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Meaning of Stinginess In Islam

Meaning of Stinginess In Islam

Stingy literally means “not generous, unwilling to spend; miser” In Islamic sources, Quran and hadith, it is generally expressed with the Arabic words “shuhh” and “bukhl”.
Stinginess has levels. The last level is man’s depriving himself from what he needs and not spending anything even for his own need.
A stingy person is reluctant to spend money, sometimes tosuch an extent that heforgoes even basic comforts and necessities. A stingy refrains from giving others because of his excessive love for money and property.

What is Shuhh and Bukhl?
“Shuhh” is an Arabic word referring to the ambitious and envious manner of nafs for wealth which means stingy, tight, scrooge.
“Bukhl” also means stinginess in Arabic but it is the manifestation of being stingy in actions. In other words, in Arabic, the manners of nafs which are being ambitious and stingy are called “shuhh”, taking action towards these manners is called “bukhl”.
Besides, some scholars define “bukhl” as man’s being jealous of what he has and they define “shuhh” as man’s being jealous of what others have.

The main reason of stinginess is weakness in faith
Imam-I Gazali states that:
“Stinginess is a result of being attached to the world; however generosity is the result of not attaching importance to the world. Generosity is a consequence of reaching the real “tawheed” (faith in oneness of Allah (swt)) and true “tawakkul” (trust in Allah (swt)). In other words, generosity arises from believing earnestly in the promise of Allah (swt) that He (swt) made about rizq (livelihood) which is a fruit of the “tawheed” tree. On the other hand, stinginess arises from “polytheism” which stems from attaching the reasons and doubting the promise of Allah (swt).” (Kutub-I Sitta)
Since Allah has promised in the ayah: “We shall provide for them and for you.” (Surah al-Isra, 31) that He provides for man, being afraid and reluctant to spend money is distrusting His Lord about livelihood although He has promised. This situation quite contradicts with the essence of faith.

Stinginess is one of the most evil traits
“The most evil (traits) in a man are: severe stinginess and uninhibited cowardice.” [Sunan Abu Dawud]

Stinginess cannot be a trait of a believer
“There are two traits which cannot exist in a believer. They are stinginess and low ethics.” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd 8)

Stinginess is the worst disease
“What disease is worse than stinginess?” (Sahih Bukhari) (Tabarani/ Cam-ul Fawaid)

Stinginess is the trait which Allah dislikes

Narrated Abu Dharr (ra):
“Allah (swt) likes and dislikes three groups of people… Allah dislikes the adulterer old, the stingy and the arrogant.” (İbn Hıbban / Tergıb ve Terhib)
Narrated Ali (ra):
“Allah (swt) dislikes the one who is stingy in his lifetime but generous at the moment of death.” (Hatib)

Miserliness is one of the traits that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) seeks refuge in Allah (swt)
Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet used to say, "O Allah! I seek refuge with You from worry and grief, from incapacity and laziness, from cowardice and miserliness, from being heavily in debt and from being overpowered by (other) men." (Bukhari)