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Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
24 May 2013 / 14 Rejab 1434
The Practice of Savings From The Islamic Perspective
Dear Friday Jemaah,
Last week, we were reminded of the importance of planning for our family’s finances, and how that is part of ibadah or worship. Hopefully through our efforts in fulfilling our obligations, it will strengthen our taqwa and help us to fulfil all of Allah’s commandments and avoid all that He has prohibited upon us.
The king of Egypt once dreamt of seven skinny cows which ate seven fat cows. He then asked for Prophet Yusuf A.S. to interpret the dream. The explanation for the dream was mentioned by Allah s.w.t in surah Yusuf verses 47-49:
Which means: “[Yusuf] said, ‘You will plant for seven years consecutively; and what you harvest leave in its spikes, except a little from which you will eat. Then will come after that seven difficult [years] which will consume what you saved for them, except a little from which you will store. Then will come after that a year in which the people will be given rain and in which they will press [olives and grapes].’ ”
These verses are indeed divine guidance which is extremely valuable to mankind. Through His revelation, Allah has emphasised on the need to plan wisely and to be thrifty. If we reflect upon this, the fact that this matter is eternalised in the pages of the Quran is somewhat a signal to mankind that they need to continue this habit for their well-being and prosperity.
Just look at our daily lives. Whether it is for our children’s education, our retirement years, when we fall sick and so on, we need to ensure that we save consistently and plan sufficiently. We pray to Allah that we will be protected from any calamities, sickness, and accidents and so on, but we cannot foretell the future and unfortunate events may occur. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. taught us to “tie the camel, before making tawakkal”. In other words, we plan and we put in effort, before we tawakkal to Allah s.w.t.
I would like to take this opportunity to share two values that can help us instil the habit of planning and saving:
First, we need clear goals in planning our finances.
In this matter, one should have a clear picture of his financial obligations and plan them well. For example, a Muslim has to understand his responsibilities towards his wife, children, parents that are under his care and also his own personal needs.
Not only that, we must also think and plan for our future needs, say our needs in the next 10-20 years. Are we able to support ourselves?
Next, we need to evaluate ourselves from now. What is our current lifestyle? Are we careful when we spend? Or do we tend to spend frivolously? Do we have sufficient knowledge on how to plan our finances based on our needs?
My brothers, it is heart-breaking to hear of cases where people are willing to sell their homes because they are afraid that they will not be able to pay off their home loans. They then lose the roof above their heads, when in fact there are actually other ways to settle the house loans without having to sell the house.
This is why we need accurate information and sound financial knowledge so that we will not end up debt-ridden. And if we do have problems settling our loans, we will know how to solve them and where to go, without having to give up a very basic need of our family.
We need to constantly reassess our spending and monthly budgeting. Learn techniques for prudent financial planning. For example, advances in technology have led to many free websites that offer sound financial advice. We can also attend talks and lectures organised by self-help groups to learn tips on managing our finances and financial planning skills.
Second, to save before we spend.
This means that the first thing we should do when we receive our monthly salary is to save and fulfil our obligations towards meeting the family’s basic needs such as giving their allowance (nafkah), household expenditure, paying off bills, loans and so on.
Remember, the habit of saving is not something that is automatic within us as humans. Rather, it starts with the realisation of the importance and the need to have savings to fall back on. For example, school holidays are just around the corner and many of us are planning to go on a family vacation. Make sure that we do not spend beyond our means. If we have children who are working part-time, remind them to save part of their income.
May Allah grant us wisdom and the commitment to be prudent in spending. May we be able to accountable for how we spend the bounty that Allah has bestowed upon us, to fulfil the responsibilities He has placed on us and to gain Allah’s pleasure. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.