Category Archives: Personal Finance

Muslim Couple and Money

Muslim Couple and Money: 8 Practical Financial Tips for Newlywed Muslim Couple

FORTHCOMING PUBLICATION

Mansoor Limba, MUSLIM COUPLE AND MONEY: 8 PRACTICAL FINANCIAL TIPS FOR NEWLYWED MUSLIM COUPLE (MuslimandMoney.com, 2016).

The book will be published next month (September 2016), insha’ Allah, through both Amazon.com and Smashwords.com platforms.

It is currently available as pre-release and sample pages can be downloaded free at Smashwords.com.

This title is part of the Muslim and Money Book Series. The other titles are “Muslim Kid and Money: 12 Financial Stories for Muslim Children” and “Muslim and Debt: 5 Practical Steps to Freedom from Debt.”

 

 

Ramadan and Personal Finance

Ramadan&PersonalFinance

The corpus of hadith has a lot of transmitted supplications recited every after the daily prayers during the month of Ramadan. One of these supplications is a short yet concise one whose English translation is as follows:

In the Name of Allah; the All-beneficent, the All-merciful.
O Allah, gladden the people of the graves,
O Allah, enrich every poor person,
O Allah, satisfy every hungry one,
O Allah, clothe every unclothed one,
O Allah, help every debtor pay his debts,
O Allah, relieve every distressed one,
O Allah, return every traveler (to his home),
O Allah release every prisoner,
O Allah, correct every wrong in the affairs of the Muslims,
O Allah, cure every sick one,
O Allah, ease our poverty by Your wealth,
O Allah, change our evil state to a good one through Your excellent state,
O Allah, relieve us of our debts, and help us against poverty.
Surely You have power over all things.

What draws our attention in this brief supplication is the fact that contrary to the common notion, most of the things asked for have something to do with material or physical welfare. Most interesting to note is the emphasis on the repayment of debt both at the beginning and the end of supplication.

This, once again, shows the multi-dimensional nature of fasting in Ramadan, and among its benefits are the lessons in personal finance that can be derived from it.

Story #5: ‘Ali and Assem

MuslimKid&MoneyCover

After the end of the battle of Jamal, Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib arrived in Basrah. During his stay in Basrah, once he went to visit one of his companions named ‘Ala ibn Zaid Haressi’. This man owned a very big and luxurious residence with all comforts. ‘Ali, after traversing his eyes on such big and magnificent building, said: “What is the use of such big residence in this world while you are in more need of a vast abode in the hereafter? If you wish to make use of it as a means to attain a spacious residence in the hereafter, you must welcome and entertain guests, be friendly with your blood relatives, clarify the rights of Muslims, take an advantage to vitalize and reveal the rights of others and neglect your personal greedy monopoly and individuality in its use.”

‘Ala said: “O Leader of the believers! I complain to you of my brother, Assem.”

Imam ‘Ali: “What is the complaint?”

‘Ala: “He has started the life of a recluse, dressed himself in rags, isolated himself from this world, and deserted everything and everyone.”

Imam ‘Ali: “Bring him in front of me!”

Assem was brought before the Imam, who turned the face towards him and said: “O enemy of your own life! The devil has stolen your sense. Why don’t you have sympathy for your wife and children? Do you believe that Allah, Who made the pure bounties of life licit for you, will be displeased with you if you benefit them? You are smaller than that before Allah.”

Assem: “O Leader of the believers! You are also like me, imposing the difficulties on yourself! You do not cover your body with soft dresses, nor eat delicious meals. Therefore I am doing the same thing which you are doing, and I am following the same path which you have chosen.”

Imam ‘Ali: “You are making a mistake. There is difference between me and you. I shoulder responsibilities of Leadership of Government but you do not. The duties of a Leader and Governor are something else. Allah made incumbent on the just leaders to take the weakest social classes of people as an example of their own personal lives and live in the same manner as the most empty-handed ones survived so that poverty and indigency does not leave impression on them. Therefore, I am having responsibilities and you have another obligation.” (Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon 208)

Source: Murtada Mutahhari, THE NARRATIVES OF THE VERACIOUS, Story 16.

