Category Archives: Finance

Developing a Successful Mindset

A person once approached Hazrat Ml. Zakariyya رحمة الله عليه to seek his advice. He told him that for the past two months when I return home from work, I ask my wife, “Is there anything to eat?” We are experiencing severe poverty. When she replies that there is nothing, I opt to spend the day fasting. Hazrat رحمة الله عليه replied, “Alhamdulillah. You are acting upon the Sunnah.”

In other words, Nabi ﷺ did the exact same because he lived a life of poverty too. Therefore, although the situation is difficult, it is close to the Sunnah and reaps rewards. This was Hazrat رحمة الله عليه’s mindset. He would notice the Sunnah more than the difficulty. In contrast, our mindset has drifted far away from the Sunnah. For example, if a man happily announces that he bought a spacious home in a posh suburb with a loan from his bank, what would our response be? Parents would gleefully remark, “Son, you have done well!” His new purchase would become talk of the town. Now his parents would want to purchase items for his new home, like a frame with the Kabah on it. He would be hailed a success.

Yet in reality, what has the son done by taking an interest loan? He has waged war with Allah (Qur’an, 2:278-279). He has incurred his wrath and anger. Yet we are too drunk and intoxicated in the love of this world to notice or care. Considering him successful for indulging in haram shows that our mindset is more materialistic than Islamic.

Allah tells us in the Qur’an that Jannah is being prepared as we speak for the righteous. Righteousness is the criteria. It is the ticket we need to enter the gardens of Jannah, but what does it mean to be righteous? It means to tread carefully and cautiously on earth, avoiding displeasing Him as far as possible. That is success. Not indulging in interest and sins. No matter how common it becomes always remember, a sin is a sin. There is no good outcome for it in the hereafter, even if its worldly state appears beautiful in our eyes.

May Allah align our mindset with Islam and save us from sins that tempt us to displease Him, Aameen.

— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله

Above is an extract from Hazrat’s talk on 08/12/17 in  Masjid Siraatul-Jannah, Ormonde, Johannesburg. To listen to the full talk, please click here.

Lessons from a Monkey, Moth and a Bird

I was walking with my children a few days ago and we came across a monkey. A moth flew into his hands and began hopping around until eventually, the monkey caught him in its grip. He was ready to devour the moth but suddenly his grip loosened, and the moth flew away. The moth began soaring high into the sky. The monkey jumped behind trying to catch him, but he was too high to reach. Just then, a bird came flying in that direction. The moth literally flew into the bird’s mouth and thus, the bird had his meal for the day.

From this little incident we can extract many valuable life lessons. In the search for wealth we are often like that monkey. We jump behind many opportunities to make as much money as possible, taking on our shoulders far more than we can bear. Understand no matter how hard you try, if it is not decreed for you, you will never acquire it. Just like the moth that flew right out of the monkey’s grip. So, do not be so hard on yourself.

In contrast, the bird did not exert any effort, yet his food flew right into his mouth. A little while later the monkey searched the bins and found something to eat. Therefore, never become despondent. Your efforts never go in vain. Perhaps Allah has also decreed your sustenance elsewhere. His treasures are unlimited, and He always has something in store for you.

To acquire it, we should not allow ourselves to be humiliated in our jobs. Some of us have bosses who swear and shout whilst we work like slaves for them. This is not what Allah wants from us, He does not expect us to endure humiliation. If you are not respected as a human being where you work, search for work elsewhere. On the other hand, never be the one to humiliate those that work for you. You are not paying them, Allah is paying them via you so be kind.

The second lesson we can learn is on perspective. When the moth was trapped in the hand of the monkey, it appeared that he would be eaten in his hands. Whereas in reality, he was safe there. As soon as he flew out he thought he had acquired freedom. Little did he realise, he was flying to his death. Likewise, we often find ourselves trapped in the hands of difficulty. The measures we take to come out of it must always conform with Shariah. If it does, then know that you have pleased Allah and this temporary difficulty of yours will be a means of permanent ease in the hereafter. However, if it does not, then no matter how free we may seem death will eventually catch us out.

