Rich Dad, Poor Dad, One Up on Wall Street, The Intelligent Investor. Many of us have read these famous wealth books look for wisdom – but in this article we go to the ultimate source of wealth and share what He says.
Nuh (as) had a difficult crowd – he preached to them for 950 years to little avail. But one of the many secrets he told them was the secret to serious wealth. He advised them:
‘Seek your Lord’s forgiveness, for He is truly Most Forgiving. He will shower you with abundant rain, supply you with wealth and children, and give you gardens as well as rivers. (71: 10-12)
In the agrarian context of Nuh’s people, giving them rain was the equivalent of saying “you’ll have great crops” which is the equivalent of saying “you’ll have all the food you need plus surplus to sell”. You’ll get rich, basically.
If there was any doubt, the point is then re-emphasised that God will help you through wealth and children.
And then the point is triple-emphasised that you’ll get “gardens as well as rivers” which could be in this life or the next.
So what’s the action? Ask forgiveness. It’s as simple as that.
A sincere repentance, with tears and a firm intent never to go back to your sins, is what unlocks your wealth.
We all know the famous hadith that we are told every fundraising dinner:
Charity does not decrease wealth (Muslim)
We might have heard it dozens of time but we shouldn’t become desensitized to it. The Qur’an also carries the same message:
“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain that grows (into) seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies for whom he will. And Allah is all-sufficient for his creatures’ needs, all-knower” (2:261)
Similarly, Allah says:
Whoever gives a goodly loan to Allah, he will multiply it for them abundantly, Allah is the one who withholds and gives, and to him is your final return. (2:145)
Every time I have given in charity, I have seen it come back in multiples. So give, if you want to get rich. And if you do not receive in this life – you certainly will see the reward in the afterlife.
3. Seek Wealth
Allah teaches us three important lessons in Surah Jum’uah. He says:
O you who believe! When (the) call is made for (the) prayer on (the) day (of) Friday, then hasten to (the) remembrance (of) Allah and leave the business. That (is) better for you, if you know. And when the prayers have been concluded, disperse in the land and seek out the bounties of Allah, and remember Allah a lot so that you may be successful. (62:9-10)
First, this verse teaches us that prayer and Friday prayers always rank ahead in importance than trade and wealth. That means we must never compromise on that. If that means we need to cut off a video call early, or leave a meeting for 5 minutes, we need to do that.
This is the only time in the Qur’an that Allah orders us to leave trade. So if we don’t listen to that and expect our trade and business to have blessing in it, that is an odd conclusion.
Second, this verse teaches us that we must work hard and seek our sustenance and wealth. If we go into business or advance in our careers with the sole intention of “seeking from the bounties of Allah”, then we are obeying Allah to the letter and spending our days in his obedience.
And if we’re not working hard for wealth – then it rather intuitively follows that wealth is not likely to come to us. And if we’re working hard for wealth but in a way that is not “seeking from the bounties of Allah”, rather we’re earning his sin, then again, it intuitively follows that our wealth will not have barakah in it.
Third, Allah teaches us how to conduct ourselves in business so that we might be successful in this life and the afterlife. He says that while we’re seeking His bounties, we should do dhikr of Allah plentifully so that we may be successful.
Dhikr is described as the best of deeds:
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) asked: “Shall I not inform you of the best of your deeds, and the purest of them with your Master, and the highest of them in ranks, and is better for you than spending gold and silver, and better for you than meeting your enemy and striking their necks, and they strike your necks?” They replied: “Of course.” He said: “The remembrance of Allah.” (Tirmidhī 3377)
The remembrance of Allah is seen as something that will be the guiding light of the believer even when he or she may not know the exact path forward. In business and work this happens all the time.
But someone who remembers Allah has Allah as his guide:
One of the companions (raḍiy Allāhu ‘anhu) asked: “O Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam have become many for me, so tell me something which I can cling on to.” He replied: “Always keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah.” (Tirmidhī 3375)
When we seek wealth for Allah’s sake and keep devotion to him as our core goal – with any monetary reward as a side-effect – Allah blesses us with more monetary reward than we can imagine.
Ibn al-Qayyim nicely encapsulated what our approach to dhikr should be: “Indeed Allah has made a means for attaining everything. He has made continuous remembrance (dhikr) the means for love. So, whoever wants the love of Allah, then let him fervently remember Him.”
So we should strive to be the hard-working businessman, remembering Allah, and seeking the bounties of Allah through means that he has made halal for us.
4. Fear Allah
In surah Talaq, Allah repeats twice that those who have taqwa (God consciousness/fear/awe) of Him, they’ll be blessed and provided in ways they could not imagine in their wildest dreams. He says:
And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will make a way out for them, and provide for them from sources they could never imagine. And whoever puts their trust in Allah, then He alone is sufficient for them. (65:2-3)
A few verses later Allah says:
This is the commandment of Allah, which He has revealed to you. And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will absolve them of their sins and reward them immensely. (65:5)
God-consciousness is therefore a bargain with Allah. It is a conditional statement; if we are god-conscious then Allah has truly promised us he will make for us a way out and provide for us through sources we cannot imagine.
And as we know, the promise of Allah is always true.
5. Do good to others
Qarun was a wealthy man in the times of the Children of Israel and he was extravagant in his display of wealth and arrogant as to how he attained it (“it’s all me” he used to claim).
As part of that passage, Allah teaches us how we should instead be in our relationship with wealth:
Rather, seek the reward of the Hereafter by means of what Allah has granted you, without forgetting your share of this world. And be good to others as Allah has been good to you. Do not seek to spread corruption in the land, for Allah certainly does not like the corruptors.” (28:77)
Qarun is taught that wealth:
- Should be used first and foremost to achieve the biggest mission of any human on Earth – success in the hereafter.
- Can be used for this life – it is not haram to enjoy oneself a little without being extravagant.
- Enables us to be good to others – and we must be good to them like Allah has been to us. Wealth, like every other resource we have in this life, is a test. It is not given to us as a reward necessarily – but a means by which we can obtain His pleasure. In a famous hadith the Prophet said:
“The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” (al-Tirmidhī 1924)
So interestingly, we are commanded to be good to others like Allah is to us. But Allah has also promised that he will be merciful and good to us if we are good to others. It is a completely virtuous circle!
4 Should not be used for evil purposes.
Wealth is a nice-to-have, not a must. For some, who are entrepreneurially minded they should be encouraged to actively seek out lots of wealth – as long as they can control their temptations and keep their eman high.
But for all of us, we want to attain at least some wealth, and the Qur’an gives us the Islamic framework to achieving a full portion of His bounties.