Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Baqarah 3

Gold_and_pearls_neckbandAs we look into these pearls of peace, we ask Allah (swt) to grant us the peace that we are so desperately searching for, along with contentment of the soul. Remember as long as we follow that which Allah (swt) has told us we will be at peace. The moment we deviate from the instructions of Allah (swt) our peace will be snatched away. Today, we are going to understand a few verses that talk about money matters.

Charity in secrecy

Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah and in the Last Day.” (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

If Allah (swt) has given you wealth and you spend it in Allah’s (swt) way, don’t brag about it or make the poor person feel shameful. Be humble. Offer gratitude for your wealth that you are among the givers and not takers.

Spend with love for Allah (swt)

Moving further, Allah (swt) teaches us the etiquette of spending in His way. He says, “O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. ” (Al-Baqarah 2:267)

What happens during our annual cleaning ritual? We select the most ragged and worn out clothes, broken pieces of crockery, expired cosmetics or medicines and rotten food and give it to our housemaid, satisfied in our hearts that we have done our duty! Will we accept if anyone presented us such a gift? Keep your eyes on the treasures of Jannah and have a big heart. Share from what you pick for yourself.

Islamic business transactions and family dealings

When one goes to a financial institution, there are systems and procedures that must be followed. In the Quran, Allah (swt) has explicitly stated how our contracts and business transactions should be. When we don’t abide by these procedures, we suffer loss and have regrets.

Log in black and white

After a person passes away his heirs come and claim such and such property to be theirs. But where did the father write it? They say, “Well! He didn’t write it but he told me this is yours.” If the father wants to gift a certain property to one of his children, he must write it down and sign it in the presence of witnesses. People give loans to their family members and the debtor forgets to return the money. This small mistake gives birth to family feuds where both the parties are slandering one another. Many business deals fail because the terms were not written down and attested. Remember that word of mouth has no worth in a court where today even signed documents are being challenged.

Allah (swt) elucidates the procedure for business transactions in verse 282, “ O you who believe! When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down. Let a scribe write it down in justice between you. Let not the scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so let him write.” Look at how Allah (swt) is teaching us a gem for attaining long term peace. Today, family relations are sacrificed for a few hundred thousands. Both the parties consider themselves to be correct.

A lesson by our Prophet (sa)

Once the Prophet (sa) heard an argument near his door, people were debating over something and its ownership. The Prophet (sa) said: “I am going to judge between you based on the evidence that is before me. And if I am to rule that something is yours yet it is not yours and you know it is not yours then it is piece of fire. It is up to you to take it or leave it.” Both of them left it. They said, “It doesn’t belong to us.” They got worried that in case we take it, it might be a piece of fire. Remember, if you choose to let go of the feud, Allah (swt) might reward you with Paradise in return.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)