Ways to Maximize Halal Rizq – Editorial

Concept of a plant and a lot of golden coins isolated on white background

Rizq is the bounty of Allah (swt), which He bestows upon His creatures. And this does not include our wealth only. The Prophet (sa) said: “When the fetus is four months old in its mother’s womb, Allah sends an angel to breathe the soul into it and write down its provision, its lifespan, its deeds, and whether it is doomed or blessed.” (Bukhari)

Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Salih Al-Uthaymeen says: “Provision is also allocated and connected to its means; it is neither increased nor decreased. But man still needs to strive to seek his provision as is mentioned in the Quran: ‘He it is Who has made the earth subservient to you (i.e. easy for you to walk, to live and to do agriculture on it) so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision. And to Him will be resurrection.’ (Al-Mulk 67:15)”

It is a grave mistake to assume that even if one lives like a parasite or does not struggle for it, one will be able to obtain one’s share somehow. Provision will not rain from the sky. Besides, such a defeatist attitude is not at all encouraged in Islam. Allah (swt) expects us to utilize every inch of our intelligence and energy for the betterment of all.

When Allah (swt) bestows upon us His bounty, we are required to give away a portion of it. This is done in the form of Zakah (obligatory alms) and Sadaqah (voluntary alms). Hence, when some of us maximize our potential to earn more through lawful means and are blessed with Allah’s (swt) Barakah, it includes the share of those who were not fortunate enough to optimize their conditions.

However, sunshine turns into shadows when, in pursuit of a good fortune for ourselves, we attribute others to Allah (swt). For instance, someone might think that he will prosper only if he becomes part of the USA’s 14 trillion dollar economy. Alternatively, we might single out a few multinational companies or professions that reward more in financial terms. Thus, the centre shifts and we learn to make compromises in the name of good judgement, lucrative prospects, popular culture, etc. We undermine the fact that our provider is Allah (swt) Alone; we resort to begging, borrowing and stealing.

If we cling to the concept of Tauheed and attempt to seek out only lawful provisions, wherever we live and whatever we do, will Allah (swt) forsake us? Imagine what He has blessed the disbelievers with, in return for their hard work? Will the Raziq withhold from His true believers? He feeds millions of species in the rainforests, the vast skies, the deep seas – all living creatures from the North to the South pole. He sustains the galaxies of the universe and the undiscovered life there and beyond.

Concept of a plant and a lot of golden coins isolated on white backgroundHowever, we will have to prove that we deserve it. Firstly, ask for permissible Rizq (Tayyab and Halal). Toil for it. Exhibit patience and advise your family to do the same. Be extremely thankful to Allah (swt) for what He has granted and what He has withheld, as there is a divine reason for it that only He knows. Hasan Al-Basri said: “The roots of evil are three: arrogance, envy and greed.” Steer clear of them. Adhere to the guided path, as Yahya Ibn Muath has stated: “O how poor is man; if he fears Hell-fire in the same degree as he fears poverty, he will enter Paradise.”

Lastly, be fearful of succeeding in the wrong endeavours. When people disobey Allah (swt), He sometimes opens the doors of bounties in this world but cuts them off from the eternal rewards of Paradise. There could be no greater loss for someone to bargain for Hell-fire in the name of maximizing his Rizq.

Overcoming the Roadblocks to Qanat

roadblocks

By Tasneem Vali – Architect, freelance writer and Academic Coordinator

Dawn is that part of the day when you notice the first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise. Allah (swt) in His all encompassing Wisdom tells us: “(It will be said to the pious): ‘O (you) the one in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord, Well-pleased (yourself) and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter you, then, among My honoured slaves, And enter you My Paradise!’” (Al-Fajr 89:27-30)

The believer’s soul is at peace with its Lord, certain of its way, confident of its fate. It is a soul which is satisfied with all eventualities: happiness or affliction, wealth or poverty.

Our dilemma is that we have no idea how to be the soul that is ‘in complete rest and satisfaction’. The answer is simple and logical. We need a wake-up call from our worries about money, jobs, kids and family; in fact, all the things that tie us to this world obstruct us from attaining true contentment.

