Rich Muslim, Poor Muslim – Sidi Tushar Imdad

Rich Muslim, Poor Muslim – Which Would You Rather Be?

Acquiring money and building wealth can be a confusing topic for Muslims.

On one hand, when we read the Seerah and learn of the extreme frugality and hardships borne by the Sahaba it seems as if our luxurious, consumer-fed lives are opulent in comparison.

But then we have many other Sahaba who amassed and spent their great fortunes on helping the Ummah. For example, the third caliph, Uthman ibn ‘Affan, during a famine in Madinah, purchased a large caravan of food and goods at 10X the price before giving away the entirety to the sufferers!

This is the wonderful balance and perfection of Islam: we have prophets like Sayyidia Ayyub (a.s.) who was the personification of patience during adversity, having suffered extreme poverty, sickness and loss. In contrast, Allah sent us Prophet Sulaiman (a.s.) – whose wealth, power and kingdom will never be matched.

What’s remarkable is that both prophets are praised by Allah with the same words: ‘How excellent a servant, verily he was ever-returning in sincere repentance.’ (see Qur’an 38:30 & 38:44).

Sometimes, a thought may come to you – as it has to me many times – that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself was frugal and actually chose to be poor. Indeed, I asked this very question to Shaykh Ahmad Saad al-Azhari (who has taught tafsir for SeekersGuidance) when he visited my local masjid.

‘Didn’t the Prophet (s.a.w.) choose to be a servant prophet, rather than a ‘king prophet’ and therefore it’s his Sunnah to be poor?’

The shaykh replied that a ‘servant prophet’ is interpreted here as being ‘close to the people’. Think of a leader who is a king – distant and far in his ivory tower; now compare that to a leader who mingles with his people. The point was effective dawah and leadership, not poverty.

SubhanAllah, this is why we need the guidance of ‘ulema to help us navigate through such topics!

To summarize, Shaykh Ahmad Saad told me that there are ‘no restrictions’ in earning wealth as long as the ‘money doesn’t change their personality’, i.e. it doesn’t get a grip on our hearts.

In one of the finest contemporary manuals of spirituality ‘Sea without Shore’, Shaykh Nuh Keller gives a comprehensive list (my emphases):

“Beneficial wealth is that which is spent on one’s family, or gifts to others, charity, gaining useful knowledge, facilitating one’s works or worship, making final bequests… saving up for such things as buying a home, the children’s education, building mosques, training ‘ulema, or fulfilling other Islamic communal obligations – all of which are sound reasons to make and save money.”


The priorities for the Ummah change according to time and place. When Islam was a dominant force culturally and politically, scholars and righteous Muslims were the superstars, the celebrities! That’s why many shaykhs of the past placed heavy emphasis on zuhd (non-attachment to the world), frugality, anonymity, etc.

Now though, it is no secret that Muslims are in a state of extreme weakness. Our Ummah is filled with refugees, political prisoners, persecuted minorities, oppressed civilians and starving orphans (Ya Allah, aid them all!).

For those of us who are fortunate not to be in those groups – or living in the West – one of the greatest acts of worship we can do is to gain wealth and power for the sake of helping the Ummah. Living in the West, we have privileged access to quality education, technology and opportunity which can help us build powerful institutions – like SeekersGuidance, masajid, darul ulooms and charities – which can help heal our Ummah.

Think of Sayyidah Khadija (r.a.) – a mother of the believers. She was one of the wealthiest women of Makkah and her charity was critical in supporting the new, emerging Muslim community.

Remember Abu Bakr (r.a.) and his freeing of Bilal (r.a.) and many other slaves.

Are we not in a similar situation?


Another amazing emphasis in our Deen is the status of traders.

In Hadith we read: ‘Verily the trustworthy and truthful trader will be counted among the siddiques and the martyrs.’ (Tirmidhi)

Our contemporary ‘ulema have encouraged Muslims to excel in trade and business. An amazing example is recounted in Faza’il-e-Tijaarat where ‘Umar (r.a.) bemoaned the fact that many Muslims had given up trade due to becoming independent through the wealth flowing from conquered lands.

He replied: ‘If you are going to do that and discard trade as a profession, you will find your men will be in need of their men and your women in need of their women.’

Allama Abdul Hay Kattani comments on this prophecy that indeed Muslims left the ranks of trade and commerce whilst ‘others took hold of it and controlled the business world to such an extent that the entire Ummah came to be in need of others.’

SubhanAllah, this was written over 40 years ago, before the digital revolution and the rise of massive Western monopolies. We are now witnessing the corporate take over of the planet; businesses and businessmen are wealthier than entire nations.

