The Prerequisite of Towbah: halal money

Soon we conclude the month of Dhul Qi`da and then comes the month of Dhul Hijjah, the month of haj. Before one goes on haj, one must repent from all wrong he has done, reconcile with all people and learn about the rites of haj. For those of us not going on haj, the Prophet SAW says that good deeds are most beloved to God in the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.  May we succeed in taking advantage of these special days.


The Prerequisite of Towbah:

The path to pleasing our Creator and gaining Allah’s rida has been the preoccupation of humans in general and Muslims in particular throughout the ages. A student once asked his teacher, “What is the first step to pleasing Allah?” His teacher said, “Repentance.” Upon hearing from another sheikh otherwise, he returned to his teacher and said, “You said that the first step was repentance, but Sheikh so-and-so said it was making sure your source of income was halal. Which is right?” His teacher answered, “My son I told you what the first step was, but my brother spoke of the prerequisite to the first step. No repentance is possible if one’s money is not halal.”


It is the observation of those deeply involved in the spiritual growth of people, that halal money creates the inclination to obey one’s Lord and that haram money creates the inclination and strong urge to disobey Allah. It is obvious that money stolen or from usury/riba is haram, but many people don’t realize that there are other reasons that can make one’s money haram.


  • Not paying zakat, can taint one’s money and render it haram. Zakat is what belongs to other people, which just happens to be mixed with what is rightfully yours. When we pay zakat, we are cleansing our money from that which doesn’t belong to us.
  • Interest, which is money making money at no risk of loss and no chance of greater profit is haram. Perhaps there are people who do not realize the gravity of using interest.  But for those who monitor results, those who used to partake of it and stopped, and those who received it as sadaqa to use, there is no doubt. Using interest has resulted often in a hardening of the heart of the user, in a state of overall confusion and in a tendency to make the wrong decisions and go astray. Suffice it to say as Muslims, we are advised to stay away from what is questionable, as Prophet Muhammad says, “Halal is clear and haram is clear and between them there are questionable/confusing matters. He who avoids the questionable has cleared his religion and his honor.” So even if in your conviction it is not clearly haram, it is to be avoided.
  • Taking what is NOT rightfully yours. This could mean inheritance, even if in a will it was bequeathed to you, it must be redistributed according to Islamic law. This is something you must ask people of knowledge about and take seriously.
  • Taking something ‘with the sword of haya’’ is another thing to beware of. When you embarrass a person into giving you something they would rather not give you.
  • Taking what is not yours can also mean using your time at your job for personal matters or not doing what you are being paid to do.
  • It can obviously mean money you get for a service it is your duty to do anyway, like a bribe.
Do check the sources of your income. Do make sure what you feed your body with is pure and untainted with the disobedience of God, or the harm of others, for ultimately it will be affecting your soul.


Dua’: (From al Hasan al Basri)

Ya Allah, I ask your forgiveness for every sin my body was able to commit with the health you granted it, and my hand reached out to with the provision you gave it, and I was able to commit in privacy with the concealment you protected me with, and I depended as I commit it -when I feared you- upon your refuge, and I trusted your endurance to protect me from your wrath for it, and I depended upon Your generosity and forgiveness to pardon it. Therefore, peace and blessings be upon our Master Muhammad and his family and forgive me it and forgive all the believing men and women O the Best of Forgivers.


Did you know?

  • That there are three different ways to make haj:  ifrad which means doing haj first and then `umrah; tamatu` which means doing umrah first and then haj; and qiran which means making the intention for both so that the rites count for both. Find out in advance which one your group will be doing. All three are correct ways to do haj. The first is the one the Prophet SAW did and perhaps the hardest because one has to stay in the state of ihram the longest.
  • That haj is a physical and financial act of worship? If you are going on haj make sure your source of money for it is halal. If you are not going this year, start saving up, for it would be best if you are able to pay for your own haj, or at least part of it.


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