Extravagence and Wastage

In Islam, it is understood that the real owner of all wealth is Allah SWT. Mankind only owns wealth by proxy as guardian and hence will be accountable for the way in which it is spent.

A person therefore who spends their wealth without balance, or in inappropriate areas, they will have to explain for it when they are presented before Allah SWT on the Day of Judgment.

And this excessiveness is not only limited to financial wealth. It can also be regarded as excessiveness in other areas which are a blessing unless one exceeds the norm in which case they become a test. A perfect example of this is food and drink.

The imam mentioned the 31st ayat from Sura Al Araf which is translated to say:

O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.

We can all be guilty of this on occasion. Good food and drink can lead to excessiveness and we need to be mindful of this so that we do not fall foul of this directive of Allah SWT.

We are also taught that spending, even if it is a minute amount, in something that is impermissible is also regarded as excessive and therefore we must avoid this at all costs.

Another example that we must guard ourselves against is the dining culture we have in our homes. Whether it is through love, showing off or some other reason, we tend to over do it when guests turn up in our homes.

Of course, we are commanded by Allah SWT to look after our guests, but not to be excessive, as the hadith records:

The prophet peace and blessings be upon him forbade us for being excessive for the guests

Another example of bad use of wealth is to give money to those who are not capable of spending it well or have control over their finances.

The imam mentioned ayat 5 in relation to this from Sura An-Nisa which is translated to say:

And do not give the weak-minded your property, which Allah has made a means of sustenance for you, but provide for them with it and clothe them and speak to them words of appropriate kindness.

A common example of this in action is the homeless in city centre who sometimes appear intoxicated when asking for money.

There is no harm with offering charity to those who need it but there is a way in which this can be achieved without waste. One example is to spend an extra few minutes and purchase food or drink for them thus guaranteeing that they are not going to spend that on anything that is harmful to them.

Dear brothers and sisters, we shouldn’t take this reminder as a reason to be stingy in our spending though. In fact, to spend, to eat food and drink is a blessing and a right given from Allah SWT to us and therefore there is good in it.

The imam mentioned sura baqara’s ayat 168 which translates to say:

O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.

And so we follow the middle ground with this and enjoy what is lawful without being excessive.

Another very common problem is excessiveness when doing ablution, as we waste too much water. We have the following hadith which is translated to say:

The Messenger of Allah passed by Sa’d when he was performing ablution, and he said: ‘What is this extravagance?’ He said: ‘Can there be any extravagance in ablution?’ He said: ‘Yes, even if you are on the bank of a flowing river.'”

Dear brothers and sisters, in this country we can be guilty of this. Especially if we are doing ablution at work or school. We tend to keep the tap running in between the steps and this is waste. Even if it takes longer we must aim to minimize water wastage.

We are blessed to live in a part of the world where extravagance and luxury is available to us. Things that we take for granted are considered luxury for most living in the world today. We mustn’t forget this fact because it will result in excessiveness becoming easy to us.

And so, this reminder concludes with three practical examples that we can take away to help us with this.

  1. To recognise if we are excessive. The first step is recognition. Whether it’s looking in the mirror and recognizing excessive food consumption or taking a long hard look at the outgoings on the bank statement, we need to have steps in place to constantly self-audit to make sure that we do not fall foul of this warning and not even realise it.
  2. To remember the poor – We all have desire to acquire more. This is human nature. However, if we are ever in a position of complain for what we have or in a position of excessive spending then we need to remind ourselves of how blessed we actually are. Simply reading the projects of charities we all know of such as Human Relief allows us to understand and appreciate the position that we are blessed to be in and thus reset ourselves from becoming excessive.
  3. To practically humble ourselves away from excessive behaviour. The best way in which we can achieve this is through charitable acts. Whether that’s helping the elderly neighbour or something structured like getting involved in food banks, group feeding of the homeless or visiting the sick, we have the Myriad Foundation who are always on the lookout for volunteers. Details are on them can be found online or on their collection boxes in the stairs.

Dear brothers and sisters, Allah SWT has blessed us with wealth and prosperity here, let us use this reminder to audit our behaviour and eliminate that which is excessive and a waste.

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