There are four simple rules for bringing back contentment into our lives and overcoming any roadblocks to Qanat (being content with what you have):

(1) Free your heart from hatred

The Prophet (sa) said: “By the One in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you submit. You will not submit until you love one another. Greet each other with peace and you will love one another. Beware of hatred, for it is the razor. I do not say it shaves hair, but it shaves away the religion.” (Bukhari) It’s as simple as that – submit yourself to Allah (swt).

(2) Free your mind from worries

Only Allah (swt) knows the precise moment, when we will take our final breath on this earth. “And no person can ever die except by Allah’s Leave and at an appointed term. And whoever desires a reward in (this) world, We shall give him of it; and whoever desires a reward in the Hereafter, We shall give him thereof. And We shall reward the grateful.” (Al-Imran 3:145)

Part of our belief in Allah (swt) requires us to have absolute certainty about Qadr, so why worry? We will get only what Allah (swt) has predetermined for us – just work hard to please Allah (swt).

(3) Live simply (Zuhud – abstinence from the greed of this world)

Abul-Abbas as-Saidi said: “A man came to the Prophet (sa) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Guide me to such an action, that when I do it, Allah will love me and the people will love me.’ He said: ‘Be detached from this world, and Allah will love you, and do not be attracted to what people have, and the people will love you.’” (Ibn Majah)

(4) Give more and expect less

Give freely of what you have – time, money, knowledge and energy – but expect a return only from Allah (swt). This world is not designed to be the venue for final judgements; accept Allah’s (swt) wisdom and defer to His logic and commands.

Getting rid of the roadblocks to Qanat is your decision. Are you going to get up each morning submitting to Allah (swt) or are you going to sulk in bed, mulling over all your worries? Use each day wisely and hoard good deeds for the Hereafter.

Ways to Maximize Halal Rizq

Concept of a plant and a lot of golden coins isolated on white background

Inspired by a book titled “15 Ways to Increase Your Earnings from the Quran and Sunnah” by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi.

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi is the Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib Institute. He is in the final stages of completing his PhD in Religious Studies from Yale University. He is also the author of multiple books on Islam.

Compiled for Hiba by Unaiza Ahsan

It is said that a righteous man once left his town in search for Rizq-e-Halal. During his journey, he came upon a strange sight. A crippled sparrow (born without wings) was lying somewhere, and another sparrow was bringing it seeds and grains to eat. When he witnessed this, he immediately realized that if Allah (swt) could provide for this crippled sparrow, He could certainly provide sustenance for him, and, hence, he returned to his town. After returning, he met his teacher, who asked him why he had come back so early. The man narrated his observation and the conclusion he had drawn from it. The teacher smiled and said: “You have learned only half the lesson. Why did you not consider yourself to be akin to the sparrow who was providing food to the crippled sparrow? You could consider yourself as someone who can go out to earn sustenance, and then Allah (swt) will provide not just for you, but for others too – through you.”

People often complain: “Oh, I have lately suffered great financial loss, and it keeps getting worse. I think somebody has inflicted me with the evil eye, or I have been a victim of magic.”

Sounds familiar? There is no end to the ways and means that people employ in order to ‘drive away’ the ‘evil forces’ conspiring against them and hindering their earning. They seem to forget that the source of Rizq, or sustenance, is solely Allah (swt) and nobody else. Consequently, they become guilty of not only attributing their source of earning to someone other than Allah (swt), but also of harbouring suspicion against their own family members or acquaintances. It is high time we recognize the real source of Rizq – Allah (swt) – who not only provides it, but has also given a comprehensive set of rules on how to increase it.

Allah (swt) says: “And if Allah were to enlarge the provision for His slaves, they would surely rebel in the earth, but He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily! He is in respect of His slaves, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer (of things that benefit them).” (Ash-Shura 42:27)

It is absolutely clear from the above verse that if Allah (swt) sent maximum provisions to all, they would not learn the value of hard work, honesty and diligence. His provisions, therefore, come in doses; each dose is carefully ladled out to the slave, who proves that the previous dose only increased his/her faith and piety. Our effort towards our Deen proves to Allah (swt) that we are ready for more Rizq. Unfortunately, we expect the opposite. We do very little in the path of the Deen and expect the skies to shower wealth upon us. Logically, this is not going to happen – not for the Mumins, at least.

