" in the blessed chapter of the Quran entitled Baqara. God considers the wealth and property of a believer to be a manifestation of the belief of that believer, his nobility, generosity, mercy and passion. One-third must be spent in a good way according to his will and the remaining two-thirds are to be distributed amongst his inheritors according to the Quranic verses. Imam Sadiq (Pbuh) has said the following in interpretation of a verse in the Quranic chapter Baqara. "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter..." (verse 201) The good in the Hereafter is God's Pleasure and Heaven, and the good in this life is a good temper and bountiful daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.71, p.383]
Thus, we can conclude that the believers wealth and property are similar to a factory in which God's Pleasure and a musk-scented Heaven are produced. Believers earn their income through legitimate business transactions, abiding by the law and avoiding unlawful transactions. In short, they earn money through continuous lawful transactions and by obeying God. They spend their income for the expenses of their household, paying the alms-tax and the one-fifth levy. They spend the rest to help the deprived, the oppressed, the weak and to aid relatives and friends. Spending legitimately earned income in these ways is natural and lawful and is in fact considered to be worship and obedience: Or as the Holy Quran has said - It is the good of this world and the Hereafter.
It is for this reason that wealth and property has been interpreted to be good and blessed in God's Book. Earning and spending it is considered to be worship for the believers and a cause of great reward and infinite divine gifts. It is interesting to hear the viewpoint of the Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) about wealth in the hands of irreligious, lustful people: Property is the material of lust, is subject to catastrophes, strengthens aspirations and entertains the inheritors. Wealth will raise the status of the owner in this world and lower it in the Hereafter. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.9, pp.277-78]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Gold and silver destroyed those before you and will destroy you, too.
He also said: For each nation there is a calf and for this nation the calf is silver and gold. [Ibid] (the calf refers to the golden calf idol made by the Israelites). Truly, wealth enslaves those of weak faith with illegitimate lusts and excitement of their aspirations. They become base in this world and in the Hereafter, and as the Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) has commented: people began to worship the calf in the form of the worship of wealth.
The Forbidden and the Unforbidden
Undoubtedly, whatever a person earns from working and from his business affairs is lawful. Concerning lawful earnings, God has issued many orders and the Prophet's Household has completely described the religiously legal ways to earn money. Any money gained in illegal ways such as bribery, usurpation, theft, deceit, looting and usury is illegal. Whoever tries to make lawful money is worshipping God and God will reward him. Whoever tries to illegally make money is sinning and God will punish and curse him. If one makes money illegally and does not listen to anybody's advice saying God has desired so, then he has insulted God, speaks satanically and has lied.
There are many Quranic verses stating God has provided lawful daily bread for everyone. The Quran invites everyone to make a lawful daily living and has given no illegal earnings to anyone, since thinking in the wrong way causes one to make illegal money. Saying that God allows forbidden actions is an insult and a great sin which will cause one to be punished on the Day of Judgment.
Man's intellect dictates that it is illogical to say God gives illegal provisions to man, but rather He has placed emphasis on benefiting from lawful and completely legally earned money. It is paradoxical for God to give illegal earnings to man and there are no paradoxes concerning God. Stupid people foolishly and ignorantly insult God. Imam Baqir (Pbuh) has stated: God has ordered all men to make a lawful living. This money will cause man to be healthy. It is not God's fault that some make an illegal living: The forbidden way to earn a living is not the Right Way. Satan is the designer of the forbidden ways to make money. If one illegally makes money, his lawful daily bread will be lessened to the same extent. If we consider lawful and legal means of earning money, God respects us a lot. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.5, p.147]
Don't Deprive Yourself of the Lawful Things
Imam Ali (Pbuh) entered the mosque and told a man to keep an eye on his camel. The man stole the camel's bit in Imam Ali's (Pbuh) absence. When Imam Ali (Pbuh) came out of the mosque to pay the man two Durham's (coins), he saw his camel without the bit. He gave the money to his servant and asked him to go and buy a bit. The servant went and bought the same bit from the thief without knowing who he was and took it to the Imam (Pbuh). When he saw the bit the Imam said that a servant deprives himself of lawful daily bread due to his impatience, but he does not get more than is determined for him by God. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.4, p.123]
Provide Your Family's Needs Through Lawful Means
There is a sequence of outward and inward effects for using lawful or unlawfully obtained property, and no one can avoid them. Lawful goods result in the pleasure of God, spirituality, energy to worship, pacification of the heart and the curing of illnesses. However, the opposite holds true for the unlawful goods. The necessity of providing for the family by the man of the house is one of the most important issues in Islamic jurisprudence and is extensively discussed in the Holy Quran and traditions of the Prophet's Household. As much as possible, a man is religiously bound to provide housing, food, clothing and transportation for his wife and children.
