Financial management is where we look into our incomes, expenses, savings, and loans to ensure a sustainable and comfortable life. Also, taking a good look at our finances helps us to prepare the necessary means for us to achieve our long and short-term goals.
We should understand how much we bring in every month, and how much we need to budget for our expenses. Through this, we will have stronger control over our finances and know where our money goes.
This seems easy and straightforward. However, in reality, it is challenging, especially when we are bombarded with numerous financial responsibilities. Because of this, it is more important for us to be cognizant of our finances. We should try to manage our finances as best as possible according to our capabilities.
Islam always encourages us to achieve the best of our well-being. Being in the best state allow us to optimise our capability as a Muslim to contribute to the family and community. On top of that, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. taught us that the giving hand is better than the receiving hand.
الْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ الْيَدِ السُّفْلَى وَالْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا الْمُنْفِقَةُ وَالسُّفْلَى السَّائِلَةُ
“The upper hand is better than the lower hand. The upper hand is one that gives and the lower hand is one that takes.”
Islam has pointed out certain aspects of our lives that require more attention from us to attain a better life as a Muslim. These are known as The Maqasid Shariah or The Objectives of Shariah.
Maqasid Shariah is a guideline for Muslims to give proper care to their religion, life, intellect, lineage, and wealth. These are the necessities that will help them achieve a prosperous life in both this world and the Hereafter. Failing to tend to any of those necessities may result in chaos and disorder not only to oneself but also to the people around them.
Wealth is included under Maqasid Shariah. The wealth referred here is one that covers the basic needs of our life. These can be a house, food, clothing, and transportation. It is undeniable that wealth plays a big role in sustaining our day to day life, especially in the current era. We are now facing a rising cost of living.
It is important for us not to spend our money excessively on unnecessary things. We should try our best to maintain healthy expenses and put our wealth to the fullest of benefit.
Poor wealth management is highly discouraged by Islam. Having poor financial standing may hinder us to move efficiently as a Muslim. Islam reminds us not to give our wealth to someone incapable of managing it. A reason for this is because they may disrupt our financial stability and put us into a difficult situation especially in times of financial crisis. As mentioned in the Quran:
وَلَا تُؤْتُوا السُّفَهَاءَ أَمْوَالَكُمُ الَّتِي جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ قِيَامًا وَارْزُقُوهُمْ فِيهَا وَاكْسُوهُمْ وَقُولُوا لَهُمْ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا
“Do not entrust the incapable with your wealth which Allah has made a means of “support for you—but feed and clothe them from it, and speak to them kindly.
(Surah An-Nisa, 4:5)
For sure we can all relate to the event of Covid-19 that hit us hard early this year. With all the goals and dreams that we bring in into the year 2020, we hope for a smooth and successful journey for the year. However, things do not always go as we planned, and worst, what we have been planning for years is suddenly destroyed in a blink of an eye.
The virus stamped a huge impact on the world. People across the borders are affected in various forms and ways. Some could not meet their family due to travel restrictions, others could not hold their dream wedding ceremony, and sadly, some have lost their loved ones due to the virus. Most pervasively, everywhere across the globe, people are impacted financially.
Due to lockdown measures, many businesses were forced to close and stop running. We have heard of cases of people we know are losing their jobs during this challenging period. Covid-19 had a tremendous effect on the global economy and our livelihood, putting people who are already in tough situations into a more difficult position with retrenchment and pay cuts.
Being financially unstable is the last thing that we want to go through in our lifetime. One thing that we can learn from this year is to never take for granted our financial standing, especially during our good days. We should try to always be one step ahead of the curve and prepare to face any unexpected situation. In turn, this will help us go through challenges calm and whole.
This can only be achieved if we put the effort to set up proper financial management.
Here are a few traits that we can adapt to better manage our finances as a Muslim:
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar r.a, the Prophet s.a.w. said:
كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْؤول عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ
Every one of you is a guardian and every one of you is responsible (for his wards)
From the Hadith above, the Prophet s.a.w. is commanding us to hold responsible for anything that is under our wards.
As a responsible Muslim, our role is to ensure that money is wisely used for beneficial purposes that will add value to his state. By being responsible, we can fully utilise our money and give a comfortable life to our family. In addition, we can expand our hand by giving contributions to those that are in need of financial assistance.
Being consistently responsible for our finances can be challenging, but thinking and prioritising of the essentials that we need in the future, rather than what we desire, may help ease the challenges and make us more focused on withholding our responsibilities.
Abu Huraira r.a. reported Allah's Messenger s.a.w. saying:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْضَى لَكُمْ ثَلاَثًا وَيَكْرَهُ لَكُمْ ثَلاَثًا فَيَرْضَى لَكُمْ أَنْ تَعْبُدُوهُ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَأَنْ تَعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُوا وَيَكْرَهُ لَكُمْ قِيلَ وَقَالَ وَكَثْرَةَ السُّؤَالِ وَإِضَاعَةَ الْمَالِ
Verily Allah likes three things for you and He disapproves three things for you. He is pleased with you that you worship Him and associate nor anything with Him, that you hold fast the rope of Allah, and be not scattered; and He disapproves of your irrelevant talk, persistent questioning and the wasting of wealth.
The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. had explicitly mentioned Allah’s dislikes towards the wasting of wealth. This is for the fact that wealth if being put to good use can greatly help the growth of the community.
Nowadays, with the exposure that we have through social media and e-marketing, tempts us to spend unnecessarily. Every day we are fed with the latest sales and the trendiest items, making us believe that it is a need for us to get hold of the item.
It is not wrong for us to occasionally keep up with the trends. However, it is good to ensure that we do not go beyond our budget or risk wasting our money on unnecessary items.
We are widely exposed to the latest trends of items that may entice us to buy or change to newer models of our gadgets or vehicles even if the existing one is still functioning effectively. This may lead us to spend on what we want and not what we need.
As Muslims, we need to be more mindful and conscious of our actions. Before you feel or assume that you might lack anything, look at your surroundings, look at the less fortunate and reflect upon it with what you already have.
Perhaps this will allow us to be more grateful, and even better, we are practising what has been taught by Islam. As it is said that the best of knowledge is the knowledge that is being practised.
Allah s.w.t said in the Quran:
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, surely My punishment is severe.”
(Surah Ibrahim, 14:7)
In summary, having proper financial management is crucial for every Muslim. It should not be taken for granted and underestimated. Manage your finances and aim to be a financially strong Muslim, for this will give you the means to help anyone in need of financial assistance.
COVID-19 has changed the world. It has impacted our lives and livelihoods. Our road to recovery will not be easy, but we will persevere and come out of this stronger, Insya’Allah.
The following schemes, support measures and resources can help to ease your load and navigate your way in this difficult period - https://www.sgunited.gov.sg/stay-strong/support-resources