Today’s traders are entrepreneurs like Bill Gates or Richard Branson. Rather than buying and selling in the physical marketplace – they leverage technology and modern skills of marketing to amass fortunes.


I hope I have convinced you that it really is part of our Deen to become wealthy enough to support our families and communities.

Indeed, many readers will be familiar with the heavy modern costs of merely owning a house and educating one’s children to university level.

For women, who already have to juggle considerable parenting and wife responsibilities, entrepreneurship is a unique solution. We are seeing an impressive rise of Muslima ‘mompreneurs’ who are modern day Khadijas!

However, there is still a huge lack of knowledge – in society as a whole – about wealth creation.

We still are caught up in outdated models of ‘work hard, go to uni, get a salaried job, save and enjoy your pension.’

It was only when I read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ that I had my own personal paradigm shift and realised that one should ‘not work for money, but make money work for you.’

We weren’t taught financial intelligence at school. And unless your parents were businessmen, you weren’t taught by them either.

How do you learn the fundamentals of wealth creation, money management, savings, investment and entrepreneurship (even if you are working fulltime) – all within an Islamic framework?

I am delighted to be able to invite you to a remarkable workshop Money Mastery for Purpose co-organised by one of my respected readers, Tanim Zaman – a serial entrepreneur.

 This is a two-day workshop with so many raving testimonials from Muslim professionals that it needs no praise from me.

And Tanim has given a very special discount ONLY for readers of SeekersGuidance and my community. Alhamdulillah, he has generously discounted more than I asked – over 50% off the public price!

There are only 20 seats left. Deadline is Sunday 1 March, 23:59. Please read about the event below:

I’d love to meet my readers in person. InshaAllah, I shall be speaking on Day 2 of the event.

For readers who can’t make it to London for the event, you can still benefit from watching this unique panel discussion with 3 Muslim Entrepreneurs discussing how they ‘Escaped the Rat Race’ in search of a more meaningful path. The 3 speakers who are from very different backgrounds shared some incredible insights from their journeys and valuable tips for anyone thinking of doing the same:

Tushar Imdad (aka Tushar Mohammed Imdad-ul-Haque Bhuiya) is an Islamic Time Management Coach and Educational Entrepreneur. Professionally trained as a high school English teacher, Tushar has taught or managed prominent Islamic schools in Leicester, UK, between 2007-2016. With a flair for managing multiple roles, Tushar is also a GCSE English examiner, a teacher trainer for AMS UK; professional proofreader; former lead instructor at Madrasa Manara; and is currently the Director of Shaykhspeare’s Online English Academy and High Impact Tutors.  
 A long-term student of knowledge, Tushar has studied a range of Islamic sciences at the feet of scholars such as Shaykh Nuh Keller, Umm Sahl, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Maulana Ilyas Patel and Ustadh Tabraze Azam. In 2015 he completed Level 5 of the Classical Arabic Program from the prestigious Qasid Institute, Amman.   
Throughout his varied career, Tushar has always been driven by a passion for time management. Starting in 2009, he has delivered a mixture of workshops, webinars, web-coaching and client visits, attracting delegates as varied as CEOs, corporate professionals, housewives, dentists and scholars from places spanning the UK, US and Middle East. Tushar has published articles and delivered training for, and (now Kiflayn). In recent years he has immersed himself in  productivity systems, learning from world-class experts such as Demir Bentley, the authors of The One Thing, Leo Babuta and James Clear. His recent courses have included  ‘Principles of Islamic Time Management’, ‘Time Tactics 101’ and ‘The Breakthrough Habit’.

Spending Haram Wealth

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: Assalamu alaykum

If I acquired wealth in an impermissible manner, then segregated that wealth from the remainder of my wealth, is spending from the remainder of my wealth considered spending with impermissible money?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Any portion of one’s wealth that was acquired in a permissible manner is permissible to spend.

If one has mixed both the permissible wealth and the impermissible it is likewise permitted to spend of it. However, one is only permitted to spend up to, but not exceeding, the permissible portion. This is because wealth is not specified due to specification. [Ibn Abidin; al-Radd al-Muhtar: quoting from Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wal-Nazair]

For example, if you have £2,000, £1,600 is from a permissible source and £400 is from an impermissible source. Even though the money has been mixed, you are permitted and not sinful for spending up to the amount of £1,600. This is the meaning of the above expression, ‘Wealth is not specified due to specification.’

However keeping them separate is more cautious.

