attention of others cannot have complete sincerity. This consequence is extremely important and worth noticing.
I n S h o r t : Excess and wastefulness lead to lack of contentment. And lack of contentment destroys enthusiasm for work; it causes laziness, opens the door to complaining about life, and makes the dissatisfied person grumble continuously.1 Also, it destroys sincerity, and opens the door to hypocrisy. And it destroys self-respect, and points the way to begging.
As for frugality and economy, these result in contentment. According to the Hadith, “The contented person is respected, and the greedy person despised,”2 contentment gives rise to self-esteem. It also encourages effort and work. It increases enthusiasm, and induces striving. For example, a person worked for one day. Because he was content with the petty wage he received in the evening, he worked again the second day. But because the wasteful and immoderate person was not content, he did not work the following day, or if he did, he did so without enthusiasm.
Also, the contentment arising from frugality opens the door of thanks and closes the door of complaint. Throughout his life, the contented person is thankful. And in so far as he is independent of others due to his contentment, he does not seek their regard. The door of sincerity is opened and the door of hypocrisy closed.
I observed the fearsome harm of wastefulness and excess on a broad scale. It was as follows: nine years ago I visited a fortunate town. It was winter and I could not see its sources of wealth. Several times the town’s Mufti, may God have mercy on him, said to me, “Our people are poor.” His words touched me. The next five or six years I felt continual pity for the people of the town. Eight years later I again visited it, in the summer. I looked at the gardens and recalled the words of the late Mufti. “Glory be to God!”, I exclaimed, “These gardens’ crops are far greater than the needs of the town. Its people should be very rich.” I was amazed. Then remembering a truth that has never deceived me and is my guide in understanding other truths, I understood that the abundance and plenty had disappeared due to wastefulness and excess, so that although the town possessed such sources of wealth, the late Mufti used to say: “Our people are poor.”
Indeed, just as giving zakat and being frugal and economical is proven by experience to be the cause of increase and plenty in goods and
Whenever you meet a wasteful, immoderate person, you hear complaints. No matter how rich he is, his tongue still complains. But when you meet even the poorest, but contented, person, you hear only thanks.
See, Ibn al-Athir, al-Nihaya fi Ghara’ib al-Hadith, iv, 114; al-Zabidi, Taj al-‘Arus, xxii, 90.