Financial Lessons of the Story:

  1. To engage in worship cannot be an excuse to abandon one’s physical necessities and social obligations.
  2. Both attachment to material things and abandonment of the good things in this world are condemnable in Islam.
  3. The Leader is supposed to serve as a model and to consider the condition of the lowest class in society.

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On the Banking System and Financial Literacy in Mindanao

mindanaobanking

MAKATI CITY (8 May) – As a financial literacy advocate and blogger, I was quite privileged to be invited last Friday (May 6) in the first forum on “The Flow of Deposits in the Mindanao Banking System: Exploring Alternatives” hosted by the Joint Ateneo Institute of Mindanao Economics (JAIME) held in Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City.

Financial Story #3: A Companion of Hajj Pilgrimage

hajjcompanion

On returning from journey of Hajj “pilgrimage”, a man related his and his Companions’ experience who accompanied him, to Imam Sadiq (‘a). He stirred and admired them, particularly one of his fellow-travelers: “How noble was he. We are proud of accompanying such an honorable man. He was praying continuously. No sooner did we stop at a place immediately than he would part from us, seek a corner, spread his prayer mat, and engage himself in prayer and worship.

The Imam (‘a) asked: “Then, who was looking after his affairs? And who was tending his animal?

He replied: “Of course, we were. We had the honour to be at his service. He had nothing to worry about; he used to engage himself in his holy affairs.”

The Imam (a’) replied: “Therefore all of you were better than him.”

—–
Financial Lesson of the Story:
1. Not to rely on others even for a small thing.

 

(Source: Murtada Mutahhari, THE NARRATIVES OF THE VERACIOUS)

(Photo via wikihow.com)

 

Newlywed Couple and Personal Finance

Muslim Couple

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews / 13 March) – (A message delivered at the wedding reception of the writer’s high school batchmates on March 12, 2016.)

The first time I read your wedding announcement on Facebook, this was the first thing that came to my mind: contrary to the clichés that it is an avenue to do the wildest things undone before and having the tendency to disrupt family ties, high school batch reunion is meant to strengthen family ties, foster cooperation among old friends and render services to the community.

Akmad and Albeah, you are a living proof that high school reunion is indeed meant to build families.

Let me take this rare opportunity to share some thoughts on this new stage of your life journey. I shall not touch on the philosophical, religious and legal aspects of marriage as these are expected to have been tackled in the khutbat al-nikah (wedding sermon) and marriage counseling sessions you were supposed to attend.

Instead, let me focus on an aspect which is hardly given attention, yet a daily affair; that is, personal finance or money management.

On a daily basis, we handle money yet we hardly think of the need to manage it. Or, we assume that using it is identical with managing it. Or, to think of managing it is tantamount to becoming materialistic. We always say, “Bahala saging basta loving,” yet many marital conflicts and splits are money-related; either the lack of it or the improper use of it.

Formula

Personal finance experts give this formula: Income minus Savings equals Expenses. This means that as soon as we get our income, we immediately allocate a certain amount for savings before spending what we earn for the (other) expenses.

This is the opposite of the formula we usually follow: Income minus Expenses equals Savings. What usually happens is that since the amount of our expenses is equal to, if not more than, that of our income, nothing remains as savings. In fact, we often incur debts because our income is not enough for our expenses.

But by following the experts’ formula, the amount for savings is automatically allocated by considering it to be part of the expenses, nay the most priority. And after allocating the amount for savings, we adjust our expenses (lifestyle) by following the corollary precept of “spending below your means.”

Income

The first element in the above formula is ‘income’. No doubt, multiplying the streams of income is the primary recipe for financial self-sufficiency. The key is just to identify your passions – the things that you enjoy doing – and then look for the ways to monetize them.

Just give real value or love to the product or service you want to offer, and then profit will follow. Simply put, ‘passion’ plus ‘value’ equals ‘profit’.

Savings

The second element in our formula is ‘savings’. Saving is to set aside money to be spent later, and we do and must save for many reasons, viz. unforeseen (emergency) and future (retirement) expenses. But letting our money sleep for a while (saving) is not smart enough because of inflation. If the annual inflation rate is 4 percent, it means that the purchasing power of our P100 today is just P96 tomorrow.

So, we need to invest our saved money. Investing is to let our saved money grow and not just sleep. It is to let our money work for us while we are sleeping.