Note that it is fortunate that you realized the severity of impermissible wealth. If one is looking to repent from such sin, they need to return that which was illegitimately acquired. If you have the exact money that was originally acquired you should return it however possible. It is not necessary that they know that you are returning the money. If that specific money has changed then you must return the value. [Haskafi, al-Durr al-Mukhtar – Bab al-Ghasb]

Hope this helps
Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Prayer and Charity – Ramadan Renewal Xtra

Struggling to keep on top of your podcast subscriptions? SeekersHub Ramadan Renewal Xtra offers you a bitesize summary of each night’s lessons at SeekersHub Toronto this Ramadan. Catch up on the essential lessons, captured by our media team in this special episode.

Zakat: A Comprehensive SeekersGuidance Reader

Zakat forms the fifth chapter of Imam Al-Ghazali’s seminal work, the Ihya, which is widely regarded as the greatest work on Islamic spirituality in the world.

Here, we share some of the best SeekersHub resources available on this subject plus video recordings from SeekersHub Toronto, where live sessions will be held everyday this Ramadan.


Purification: A Comprehensive SeekersHub Reader

Purification forms the third chapter of Imam Al-Ghazali’s seminal work, the Ihya, which is widely regarded as the greatest work on Islamic spirituality in the world.

Here, we share some of the best SeekersHub resources available on this subject plus video recordings from SeekersHub Toronto, where live sessions will be held everyday this Ramadan.


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Should I Pay Zakat on a Land?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

After my marriage, my parents gifted me some land. We will be selling the land in the future.

Should I be paying Zakat on this land?

When should I pay Zakat?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

1. There is no zakat due on personal possessions, whether houses, land or otherwise. But zakat is due on cash, gold and silver, trade assets, and investments.

2. You should pay on your zakat due date, and not one year after taking possession. This is because what counts is whether or not you have the zakatable minimum (nisab) on the due date, regardless of what wealth comes and goes during the course of the year.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.392); Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab (150)]

Please also see: Zakat: How to Calculate & Whom to Give and: Is Your Zakat Due? – A Reader and Resources on Giving Zakat

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Allah’s Deal With The Poor – What It Means For you, by Shaykh Faid Said

When you give to the poor and needy from the wealth you have been blessed with, there is a promise from Allah that is beyond imagination and comparison. Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said tells us more.

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem.

None of us could have ever wished to come to this world, as none of us even knew that this world exists, and we did not even know that we existed ourselves!

Allah (The Most High) invited us to this existence, and He is the One who invites, provides and takes responsibility for all those He has invited! As He is the Provider, He established the rules that govern this existence, and included in those rules is the principle that those who are fortunate will give to those who are less fortunate; and Allah (The Most High) made this exchange a deal that is in actuality between Him and the fortunate ones!

Generally speaking, there are two types of people:

  1. those whom Allah (The Most High) has given in abundance and
  2. those who are poor and needy.

So when Allah (The Most High) invited us to this existence, He took responsibility for all those who are in need, and at the same time, He does not take the abundance He has provided to the fortunate ones; what has been given to them is their own.

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“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan…” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 245)

Hence, when those who are fortunate give to those who are in need, Allah (The Most High) creates a deal between the fortunate ones and Him!  It is as if Allah (The Most High) is saying: that which you give to others I invited to this existence, will be a debt between you and Me!

The Mercy of Allah (The Most High) manifests in His giving and not taking away from the fortunate ones, and His asking on behalf of His other invitees!

In contemplating this, we recall the narration when the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) entered the house of Syeda Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her), and upon entering he (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) saw that she was polishing the rust off of some dirhams. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) inquired as to why she was meticulously polishing the dirhams, to which she replied that she was going to give the dirhams as charity. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) further asked that if she was going to give the dirhams as charity, she could give them as is; Syeda Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her) responded:  

These dirhams, before going into the hands of the miskeen, will be placed into the hands of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!

Allahumma salli alaa Syedina Muhammad wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad!

Resources for seekers

Photo by Rui Duarte.

The Story of Abdul Razzaq and Abdul Ghani, by Novid Shaid

Writer and poet, Novid Shaid, weaves a tale of two men who led very different lives with what they were granted by Allah.