In Islam, working with one’s own hands is considered to be the best source of earning income. The Prophet (sa) said: “No one has ever eaten any food that is better than eating what his hands have earned. And indeed Dawood, the Prophet of Allah, would eat from the earnings of his hands.” (Bukhari)

Ways to Increase Halal Rizq

1) Offering and Inviting to Salah

In the Holy Quran, Allah (swt) says: “And enjoin as-Salah (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them (i.e. the Salah). We ask not of you a provision (i.e. to give Us something: money, etc.); We provide for you. And the good end (i.e. Paradise) is for the Muttaqun (pious).” (Ta-Ha 20:132)

This shows that a Salah that is just an exercise of the limbs is not going to increase our Rizq. The effort that goes into that Salah, the feeling with which we recite the verses of Allah (swt), and the enthusiasm with which we call our families, friends and acquaintances towards it contribute towards Allah’s (swt) pleasure, adding Barakah in our provisions. However, it is not recommended to offer Salah only to obtain an increase in provisions.

2) Seeking Allah’s (swt) Forgiveness (Istighfar)

Allah (swt) reveals that Prophet Nuh (as) told his people to seek forgiveness from Allah (swt) in the following words: “I said (to them): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord; Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance; and give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’” (Nuh 71:10-12)

Seeking forgiveness from Allah (swt) has to be done abundantly every day. This must be done because not a day passes, in which we haven’t consciously or unconsciously sinned before Allah (swt). Hence, this is another means of increasing one’s provisions.

3) Spending in the path of Allah (swt)

Charity or wealth/provisions spent on the needy are also a way through which one’s wealth can increase, if Allah (swt) wills. Apparently, spending money results in a decrease in wealth, but Allah (swt) defines it as a confirmed increase in your earnings. It is against Allah’s Sunnah to take favours from the believers. Every penny spent in His way is returned in multiple folds through various means to the Mumins. The fact is that Allah (swt) does not need our money. He only wants to grant more to His slaves; hence, He trains them to sacrifice what they love the most, which is generally wealth and other materialistic essentials.

4) Migration (Hijrah) for the Sake of Allah (swt)

People who migrate today are mostly looking for better work or education opportunities. Hijrah is completely different. If you leave your homes, cities, or countries in the search for a better Islamic lifestyle for your children and families, that, Insha’Allah, will be counted as ‘migration for the sake of Allah (swt)’ and will be rewarded with an increase in provision. On face value, it seems as if migrating from one country to another is going to eat up the savings, and, hence, result in a decrease in wealth. But Allah (swt) promises that this kind of migration is going to result in an increase in provisions.

The Holy Quran says: “And those who believed, and emigrated and strove hard in the Cause of Allah (Al-Jihad), as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid; these are the believers in truth, for them is forgiveness and Rizqun Karim(a generous provision i.e. Paradise).” (Al-Anfal 8:74)

5) Taqwah

The Holy Quran says: “…And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine…” (At-Talaq 65:2-3). We usually believe we know exactly where our savings and salaries are coming from. Actually, we don’t. Once we don’t have a steady source of income, there is still Allah (swt), the Ar-Razzaq, Who can provide us with abundant provisions, if He (swt) so wills. The key is complete consciousness and fear of Allah (swt) – that is enough to keep us wary of even insignificant sins and the greater evil. This would guarantee provisions from Allah (swt) from sources we could never have comprehended.

6) Trusting Allah (Tawakkal)

Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” (At-Talaq 65:3)

The true meaning of sincerely trusting Allah (swt) is having a firm conviction that whatever comes to us, whether provisions or any other circumstances, is from Allah (swt). Furthermore, Tawakkal means to make sincere effort and leave the results to Allah (swt), relying on Him to make things easy for us and to work things out. If a believer manages to have this kind of trust in Allah (swt), He guarantees that He will make a way out for him from any difficulty, including financial hard times.

