Five Pillars of Prosperity: Essentials of Faith-Based Wealth Building

Five Pillars of Prosperity: Essentials of Faith-Based Wealth Building

by M. Yaqub Mirza

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935952893
Publisher: White Cloud Press
Publication date: 04/04/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 152
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Dr. M. Yaqub Mirza is the president and CEO of Sterling Management Group, Inc. and Sterling Advisory Services, Inc. Sterling negotiates mergers, acquisitions and sales of various sized companies located in different parts of the world. Sterling and its affiliates have managed investments in the United States, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Malaysia, Turkey and Zimbabwe. In addition, Dr. Mirza has more than 30 years of experience in stock investments and portfolio management. He is a member and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Amana Mutual Funds, which is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as an open-end investment company. He also serves as Chairman of its Executive Committee and is a member of its Audit and Compliance Committee. Assets under management are nearly $3.5 billion.

Dr. Mirza is a member of the Board of Directors, University Islamic Financial Corporation and is a member of the Board of Trustees, George Mason University Foundation, Inc. He also serves on the Board of numerous other companies, including several not-for-profits. Dr. Mirza holds a M.Sc. from University of Karachi (1969), a Ph.D. in Physics (1974) and M.A. in Teaching Science (1975) from the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Mirza is a United States citizen and has resided in Herndon, VA area for the past 28 years.

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Introduction

In today’s climate of economic distress and uncertainty, people the world over have seen their assets and savings greatly diminished, Yet with crisis, comes opportunity.

Surely, with every difficulty there is relief. (Quran 94:5-6)

The recession has caused many to adopt a “back to basics” approach to finances. As individuals, families, and businesses struggle to regain the prosperity they once enjoyed, it has become more important than ever for them to master and control their finances. Many are now reconsidering the use of credit cards and borrowing even to sustain essential life expenses. People are seeking ways of managing money that ensure consistent financial security while avoiding risky ventures and heavy borrowing of any kind.

This book presents the Islamic approach to finance, which is based on commonsense principles. In this book, you will find practical tools for managing money and building wealth. The approach in this book is faith-based, but one does not need to be Muslim to utilize this book and benefit from it.

The Holy Quran encourages believers to engage in beneficial trade and to invest. In it, God encourages Muslims to “not to eat up your [wealth] among yourselves in vanities: but let there be trade amongst you by mutual goodwill.” (Quran 4:29) Financing that follows Islamic principles is relatively risk-averse. It focuses on building wealth for the long-term in a way that does not put money in the pockets of creditors or in the hands of companies that are unethically directed. [Islamic financial principles] also prohibit purchasing or investing in any industry or company associated with vices such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and pornography, and they prohibit charging interest on loans.

Islamic principles and Islamic precepts for living are a part of every Muslim’s cultural and spiritual identity. For centuries, Muslims all over the world have directed business enterprises; financed ambitious and innovative projects; traded across deserts, oceans, and continents; and provided for their families in ways consistent with Islamic principles. Muslims in North America and Europe [can likewise] earn their living, deposit their savings, finance their cars and homes, insure their assets, charge their purchases, and make investment choices for their future and the future of their children in accordance with Islamic teachings.

A financial system following Islamic principles is known as a Shari’ah-compliant. With the help of jurists, Muslims employ a sophisticated understanding of economics as well as unique ways of making transactions to further their financial goals.

To be compliant, a transaction must not contradict the scriptures, although a transaction does not have to be mentioned in the scriptures to be acceptable. Any law that supports what is good and moral is considered Islamic. As long as it follows the values of justice, preservation of equity and fairness, then the transaction is valid. The transaction must also use proper currency and be without ambiguity.