In addition to this, the man is required to obtain his family's expenses through lawful means. The man of the house should whole-heartedly thank God for these two requirements. By attending to the needs of the family, moral realities will blossom. By working to obtain lawful income which is similar to a Holy War (Jihad) in God's way, man can get a lot of divine rewards. The heavenly and positive effects of using lawfully obtained goods will appear in the family, and this will substantially aid mental and spiritual peace and security for the family.
The Prophet of Islam and Lawfully Obtained Food
Consider the following tradition. A man came to the Prophet (Pbuh) with a bowl of milk and asked him to break his fast with the milk. The Prophet (Pbuh) asked him who had sent the milk. The man said it was a gift from a woman and the Prophet (Pbuh) told him to return with the milk and ask her where she had got it from. So the man went to the woman’s house to ask her. The woman said she had obtained it from her own sheep. The man returned to the Prophet (Pbuh ) to tell him. He was told to return and ask her where she had got the sheep from. He returned to ask her and she replied she had bought the sheep by working hard. The man returned to the Prophet (Pbuh ) and explained. Then the Prophet (Pbuh ) said he would break his fast with the milk. The following day the owner of the milk came to him and asked the reason for returning the milk several times. He said God the Almighty had ordered the Prophets to partake of only lawfully obtained food. This must be a lesson for all Muslim people to pay enough attention to the issue of what is lawful and unlawful, so that they do not pick up a burden which is either too difficult or impossible to bear. The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Seeking the lawful is obligatory for each Muslim man and woman [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, p.719; Mizan-al-Hikmat, v.4, p.119]
Seeking the lawful is obligatory for each Muslim.
Seeking the lawful is a form of Jihad (Holy War).
The gates of Heaven are open to anyone who obtains lawful food through hard work, and he can enter Heaven from any gate he wishes.
There are ten parts to worship. One is seeking the lawful.
Imam Reza (Pbuh) said: The reward of one who seeks his daily bread from God's Grace to provide for his family's needs is greater than that of the one who fights in God's way. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.78, p.339]
Imam Baqir (Pbuh) said: Whoever seeks worldly goods to protect his family, and to be kind to his neighbors will meet God in Heaven with his face shining like a full moon. [Vasa'il al-Shiaa ,v.12, p.11]
The sixth Imam (Pbuh) said: There is no good in one who is not interested in saving money to protect his honor and pay back his debts. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, p.7]
The Prophet (Pbuh ) said: The one who falls asleep at night being tired from hard work because of seeking the lawful, is forgiven his sins by God. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, p.2]
God likes to see His servant working hard to seek the lawful. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.4, p.119]
In the traditions it is stated the increase or decrease in one's daily bread is simply a test for God's servants to obtain a holy rank from God. The woman who is patient in the face of shortage of her daily bread, does not commit any sins to obtain more, and is grateful for the increase of her daily bread has successfully passed the test. [Nahj-ul-Balaghah, Sermon 91].
A believer does not become base in the face of shortage of his daily bread, and does not get drunk when his daily bread increases. He is content with the low amount of his daily bread; and when his daily bread increases, he eats, feeds others and rushes to pay the necessary dues.
How to Increase One's Daily Bread
There are some ways in the Holy Quran and the Prophetic traditions to increase one's daily bread, which will also improve people's morality and affection in the family and the society. The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: Good temper is the treasure of daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.77, p.389]
To be too strict spoils your temper, and to go easy on others increases your daily bread. [Mizan AI-Hikmah, v.4, p.117]
Co-operation and helping your Muslim brothers increases your daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.74, p.395]
Being trustworthy increases one's daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.75, p.172]
Imam Sadiq (Pbuh) said: One who treats his wife and children kindly will get an increase in his daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.69, p.407]
Good deeds increase one's daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.74, p.81]
Good temper increase one's daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.71, p.396]
Imam Ali (Pbuh) said: Attract your daily bread to yourself through charity to others. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.78, p.60]
Imam Baqir (Pbuh) said: Pray for your brothers and this act will bring in your daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.76, p.60]
The Fifth Imam (Pbuh) said: Giving alms will increase your daily bread. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.66, p.15]
The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: The daily bread of one with good intentions will be increased. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, p.21]
The Prophet (Pbuh ) said: God said, If one does not care how and where he gets his money from, I do not care by which gate I will let him enter into Hell in the Hereafter. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, p.11]
God will make the one who earns unlawful money poor. Whatever one earns unlawfully becomes provisions for the Hell Fire. Wealth from which religious dues are not paid is considered to be property containing unlawful property. Its use is not allowable and giving it to the family or others is another wrong act. The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: The worst property is that from which God's dues have not been paid. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.9, p.308]
Imam Baqir (Pbuh) said: There are people who shall leave their graves with their hands tied to their necks, lacking any power to get anything - even as much as an ant can. They are seriously blamed by the angels saying: These are people upon whom God bestowed wealth but they did not pay God's dues. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.7, p.197]
Imam Hassan Mujtaba (Pbuh) said: One of the signs of generosity is to legally earn your property. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.103, p.6]
O' dear brothers who are responsible for the financial expenses of your family and their spiritual training, and also you who shall marry later: your wife and children only deserve their rightful dues. However, they are not responsible for your job or business, and will not accept the responsibility for unlawful property which you brought home and they knew nothing about. The punishment in Hell for unlawful property is for the one who earns it. There are two punishments: one for earning unlawful property and the other is for giving it to others. Then be content with lawful property given by God, and be careful about how you earn your income. Avoid obtaining unlawful property and pay the lawful dues, so that you can prosper in this world and in the Hereafter.