7) Ibadah

Abu Hurairah (rta) stated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah says: ‘O son of Adam! Take time out to constantly worship me; I will fill your chest with richness and remove your poverty. And if you do not do so, I will make your hands filled with occupation, and will not remove your poverty.’” (At-Tirmidhi) This means to submit our lifestyle, thoughts, beliefs and actions round the clock to the Creator (swt). There is no division of sacred and secular lines as is in the popular culture today.

8) Treating Family/Relatives Well (Silah-Rehmi)

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever is pleased with the fact that his Rizq is increased and his life-span is extended, let him establish the ties of kinship.” (Bukhari) This is one of the easier ways to have Barakah and blessings in our provisions. All we have to do (easier said than done) is to smile back at any barbed comment, meet and greet any sour face, cheerfully wave away any backbiter’s tale, give affordable gifts to extended family members, and look after or visit an ailing or financially destitute relative, etc.

9) Being Grateful to Allah (swt)

The Holy Quran says: “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks (by accepting faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.’” (Ibrahim 14:7)

If we analyze our lives, there is so much for which we should be grateful: the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the money we spend, etc. We not only have access to basic necessities of life, but we also manage to indulge in luxuries and designer brands every now and then. In His infinite mercy, Allah (swt) doesn’t prohibit us from enjoying His provisions; all we need to do is add Barakah in it by being constantly grateful to Him.

10) Reciting Surah Waqiah

The Prophet (sa) said: “Surah Al-Waqiah is the Surah of wealth, so recite it and teach it to your children.” (Ibn Asakir) Thus, regular recitation of this Surah and teaching it to our children will surely benefit us, not only spiritually but also physically – resulting in Barakah in our Rizq. However, recitation should be followed by deep reflection on the verses and adhering to its commands for a positive change in one’s character.

11) Hajj and Umrah Multiple Times

It has been reported by Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta) that the Prophet of Allah (sa) said: “Follow up between Hajj and Umrah (continuously repeat Hajj and Umrah), because they both eliminate poverty and sins just like a furnace eliminates the dirty impurities of iron, gold and silver. And an accepted Hajj has no reward less than paradise.” (At-Tirmidhi) Wealthy Mumins can finance others (relatives, etc.) to fulfill this obligation and reap equal rewards, Insha’Allah.

12) Marriage

“And marry those among you who are single (i.e. a man who has no wife and the woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the Salihun (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid-servants (female slaves). If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing (about the state of the people).” (An-Nur 24:32) A pious wife can turn around any deficit budget with her prayers and wisdom. Also, when a Mumin initiates a family, Allah (swt) arranges for an increase in his Rizq for the new arrival.

13) Supporting Students of Islamic Knowledge

Anas Ibn Malik (rta) said: “Two brothers (lived) during the time of the Prophet (sa). One of them would come to Prophet (sa), whereas the other one would seek his sustenance (by working). So, the one who used to seek his sustenance complained to the Prophet (sa) about his brother. The Prophet (sa) replied: ‘It is possible that you are provided your Rizq because of him.’” (At-Tirmidhi)

14) Showing Kindness to the Poor

The Prophet (saw) said: “The only reason that you are aided in victory (against your enemies) and provided with sustenance is due to your weak.” (Bukhari) Allah (swt) has promised the destitute that they will enter Paradise before the rich ones; thus, we can imagine Allah’s love for their forbearance in the face of abject poverty.

15) Being Honest in Dealings

The Prophet (sa) said: “The two parties of a transaction have the right (to annul the contract), as long as they don’t separate (from each other). So, if they are truthful (to one another), and honest in explaining (the defects of an item), they will be blessed in their transaction. But, if they lie and hide (the defects of an item), the blessings of their transaction will be destroyed.” (Muslim)

These are just some of the ways one can hope to have his/her provisions increased by Allah (swt). The important thing to remember is that our intention behind every good deed should never be on the lines of financial reward. The reward will, Insha’Allah, come from Allah (swt). The intention should always be to please our Creator first and hope for the infinite mercy of Allah (swt) to pull us out of any trouble whatsoever – financial or otherwise. May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to practice these ways and invite our family members to act on them, too. Ameen.

