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Chapter 7. Averting Stinginess

Know that withholding money is not considered stinginess as a person may wish to save for his needs, future tribulations, or for his children and relatives. This is actually considered being economical, and as such it cannot be dispraised. Further, some people may find themselves strengthened by saving their wealth. Rather the word 'stingy' is used to describe someone who does not give the obligatory rights from his wealth. Ibn Umar said, "Whoever gives [obligatory] alms is not stingy." Also, a person who does not give what would benefit people though doing so would not affect him or would barely affect him in any way is considered stingy.

The Prophet (saw) said, "What disease is as incurable as stinginess!" (Hakim and Bukhari)

Abu Muhammad al-Ramharmazi said, "Stinginess resembles a disease because it spoils people, casts away honor and brings about revilement. It also weakens the body, extinguishes one's desire and changes one's color."

Wise people used to say, "A generous man is free because he owns his money, while a stingy man does not deserve to be called free because his money owns him."

Abdullah ibn Amr (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, "Be cautious of parsimony, for it has destroyed those who lived before you. It ordered them to sever the ties of kinship and they did, it ordered them to be stingy and they became stingy, it ordered  them  to indulge in dissoluteness and they did." (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

He also said, "Two traits are not combined in a believer; stinginess and bad morals." (Tirmidhi)

Al-Khattabi said, "Miserliness is more specific than stinginess, because miserliness is a hyponym and is equivalent to a genus while stinginess is a hypernym and is equivalent to the species."

Some said, "Stinginess is to withhold money while miserliness is to withhold money, as well as kindness."

Bishr al-Hafi said, "Meeting stingy people is anguish to the hearts of the believers."

The cure for stinginess is to contemplate, as one will then realise that poor people are also one's brothers, he is favored over them [with wealth] and that they were made in need of him; therefore one should thank the One Who blessed him by consoling his brethren. One should also reflect on the honor of generosity; for people should know that you enslave free people when you do them a favor and that evil people will ravage your state when you are stingy. Such a person should be certain that everything will remain in his hands obnoxiously. Therefore it would be better to leave it before it leaves him (he should give his money in good causes, before it is taken away from him).