Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabaraktuhu,
Question: We always hear the common saying ‘wealth is evil’. Is a rich Muslim a bad thing?
In Islam wealth is not considered evil in and of itself, but Its praiseworthy or evil status is dependent on the heart and hand of it’s owner, and the manner in which it is aquired and spent. There are several evidences from our Islamic sources that substantiate the above. From them are the following considerations:
1. The many Qur’aanic and prophetic injunctions related to trade and finance. Had wealth been inheritantly evil; Islam would have not gone the distance in detailing the dos and dont’s of these arenas.
2. The Messenger (SAW) traded and inspired us to earn citing for us, in a praiseworthy manner, how he was a shephard during his early life.
3. Our sources are filled with praises and prizes for the those who engage trade in accordance to the values of Islam.
In the hadeeth book Jaami’ atTirmithi; Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“The honest, trustworthy merchant will be with the Prophets, siddeeqs and martyrs.”
(the hadeeth has an acceptable chain of narrators and considered acceptable by many a scholar of hadeeth)
4. Most of the famous 10 companions that were given the glad tidings of paradise were known for having a financial standing, which they used in the service of Islam.
5. Islam is the only religion that commands us to seek out our sustenance during Islam’s most holiest day of the week (Friday). Had wealth been a possessor of an evil nature, it would not considered an acceptable endevour during Friday.
And Allah knows best.
Abu Haamid al-Ghazaali (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote in his book Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen:
”We do not say that trade is better in all cases, rather trade may be used to seek sufficient provision or more than what is sufficient.
If it is used to seek more than what is sufficient and to increase and accumulate wealth that is not spent on good works and charity, then it is blameworthy, because it is focusing on love of this world which is the root of all evil. If the person also mistreats others and deceives them, then it is wrongdoing and evil.
But if it is used to seek sufficient provision for oneself and one’s children, then engaging in trade as a means of keeping oneself from asking others for help is better.”
May Allah bless us with riches that only remain our hands and never enter our hearts. Riches that help us build an even more amazing Jannah. Ameen.