There are many available shari‘ah-compliant investment instruments you can choose: business venture, real estate, mutual fund, stock market, etc. Be that as it may, don’t forget the primary investment: to invest in yourselves; to invest in the enhancement of your knowledge and skills in everything you are passionate of.

Expenses

The last of the three elements in the formula is ‘expenses’ but it does not mean that it is the least important. In fact, managing it is as important as managing ‘income’ and ‘savings’ to ensure a financially successful marriage life. Multiplying streams of income must always be coupled with keeping one’s lifestyle below the income level.

Among the tips in managing one’s expenses are to distinguish ‘needs’ from ‘wants’ and to give priority to the former in matters of spending, to look for ways to save in spending, to separate ‘shopping day’ from ‘buying day,’ and to list what you must buy before buying, among others.

The details of each of these elements in the formula will be given in the book I’m currently writing – “Muslim Couple and Money: Personal Finance for Newlywed Muslim Couple.”

In closing, we, your batchmates, wish you financial success in the new stage of your life journey!

(Source: http://www.mindanews.com/mindaviews/2016/03/13/marginalia-newlywed-couple-and-personal-finance)

Short Supplication – Ya ‘Aziz

M&Minfographics06-duayaaziz

Short Supplication – Azīz

Al-Azīz

The Mighty and Unconquerable

Azīz

He who repeats this Name 40 times after fajr (morning) prayers for 40 days will be independent of need from others.

Qur’anic Paradigm of Personal Finance

Qur'anic Paradigm of Personal Finance

“By the means of what Allah has given you, seek the abode of the Hereafter, while not forgetting your share of this world. Be good [to others] just as Allah has been good to you, and do not try to cause corruption in the land. Indeed Allah does not like the agents of corruption.” (Qur’an 28:77)

Elements of the Qur’anic Paradigm of Personal Finance:

1. Seeking the abode of the Hereafter as the primary goal in life;

2. Utilizing all the means provided by God for the pursuit of that goal while not forgetting one’s share of this world;

3. Rendering service to fellow creatures;

4. Avoiding the transgression of bounds or “causing corruption in the land.”

Supplication after ‘Isha’ Prayer

M&Minfographics03-duaafterisha

“In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful. O Allah! Verily, I lack acquaintance with the place of my sustenance; rather, I am seeking it owing to ideas that come upon my mind. I consequently wander in places searching for it. By doing such, I am as confused as the confounded, since I do not know whether my sustenance lies in a plain, on a mountain, on the ground, in the air, on lands, in seas, at whose hands, or who the source of it is. I have full knowledge that You know all these, the causes of them are in Your Hands, and it is You Who distribute it out of Your compassion and cause it out of Your mercy. O Allah, please send blessings to Muhammad and his Household and make, O Lord, Your sustenance that is provided (by You) to me expansive, my seeking for it easy for me, and its source close to me. Please, do not fatigue me by seeking that which You have not decided for me to take, because You are certainly in no need for tormenting me while I am in full need for Your mercy. [Please] send blessings upon Muhammad and his Household and confer liberally upon me, Your slave, out of Your graciousness. You are surely the Lord of great favor.”

This supplication after  the daily ‘Isha’ (night) prayer teaches many things about personal finance:

(1) Seeking sustenance is not merely raising your hands in supplication, but rather a combination of action and prayer.

(2) True knowledge (in personal finance or any field of endeavor) is the acknowledgment of one’s ignorance and affirmation of the All-encompassing knowledge and cognizance of the Self-sufficient Lord and Sustainer.

(3) Your hard work does not necessarily turn into massive income because, after all, the Ultimate Source of sustenance is not your hard work but the Self-sufficient Lord and Sustainer.

(4) The habit of supplication nurtures positive attitude toward earning for a living, which in the parlance of the Law of Attraction, inevitably invites ‘good vibration’.

Hadith on Debt as Grief and Humiliation

Hadith on Debt as Grief and Humiliation

“Beware of debt, for surely it causes grief during the night and humiliation during the day.”

(Mizan al-Hikmah, vol. 2, p. 958)

Financial Story #3: Tying the Knees of Camel

camel

The caravan being tramped for hours, tiredness overwhelmed the riders and the animals. As soon as they reached an oasis where there was water, they had their camels kneel down. The Holy Prophet (s), accompanying the caravan, made his camel kneel down and dismounted from it. All were rushing to reach the water to prepare for the preliminaries of prayer, dismounting from the camel, the Holy Prophet (s) also made his way towards the water.