Soul-searching!

If you are a shop owner / business owner and your business is really down, ask yourself the following questions:

1)      Did I take or give any interest-based loans when I was starting my business?

2)      Did I unfairly usurp anyone’s property when constructing my office premises?

3)      Did I offer any bribes to speed up my paper work?

4)      How is my attitude towards my employees?

5)      Do I pay my employees on time?

6)      Do I ensure my employees are paid overtime and bonuses?

7)      Have I installed UPS/generator for my employees so that their productivity is not affected by power outages?

8)      Do I ensure my shop’s / business’ products are given for free to those who cannot afford them?

9)      Do I regularly give charity out of my income?

Needless Wants

Needless Wants

By Tooba Asim – Freelance journalist

If we change the popular question, ‘what a girls wants’ to ‘what a girl needs’, chances are the latter list of answers would be drastically shorter than the former. But who would dare to restructure the question? After all, life in these times is more about wants than needs, despite the much talked about inflation. So, what is it that makes it so difficult for us to sift our needs from our endless wants? I asked myself this question and identified the common traps most of us fall into.

(1) The cooking show culture

Nothing has harmed the kitchen budget more than these cooking shows. From expensive sauces to exotic veggies, from fancy cookware to nonsense Totkas, these shows are the perfect recipe for making the kitchen budget spiral out of control.

(2) The branded culture

MAC mascara is clearly a want and not a need, or is it? Enough said.

(3) The sale ‘whale’

Yes, the sale ‘whale’ takes in whatever comes its way, completely oblivious of what is needed and what is not. Accept it: the *up to 70% off* billboards do make you concoct a sudden need for bed sheets, towels, out-of-season clothes and what not.

(4) The supermarket culture

The colourful aisles of a supermarket lure you into piling unnecessary stuff into your trolleys, mostly in the name of bargains. I once stocked up on diapers, which were being offered at a discount, and my baby was potty-trained soon after; I still have three unused packs mocking at me.

The next pertinent question is: what now? We can’t stop watching television or making use of sales or going to the super markets, etc. What we can do, however, is to be smart buyers. It’s easier said than done, and requires strict measures and a strong will. Let’s start with the following pointers.

(1) Ask yourself the basic question repeatedly: “Do I need this?”

By doing so, you will be able to control those impulse-shopping urges. Look for alternatives based on what you already have. For example, all those fabric exhibition billboards were tempting me to no end, but a look at my wardrobe put some sense in me and stopped me from spending what I’d rather be saving.

(2) Make lists and stick to them

This, perhaps, is the most important measure to take. Make lists of whatever you need and whatever you want in two separate columns. Then decide which ones are urgent and which ones can wait. Also, promise yourself to stick to them and not be trapped by sales, bargains and special offers, unless you absolutely must.

(3) Detach

Detach yourself from television ads, cooking shows, fashion shows and from whatever provokes expenditure. The key is to watch them as entertainment shows only, once in a while, rather than ‘instructions to follow’.

(4) Avoid needless strolls in malls/Bazars

Visit malls only when you need to, rather than treating them as hang-out spots. Allah (swt) reminds us of our weak nature and instructs us not to even venture close to sin or sinful behaviour. If you are a habitual spender, stay away from malls as much as possible.

(5) Tackle peer pressure

We think this term applies to teenagers only. However, there are plenty of spoilt grown-ups walking around who just cannot reign their desires. Steer clear of all such friends and parties that make you feel small on account of your financial status or drive you to splurge in order to keep up with them.

(6) Strapped for cash

Before going shopping, make a list, put the estimated price next to next item and roughly calculate the total bill you’d have to pay. Take the exact amount with you. Leave extra cash and debit cards at home; with no money in your pocket, you are less likely to be tempted by the ‘luxuries’.

