General Islamic Topic

Wastefulness: A Detestable Habit that Must be Avoided.

On this blessed day, let us contemplate and evaluate ourselves on our actions and what we should be doing in our daily lives so that it will be in accordance with the Shari’ah. The topic to be discussed today deals with the deplorable habit that is prevalent in our society, which is the wastefulness.

We are well aware that Islam prohibits its adherents to live a lifestyle of extravagance and wastefulness in every aspect of lives, including financial spending, wealth, time, and energy. This negative practice is very becoming to those who have been blessed with abundant provision and bounties. It is as if they have forgotten that the rizq was provided by Allah. They have wrongly and unrightfully utilized their provision.

Due to this, Imam ash-Syafi‘i stated that wastefulness is to spend the wealth in other than the path of truth and necessity. However, it would not be wasteful if it is done for work or charitable acts. Even though many ‘ulama’ (scholars) have defined wastefulness only within the scope of wealth spending, it is not impossible to be wasteful in other aspects. In Islam, any action that leads to unbeneficial work or deeds is rendered wasteful. Based on this, wastefulness can be divided into three parts:

  1. Wastefulness of wealth
  2. Wastefulness of time
  3. Wastefulness of energy

All three types can actually take place without our own realization. It is due to heedlessness stemming from the burning desire in chasing ambitions, or weakness in administering or managing resources at hands such as time and energy. Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyah listed nine different types of wastefulness that are common among mankind:

  1. The wastefulness of knowledge, if it is not practiced in the path of goodness.
  2. The wastefulness of deeds, if it is performed without sincerity.
  3. The wastefulness of wealth, if it is spent on matters that are unbeneficial and displeasing to Allah.
  4. The wastefulness of the heart, if it is empty without the love for Allah.
  5. The wastefulness of the body, if it is not utilized in performing ibadah to Allah.
  6. The wastefulness of love, by loving others more than Allah.
  7. The wastefulness of time, if it is not utilized and managed to the fullest.
  8. The wastefulness of the mind, by thinking purely about worldly affairs without concern for the religion
  9. The wastefulness of dhikr, if it is not properly uttered, without contemplation, negligent, and others.

Therefore, as the Muslims, we must avoid being wasteful for we know that it is a despicable and unworthy act. Allah has mentioned in al-Qur’an (which means):

“Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.” [Al-Quran, surah al-Isra’, verse 27]

Let us look within our own society, as those that love to spend exorbitantly where it has become a trend or culture. Even saddening is that it is not only apparent among the wealthy but also within the middle and low-income class, trying to imitate the lavish lifestyle while forgetting their very duty to the most important being. They would withdraw a large amount of money just to live in opulence, spending more than necessary, itching to change or purchase a new vehicle to flaunt to others. On the contrary, they are cheap or too careful about spending on the needs of their own children and family. Hence, we as individuals must always increase our effort by instilling Islamic values in every field and workforce that we pursue. We must realize and remain firm in carrying out our duties and roles according to the authentic teachings of Islam. In addition, we must think ahead and contemplate thoroughly before making a decision so as to not end up being wasteful.

Islam encourages a moderate lifestyle for it is the essence to our happiness and well-being. Furthermore, Muslims are encouraged to be helpful and resourceful in helping those in need, as a manifestation of gratefulness for the bounties bestowed from Allah. Allah mentions in al-Qur’an (which means):

“And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.” [Al-Quran, surah al-Isra’, verse 26].

When we carefully observe, we find that wastefulness actually results in grave consequences towards the physical and spiritual aspect of an individual. Verily, Allah is angered by those who are ungrateful for the bounties that they had received, and they will, in turn, endure severe punishment from Him for negligence in safeguarding the amanah of the wealth granted by Allah.

We must remember that we do not have absolute rights over the wealth that we possess for they solely belong to Allah. We only serve as managers that will definitely be questioned regarding the source of wealth and how they were spent. Let us not consider having absolute ownership over the wealth that we possess, and because of that, we will spend them freely. Allah mentions in al-Qur’an (which means):

“Assuredly, that to which you invite me has no [response to a] supplication in this world or in the Hereafter; and indeed, our return is to Allah, and indeed, the transgressors will be companions of the Fire.” [Al-Quran, surah Ghafir, verse 43]

In conclusion, let us be thrifty and frugal, spending wisely, and avoid wastefulness, with the sole purpose of attaining the blessings of Allah. This brings numerous benefits, among them:

  1. Practicing moderation in our expenditure, and that our work will earn the reward and blessings from Allah.
  2. Staying conservative and moderate can save us from bankruptcy with mountains of debts from overspending, due to uncontrolled desire.
  3. By practicing moderation, we will be able to afford to give in the path of Allah, especially in giving zakaah, which marks the completion of the pillars of Islam.
  4. We will have ample savings that can guarantee our wellbeing at times of difficulty. May we always ensure ourselves from not becoming among those that are wasteful.

Allah mentions in al-Qur’an (which means):

“And a believing man from the family of Pharaoh who concealed his faith said, “Do you kill a man [merely] because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah’ while he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord? And if he should be lying, then upon him is [the consequence of] his lie; but if he should be truthful, there will strike you some of what he promises you. Indeed, Allah does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar.”” [Al-Quran, surah Ghafir, verse 48]


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One comment

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