After covering a certain distance, without speaking to anyone, he (s) returned back to his camel. To the surprise of his Companions, they thought he (s) was not pleased with this place and will order them to set out?! Lending the ears to him, in full attention, they looked forward to hear his order. The Companions were astonished and amazed when they saw the Holy Prophet (s) reach his camel, pick up tie and bind the knees of it; then he (s) returned back towards his first destination.

The exclamation rose up in between the Companions: “O Messenger of Allah! Why did you not command us to do that, and you bothered yourself while we are all proud of being at your service?”

The Holy Prophet (s) replied: “Do not ever ask for help from others for your own affairs and do not count upon others even if it would be a toothpick.” (Kahl al-Bassar, p. 69)

Source: Murtada Mutahhari, THE NARRATIVES OF THE VERACIOUS, Story 4.

Financial Lessons of the Story:

  1. Not to rely on others even for a small thing.

Financial Story #2: A Man Who Asked for Help

Story #1: A Man Who Asked for Help

Reviewing his own painful past full of afflictions, he recalled how the bitter days slipped away, the days he was not even in a position to provide the daily meals for his wife and innocent children. He laid musingly on how a few words, which had pricked up his ears for three times and animated his spirit, deviated the course of his life, and rescued his whole family from poverty and calamity overwhelming them.

He was one of the Holy Prophet’s Companions; poverty and indigence had upper hand on him.

One day amicably reaching the dead end, after consulting with his family, he decided to go to the Holy Prophet (s), what his wife had suggested, to expose his situation and ask him for financial assistance. With this intention he came out of his house, yet did he not offer his request, the following words fell upon his ears:

“We help whoever demands us for assistance, but Allah preserves the needs of those who feel enriched and refrained from stretching out their hands before someone else.”

He returned back home without uttering a single word. He found himself again to face the awful silhouette of the poverty overshadowing his dwelling place. The next day, he rejoined compulsively the assembly of the Holy Prophet (s) with the same intention. He heard the same words from the Holy Prophet (s):

“We help whoever demands us for assistance, but Allah preserves the needs of those who feel enriched and refrained from stretching out their hands before someone else.”

He returned home once again without putting forward his request. For the third time, he saw himself indulging in the jungle of poverty, debility, misery, and helplessness; he decided to go to the assembly of the Holy Prophet (s) in order to put forward his intention. Once again the lips of the Prophet (s) moved and the same words were repeated, invigorating the heart and giving the certainty to the spirit.

This time, by hearing those words, the man felt more confidence and perceived that he had found the key of his problem. He went out with more assured steps, thinking: “I will never ask for someone’s help. I will rely on Allah and take advantage of the energy and the capacity which exists in my own self, and I will pray to Him to make me succeed in what I will undertake to do and enrich me.”

He thought what kind of job would be suitable for him to look for. In such circumstances, he decided to go to the desert, gather some firewood and sell them. He went and borrowed an ax, then he left for desert. By gathering the firewood and selling it, he relished the result of his own toil. He continued working hard for the following days until he managed to buy an ax, a beast of burden, and the other means of work with the gained money. He continued working till he gained a capital and owned the servants. One day the Holy Prophet (s) met him. While having the smile on his lips, he (s) said:

“We will help whoever demands us, but Allah preserves the needs of those who feel free from want.” (Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 139 (Al-Qina’a); Safinat al-Bihar (Qana’a).)

Source: Murtada Mutahhari, THE NARRATIVES OF THE VERACIOUS, Story 2.

Financial Lessons of the Story:

1. Trust in God (tawakkal ‘alallah);

2. Preservation of one’s self-esteem and personal integrity;

3. Utilization of one’s energy and talent to earn for a living;

4. Identification of one’s niche – what one can do best and passionate of;

5. Investing in things that would further earn income – “an ax, a beast of burden and the other means of work.”

Hadith on Earning a Livelihood

Hadith on Earning a Livelihood

“He who tolerates the task of earning money for [the comfort of] his wife is like the one who fights in the way of Allah.”

