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Lesson: 16
One of the branches of worldly love is stinginess

Stinginess is a vice that moves man away from the Lord of the worlds and makes him valueless in the eyes of society and the nation.

As a proof we divide the discussion of this lesson in four parts for contemplation:

1 - Meaning of stinginess and a miser
2 - Verses and narrations condemning miserliness
3 - Individual and collective harms of misery.
4 - Remedy for stinginess and some events of the misers

Miser according to dictionary is keeping or holding up wealth in conditions requiring its donation and bestowing and sometimes a man is called miser who does not help when asked for it even though he is able to help the needy.

From the viewpoint of Shariat one is called a miser when he does not fulfil his duties. It is said in a narration: Miser is one who shows stinginess in spending as per Gods orders.

It is narrated from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.): One who pays up the poor tax from his wealth and helps people in times of trouble is not a miser. Misery is really in one who does not pay zakat and not the one who helps his community in trying times.

But possibly, it can be said that help is a common usage and what is mentioned in the narrations is describing some particular thing. Hence some other meaning is also conveyed in some hadiths. For instance Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has been quoted as saying: Bakhael miser is one who shows stinginess in saying salaam Some rivayyats have explained its complete applicability. Just as the latter narration does.

In this connection there are many verses and narrations. For example:

We read in the Holy Quran: and let not those deem, who are niggardly in giving away that which Allah has granted them out of his Grace, that it is good for them; nay, it is worse for them; they shall have that whereof they were niggardly made to cleave to their necks on the resurrection day.

2 - Those who are niggardly and bid people to be niggardly and hide what Allah has given them out of His Grace; and we have prepared for unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement.

3 - If you control the treasures of the Mercy of my Lord, then you would withhold them from fear of spending, and man is niggardly

And now we read in narrations:

1 - The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Allah has said paradise is forbidden to one who shows favours and the one who is niggardly.

2 - Imam Baqir (a.s.) said: Three things destroys people: 1 - Misery and jealousy sprouted from misunderstanding about God, 2 - Following desires and 3 - Self-conceit and self-centredness.

3 - The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Misery and jealousy and faith can never stay together in man's heart

4 - Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: A generous yet sinful youth is dearer to God than an old and jealous men

5 - According to traditions the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was one engaged in circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba when he saw a man who was clinging to the cover cloth of the Holy Kaaba and was seeking bath from God for forgiving him because of the holiness of the Kaaba. The Holy Prophet asked him: What is your sin?

The man replied: O Messenger of god: My sin is too serious to be mentioned.

The Messenger: Woe unto you! Is your sin great or the earth?

Man: My sin is greater.
Prophet: Is your sin bigger or the mountains?
Man: My sin is bigger than mountains.
Messenger: In your sin big or the sea?
Man: My sin is bigger then them.
Messenger: Is your sin larger or the sky?
Man: My sin is larger.
Messenger: Is your sin greater or the Throne of the Lord Almighty?
Man: My sin.
Messenger: Is your sin great or God Himself?

Then the Holy Prophet said: Now tell me what is your sin?

The man said: I am a wealthy man. When a needy beggar approaches me I feel as if a flame of fire is about to burn me.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Keep distance from me. Do not burn me with your blazing fire. By the Lord who has appointed me! If you die with this vice of misery, God will hurl you into Hell even if you pray for a thousand years between these Holy places of Rukn and Maqaam and even if rivers of tears flow from your weeping eyes. Woe unto you! Have you not read in the Holy Quran: And whoever is niggardly is niggardly against his own soul.

So also says the Lord: And whoever is preserved from the niggardliness of his soul, these it is that are the successful ones.

Harms of Niggardliness

A miser man, from a psychic angle, always remains restless and all of his worry is about hoarding wealth. Sometimes he also indulges in evil and unlawful activities just for earning money. Hence Amirul Mo-mineen is reported to have said:
Niggardliness is the root of all evils, it is a bridle that drives man toward every evil.

And Ali (a.s.) also said: A miser has no rest nor a niggardly person can be joy good taste.

However, religious losses of niggardliness are obvious as it prevents man from fulfilling his religious and desirable duties and as a result he becomes the subject of the verses and narrations condemning misery.

Remedy for this mental Illness

The remedy is that man must be aware of the individual, collective and religious harms of this illness. He should also read with attention on the verses, narrations and historical events of people who had this ailment like Qaroon, Mansoor Duwaaniqi and … and should take admonition from them so that he may improve.

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Last modified: 05/05/06.

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