For example, in a financial problem it is impermissible to take a loan with interest. Those that do may seem to be flying high financially with a stable home and job. Little do they realise; the angel of death is waiting, and this financial freedom will eventually lead to destruction. Therefore, do not fall in love with mere worldly delights. Know that nothing is fool proof in life, never be too sure of yourself or your means. Understand that life will be full of tests, do not reduce yourself or sacrifice your faith to come out of them. Rather, adopt dignified means coupled with reliance in the almighty, and your tests will soon turn into blessings in disguise.

May Allah make it so, Aameen.

— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله

(Above is an extract from Hazrat’s talk on 31/10/17 in Masjid-ut-Taqwa, Pietermaritzburg. To listen to the full talk, please click here.)

The purpose of Qurbani: To develop Taqwa

The moon has been sighted, the days of Hajj have begun and it will be Eid soon inshaAllah. Currently, everyone is talking about Qurbani animals. Some people travel the length and breadth of their province looking for a special Qurbani animal to buy. That is good alhamdulillah but what is the main purpose of Qurbani? Allah speaks about it in the Qur’an where He says, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is your piety that reaches Him.” [Surah Hajj, Verse 37]

Therefore, our main goal is to develop taqwa over the next few days in the hope that we reach Eid with taqwa in our hearts. Our amal of Qurbani will then be judged according to this. So of course, we need a Qurbani animal and many of us are looking into this. However, the key question we must now ask is that how we develop this taqwa?

There are a number of ways we can do this. Firstly, be careful in how you speak. Avoid swearing, lying or deceiving people. Remember that our Allah can hear every word and the angels are recording it all. Secondly, lower and protect your gaze. Do not go to places where there will be free-mixing and fitna like the casinos. Always avoid them at all costs. Otherwise, we may be tempted towards haraam. Thirdly, protect your ears too from haraam. If your phone has a musical ringtone or alarm, change that. Why accrue a few seconds of sin every time your phone rings? It is easily avoidable. Fourthly, protect your mind too from haram thoughts like fantasizing.

Following these points will inshaAllah help you to build taqwa. Yes, it is not the most exciting part of Qurbani but it is certainly the most important part. Lastly, in these 10 days of Dhul Hijjah turn to Allah. I know my weaknesses and you know yours. Speak about them to Allah, seek His forgiveness and clean your heart. Sort out any disputes you may have with people. Sometimes that can be hard but as far as possible, be the better person. Give them the benefit of the doubt, seek forgiveness, close that chapter and move on. Why allow disputes to eat you up inside? Why allow it to corrupt your heart? Let it go.

This world is not a place of justice. In the Hereafter, Allah will grant you justice and that is when we will realise how insignificant, small and unnecessary most of our current worldly disputes are. At times disputes continue because the two opposing parties do not want to humble themselves and apologise. This is wrong. We must learn to humble ourselves before the humbler of all souls humbles us on the day of Judgement.

May Allah enable us to develop taqwa and accept our Qurbanis as a result of it, Aameen.

— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله

(Above is an extract from Hazrat’s dhikr majlis on 21/08/17 in Masjid-ut-Taqwa, Pietermaritzburg. To listen to the full talk, please click here.)

Work your way up in Business

business

I remember years back, some ulama asked me to be the chairman for their society. I consulted Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel رحمة الله عليه who advised me to refuse the offer explaining that in the Jameat office, he started off packing hampers. Then after some time and experience he took on a higher post, and once he mastered that he took a post higher until eventually, he became chairman for the society. From this we learn that in any business or organisation, we must work right at the bottom first, and then work our way up.

This will allow us to thoroughly understand each stage and department in our organisations. Otherwise, if an individual goes straight for the chairman seat he will be unaware of how each department works, leading him to making the wrong decisions. Furthermore, people will be able to pull the wool over his eyes easily because this man may be a chairman, but he has no clue what goes on at grass root levels, he’s too high up to see and notice what the labourers see and notice!

