Translator: Davood Salehan
A major difference in Islamic views of livelihood allotment, lifestyle and economic and financial patterns governing our lives, is the difference in the view of income and expenditures. The criterion is: being needless of what is in the hands of people. It is narrated from Imam Ali (Peace be upon him): strive in the way of commerce, because commerce makes people needless of what people have to offer and Allah likes honest merchants and craftsmen. If he inflicts loss, he will not be praised and has no wage.
If we consider lifestyle as a set of principles and patterns governing the social and familial behavior of individuals, we must basically answer the question that why some relationships and practices of people in the view of Islam is important and it pays insufficient attention to minor issues of human life while the Muslims need to understand how their behavior is in details of his life?
On the other hand, conventional economics discuss the dignity of human that the Islamic state apparently has paid little attention to it. Is there a difference in this matter between Islam and the West, or that both express a similar thing and that we can express the ancient teachings of conventional economics in an Islamic framework?
The between Islam and the West’s views of the issue of income and expenditure
One of the differences between Islamic and anecdotal appreciation of livelihood, lifestyle and economic and financial patterns that govern the lives of people is the difference in dealing with expenditures and incomes. In the various books of Hadith and according to the Islamic view, Islam has paid little attention to the proportion of income and expenditure, management of household expenses, increasing working hours, etc. in order to prevent poverty and on the surface, it does not consider this disproportion to be the cause of impoverishment.
But on the other hand, major attention in Western thought of economic issues is to reduce costs and increase household income and family economic management is introduced in a way to mean reducing costs and increasing income. This is done through the elimination of life frills, financial planning, employment and domestic entrepreneurship, etc. There are a lot of debates in this issue and it is very important for the people.
But the Islamic view focuses on increasing provision and rulings of business that makes man near to the Resurrection. In this thought, the place of sustenance of human life as way of reaching to the spiritual and worldly happiness and the importance of business rules are emphasized and less attention has been paid to financial issues and detailed nuances of income and expenditure.
Income and expenditure in the view of the ancient people
The ancient people had been devoted to the practical problems of life as to household management and unlike narrators such as Sheikh Koleini who described the concept of sustenance and livelihood with reference to the rules of business, they considered household management as financial management of the family.
For example, among the ancients, Ibn Sina has said on household management that "firstly obtained property should be divided to three parts. One part to cover necessary expenses one part should be saved for future needs and suffering and other events that may occur over time and the last part have to be kept aside to pay the zakat and alms and for charitable purposes. "
"Charity and zakat should be paid without delay, free from deceit, continuously, in the proper place and with the aim of pleasing to God." "Two ends of limits of personal consumption are extravagance and waste of properties and on the other hand it is parsimony and avarice; in spending, appreciation, moderation and wisdom should be involved". "The wise person while being aware of sufficiently and preserving of God, he saves a portion of his earnings for a day when he is in desperate need, so that he will not face misery and poverty.
Now there is the place for this question that whether management of incomes in the form of reduced costs and increased income has a place in the religious literature or not? In other words, mere understanding of business rules and the place of provision and poverty in human life is enough for managing the household budget is there any need to accurately plan financial matters.
The relationship between income and expenditure in the view of Islam and the West
In response, it should be said that Islam focuses on the principles governing human relationships and the details and more functional matters and are up to people themselves and are tailored to their needs at different times of their lives. It should also be noted that the appreciation of livelihoods which means measuring in life implies that the scale of everything should be identified. This constitutes issues such as consumption limit of various commodities, the consumption of family members, financial management of income with the aim of refraining from asking others, etc.
Therefore, regarding the hadith mentioned in the beginning of the article and by examining other traditions we can conclude that in the field of cost management in the family, Islamic criterion is “being needless of what is in the hands of others”.
In other word, one must work in a way that sees no need to look at other people’s hands. Thus, Islam forbids being mercenary of people, it bids to trading so that in this way his provision comes in the same day to the human being. (According to hadith in question, if the trader loses in his trading, though he has no reward and is not praised, the Lord loves him.
So if someone is a beloved of God (the trader) receives loss, God will definitely compensate for him and would not let him be in in the need of other people. But this has a condition and that is one must be honest. Dishonesty and breach of trust causes man stay away from God’s help and do not benefit from it.)
As you can see an initial look at the approach taken by Islam, apparently makes a mess of most of the material calculus and makes the views quite the opposite. But does not this mean that accounting and enumerating should not be present in life and discussion of trade and forbidding being mercenaries is one case of being rich and needless of other people’s help.
But on the other side of life that is focused on the costs, observing proper pattern of consumption, property management and efficient use of them, and the balance between income and expenditure should also be taken into consideration and uses must be via the proportionality between the haves and the demands and observe its principles is mandatory.
Our discussion was not about the principles governing the use and costs, however, we intended to express the fact that if we are looking for richness in the hands of the people, we must take into consideration both the principles governing the business provisions and the principles of consumption and be able to make them practical in particular cases.
Let's not waste, we should be cognizant of our placement and spend in proportion to that, we should know that we’ll take whatever comes that is our sustenance and be not greedy and so on. Therefore, all issues related to the management of household expenses or income and expenditure included in the subject of household management and financial management of the family by considering all the above in the discussion are categorized in the “being needless of other people’s helps” and if something can be done that frees us from dependence on the people is correct based on Islamic view.
Thus, if discussions relating to the household cost management, reducing costs, etc. help us become less dependent on other people and make us needless of the property of the people, it is correct according to Islam to be accurate as to expenses but we should not forget Islamic criteria and standards for the provision and businesses and rely only on household expenditure management principles. In this regard it should be noted that the use of such principles should be in line with the Islamic principles of the provision.