There is a general tendency for those who earn money to believe that it is their own property. They feel that they can spend their money as they please without any restrictions from outside. This tendency was also prevalent in Arab society. With this background, the Qur’an in the chapter Al-A‘raf (The Heights) gives this general guidance: O Children of Adam, dress yourself properly whenever you are at worship: and eat and drink but do not be wasteful: God does not like wasteful people. (7:31)
Spending your money is not simply a matter of choice. There are other aspects to be considered. For example, if, by spending your money you take unhealthy food or unhealthy drink, it will destroy your physical fitness. You will cause your health and your activities in life to deteriorate. Money is a great source of distraction, and it is this distraction that is called in the Qur’an ‘israf’. Israf literally means going beyond all limits. In fact, money has two different aspects—the positive and the negative. Positive expenditure of money is undoubtedly good but the negative expenditure of money is bad. Money is a great source of distraction, and it is this distraction that is called in the Qur’an ‘israf’. Israf literally means going beyond all limits. And, in this sense, any waste of money is if. When one indulges in israf, it will very soon become a habit and one will habitually go beyond limits in other matters also. And that will prove to be disastrous.
Money is a great asset for the earner. It helps him to live a better life. It helps to pay the bills for his real needs. But when he fails to differentiate between positive expenditure and negative expenditure, it shows that he has become the slave of his desires, spending his money on such items as affording no real benefit in life. For this reason, every man and woman must be very cautious in his or her shopping, buying in a strictly selective way. When you are in a shopping center, don’t give in to the whims of the moment, but see what your real needs are. The system of modern shopping, or modern consumerism, is the greatest cause of the wastage of money. Use your money on things that give you some constructive results in return. The kind of expenditure that is not going to give you any return is a sheer waste of money. Spending money is like sowing a seed. If the seed will bring you a good harvest, then it is well worth sowing, otherwise better not sow it at all. The same is true of spending money.