Overcoming Stinginess of The Soul
Shuh means to be stingy, miserly, self-fish, close-hearted and unwilling to spend. It’s when a person is not ready to give or spend on others, but demands fully in return. And this characteristic is something that is extremely disliked in our religion.
In life, a person lives in either of two ways. One is that he lives in a self-fish manner, where he is only thinking about himself and his immediate family members. Or the other way is that a person may live his life thinking beyond his needs and serving and benefiting others. And this is the law of nature. Everything in the universe is functioning on this principle of giving and sharing. This is how they increase in their value and respect. If the universe was stingy with us, we may not be able to survive. If the sun refuses to give the full extent of its light and warmth, then life as we know it will cease to exist!
But alhamdulillah that is not the case. Because, every single thing has been created to benefit, and if it doesn’t, then there is no reason or purpose to its existence.
The nature of human beings however, is that they fall prey to stinginess. The self-fish person goes against the fitrah on which Allah has created man. And the one who goes against the fitrah can never fulfill the purpose of his existence because he is only living for himself and not benefiting others.
But when the heart is purged of all these horrible traits such as stinginess, envy, greed, hatred, then it opens, expands and becomes vast. The more beneficial someone is, the more he will gain. The more he benefits others, the more he will receive. The bigger the heart, the greater the success. So it is imperative that a person saves himself from the the stinginess of his soul and develop the quality of generosity, in order to achieve success in life!
When Allah endows a blessing on a person, then he needs to do shukr for that blessing. And part of shukr (gratitude) is to use that blessing to benefit others.
But if a person withholds the blessing and keeps it only for himself, then the disease of shuh (stinginess) takes root in his heart. And this disease leads to so many other vices – like treachery, deceit, harshness, bad conduct, greed and cowardliness. The human being reaches the height of bad conduct when he demonstrates this stinginess and selfishness in his behavior.
But there is a solution to this disease, and that is in Iman.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Stinginess and Iman (faith) can never be gathered in the heart of a servant.” (an-Nasa’i)
Iman expands the heart, whereas, shuh constricts it. A person is able to do good, when he has iman and yaqeen (certainty) that Allah is watching and that He alone will give the reward in full. So, it is this belief and conviction that gives a person the strength to do good in all situations, regardless of what happens. Such a person doesn’t want appreciation from people, rather he wants the reward only from Allah.
And when the heart becomes vast in this way, then the person wants good for everyone. And when he does good for everyone, then the goodness only comes back to him. Because when you do good, you receive only good.
هَلْ جَزَآءُ ٱلْإِحْسَـٰنِ إِلَّا ٱلْإِحْسَـٰنُ
Is the reward for good [anything] but good? (al-Rahman: 60)
So the cure to stinginess is to have iman in Allah, iman in His attributes and iman in the reward. And also make dua asking Allah to cleanse your soul of such a trait.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ، وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَالْبُخْلِ وَالْجُبْنِ ، وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ، وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ
“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from distress and grief, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, from being overcome by debt and overpowered by men.” [al-Bukhari]
اللَّهُمَّ قِنِي شُحَّ نَفْسِي
“O Allah, save me from the stinginess of my soul.” [Ibn Kathir]
And finally alongside making dua, in order to keep the trait of stinginess at bay, spend on others. Spend from what you love. Spend with an open heart. Wherever you are, try and add value. Always keep giving and volunteer your time and services, so that it becomes a habit, and habits shape your personality. So much so that when you die, people remember you for your beneficial nature. The benefit you leave behind, will eternalize your existence.
وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ
But as for that which benefits people, it remains on earth. (ar-Ra’ad: 17)
If you want your legacy to live on – start benefiting others.