One Who Repents is Loved by God
During a visit to Mashhad, I met a man one night at the time of the call to prayers. It seemed he had known me for many years. He asked me to accompany him to his residence, so after a few minutes of talking I accepted his invitation even though that was the first time I had met him. Then I found out that he was one of the people who had attended my lectures during the mourning ceremonies in the months of Muharram and Saffar. He knew me but I did not know him. I asked who he was from one who had accompanied him when he left us for a few minutes. I recognized him when the man told me his name. When he was younger, he was a man who was strong and brutish, so much so that the strongest men of Tehran were afraid of him. His activities included taking bribes from the casinos and banks, smuggling and distributing wine. No one in Tehran could confront him. He had earned a lot of wealth unlawfully.
God guided him and his conscience bothered him. His pure nature and his intellect brought him down from his previous position. He then converted all his property into cash and put it all in a suitcase. Immediately he went to Qum to meet the Grand Ayatullah Boroojerdy. The noble Shiite authority kindly accepted him when he was informed about that man’s past. The man told the Ayatullah that what was in the suitcase was all absolutely unlawfully earned. He said he could not bear the reckoning on the Day of Judgment and asked the Ayatullah to relieve him of this heavy burden. The Ayatullah told him that if he really wanted to repent he should take off his outer garments and return to Tehran wearing just his pajamas. The man took off his clothes, and the Shiite authority was really impressed.
Boroojerdy found his repentance to be a serious one, returned his clothes, paid him five thousand Tumans from his personal property, and gave him the good news of a brilliant future. The repenter returned to Tehran with that lawfully earned money. He quit all his past deeds and started to work with his new capital. He settled down, really changed, and guided his wife and children towards the Right Path. He then founded one of the most fruitful religious meetings in Tehran.
At the end of his life in 1992A.D., he talked to Imam Husayn (Pbuh) while he was crying one Friday night a few minutes before he died. He said: I spent most of my life in your service, and now I hope I can gain your favor. His wife and children said that suddenly he stared at the corner of the room, respectfully greeted Imam Husayn (Pbuh) and passed away with a smile on his face.
Thus everyone can repent. Repentance will purify one's soul, illuminate one's heart, improve one's temper, cleanse one's wealth and all aspects of life of impurity. Why not benefit by repenting and spend the rest of your life moving from darkness into light? Let's repent since God loves those who repent and it is not worth the whole world to stay sinful.
For God loves those who turn to him constantly...[Holy Quran: Baqara 2:222]
The Prophet (Pbuh ) said: There is nothing dearer to God than a believing man or woman who repents. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.1, pp.540-541]
I swear to God, God is more pleased with one who repents than a man who is pleased when he gets his food.
God is more pleased with the repentance of his servants, than an infertile man who becomes a father, or one who has lost something and finds it, and one whose thirst is quenched by water.
One who repents is just like one who has never committed any sin.
Repenting will purify the soul and wash away the sins. [
Repentance actually has consequences which the Prophet of Islam (Pbuh ) has pointed out. One can be sure of the acceptance of his repentance if these consequences are manifested. If not one must repent again. If the consequences of repentance do not show up, then the repentance is not accepted. The consequences of repentance include gaining the satisfaction of those involved; performing undone prayers; humbleness with people; protecting the soul against lust; and losing weight through fasting. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.6, pp.35-36]
The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: Repentance holds the uppermost place in Heaven, and consists of six parts:
1- Regretting the past
2- Determination to stop sinning in the future
3- Returning people's rights to them
4- Performing undone duties
5- Losing all the weight gained during the period of sinning
6- Exposing the body to the trouble of worship, and asking for God's forgiveness.