(Man La Yahduruh al-Faqih, vol. 3, p. 168)

M&M Question and Answer #1

Question&Answer #1

Q: Is MUSLIMANDMONEY.COM for Muslims Only?

A: Within 24 hours after launching the Facebook Page “Muslim and Money” as MUSLIMANDMONEY.COM’s Facebook Fan Page, we have received the following related queries:

“Can I ‘LIKE’ it even though I’m not a Muslim?”

“Can we invite non-Muslim friends to ’LIKE’ it?”

“Is MUSLIMANDMONEY.COM for Muslims Only?”

God willing, even a non-Muslim who is interested to learn more about personal finance, investment and entrepreneurship will find the website worthwhile to visit. He or she will also understand better how his or her Muslim friend is supposed to treat money – as servant and not master; as a means and not an end.

In the same manner, a Muslim could relate a lot to the discussions of Bo Sanchez, a well-known Philippine-based Catholic layman preacher, investor and entrepreneur, about ‘the Truly Rich’.

It is because we do share the moral values of moderation, saving, helping others, condemnation of extravagance, abhorrence to materialism, and campaign against greed, among others.

The Bible says, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

Similarly, it is thus reported in a hadith, “Love of this world is the root of all sins.” (Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 315)

Financial Story #1: Yusuf the National Treasurer

Yusuf

Yusuf (Joseph) (‘alayhis-salām – on whom be peace) was one of the prophets (anbiya’) mentioned in the Qur’an.  His father, Ya’qub (Jacob) (‘alayhis-salām – on whom be peace) was also a prophet (nabi). He had eleven brothers. Ten were older than him, and one was younger, Benyamin (Benjamin).

Being a very good and handsome boy and loved by his father very much, Yusuf earned the jealousy of his ten older brothers. So they decided to get rid of him when he reached the age of 17.

Once Yusuf said to his father, “O father, I saw eleven planets and the sun and the moon, prostrating before me.”

He said, “O my son, do not mention your dream to your brothers, lest they become jealous of you.”

One day the ten older brothers convince their father to bring Yusuf with them in the field where they threw him in a well and sold him as a slave to a caravan.

Yusuf was sold in the marketplace of Egypt to a man and his wife, who had no children of their own.

The man was an Egyptian, an officer of Fir’awn (Pharaoh), the King of Egypt. His wife’s name was Zulaykha.

Under their custodianship, Yusuf grew up as a handsome and good-looking man, and God endowed him with wisdom and knowledge.

After sometime, his master’s wife tried to seduce him, which he naturally refused. As they raced toward the door, she grabbed and tore his shirt from behind, and they found her husband by the door. When he saw that his shirt was torn from the back he said to her:

“This is a device on your part, and the women’s deceit is mighty indeed. As for you Yusuf, you can forget the whole thing. As you my wife, ask forgiveness for your sin. You are certainly wrong.”

Some women in the city gossiped: “The governor’s wife is trying to seduce her servant. She is madly in love with him. What she is doing is really error.”

When she heard of their gossip, she sent for them and prepared a feast. After she gave each one of them a knife, she said to him (Yusuf): “Go out to them!”

When they saw him, they so admired him that they cut their hands and said: “By God, this is not a human being, he is a handsome angel.”

She said, “This is the one about whom you blame me, I did try to seduce him, he refused. Unless he does what I command him to do, he will be imprisoned, and debased.”

He said, “My Lord, the prison is better for me than what they invite me to do, unless you divert their evil from me. I may desire them and behave like the ignorant.”

As answer to his prayer, they later decided, in spite of all the sign, to imprison him for awhile.

Two young men entered the prison with him. One of them said, “I saw myself in a dream pressing wine.”

The other one said, “I saw myself carrying bread on my head from which the birds were eating.”

As he was guided to the right path, before interpreting the dreams, Yusuf preached his religion to two of his companions in prison. He said, “I have been telling you of every food that came to you as provision, even before it came to you. That is what my Lord has taught me, for I have forsaken the religion of people who disbelieve in God and the hereafter.”

He also said, “O my prison companions! One of you will be the king’s wine butler. As for the other, he will be crucified, and the birds will eat from his head. This is the opinion concerning your inquiry.”

He then said to the one to be saved, “Remember me in your master’s presence.”

