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Lifestyle Living Upon The Sunnah

Money Worries – Do You Need A Financial Detox?

06/07/2017

If you were to randomly pick a handful of people off the street and ask them what they would list as their main causes of stress, what do you think they would say? Aside from maybe a joke or two about their spouse or the kids, I’d hazard a guess that a firm contender for that top spot would be stress caused by financial worries.

On completely varying ends of the income spectrum, so many families and individuals are losing their health to sleepless nights, desperately trying to figure out how to balance the books. Worrying about money, and in particular, debt, has been shown by some studies to cause significantly impaired cognitive function. In a nutshell, this means your ability to learn, remember, be attentive or solve problems is noticeably restricted. The stress caused by financial problems can have a hugely detrimental effect on your mental health, often being a cause of anxiety, anger, and depression, just to name a few. This can then lead to problems you have at work, problems in your relationships, which can then lead to a breakdown in marriage, or even, in extreme cases, suicide.

So how have we allowed money to rule such a tight grip on our lives and our wellbeing? Well, unfortunately, we live in a very consumeristic society. You can’t even step out for a pint of milk without being bombarded with adverts in some form or another. On billboards, magazines, television screens and radios, we are shown product after product after product that will supposedly make our lives better, easier, happier, or in some way make us more ‘complete’. And if you can’t afford these products? Borrowing credit, finance options, buy-now-pay-later… it’s almost like you have no excuse not to; everything is in place to make you think and believe that you can totally afford this lifestyle. But if you can’t afford to buy the product outright in the first place, how do you expect to then pay for it with the additional lender’s interest added on top?

This consumeristic society we find ourselves in risks landing us permanently on a useless hedonic treadmill. Every time we buy something, something new and more advanced becomes available on the market, and so we are constantly made to feel like we need more, that we we are not yet complete. And so we continue to spend and spend and spend…

So How Do We Get Off The Treadmill…?

First of all, let’s look at how not to get on it in the first place.

In not just Islam, but also in the religious texts of Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity, usury, or interest, is regarded as an enormous sin. According to an Islamicย hadith (narration), the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) said,ย “Spending a singleย dirham of interest is worse than committing adultery 36 times”ย (Sahih al-Jaami’).ย We all know adultery to be hugely sinful, yet somehow interest, known in Arabic asย riba, is so often over-looked. With the evidence of our debt-epidemic nation, it’s not difficult to see what an enormous negative effect interest plays on a community.

The advice is simple – if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. This is a more complicated story if we’re talking about food or something necessary for survival, but so often our high-interest and sometimes financially crippling purchases are things we don’t even need; holidays, cars, a new kitchen, new clothes. These things are nice to have, but do you know what else is nice to have? Peace of mind and healthy cognitive functioning. Don’t sell your health for something material or fleetingly temporary. There are cheaper cars, there are more affordable holidays, and you’ll be bored of the new clothes in a few months anyway.

It’s time to be strict with ourselves and have a thorough detox of our finances – myself included. I have witnessed through people close to me how debilitating debt can be, especially when paired with a low wage income.

With a few life-lessons in hand, I intend to focus on following the guidance provided in Islam in sincere attempt to keep my income in a healthy and positive state inshaa Allah. This means:

NO Interest

This includes even that trickling of one or two pennies a month that drip into an otherwise inactive savings account.

Almost every single UK bank involves interest in some shape or form, even if you barely notice it. But as insignificant as one penny might seem to us, it’s still a haram income, and might be colossal to Allah.

Thereย are shari’ah-compliant bank accounts available in the UK, some offered by an Islamic finance company, and at least one that I know of offered by a popular high street bank. It’s just a case of doing a little search on Google, and if we want more barakahย (blessings)ย in our earnings, thenย it’s time to make the switch.

No Borrowing

Unless you absolutely need to (say, to keep a roof over your head), and can do so without owing any interest, by borrowing from a family member for example, then it’s simply not worth doing. Especially if your debt is going to last longer than the purchase you’ve incurred it for.