There were once two men: Abdul Razzaq and Abdul Ghani.
Abdul Razzaq was a faithful man, who was very resourceful, with a talent for acquiring wealth. By the age of forty, he had paid off the mortgages of three properties, rented them out and his portfolio continued to grow promisingly.
He spent on local projects and was always generous to the mosque and community. When his daughters got married, he gave each of them lavish send offs, inviting the whole community and ensuring everyone left the hall with a satisfied smile on their faces. His wife was always cheerful and regularly invited the local ladies around her luxuriant house to read Quran and send blessings on the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace. This house was always blessed with the pitter-patter of his daughters’ children, with guests from Pakistan, with local dignitaries and businessmen.
The only thing they seemed to lack was sons. But both husband and wife were grateful for what Allah had given them and inwardly they were content. When the couple passed on, it was noticed that a hint of a smile appeared on their faces and people reported that they had heard the shahadah (testimony of faith) from their lips. Thereafter, Abdul Razzaq was lauded and remembered as an exceptional individual, who had lived the best life possible, rich in this world and rich in the next world.
Abdul Ghani was a contemporary of Abdul Razzaq, who lived some two miles away from Razzaq’s spacious, detached property on the outskirts of town. Incidentally, the two men were frequently seen standing next to each other in the congregational prayers at the mosque. But unlike Razzaq, Abdul Ghani had struggled to make ends meet throughout his life, with jobs in factories, two of which had laid him off, and taxi jobs. He had never been clever enough to multiply his wealth and, for decades and decades, he had to graft just to subsist.
His worldly possessions did not amount to much: a terraced house in a cramped area of town and an old people carrier which doubled up as a taxi. His only child and son, Hasan, inherited his dad’s artlessness and did not amount to much at school, ending up working in the local supermarket. Hasan was wedded off in Abdul Ghani’s ancestral village in Kashmir and it took Hasan and his father several years of hard work to bring the bride to England. Mrs Ghani was a simple woman who seldom complained and phlegmatically moved to each phase of her life, enshrouded in her white chadour and her few friends, whom she would call to her house from time to time.
And that’s how Ghani lived, until old age took him and his wife. Fate had it that the next available space in the local graveyard was next to Abdul Razzaq. So there the two graves stood: Abdul Razzaq’s marble gravestone, inscribed with exquisite calligraphy and Abdul Ghani’s cheap and cheerful piece with the plain inscription from the Quran: “From Allah did we come and to Him we will return”.
One day, after a burial nearby, two old acquaintances of Razzaq stood before these two graves.
“Our friend, Abdul Razzaq. What a man! So generous, such a good Muslim. Masha Allah, he had been blessed with such wealth and I will never forget that smile on his face when he passed on.”
The other looked at Abdul Ghani’s grave: “Abdul Ghani… Poor man, he worked so hard…”
That night, these two men saw some familiar faces in their dreams. The first man saw Abdul Razzaq with a face radiant and pure, but there seemed to be a weight on his back.
“How is it with you Abdul Razzaq?”
“Life is blessed,” replied Abdul Razzaq, “this world is better than yours, but all the wealth that I did not use for His pleasure has become a burden on my back.”
The other man saw Abdul Ghani, enlightened, princely, ennobled.
“How is it with you Abdul Ghani?”
“In the dunya, I was nobody. No one thought of me much or praised my name. But every penny I had, I spent for His sake, and when everyone was asleep, I used to wake up and praise His name. Now the angels visit me in a lush garden filled with exquisite fruit. His sincere remembrance has the highest value here, and money… Money means nothing here, except what was for Allah…”
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Resources for seekers

Can Parents Give to Their Children Their Inherited Shares While Alive?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam’aleykum,

My parents are alive and in good health but they want to distribute their wealth to me and my sisters according to the law of inheritance.

How should they go about it?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

May Allah Most High grant both your parents a long and blessed life.

Your parents can give you gifts now, but your inherited share of their wealth will not pass to you until one of them passes away. Even if they give you a share of their wealth now, the actual shares will be calculated and transferred at death.

At such a time, I’d advise contacting a reliable scholar.

Please also see: Dividing an Estate for Inheritance and: Inheritance Laws: Can I Stipulate Other Than the Determined Amounts Mentioned in the Qur’an?

And Allah alone knows best.

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Putting Shoes On Our Heads, Counsel from Habib Ali Al-Jifri

Habib Ali al-Jifri asks us to imagine if someone walked into a room and placed his shoes on top of his head. What would we think of him? We would think he was crazy or if we had a good opinion, we might say he’s just trying to make us laugh.

This dunya is like a pair of shoes

It’s a funny analogy but in actual fact, we are all constantly “putting shoes on our heads”. This world, the dunya, is like a pair of shoes and our dogged pursuit of fleeting worldly achievements, such as rank, status, popularity, possessions and wealth – is akin to putting shoes on our head.