But Yusuf’s companion went out of prison, he forgot to remember him in the present of the King, and Yusuf remained in prison a few more years.

Years later while Yusuf was in prison, the Fir’awn of Egypt had a dream which caused him much concern.

The King said, “I saw seven fat cows being eaten by seven thin cows; and seven green ears of wheat, and seven dried ones. O you elders, explain my dream to me if you can interpret the dream the dreams.”

They said, “This is probably a nonsense dream. We know nothing about the interpretation of dreams.”

Then the one who had been saved remembered after such a long time and said, “I tell you the interpretation thereof if you send me to Yusuf!”

As he was sent to the prison, he said, “Yusuf, my friend, explain to us seven fat cows being eaten by seven thin cows, and seven green ears of wheat, and seven dried ones, that I may return to the people, and let them know.”

Yusuf explained, “The dream means that the first seven years to come will be good years with good harvest, but the next seven years to follow will be bad years with famine and hunger.”

He then continued, “You will produce good crops for seven conservative years. When you harvest, you should store them in their ears, except for a minimum that you eat.”

Yusuf also said, “Then seven bad years will follow, and will exhaust what you had advanced for them, except for a little that may be left. After that, a year will come in which the people will prosper, and will again press (wine and oil).

The King said, “Bring him to me!”

When the messenger went to him, Yusuf said, “Go back to your master and ask him about the women who cut their hands. My Lord is fully aware of their schemes.”

The King said, “What happened when you tried to seduce Yusuf?”

They said, “God forbid, we have not known of anything bad about him.”

The governor’s wife said, “Now the truth is manifest. I am the one who tried to seduce him. He had told the truth. Now he should know that I did not betray him in his absence. God does not bless the schemes of the betrayers.”

She continued, “I claim no innocence for myself. Surely, the self advocates evil, except for those blessed by my Lord. My Lord is forgiver, merciful.”

The King said, “Bring him to me, to have him work for me.”

When the King talked to Yusuf, he said, “As of now, you are our trusted confidant.”

Yusuf said, “Put me in charge of the treasury. I am an experienced treasurer.”

The King made him the treasurer and inspector of Egypt’s storage chambers.

At that time, Yusuf was thirty years old.

After the King appointed him treasurer, Yusuf married the governor’s wife who became widow.

Not long after that, Yusuf met and forgave his ten brothers who betrayed and sold him as a slave. He was also reunited with his father Ya’qub and younger brother Benyamin, and he invited his whole family to live in Egypt.

God establish Yusuf in the land of Egypt, ruling therein as he pleased. God endowed him with mercy, and He never neglected to reward the righteous.

Source: Iljas Ismail, STORIES OF TWENTY FIVE PROPHETS MENTIONED IN THE HOLY QUR’AN, Story 10.

Financial Lessons of the Story:

  1. Trust in God (tawakkal ‘alallah) at all times.
  2. Preservation of one’s self-esteem and personal integrity.
  3. Utilization of one’s energy and talent to earn for a living.
  4. Identification of one’s niche – what one can do best and passionate of;
  5. Maintenance of one’s network of friends, co-workers, and relatives.
  6. Importance of saving in facing any emergency in the future.

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Longest Verse of the Qur’an

Longest Verse of the Qur'an

The longest verse (ayah) of the Qur’an is not about ritual prayer (salah) or fasting (sawm); neither is it about Hajj pilgrimage or jihad.

It is about contracting a loan and dealing with money matters.

What muslimandmoney.com is NOT?

What muslimandmoney.com is NOT

Salamun ‘alaykum!

MUSLIMANDMONEY.COM is a platform for Muslim’s guide to personal finance, investment and entrepreneurship.

MUSLIMANDMONEY.COM is NOT a quick-rich scheme. It is NOT a magic formula of wealth. It is NOT a scam.

It is NOT a dialogue between two equals (Muslim and money). It is rather a forum to declare the former’s mastership and the latter’s servanthood, and not the other way around.

It is NOT about greed. It is NOT about materialism. It is NOT even about money per se.

It is about planning and action. It is about attitude and management. It is about prayer and productivity. It is about acquiring streams of lawful income. It is about self-esteem and financial freedom. It is about spiritual-physical equilibrium. It is about self-empowerment to empower others.