Miserliness (Bukhl) is when you begin to feel a tightness in your heart when spending. To the point that you willingly deny yourself basic comforts and necessities, in order to hoard money. Taking it from an islamic perspective, you feel tightness in your heart when it comes to spending in the path of Allah. Like when it comes to paying Zakah or spending on dependants. Or when it comes to helping the needy or donating to a religious cause.
It is human nature to be slightly pained when parting with our money, especially if it could buy us comfort. But think about the immense reward we will inherit in the Hereafter. And also keep in mind the punishment.
وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ بِمَآ ءَاتَىٰهُمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِۦ هُوَ خَيْرًۭا لَّهُم ۖ بَلْ هُوَ شَرٌّۭ لَّهُمْ ۖ سَيُطَوَّقُونَ مَا بَخِلُوا۟ بِهِۦ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ مِيرَٰثُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌۭ
Let not those who are miserly with what Allah has given them from His Bounty think that it is good for them. Rather, it is bad for them. They will be made to wear what they withheld, owing to their miserliness, as a necklace (of fire) on the Day of Resurrection. And unto Allah is the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is well informed of all that you do.
[Surah Ali Imran | Verse 180]
Aspects of Miserliness
The first aspect is the Sacred Law obliges payment of Zakat—charity distributed to the needy. Miserliness in the form of not giving Zakat is explicitly forbidden. And the same is true with your obligation to support your family. Even if a couple suffers a divorce, the man must still take care of his children. Miserliness, when it comes to the obligations of Sacred Law, is the most poisonous form.
Another aspect is not you not creating difficulty over trivial matters. Like when it comes to the matter of debt, be flexible and merciful instead of being demanding and unbearable. Especially if you are not in dire need of the repayment, and you know the debtor is facing difficulty. Yes! It is your money, and it is your right to get it back. But please have mercy if you can, it comes with a lot of rewards. When you know the debtor has the money and just doesn’t want to pay, then you must strive to get your money back.
Causes of Miserliness
Some causes of miserliness are Love of the world, Love of wealth, and Heedlessness of death. The miser passionately clings to his wealth and hoards it up. The ultimate victim of miserliness is the miser himself. With some of us, we have the money but it causes us great distress to spend on ourselves and family let alone our others. The strange thing about this mindset is that the miser is always anxious and worried about money.
“The worst person is the miser. In this world he is deprived of his own wealth, and in the hereafter he is punished”
Signs and Symptoms of Miserliness
- Finding it difficult to spend in the path of Allah.
- Not able to spend on yourself and others.
- Feeling tightness in your heart when giving out Sadaqa or Zakah.
- Remembering your own expenses when you must spend or help others.
- Feeling upset when someone needy ask you for something.
- Becoming depressed and down due to loss in wealth/business.
- hoarding your wealth.
Treatment for Miserliness
- Oppose the action by spending when you begin to feel miserly.
- Consider the concept of what we give stays with us.
- Try spending more time in the obedience of Allah.
- Constantly remembering death.
- Reflect on the conditions of the grave and what will be with us.
- Reflect on the verses of the Qur’an and Hadith regarding miserliness.
- When a thought of spending on a good cause comes, just act immediately.
- Strive to spend in the path of Allah no matter how difficult it is for you.
- Reflect on the true purpose and benefit of wealth.
- Constantly make Du’a.
One major cause of poverty happens to be the lack of distribution of wealth. On one hand, we have people who are dying from hunger. on the other hand, we have people who are lavishly living life even in the same geographical area. No one is forcing you to give out your wealth. But let us strive to be generous. Nobody likes a miser. Even misers loathe each other. Realizing the hatred Allah and other people around us have for misers is enough to turn you away from their disease. When death takes us and moves us on, our wealth stays behind for others to wrangle over and spend.
May Allah grant us protection from this spiritual ailment, and grant cure to those of us struggling with this illness. Ameen.
Catch up with other episodes here: Episode 1 | Episode 2