That said, it is important to treat yourself once in a while to avoid feeling deprived. That way you’d be able to distinguish it easily as a luxury and not a ‘need’ per se. And, most importantly, always look at those beneath yourself on the social ladder; it will help you to be thankful to Allah (swt) for His blessings.

A Loser’s Gain

Image courtesy http://nickelinvestingnews.com/

Image courtesy http://nickelinvestingnews.com/a

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.

Profiteering Techniques

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.

Denying Inheritance

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.

Withholding Charity

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.

Halal Options for Investment

Halal Options for Investment

By Ayesha Ashraf Jangda – Section Head, Corporate Strategy and Business Planning at Bank Islami Pakistan Limited

Disclaimer: The writer is an Islamic banker by profession and, in this article, will be informing readers about the Shariah-compliant investment options available in Pakistan. It is advisable that readers review these options according to their own set of beliefs and unique financial situation.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, investment is “the process of exchanging income during one period of time for an asset that is expected to produce earning in future periods. Thus, consumption in current period is foregone, in order to obtain a greater return in future.”

An individual might have many goals, for which he/she makes investments that are short term (less than one year), medium term (more than one year but less than five years) or long term (more than five years). One of these goals can be to have regular income, especially if you are a retiree or a widow, for which the monthly profit schemes of banks and mutual funds would be more suitable. If you are young and can take risky investments, then you can invest inshares,which willprovide you with immediate capital gain and dividends. If you are middle aged and have a large sum of money at hand to buy property or real estate on installments, you can earn a hefty capital gain by selling it. If you are a businessman and hardly have money to spare, you can open a foreign currency savings’ account and earn from exchange gain. If you are a woman and are fond of wearing jewellery, then investment in gold jewellery or coins can be your option.

I will now talk about these investment avenues in detail. These are deemed by many to be the interim solutions until the world enforces an Islamic economic system, Insha’Allah.

Islamic Bank Accounts

There are many types of deposit accounts available in Islamic banks for investment purposes:

  • Current Account: It is a non-remunerative account, meaning it will not give you any profit but will only keep your money safe. You have the flexibility of withdrawing your money at any time you want through a cheque or an ATM card/transaction.
  • Saving Account: This account has the flexibility of withdrawals just like a current account but is a remunerative account. A nominal and varied profit is given by the Islamic bank at the end of each month.
  • Fixed or Term Account:The amount deposited in this account is invested for a particular period and cannot be withdrawn until the period ends. Pre-mature encashment or early redemption is allowed, but it reduces the profit rate of the period of investment. There are two types of such accounts:
    • Monthly Income Accounts – profit is given on monthly basis.
    • Maturity Profit Accounts – profit is given at the end of the period.

Saving and Fixed accounts taken by an Islamic bank are under the Mudarabatul Musharika basis, which means that the depositor becomes a partner of the bank by investing his/her money in the deposit pool of the Islamic bank. The deposit pool can either earn profit or face loss, which is shared among the participants of the deposit pool, according to their weightages.

Foreign Currency

Purchasing foreign currency in the form of US dollars, Euros or British pounds, is also an investment avenue. Islamic banks facilitate a foreign currency deposit account. To learn more about it, visit: http://www.forex.pk/open_market_rates.asp.

Islamic Mutual Funds

Another option for investing money is Islamic mutual funds. It is a joint pool where investors or certificate holders contribute their money for the purpose of investing in a profitable avenue. The profitable avenue can be Shariah-compliant shares, Sukuks (Islamic bonds), bank deposits or even real estate.

There are many types of mutual funds. The equity fund invests in Shariah-compliant shares listed in the stock market, while the growth fund invests in shares to earn capital gain. Income funds invest in shares of mature companies, in order to earn dividend or Sukuks, while the balanced fund invests in shares as well as Sukuks. For more details, you may visit: http://www.mufap.com.pk.

Gold Coins or Ornaments

Gold coins and jewellery have been considered to be sound avenues of investment since time immemorial. The best part is that you can wear them and still have an appreciated value over a period of one year.

