…and do not squander wastefully, surely the squanderers are the followers of the shaitans and the Shaitan is ever ungrateful to his Lord.TMQ: Surah al-Isrā’, 17:26-27
Allah (ﷻ) expresses the sense of spending wastefully through two words:
(1) Tabdheer, ‘squandering recklessly.’
(2) Israaf, ‘extravagance.’
The question to be asked is, what qualifies as extravagance or squandering? Often the believers take a particular view that one should live like a pauper; that anything above having the basic necessities would put them into extravagance. Whilst others are so negligent that they consider nothing they are doing falls into this category. What is the correct way to view this matter?
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) passed by Sa’d while he was performing ablution. The Prophet (saw) said, “What is this extravagance (saraf/wasting)?” Sa’d said, “Is there extravagance with water in ablution?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you were on the banks of a flowing river.”
What is to be taken from this Hadith is that one must not use beyond what is required – even if it be water on the bank of a river. This analogy can naturally be carried over to anything one may consume, utilise, acquire and purchase.
Imam Malik (رحمه الله) said: “Tabdheer is that one acquires wealth and property, lawfully and cleanly, as he has been obligated to do but spends it in ways counter to it – and this is also given the name of israaf, which is haram.”
As for things unlawful and impermissible, spending even one dirham for these is tabdheer. And spending limitlessly to fulfill permissible and allowed desires – which exposes one to the danger of becoming a needy beggar in the future – is also included under tabdheer.Imam al-Qurtubi
And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor miserly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes).TMQ: Surah Al-Furqan, 25:67
One should neither be spending needlessly or being wasteful. Are our iftaar meals so plentiful that much is laid to waste? Are our wardrobes filled with clothes we rarely wear? This does not mean that one becomes stingy and miserly. The believer remains charitable and generous as they strive to please Allah (ﷻ). One should use their rizq to satisfy their needs without indulging excessively beyond their means. Pursuing Allah’s pleasure should not mean you put yourself into poverty if it can be helped.
Dear Muslims, the materialistic nature of the societies we live encourages one to compete and spend extravagantly for status and fame. We begin to carry this mindset without realising. Let us be conscious not to squander the rizq that Allah (ﷻ) has blessed us with. Let us not buy things needlessly and wastefully, nor eat more than our hunger requires, nor lead ourselves to debt in order to do good; so that we may stick to Allah’s (ﷻ) guidance.
…Eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.TMQ: Surah al-A’rāf, 7:31