Make Sure Your Income Is Halal

This doesn’t just include the obvious like not selling alcohol or not earning through gambling, etc, but also asks the question, does the source of your income cause a distance between you and Allah? Does your work sometimes delay you or even prevent you from yourย salah (prayers)? How can the money you earn in this world be worth more than your situation in the next? If your job prevents you in any way from offering the five obligatory daily prayers, then there will be noย barakahย in your income, even if you spent it in charity.

Give More

This leads me to my final intention. I hope that if Allah ever increases me in wealth, then He also increases me in generosity, because as our beloved Prophet (pbuh) told us, no one ever decreases in wealth by giving charity.

โ€œSadaqah (charity) does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another except that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status.โ€ย (Sahih Muslim).

Our wealth is a loan from Allah, and it is both a gift and a test. We will be asked how we earned it, and how we spent it, and the answer we give will help determine our fate in the eternalย akhiraย (afterlife). If we keep ourselves firmly upon the understanding that all our wealth is from Allah, and all of our spending goes back to Allah, this should keep us safe from stepping back onto the useless hedonic treadmill, and instead seek much more fulfilling and beneficial means of attaining happiness, contentment, and completion.

  • Reply
    Roshdyna Ahmad
    06/07/2017 at 11:45

    Great article. I think people relate money to self worth… equating net worth to power and a sense of value. But at the end of the day, money is only a means and we give it the power we want to give it. Many people with less are much happier than people with more only because they live in their means and are satisfied with what they have. At the end of the day, ุงู„ู…ุงู„ ูˆ ุงู„ุจู†ูˆู† ุฒูŠู†ุฉ ุงู„ุญูŠุงุฉ ุงู„ุฏู†ูŠุง .. wealth and kids are adornments of this life. In fact, from experience, even if you give a little (when you don’t have much), Allah will always increase you in more! So even if it’s a dollar when you only have 5, it’s even better! May Allah increase you in good in this life and the next! Ameen. JazakAllah Khayr.

    • Reply
      Carla
      06/07/2017 at 13:38

      Ameen! Jazak Allah khair for such a thoughtful and beautiful comment, and your kind du’a ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ˜Š I totally agree with you, and on the whole I do believe that people with less tend to be the most generous! May Allah increase us all โ˜บ๏ธ Ameen

  • Reply
    muslimah
    06/07/2017 at 15:26

    Thanks this was great to read and very informative and helpful guide

  • Reply
    Amina Edota
    07/07/2017 at 06:30

    You are right, money worries trickle down to even the younger ones – when they see, hear and experience parents/ adults in their lives glorify, stress or obsess over money.

    I actually believe we need a detox as an Ummah – and need to get our younger ones financially literate. Unfortunately, we were grounded in basic numeracy, sciences and literacy all through school years BUT no financial literacy in practicable ways.

    As a mentor once said, we need to reset our financial thermostat to even benefit from any financial education. Alhamdulillah for the guidance in Islam.

    • Reply
      Carla
      08/07/2017 at 17:19

      That’s so true, I honestly think we should be taught financial skills and budgeting in school, I think it would be very beneficial! Jazak Allah khair for your comment โ™ก

  • Reply
    Umm Ruqaiya
    07/07/2017 at 07:16

    Ma sha ALLAH such an informative article. I really didn’t know that other religions also consider Riba to be wrong or is something not allowed. As for cognitive affects, honestly though I didn’t know as in “know” based on knowledge I am very well aware of it from experience. Due to a big medical issue I (someone who HATES even $1 debt) am stuck with above and beyond $10,000 debt but good part is that through a bank plan I am allowed to pay all that amount in installments (many many installments which means many many months). And quiet amazingly Zawji doesn’t have even a clue of the amount of stress it has on me, I feel like one day I wouldn’t even wake up that is the amount of stress I have because of this debt subhanALLAH.

