The prophet (pbuh) preached and said: Abstain from avarice, for those who had been before you were annihilated due to avarice. It (avarice) commanded them to show niggardliness; it commanded them to cut off their relationship with their nearest relatives, so they cut off. It commanded them to show profligacy, so they showed it.(in Albani)
Stinginess is innate and to various degrees. It is often related to the extent to which one shares tangible materials such as money and other possessions and also in relation to the extent to which one shares knowledge, information and other abstract things like time, space and words of comfort and kindness. This saying by the prophet (pbuh) introduces two other scales to miserliness; cutting off relationships with relatives and profligacy.
Relationships with relatives has evolved over the years. These relationships are meant to serve as a provision of support that is ordained by god amongst relatives who god has bestowed complementary wealth, health, knowledge and other bounties amongst them to now represent more of group think, strength or power, which is closer to tribalism. Cutting of these relationship indirectly leads to limited sharing of bounties with others who may be in need of them and who can provide different bounties in return.
Profligacy was a hard one to understand. Looking at other prophetic sayings covering the same, synonyms that come up include; vice, transgression, wickedness, corruption, and obscenity. While I could not quickly make the connection between these behaviours and miserliness, I realised that the link was that these traits often lead people to make decisions against sharing with others as one engages in behaviour to block goodness from others to satisfy the ego and related diseases of the heart from pride and envy to vanity and arrogance.
May god protect us from our own miserliness and may we always strive to fight it by recognising it and working towards taming it.
Photo by Thomas Shellberg on unsplash.