Many times, we see a young person go into his dad’s business but he wants to work in the office immediately. No, this is not the way it works. First, he must be given a broom and he should sweep the floor. Then he can pack the shelves, offload the van and do stock rotation. Slowly he will work his way up until eventually, when the time is right, he will become experienced enough to sit in the office and meet the representatives and seniors.
That opportunity will come but first, our sons should start off from the bottom, learning what the business is all about.

When a person goes straight to the top, he will not appreciate what the labourers do because he hasn’t done it himself. But for example, if he has experienced offloading, he will know how long it takes. Say it took your son half an hour. Now when your son reaches the chairman seat and his employers are taking an hour, he will know they’re wasting time. But if they’ve been away for 15 minutes, he will understand that they need more time. So rather than shouting, he would be empathetic.

Often rather than our sons requesting a senior position, we as parents make the mistake of putting our sons right at the top. That’s why the business goes down; the father spends a lifetime struggling and working his way up in someone else’s shop, and now years later, he’s successfully running his very own business. But when he brings his son into the business, he says that my son is a prince, he can’t sweep or pack shelves…he’s going to go straight to the office! That’s a mistake – this son will never understand the business that way. Plus, it is possible that pride and arrogance will enter the heart of this child.

So we must first give them an opportunity to learn from the bottom, otherwise, how will they teach others from the top?

May Allah grant us all the tawfiq, Aameen.

— Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله

(The above is an extract from Hazrat’s majlis on 14/4/2016.)

Usury/Interest: Waging war with Allah

image

I was with a person and his friend phoned up requesting money. He was in the casino and he needed 80,000 rands. This incident occurred some time back, so 80,000 rands was considered a lot of money! Yet this person casually handed over 80,000 to him. So I remarked, “Does he pay you back?” The person replied, “Look, this is haram money. I acquired it from gambling in the casino, and now it is returning to the casino. If he happens to pay me back, I will just push it aside anyway as it is haram money.”

His point was that one haram cancels the other. These are the ridiculous arguments that we use to justify accepting interest and haram money. Allah declares in the Quran that the one who takes interest is waging war with Allah.

The Palestinians are at war with an enemy force so naturally, our hearts go out to them and we extend our sympathies. This is good but why are we not worried about those of us who are waging war with Allah? Can they possibly stand any chance of winning, where is our worry for them? The reality is, though Allah himself has spoken of this war in the Quran, we are not at all worried.

Instead many people speak happily and openly about their houses or cars on interest. It is as though there is nothing wrong with it. It is as though interest is not a major sin in Islam. People have become so used it, it is now a lifestyle.  Many pray salah and have big beards, yet engage in interest dealings. After buying one house or car, what is the need to buy yet another on interest? If we are stuck in this cycle we should be working towards an interest free life, not sink deeper into the sin.

Alhamdulillah many people have managed to come out of this vicious cycle of interest. I know people whose entire businesses were dependent on this, yet they managed to escape this life. So there is hope for everyone. Remember that at the end of the day, we will only earn that amount which is written for us. What is decreed will be given to us, nothing more and nothing less.

Ali رضي الله عنه came to a masjid and he had a camel with him. A person met him outside and said that I need a ride. So Ali رضي الله عنه replied that ok, no problem, we will discuss this after salah. After salah, Ali رضي الله عنه went outside and found his camel was nowhere to be seen, and the man had disappeared too! In other words, the man had taken the camel. Upon realising this Ali رضي الله عنه said that my intention was actually to give the camel to him. However, due to his haste he chose to take it the haram way. If he had waited for just a few more minutes, he would have got exactly what he wanted, the halal way!

A buzurg (i.e. a pious scholar) met a person on the streets, whom he later invited to his home to spend the night. The buzurg made monetary arrangements for him which he intended to give to him in the morning. He left the money in his pocket and fell asleep. The guest saw this so as the buzurg slept he quietly entered the room, pickpocketed the money and made a quick escape out of sight.

He left the house of the buzurg and made his way back. In the morning when the buzurg woke up, he checked his pockets and saw that the money had disappeared. He thought to himself that this unfortunate person! If only he had stayed the night I would have served him breakfast in the morning, given him the money in my pocket and more money I left aside for his padkos (i.e. food for the return journey home)! But due to his haste, he received less through haram means.

