Islam aims to develop an economically strong individual, a financially flourishing family and a fiscally responsible society. Its tenets and practices drive to build behaviors and traits that lead to the achievement of economic security for everyone. Following the principles outlined by Islam, individuals, families and societies have a sure chance of living a perpetual want-free life. Affluent and needy are coached to work together for the overall economic well-being of the whole society.

According to the Holy Quran, the source of all provisions, blessings and bounties is God. “And how many an animal there is that carries not its own sustenance! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearing, the All-knowing” (29:60/61). Man, therefore, must look towards, and base his economy on, heavenly guidance and support to bring prosperity at all levels in a society.

Islam requires its adherents to balance their lives between earning a living and purification and nourishment of their souls. Islam does not desire man to just lean to one side only, materialism or spiritualism, but to maintain a balance between them by being cognizant of the rights both of man and God.

“O ye who believe! when the call is made for Prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of God, and leave off all business. That is better for you, if you only knew. And when the Prayer is finished, then disperse in the land and seek of God’s grace [engage in business], and remember God much, that you may prosper. But when they see some merchandise or some amusement, they break up for it, and leave thee standing. Say, ‘That which is with God is better than amusement and merchandise, and God is the Best Provider.’” (62:9/10-11/12)

Friday is the holy day in Islam when Muslims in an extended neighborhood gather for weekly services. Service take place in the afternoon. Muslims are allowed to engage in business before the services and they are encouraged to seek God’s bounties after the couple of hours of service that consists of a sermon and short worship. They are not required to rest a whole day and not engage in worldly pursuit as necessary.

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Islam supports and encourages marrying and raising a family for the health and security of every member of the society. Islam defines the rights and responsibilities of the members of a family. Husband is the provider for the family and wife has ownership of her property. In Islam, charity begins at home and then fans out to reach other needy persons. Personal economic security is essential for a person to be able to help and benefit others.

Islam shuns interest as it diminishes buying power of an individual or a family and multiplies economic problems in a society. Islam presents the system of Zakat (charity) to help the needy so that they may avoid taking loans and save themselves from the burden of interest.

Charity, compassion and spirituality are integral part of religions emanating from a Beneficent God.

Ahmad is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages. He has translated, compiled and co-authored “A Gift for the Queen,” “Points to Ponder,” “Why Islam is my choice” and “Words of Wisdom.” He lives in Fargo and can be reached at syedsajidahmad@yahoo.com