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Islamic Attitude Towards Wealth

Thinking about livelihood is what moulds life for the individual, and moulds life for the family and the tribe. It is what moulds life for the people, and moulds life for the nation. More than that, it moulds life for humanity, in a particular way. In other words, it puts it in the form of a monkey or a pig, and makes it of either gold or tin, i.e. it makes it a life of honor, prosperity and permanent tranquility, or makes it a life of suffering, distress and chasing after pieces of bread.


A quick look to the capitalist thinking regarding livelihood, and the specific way in which it moulded life for the whole of humanity, shows how this fashioning of life for the whole of humanity resulted in suffering, distress and making man spend all his life running after pieces of bread. It shows how it made the relationships between the people, relationships of permanent dispute, which is the relationship of the bread between me and you; either I eat it or you. So the struggle will continue between us until one of us gains the bread and prevents the other.

Indeed the loaf (bread) is the relationship between a man and another man. It is also true that the thinking in livelihood is thinking in obtaining this loaf to satisfy the life energy that drives man to find satisfaction. However, instead of the relationship of the loaf between a man and another man being either I eat it or you eat it, let this relationship with the loaf be, you eat it and not I.

Thus I obtain the loaf to feed it to you, and you obtain the loaf to feed it to me, and not to quarrel with you so as to take it and you quarrel with me so as to take it. In other words, let this relationship be that of altruism and not egoism. So you get delighted by giving and not by exploiting, and I will also be delighted by giving and not by exploiting. How excellent is the Arab poet when he says:

Taraahu idha ma ataitahu mutahallilan
Kaa'nnaka tu'teeh illadhi anta saai'luh

When you come to him, you see him rejoicing,
As if you give him that which you request (from him).
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