The moral of both stories is that we must have patience. We can either jump the gun and take the haram option, or wait and accept the halaal. Either way, we will only receive that amount which is decreed for us. So why take interest and chase after wealth, which if decreed, we will receive without interest anyway, and if not decreed, we will never receive it even with interest?

May Allah grant us the tawfiq to come out of this cycle, Aameen.

— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله

(Above is an extract from a dhikr majlis delivered by Hazrat on 28/11/2016 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. To listen to the full audio please click here)

Barakah in wealth

greed-for-wealth

3 members from the tribe of Bani Abbas came to Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم and said that Ya Rasulullah صلي الله عليه وسلم! We have heard Islam without hijrah is not accepted. So if this is the case, can there be any blessings in our wealth and our cattle? We accepted Islam after the hijrah occurred and now we have cattle, will there ever be barakah (i.e. blessings)? If not, can we sell them, make hijrah and come back?

These were new Muslims accepting Islam, yet they had so much concern and were willing to sacrifice all their wealth…we are born Muslims, yet we bring so many unislamic practices into our businesses! And then we expect for there to be barakah. Nowadays, if a lady comes to us to become our business partner, she wants to share an office and travel overseas together, what does shaytaan tell us? He tells us that see, it is obligatory to earn a living in Islam, plus, we have Islamic institutes that we need to continue donating to.

So under this influence of shaytaan, he travels with her on an aeroplane. He spends a week with her in China, lazing with her, away from home; their bedrooms are next door to each other. Is this not a recipe for disaster? If the local Maulana and Apa planned to go abroad together to sort some madrassa work out, we would consider it hugely inappropriate. So when it comes to business why do we make excuses for it, as though it is permissible to break the commands of Allah ﷻ for the sake of earning?

Can there be any barakah in such a business? Barakah is not a lot of wealth. Barakah is having little but deriving much benefit from that. Sometimes, a man thinks he is earning money, he thinks he is really well off. But there is no peace in his life, there is no joy due to problems with children or disputes e.t.c.These problems in our lives can be due to a lack of barakah.

I was thinking yesterday that anyone who comes to me with a business dispute, I will just instruct them to go to the Jamiat office or a mufti. Because I have realised, when it comes to other problems people are prepared to take heed of any advice imparted. But business? People are not prepared to listen; some people are just so crazy for money! In a dispute someone will be wrong and someone will be right. Either we come to a compromise or the wrong party will have to take a knock on his business. But often people do not want this, their mentality is – I must not lose a single dime. If the Maulana goes against me, he must be dodgy. As for me? No, I will not compromise. This is the common mentality.

Whereas these Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم we are talking about, they are coming in 10AH and meeting Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم for the first time ever. Yet, they are prepared to get rid of all their wealth to make hijrah and be with Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم. When this is the quality of the Imaan of the people who are accepting deen in 10AH, what will be the quality of the childhood friend, who lived all his life with Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم? And what would be the quality of the Imaan of his daughter? I am referring to Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه here.

And Umar رضي الله عنه, his accepting Islam was due to the dua of Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم, what would be the quality of His Imaan? These people came at 10AH, and in the very first meeting with Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم they are prepared to lose everything. So imagine the piety of those who were nurtured in company of Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم!

So in response to their question, Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم replied that fear Allah ﷻ wherever you may be. Fath-e-Makkah (I.e. The time for hijrah) has taken place already so do not worry. You do not need to make hijrah rather stay where you are and Allah ﷻ will not reduce your cattle.

And in this advice of Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم, lies a great lesson for us. We too must fear Allah ﷻ in our business dealings by not allowing love for wealth to control us. Shariah is not just for Maulanas, it is for everyone including business owners. So we must all follow this Shariah otherwise we will be deprived of barakah in our lives. Then we will have no one to blame, except ourselves.

May Allah ﷻ remove the love for wealth from our hearts Aameen.

— Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله

(The above is an extract from 2 lectures delivered by Hazrat last week. To listen to the full audio clips, please click here and here. To listen to the shortened audio clip, please click here)