Contentment, self-restraint, moderation in life style and spending, and criticism of asking without necessity

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

57. Chapter: On Contentment, self-restraint, moderation in life style and spending, and criticism of asking without necessity

Allah Almighty says, "There is no creature on the earth which is not dependent on Allah for its provision," (11:6)

and the Almighty says, "It is for the poor who are held back in the Way of Allah, unable to travel in the land. The ignorant consider them rich because of their reticence. You will know them by their mark. They do not ask people importunately." (W2:272; H2:273)

The Almighty says, "Those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor mean, but take a stance mid way between the two," (25:68)

and the Almighty says, "I did not create either jinn or man except to worship Me. I do not require any provision from them and I do not require them to nourish Me." (51:56-57)

522. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Wealth is not from a lot of money. Wealth is the independence of the self." [Agreed upon]

523. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The successful one is he who becomes Muslim, has adequate provision and whom Allah makes satisfied with what He gives him." [Muslim]

524. Hakim ibn Hizam said, "I asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he gave to me and then I asked him and he gave to me and then I asked him again and he gave to me. Then he said, 'Hakim, wealth is verdant and sweet. Anyone who takes it in a generous spirit will be blessed in it but anyone who takes it in an avaricious way will not be blessed in it, like someone who eats and is not satisfied. The upper hand is better than the lower hand.'" Hakim said, "I said, 'Messenger of Allah, by the One who sent you with the Truth, I will never again ask anyone for anything until I leave this world.'" Abu Bakr called Hakim to take his share and he refused to take it from him. Then 'Umar called him to give to him and he refused to accept anything from him either. 'Umar said, "I call on you to testify, company of Muslims, that I offered Hakim his share of this booty and he refused to take it. Hakim did not take anything from any person after the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, until he died. [Agreed upon]

525. Abu Burda reported that Abu Musa al-Ash'ari said, "Once we went out with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on an expedition and six of us were sharing one camel which we took it in turns to ride. Our feet became pierced through and my feet were pierced through and my toe-nails came off. We wrapped our feet in rags and so it became called the Expedition of Rags because of that." Abu Burda said, "Abu Musa related this hadith to us and then disliked having done so and said, 'I wish I had not mentioned it!'" He said, "It was as if he disliked any of his actions being disclosed." [Agreed upon]

526. 'Amr ibn Taghlib said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was brought some money or captives and shared them out. He gave to some men and left others out. He heard that those who had been left out had been critical about it. He praised Allah and glorified Him and then said, 'As for what follows (amma ba'd), by Allah, I give to one man and leave out another and yet I love the one whom I leave out more than the one I give to. But I give to some people because of the anxiety and unease I see in their hearts. I entrust some people to the wealth and good which Allah has placed in their hearts. One of those is 'Amr ibn Taghlib.' By Allah, what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said is dearer to me than red camels." [al-Bukhari]

527. Hakim ibn Hizam reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The upper hand is better than the lower hand. Begin with your dependants. The best sadaqa is that given by the wealthy. Anyone who refrains [from asking], Allah will spare him the need to and anyone who seeks to be independent, Allah will give him independence." [Agreed upon]

528. Abu Sufyan Sakhr ibn Harb reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Do not be importunate in asking. By Allah, none of you asks me for something but that his request brings him something from me, even if I dislike it, and he is blessed in whatever I give him." [Muslim]

529. Abu 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Malik al-Ashja'i said, "We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and there were seven or eight or nine of us. He said, 'Will you not give allegiance to the Messenger of Allah?' and we had only recently given allegiance. We said, 'We have already given you our allegiance, Messenger of Allah.' He said, 'Will you not give allegiance to the Messenger of Allah?' and we stretched out our hands and said, 'We have already given you our allegiance, Messenger of Allah. On what basis should we give you our allegiance?' He said, 'That you worship Allah and do not associate anything with him, the five prayers and that you obey,' and he said something softly, 'and that you do not ask people for anything.' I later saw one of those people drop his whip and he did not ask anyone to hand it to him." [Muslim]

530. Ibn 'Umar reported the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A man will continue to ask from other people until on the Day of Rising he does not have a single piece of flesh on his face." [Agreed upon]

531. From Ibn 'Umar is that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stated while he was on the minbar, "The upper hand is better than the lower hand. The upper hand is the one which spends and the lower is the beggar's." [Agreed upon]

532. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who asks people for an increase over what he has, is asking for a hot ember. He can either seek to be independent or seek increase." [Muslim]

533. Samura ibn Jundub reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A man merely exhausts himself by asking except if he asks a Sultan or for something that he has no choice about." [at-Tirmidhi]

534. Ibn Mas'ud said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'If someone is afflicted by poverty and then goes to people with it, his poverty will not be alleviated. If someone goes to Allah with it, Allah will definitely bring him provision, sooner or later." [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

535. Thawban reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Is there anyone who will be a surety for me and not ask people for anything and then I will be a surety for him for the Garden?" I said, "I will be." And indeed he never asked anyone for anything. [Abu Dawud]

536. Abu Bishr Qabisa ibn al-Mukhariq said, "I had a debt which I had to discharge and I went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked him about it. He said, 'Wait until sadaqa comes to me and we will make sure you get it.' Then he said, 'O Qabisa, begging is only lawful for three men: a man who has an obligation to pay, and asking is lawful for him until he gets it and then he should refrain; a man who has needs which require money, and it is lawful for him to ask until he gets enough for his subsistence - or he said to cover his subsistence; and a man who is afflicted by poverty so that three people of intelligence among his people say, "Poverty has afflicted so-and so," and it is lawful for him to ask until he gets enough for his subsistence - or he said to cover his subsistence. Any other instances of asking than these, Qabisa, are unlawful and anyone who does so consumes the unlawful.'" [Muslim]

537. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The very poor man is not the one who goes around to people to ask for a bite or two to eat or a date or two, but the one who does not have enough for himself but is too shy to ask so that he is given sadaqa - or does not beg from people importunately." [Agreed upon]