Know that wealth is like a serpent, in it there is both poison and medicine.
The religious benefits of wealth are three kinds:
Spent on Yourself
The first kind is money spent on yourself for the acts of worship, specifically the provisions necessary, to allow you to focus on remembrance and meditation such as food clothing and housing.
Spent on Others
The second kind is what you spend on others such as voluntary charity, generosity which is the greatest character trait, and spending on services such as hiring domestic help, paying for laundry, cooking, and so on.
In this there is a dual benefit:
- It frees your time for good deeds
- It enables the employee to earn financial as well as spiritual rewards from their work.
Spent on Public Benefit
The third kind is that which you spend for the public benefit such as building infrastructure, hospitals, endowments for the poor, and so on.
As for the religious harms of wealth, they are also of three kinds:
Facilitation of Sin
The first is the facilitation of sin and corruption, for the carnal appetites cannot be satisfied without wealth.
The second kind is the use of it for unrestrained enjoyment of things that are not sinful.
Know that too much of good things allows the body to rise against the soul, and turn the world into a paradise.
The third kind is the preoccupation with the demands of wealth such as running a business for this takes away from a person’s remembrance of God.
Know that just as a snake-charmer knows the secrets of charming, you should know the secrets of wealth.
- One must know why wealth has been created: to provide for the body.
- Be sure to examine your income that it is earned righteously.
- The amount of wealth should not exceed the need for it.
- Spend rightfully. Keep expenditures low, and be content with little.
- One declares righteous intentions for income, expenditure, and saving.
Income and expenditure are for the comfort of family; saving is for piety to protect one’s heart from concerns of money.
Know that these are the benefits, harms, and secrets of wealth.
A sufficient amount is medicine; but in excess, it is a poison.
Beware of wealth and do not approach it beyond the amount needed. For the end of a snake charmer is the bite of the snake.