32.5 MAAL

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.

32.5.1 RIZQ

The Islamic concept of rizq is very different from the western one and explains the major difference between Islamic and western economics. In Islam rizq is expansive. European economic thinking is based on scarcity of resources. Rizq is sustenance from Allah. Allah’s rizq is good and is abundant. Allah can give rizq in abundance. He can also contract the rizq. There are differences in the rizq that Allah bestows on different people.


32.5.2 MAAL

Maal, mentioned 76 times in the Qur’an, can be maal mubaah or maal haraam. It is a means and not an end. It can be used to do good or to do bad. Maal as exchange in buying and selling to fulfil basic human needs, as compensation for work, a a means to political power, and as the basis for the husband’s leadership in the family. Maal like life is protected by Law. Collection of maal is a human instinct. Humans are happy with maal and are proud because of it. Some people love maal. Others have renounced maal. Maal is fitnat (temptation) and is a test (ibtilaau). It can keep people too preoccupied and they do not undertake jihad or remembrance of Allah. Economic self-reliance is earning a living by working. Halaal earnings are praised. Haraam earnings are not blessed. Maal is earned by trade, agriculture, manfacture, or providing services. Being rich is having plenty of maal. It is a source of enjoyment. It may arise from working and earning, from donations, and from inheritance. The relationship between amount of maal and feeling rich is complex and involves psychological factors. Some with plenty of maal may feel poor because they aspire for more. Some own very e maal may feel rich because they are satisfied with what they have. There are many forms of maal: money, offspring, tangible and intangible property. All maal is from Allah. Maal may be associated with good attributes such as modesty and generosity. It may also be associated with bad attributes such as miserliness, transgression, kufr, and nifaaq.



Islam asserts the right to private property that is transferable to others by gift, sale, or inheritance. Maal is a trust from Allah. The human is a custodian of mal; the real owner is Allah. The human is just a vicegerent in maal. The needy have a right in a Muslim’s property. Maal should not be given to the foolhardy, safiih, who will waste it.  Ultimately the only permanent benefit for a human from his or her maal is the thawaab from sadaqat. The Law prescribes sanctity of maal, hurmat al maal. Maal cannot be destroyed. The of a Muslim is protected by Law. Special emphasis is placed on the wealth of the orphan, maal al yatiim.



Allah enjoined humans to exploit the earth. Earning one’s livelihood was better than dependency but the community must support those incapable of working. Economic activity within a moral context leads to success on earth and the hereafter, international brotherhood, equity, justice, equal opportunity, social welfare, and economic efficiency. It must fulfil the 5 purposes of the Law (maqasid al sharia) and strengthen jihad capabilities. The haraam is defined leaving the rest as mubaah. The Law allows free markets, the profit incentive, private property, and free enterprise within a moral context and limits of the Law. Fabrication of a utopian economic system and imposing it in the name of Islam is very dangerous. The Law allows people the initiative and creativity to experiment and find the best system for their time and place within the regulations of the Law. The interdependence of the economic systems in the world means that an isolated Islamic economic system is difficult to maintain. However any attempts to establish an Islamic economy, even if not yet perfect, are a step in the right direction and should be encouraged. Two Islamic economic institutions have been successful in our times: Islamic banking and Islamic insurance.



Humans differ in rizq. Some inequality is needed for motivation and maintenance of a dynamic economy. The law ensures equity and equality of opportunity but cannot guarantee equality of actual achievements. Excessive accumulation of maal leads to corruption, exploitation, hyperconsumption, and waste. Excessive accumulation of maal by one individual is restricted by limiting economic activity to the halaal goods and services, prohibition of dishonest transactions, encouragement of giving, imposition of zakat, financial support of the family and relatives, and a system of inheritance that distributes the estate of the deceased among several inheritors.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004