Borrowing and Debt
Islam prefers that a person not be in a dependent position, so Muslims are strongly discouraged from incurring debt. Certainly giving in charity or spending for social welfare, is better than being a recipient. Lynnette Khalfani in her book “Zero Debt,” states that: “Debt is the longest-lasting economic curse, the most heinous financial plague, and the least recognized form of modern slavery afflicting Americans (and others around the World) this millennium.” If a person spends only a part of what he earns and practices moderation in his living habits and controls his spending, it is unlikely that he will be compelled to borrow. A debt-free Muslim who saves wisely can then have enough money for a car, a college education, marriage (one’s own or one’s child’s), Hajj, Umrah, and retirement.

Borrowing by individuals and businesses may be necessary and beneficial in some situations, although arbitrary over-extension is not a healthy practice. Borrowing cannot be taken lightly. If you must borrow, borrow moderately, and strive to repay the debt as soon as possible, and continue to maintain more assets than liabilities (i.e. positive net worth). Go too much into debt and you will find yourself discredited.

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverb 22:7)

Prophet Muhammad disliked it when people were in debt, because debt worries the mind at night and is humiliating by day. [It is recorded in the hadith, the record of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), that] he always asked God’s protection from “the burden of debt and from the anger of men.” The Prophet also said he sought refuge in God “from unbelief and debt,” and that he equated debt with unbelief. In his prayers, he frequently said, “O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from sin and debt.” He was asked, “Why do you so often seek the protection of Allah from debt?” He replied, “One who is in debt tells lies and breaks promises.”

The Prophet also stated that financial indebtedness may lead to kufr (rejection of God’s teachings) or immoral behavior. He would not say the funeral prayer for a person who had died in a state of indebtedness and did not leave behind enough property to repay his loans. He did this to discourage others from such an end. However, in later years, when Allah had enriched him from the spoils of war, he paid the debts of such persons and led their funeral prayers. He said, “Everything will be forgiven to the shaheed (martyr in the cause of God) except debt.”

The Muslim who is informed of these hadith [understands that he] should not resort to borrowing except in the case of dire need, and if he does borrow, he must remain mindful of the obligation of repayment. The Prophet strongly urged those able to repay the debt they had incurred to do so quickly and without delay. A hadith states, “If a man borrows from people with the intention of repaying them, Allah will help him to repay, while if he borrows without intending to repay them, Allah will bring him to ruin.”

At the same time, the Qur’an teaches us to have mercy on the debtor. “If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay, if you remit it by way of charity that is best for you if you only knew.” (Quran 2:280)

Anybody can make an error, but fools practice them.
Therefore, always make “new” mistakes, rather than repeat old ones.
Riba
A Muslim should not [only avoid] borrowing that is halal (interest-free) without a compelling need, [he should also not] borrow money on interest. [Both] paying [and] receiving interest [are] prohibited in Islam.

The word riba, translated as “usury” or “interest” by different authors, literally means increase, addition, expansion, or growth. In Shari’ah, riba technically refers to the “premium” that the borrower must pay to the lender along with the principal amount for postponing, deferring, or waiting for a payment of the loan. Riba includes simple and compound interest and usury. [It refers to any][OK?] money made on money, [in contrast to] money made by working or trade or by investing through equity partnership on a profit/loss sharing basis.

Riba in a loan is [considered] unjust, especially when the lender and borrower enter into an agreement on unequal terms, or when the lender is guaranteed a profit regardless of whether the borrower gains or loses money on the transaction. With an interest-bearing loan the borrower repays the lender more than he has borrowed and previously received from him. [Thus] Riba is like unearned income (in biblical terms, the lender “reaps where he did not sow”).

[The Qur’an teaches about riba:]

Devour not usury (riba), doubled and re-doubled (Qur’an 3:130)

O you who believe, Fear God, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if you are indeed believers. If you do it not, take notice of war from God and his Messenger. But if you turn back, you shall have your capital sums; Deal not unjustly and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. (Qur’an 2:278-279)

He (God) has explained to you in details what is forbidden to you except under compulsion of necessity (Qur’an 8:119)

This prohibition against interest also rules out interest-bearing investments, including conventional money-market or money market mutual funds, certificates of deposit, corporate bonds, and U.S. Treasury bonds or T-bills. Some scholars have permitted Sovereign bonds (Sukuk), especially in Muslim countries.

