Finance in Islam

How to Manage the Household Finance in Islam – part 1

How to Manage the Household Finance in Islam – part 1

Author: Prof. Muhammad (Dean of Sekolah Tinggi Ekonomi Islam (STEI) Yogyakarta)

The wealth in Islam was a mandate, and a right of a person. The authority to use it was tightly connected to the ability (competence) and suitability (integrity) in managing the asset or in another term, the prudential principle. The Islamic principle taught us that “The best of wealth is the one that is managed by a righteous man (a trusted and professional man).”

The right to work in the sense of freedom to start a business, trade, produce goods and services, in order to seek for Allah’s sustenances, was the right of every human being without any discrimination between men and women. If we knew that women were also given the rights of property and freedom to own things by Allah, then they should also get the rights to work and seek for sustenance.

The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- praised someone who consumed the result of his own work, by saying,” A man doesn’t consume a better food than the one he obtained from the result of his own work, because David, the prophet of Allah, ate the result of his own work.” (Narrated by Bukhari). (And his saying), “May Allah have mercy on someone who earns his living decently, spends his wealth wisely, and spares some for the savings as preparation to anticipate the time of his lacking and need.” (HR. Muttafaq ‘Alaih).

It indicated that Islam wanted every muslim to be able to manage his business and work properly, maintain and manage his wealth efficiently and proportionally, and to have a spirit and habit of saving some of his income for the future and to anticipate the coming needs. This principle was actually the basis for the worship of Allah in order to be acceptable (Mabrur), because the means, intention, and process were all decent. The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “Truly, Allah is good, and accepts only the good things.” (Narrated by Muslim).

This awareness of accountability (ma’uliyah) in the financial sector, that comprised the aspects of income and expense management, arose from the belief that Allah the Glorified and Exalted would surely supervise and audit it, as said by the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, “The soles (feet) of a slave wouldn’t move from the place where he was resurrected in the Last Day, before he was asked about four things, amongst which was about his wealth; where did he get it and how did he spend it.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi).

Regarding the Family Living

Basically, the responsibility of providing the living of the family lied on the husbands, thus they ought to work properly to provide it, through legal ways, and the women as the wives, were responsible to manage and maintain the family’s assets. Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed, which can be translated as, “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them excel over the other, and because they spend out of their possessions (to support them)…”(QS. An-Nisa/The Women :34). Hence, the position as the head of the family for the husbands was parallel to the consequence of providing the living and appropriate cares for their family. Therefore, the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had proportionally divided the roles of husband and wife in his saying, “Every one of you is a protector, and each protector will be asked for his responsibility towards what he protected. A husband is a protector for his family, and he is responsible for the family members he protected. A wife is a protector of her husband’s household, and she will asked of her responsibility towards the assets of the household that she protected…” (Narrated by Bukhari). When the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- married his daughter to Ali -may Allah be pleased with him-, he advised his son in law, “You are obliged to work and make efforts while she is obliged to take care (to manage) the household.” (Muttafaq ‘Alaih).

Thus, a sharing between husband and wife in the financial aspect of the family, was a form of responsibilities of the husband in providing the lawful living, and the wife in taking care, managing, nurturing, and maintaining the household finances. However, it didn’t mean that a husband couldn’t assist in managing the assets and the household finances, if the wife was not fully capable of it or if she needed some helps. And vice versa, there was no prohibition in shari’a of a wife to help her husband – moreover if he was incapable in fulfilling the family needs- through a lawful and decent way that didn’t harm the harmony and happiness of the family, as long as her husband permitted her to do so. Even, her help could be valued as righteous deed for her. Wasn’t Khadija -may Allah be pleased with her- also participating in fulfilling the needs of the Prophet’s family -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, as a form of good relationship and mutual assistance in good? (QS.Al-Maidah/The Table Spread:2)

The principle of justice in Islam guaranteed the women their rights in seeking for Allah’s sustenances according to their nature and shari’a laws, with the intention of sufficing their and their family needs, in order to perform the worshipping activities devotedly. However, a wife should have a belief that her main task in the family was to arrange the household affairs and manage the family finances, and not to provide the living. The experts of Qur’an interpretation concluded from chapter An Nisa/The Women: 32, ” Men shall have a share according to what they have earned, and women shall have a share according to what they have earned…”, about the basic principle of women’s right and freedom in seeking for the sustenances. The history of Islam during the time of the Prophet had proven that the women did play their social roles in battles, by providing medication and taking care of the logistics. Beside that, they were also involved in trading activities and in helping their husband in agriculture sector.

To be continued, insha Allah… => Part 2
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