Gold coins can be bought from brokerage houses that are registered by the National Mercantile Exchange (http://www.pmex.com.pk/products/gold.php) or any jeweller. The most important thing is to keep the purchasing slip, so that when you are selling it, you can calculate the capital appreciation that has occurred. Word of advice: keep all the gold ornaments in a locker in an Islamic bank or specialized safety lockers’ companies.

Shariah-compliant Shares

We do not live in a perfect, Riba-free, Islamic economy; therefore, scholars have devised certain conditions based on which investments in shares are considered Shariah-compliant. Some of these conditions are as follows:

  • The main business of the company does not violate the Shariah.
  • If the company deposits its surplus amount in an interest-bearing account, the income from that amount should be less than 5%.
  • If the company has interest-bearing investments, they should be less than 33%.
  • If the company has borrowed money on interest, the debt on total assets should be less than 40%.

For further details, visit: http://www.albalagh.net/Islamic_economics/finance.shtml and http://www.kse.com.pk/ => Market information => Market indices => KMI30.

Real Estate

Real estate remains one of the securest investment avenues that almost always provide a good return. Land, whether urban, agricultured, a house, an apartment or a shop, constitutes different types of property that can be invested in. Those who do not have a lump sum amount can buy it in installments from a reliable real estate developer, avail the house financing facility from an Islamic bank or buy with the help of a real estate agent. The investor can use the property for personal purposes, rent it or earn capital gain upon selling it.

To turn the wheels of an Islamic economy, one must neither hoard nor waste one’s wealth. It is most advisable to invest one’s surplus funds, not just for one’s own future prosperity but to uplift Shariah-compliant economies.

Reminder

We would like to inform the readers that many scholars have contradictory opinions on saving and term accounts of Islamic Banks. The Ulemas of Jamia Binoria, Jamia Farooqia, Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore etc do not approve of the products of Islamic banking. Their opinion has been published in book titled “Murwajah Islami Bankari” which can

be downloaded from

http://banuri.edu.pk/files/publications/MURRWAJAH%20ISLAMI%20BANKAARI.pdf

On the other hand, many scholars agree with the concept of Islamic banking in Pakistan and worldwide; they include Jamiatul Rasheed, Darul Uloom, Korangi and OIC Fiqh Academy, etc. A leading scholar in Pakistan on Islamic banking is Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani. He has written a comprehensive book that answers arguments against

interest-free banking and supports the practice of Islamic banking in Pakistan. This book is titled “Ghair Soodi Bankari” and can be downloaded from

http://www.4shared.com/get/ygsETJb4/Ghair_Soodi_Bankari_By_SHEIKH_.html

or purchased from Darul Ishat in Urdu Bazar.

Making Kids Money-Wise

Making Kids Money-Wise

By Umm Zakariya – Freelance journalist and the Reading and Creative Writing Coach at Fajr Academy, Karachi

As parents, we want the best for our children. We want our children to be ‘happy’ and that usually translates into us plying them with expensive clothes, toys, gadgets and paraphernalia, while giving into their every whim and desire. In pursuit of this ‘happiness’, we end up making our kids exceedingly materialistic – we either forget about or neglect educating them about the values of earning it, the judgement in spending it, and the virtues and avenues of saving it.

Here are some simple and easy ways of helping our children become money-wise, so that they are not only aware but are also ready to face the reAl-world and its sharks, when the time comes!

Go Shopping Together

Take your children shopping. Let them understand the simple truth that we need money to buy things! Let children get an insight into how you select items based on affordability and that not everything one wants can be bought, as there is a budget to be adhered to.

Set a Pocket Money/ Monthly Allowance

Allowance is an important tool to form sturdy lifelong fiscal habits in your children. However, you need to guide them on how to manage and spend in order for them to become responsible money managers.

Let Them Earn

Another lesson you need to teach your children early on is the diligence that goes into earning money. And it goes without saying that the best and most effective way to teach the value of money is to let your child earn! Help your child set up a small business, such as making and selling greeting cards or jewellery, wrapping gifts, etc. There are countless ideas online. Alternatively, you can pay them for extra chores they do beyond their usual responsibilities. You could also put up a stall at any of the various charity Melas and let them help out.

