“And give (O Prophet!) glad tidings to those… whose hearts shiver whenever Allah is mentioned, who patiently bear whatever affliction comes to them, who establish Prayer, and who spend (for good purposes) out of what We have provided them.”

(Al-Qur’ān – 22:34-35)

One of salient characteristics of believers is that they spend out of the lawful and wholesome sustenance God has bestowed upon them. Again, this spending is not to be understood in its absolute sense. For the spending which is approved by Islam consists of spending to meet the legitimate needs of oneself and one’s family, spending to assist one’s relatives, neighbours and the needy, spending to support acts of public welfare, and spending in order to generously contribute to efforts aimed at upholding the Word of God. The Qur’ān does not sanction extravagant expenditure, nor spending on luxury, nor excessive ostentatious spending to display one’s piety. Such spending is not infāq, because it is not sufficiently meritorious. Such forms of expenditure are in fact condemned as extravagant and wasteful.

At the same time, the Qur’ān does not approve of a person being stingy and niggardly in his spending, of spending so sparingly that one’s dependents live in unduly straitened circumstances, spending on oneself much less than is warranted by one’s financial position, or an aversion to providing assistance to God’s creatures. Whatever a person spends in this way is not deemed, in Islamic parlance, as infāq. It is rather considered bukhl (miserliness; niggardliness) or shuhh al-nafs (covetousness or avarice). Thus Islam enjoins us to spend judiciously.

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