The Jewish law with respect to lending [is more modified, permitting interest on a loan to a stranger but not on a loan to another Jew.] It says: “Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury” (Deuteronomy 23:20). And it reads in the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version): “If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them” (Exodus 22:25); (KJV) (King James Version)

The New Testament, on the other hand, reflects the commercial practices of the Roman Empire, and assumes the legitimacy of banking, credit, and interest: “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.” (Matthew 25:27, KJV).

Financial Stewardship

In 2009, the U.S. economy was in a deep recession, with the debt of the U.S. federal government exceeding 15 trillion dollars just three years later. Rather than setting the example for sound financial planning, the U.S. Congress has taken the opposite tack, choosing to put off making the hard choices involving austerity and fiscal discipline in favor of short-term gains. This approach has created a host of problems for Americans. American workers and business owners are facing levels of uncertainty about the future that haven’t been seen since the Great Depression. No one knows if the U.S. government will ultimately default on its debt, or how stable their investments will be in the future, or whether there will be a sudden collapse of the U.S. stock market.

All of this uncertainty underscores the need for citizens to take responsibility for insuring their own financial well-being and it’s my hope that the information provided in this book will assist the reader with this imperative.

______________________________
“Owe nothing to anyone except love one another” (Romans 13:8)

“There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life
that depends on borrowing and debt.”– Henrik Ibsen

Table of Contents


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 10
Foreword 11
Preface 13
Introduction 14
Faith and Financial Activities 20
Five Pillars to Prosperity 31

Chapter 1: Pillar One: Earning 34
Entrepreneurship 41
8 Qualities of Success 45

Chapter 2: Pillar Two: Saving 49
Savings leads to financial freedom 49
Budget to Save 60
DEVELOP A BUDGET AND LIVE BY IT 61
Track Day-to-Day Spending 63
Get a Handle on Income and Expenses 65

Chapter 3: Pillar Three: Investing 67
Fundamentals to Investing 67
The Power of Compounding 67
Faith-Based Investing 71
Advice for the Muslim Investor 79
Getting Started 81
The Role of Stocks in a Muslim’s Portfolio 82
Mutual Funds: A Possible Solution 83
Consistent Approach 83

Chapter 4: Pillar Four: Spending 86
Spending Intelligently 86
The Debt-Free Advantage 86
Worksheet for Hajj Financial Planning 90
Table 2: INFLATION FACTOR 91
Table 3: INVESTMENT FACTOR 91
College Education 91
The Gift of a Future 93
The Sooner You Start, the Better It Is 96
Worksheet for Financial Planning for Higher Education 99
HOW MUCH SHOULD BE INVESTED 99
SCHEDULE C: Periodic Investment 99

Chapter 5: Pillar Five: Giving 100
Sharing the Gifts of God with Others 100
Understanding Zakah 101
Limit of Exemption (Nisab) 103
Who Deserves Zakah? 104
Paying Zakah 106
Calculating Zakah 107
Cash and Cash Equivalent 108
Risk Investments: Shares and Mutual Funds 109
Buildings, Factories, and Businesses (Non-Trading) 109
Retirement Accounts, Life Insurance Policies, and Annuities 110
ZAKAH CALCULATION FORM 113
Leaving a Legacy of Hope 115
Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) 115
Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) 116
Family Foundation 117

Chapter 6: Key Wealth-Building Strategies 120
Grow Your Assets 121
Wealth Preservation Strategies 122
Wills 122
Inheritance 124
The Revocable Living Trusts 130
Protect Your Hard Earned Assets 131
My Heartfelt Wish for You... 133

Resources 134
Bibliography 141
Glossary 145
About the Author 145

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