Open a Savings Account

Open a child-friendly bank account for your children or let them open an account with you as the banker, if they are very young! Teach them to save their Eidi, other gift money and anything they earn for things they may want. You will see that they will appreciate what they buy from their own efforts more than anything you buy for them. This is also a good time to teach them about Riba (interest) and Allah’s (swt) commandments regarding it.

Teach Them to Budget and Plan

Encourage your children to plan and budget. Help them to decide their short-term and long-term goals about the things they want to buy and how they can manage their money to achieve both. Also, teach children the importance of moderation. Help them understand that they should not be extravagant and must save what they can for the future.

Encourage the Charity Giver in Them

We sometimes tend to forget a very significant lesson that our kids need to learn as early as possible. The poor and the destitute have a right to whatever we earn – in order to earn Allah’s (swt) pleasure. Giving Sadaqah is not just an option. It is a responsibility of every believer. In return, the children can ask Allah (swt) to grant them more or relieve them of their daily troubles successfully (tests, exams, etc.). We would not like our kids to become stingy or miserly in pursuit of financial success.

It’s never too early to start! We must realize that unless we put the responsibility of decision-making and accountability on their shoulders, our children will have to learn this the hard way in the real world. Help children gain these values early on by letting them make their own money-related decisions. Even if they end up making a loss, this is a lesson better learnt sooner than later!

Handling Financial Difficulties the Sunnah Way

Handling Financial Difficulties the Sunnah Way

Real-life accounts of people who faced hardship but refused to compromise on their values.

Khilafat-e-Rashidah is no more, where the needy were the top concern for the rulers. Today’s Muslim governments are neglecting and exploiting the needy. Under one such system, sister S.A.’s family was facing massive financial problems: over 100,000 dirhams in her brother’s visa-related fines and renewals for documents. The family had no regular income, but their late father had left them with Islamic upbringing.

I would see S.A. and her mother composed. They would constantly make Dua and Dhikr, mentioning that Allah (swt) is Gahfoor and Raheem, Rahman and Raheem. S.A would say: “This amount is no problem for Allah (swt); He has promised that ‘those who trust in Me, I will be with them,’ and that we should not despair of His mercy.” They would pray to Allah (swt) to give them from His treasures.

Once, S.A. was offered a tempting 5,000 Dirhams for just five days of work at some exhibition. She asked them if she could wear her Hijab there. When they refused, she turned down the offer. Subhan’Allah, in a turn of events, S.A’s own local sponsor agreed to pay a big chunk of their fines, in return for her brother working for him. Their worries are not over, but their submission to Allah (swt) continues.

Umm Musa

UAE

“Rasheed, come home immediately. Your father has gone blind,’’ my mother phoned me from Multan in 1980. I was then in the army at Lahore. I rushed to Multan, and the doctor informed me that my father had suffered from haemorrhage. His vision would revive gradually, but it would be very weak. I returned to Lahore after one week.

We are five brothers and three sisters, all married. All brothers, except myself, had jobs abroad. To live with my parents, I applied for a posting on compassionate grounds to my home station, Multan. It was rejected by the GHQ. I then applied for voluntary retirement and left the army within three months. In Multan, I hunted for a job but in vain. I requested my younger brother to return and live with my parents. When he returned, I left for Karachi and later – Saudi Arabia. However, despite my best effort, I found no suitable job.

In 1982, my friend offered me a job, which paid little but had a lot of potential in terms of bribery. I refused. For some time, I ran a garments’ business but was later hoodwinked by my partner. There came a time when I contemplated pulling my two children out of school. However, our patience bore fruit when first, my brothers helped us out financially and later, I got a job that took care of our immediate expenses. Seven years later, out of the blue, I got a job offer from the Middle East, which I accepted. It has been nineteen years now. Allah (swt) has continued to shower His blessings upon me. He has blessed me with good health, wealth and respect.

Muhammad Rasheed

Middle East