By Umm Ibrahim and Umm Amal – Freelance writers
Without exaggeration, we live in a time of economic hardship. With costs and prices spiralling upwards, even the ones who are generally well-off think twice before spending. It is quite natural for the budget to go awry every month, and the savings’ pool to decrease. Most of the individuals and families have thought of numerous and creative ways to save money and make the most of their earnings. However, there are quite a few techniques that do not, in the long run, save anything. Seemingly, they increase one’s income; however, they take all the Barakah out of it. Following are some of those techniques to beware of:
Investment Schemes Involving Interest
With a myriad of banks offering attractive investment packages with ‘certain’ fixed return, it is quite hard to shrug off the temptation to invest one’s savings. However, one must remember that all forms of interest are strictly forbidden. The same goes for buying houses, cars, laptops and the like on lease, which involves interest – on the face of it, you are saving money; in reality, you are incurring the severe wrath of Allah (swt), as per the following verse:
“Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: ‘Trading is only like Riba (usury)’, whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury). So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns [to Riba (usury)], such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein.” (al-Baqarah, 2:275)
Investment Schemes Without Investigation
This applies to the investment schemes of Islamic banks. Before you invest your money, you must find out where the Islamic bank itself is investing this money. If it is investing in the stock market (bay-trading) or other interest-based schemes, do not take the risk of investing there. Instead, choose an Islamic bank or scheme that invests in short-term government loans or securities that do not involve interest at any level.
If you own a business or are in a leadership position in one, you need to watch out for selling low quality or expired products and extracting one to two hundred percent profit out of customers. Hoarding products, creating an artificial shortage and fleecing the customers are again counter-productive. Understand that if the outcome of your business deal does not create a win-win situation for you and your customer, it is unfair and involves impermissible earnings.
Family members need to be extremely careful about fair distribution of inheritance. Denying or delaying inheritance to deserving family members causes greatest rifts among blood ties; loss of Barakah is a natural outcome.
It is so tempting to cut down on welfare spending on an individual level – however, one must continue to give as much Sadaqah as one can even if it means curbing one’s own needs along the way – not doing so is again counter-productive towards increasing one’s Rizq.
In short, one may witness an increase in income by Haram means, but Allah (swt) decreases it by some other means which people are unable to see, like loss of health, disobedient children or spouse, earning of dishonour or mistrust, lack of peace in life, constant material loss, etc. Also, the level of pleasure keeps decreasing with an increase in Haram income. This further drives the individual on the misguided path to further seek satisfaction from prohibited sources. The end result is that one loses out in both the worlds.