Topics
Sign in English Us
Extravagance (Israaf)
722 0 share 0

Israaf means going too far and exceeding the limits in various issues; it is contrary to that of moderation. Raaghib Isfehaani has mentioned the following in regards to the meaning of Israaf:

'Any action which an individual performs which exceeds the limits is considered as being Israaf’. [1]

Therefore, it can also be said that israaf is any useless action or any action which exceeds the natural limits, whether it relates to excess in quantity or in quality. Based upon this, it is clear that Israaf does not only relate to food and drink or even to financial matters alone; it is much more comprehensive in meaning. It can also be stated that israaf can relate to any excess in behavior, emotions, or spirit; it can also relate to any excess in ethical, cultural, or social characteristics.[2] This description makes the duty of a Muslim very heavy for it brings the issue of waste and connects it with every single facet of human life.

Therefore, it can also be said that israaf is any useless action or any action which exceeds the natural limits, whether it relates to excess in quantity or in quality. Based upon this, it is clear that Israaf does not only relate to food and drink or even to financial matters alone; it is much more comprehensive in meaning. It can also be stated that israaf can relate to any excess in behavior, emotions, or spirit; it can also relate to any excess in ethical, cultural, or social characteristics.

From the explanations set forth by the grammarians and commentators in regards to the word 'Israaf', it appears that there are three individual factors which determine if an action falls into the boundaries of waste or not. The three are as follows:

1- Religiously impermissible actions: This is because anything religiously forbidden constitutes the 'boundaries' and 'limits' of God, and committing forbidden actions means crossing and trespassing those borders and going beyond those limits, even if there is no extravagant spending in money involved

2- The judgment of the intellect: This relates to spending money on things which the intellect considers as being wasteful and foolish. This applies to things such as destroying one's wealth (for example setting fire to it) or spending it in ways which are incorrect and useless.

3- Societal norms: Societal norms are another factor in determining waste and extravagance. For example, in the same way that not spending enough in matters which are obligatory in accordance to one's wealth and position in society is considered miserly, spending too much in relation to one's wealth and position is considered as being wasteful and extravagant. Not spending enough on obligatory matters is also considered as impermissible when it involves the rights of others. The limits of normal expenditure are set by the norms of the society that one lives in and so this can vary from individual to individual. In other words, the permissible limit of expenditure, both on the personal level, as well as on the family level, is not the same for everyone in a given society. In this way, an individual may spend his money in a certain way and it will be considered as Israaf, while another individual may do the exact same thing and it will not be considered as Israaf.[3]
Imam Sadiq (a) has mentioned the following in a tradition:

'How many a poor people who might be more extravagant than the wealthy! It was asked of him: How can this be so? Imam Sadiq (a) replied: The wealthy individual spends out of what he has but the poverty stricken individual spends beyond his financial position.'[4]


[1] Raghib Isfahani, Mufradaat Alfaadh al-Quran, under the term "سرف".
[2] See: Rastegar Juybari, Valiyullah, Israf az Didgahe Islam, Al-Asfiya' Press, Tehran, 1380 (solar).
[3] See: Musavi Kashmari, Mahdi, Pajuheshi dar Israf, Bustane Ketab, third edition, Qum, 1385.
[4] Kāfī, Kulayni, vol. 7, p. 346, Daar al-Hadith, Qum, first edition, 1429 AH.

COMMENTS
Leave a Reply

Daily Hadith
لا يكونُ أخوكَ أقوى مِنكَ على مَودّتِهِ.
Do not let your brother be stronger than you are in your amity for him.