    But I recently heard Sh. Omar Suleiman say in a lecture that ALLAH helps the one who is struggling with debt:
    Al-Bukhaari (2387) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

    โ€œWhoever takes peopleโ€™s wealth intending to pay it back, Allaah will enable him to pay it back.โ€ Ibn Maajah (2409) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: โ€œAllaah will be with the borrower until he pays off his debt, so long as it (the loan) is not for something that Allaah dislikes.โ€ Classed as saheeh (authentic) by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.

    Also from Hadeeth there is a du’a for paying off debt:

    Allaahumma akfini bi halaalika โ€˜an haraamika wa aghnini bi fadlika โ€˜amman siwaaka

    (O Allaah, suffice me with what You have permitted so that that I have no need of that which You have forbidden, and make me independent of means by Your bounty so that I have no need of anyone besides You).

    ^^^ This is for people like you and me who are simply stuck with the debt. There is light at the end of the tunnel in sha ALLAH.

    I simply get amazed seeing people taking debt for useless things subhanALLAH.

    • Reply
      Rush to Success
      08/07/2017 at 02:57

      ุฌุฒุงูƒู… ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุฎูŠุฑุงู‹ ูƒุซูŠุฑุงู‹

    • Reply
      Carla
      08/07/2017 at 17:22

      Jazak Allah khair sis, I had never heard about that hadith before. And thank you so much for providing that du’a – very beneficial inshaa Allah! May Allah ease your affairs for you and provide you with what is best for you. May He make your debt easy to repay and may He bless you with full health, ameen โ™ก and ameen to the sister’s kind du’a above too! โ™ก

      • Reply
        Umm Ruqaiya
        08/07/2017 at 17:33

        Aameen ๐Ÿ™‚

        Wa iyyaki

        Most welcome habibti

  • Reply
    Multicultural Motherhood
    07/07/2017 at 07:38

    I have never heard the hadith about interest being like commuting adultery 36 times! Scary. Luckily I don’t have any as my poor financial position means I am unable to get a loan or mortgage. I thank Allah for this because I am not tempted to gain riba . However, financial problems are sometimes a cause of stress for me as they are for a lot of people. #MuslimahBloggers

    • Reply
      Carla
      08/07/2017 at 17:23

      Alhamdulillah sis, may Allah increase you in everything that is best for you and may He keep you protected from riba. Ameen โ™ก

  • Reply
    Rush to Success
    08/07/2017 at 02:55

    JazakiAllah khairan katheeran. Dearest for this beneficial post. Agreed with you
    Esp…
    If your job prevents you in any way from offering the five obligatory daily prayers, then there will be no barakah in your income, even if you spent it in charity.
    Salah is Success.
    My favorite verses Surah Mominun 1-9

    May Allah bless you with His choicest blessings Aameen.

    • Reply
      Carla
      08/07/2017 at 17:24

      Ameen โ™ก Jazak Allah khair sis, may He also bless you with the same, ameen โ™ก

  • Reply
    sainab
    08/07/2017 at 05:58

    This is a great article and a very important topic. Indeed charity doesn’t decrease our wealth, so beautiful our deen subhan’Allah!

    • Reply
      Carla
      08/07/2017 at 17:25

      Isn’t it just! Jazak Allah khair for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Tesneem Ayoub
    08/07/2017 at 11:12

    Barak Allaah feeki for writing this, it’s a great reminder. I also really appreciate the tips you shared here. One of my wishes is to live the coming chapters of my life with minimal financial stress, contentment, and to also have zero debts. I like nice clothes and pretty things, but as you rightly mentioned, peace of mind does come first. May Allaah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala grant us success in our finances, and may He give us a halal income. Aameen.
    Jazak Illaah khair <3

    • Reply
      Carla
      08/07/2017 at 17:27

      Ameen! May Allah grant us everything that is best for us both, ameen โ™ก

  • Reply
    afreenzia
    08/07/2017 at 12:23

    Nice reading your post. Great article.
    http://www.afreenskitchen.com

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