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12 Financial Stories for Muslim Kids

It was then my daughter’s first summer vacation after graduation in elementary. Over lunch I was mentioning to her the articles I was planning to post at one of my blogs – www.MuslimandMoney.com – and also the book – ‘Muslim Couple and Money’ – I was currently writing then.

Curious enough, she asked, “Papa, do you have also plan to write ‘Muslim Kid and Money’ for us youngsters?”

Almost spontaneously, I replied, “Yes, I also want to… Can you help me in this project?” 

Story #9: The Late-comer of Caravan


In the darkness of night, from a very far distance, they heard a voice of a young man screaming. He was imploring and demanding help. His weak and scrawny camel had remained behind the caravan and lagged entirely. He finally, exhausted, stretched out and slept. He did what he could for moving his camel, but it was in vain. Helplessly standing beside the camel, he was yelling for help. Meanwhile, the Holy Prophet, who usually moved behind – in the end of the caravan so that a weak and helpless person who parted from the caravan, would not remain alone or helpless – heard the yelling voice of the young man. As the Prophet approached him, he asked: “Who are you?”

“I am Jabir.”

“Why were you kept waiting and wondering?” 

Story #8: The Black Market


The family of Imam Ja-far al-Sadiq, a great grandson of Prophet Muhammad, increased in number. And so did the cost of living. The Imam decided to do trading to increase his income through investing capital so as to meet his family expenses. He arranged an amount of one thousand Dinars and told his servant Musaddif to take that amount of one thousand Dinars and get ready for a trade journey to Egypt.

Musaddif, with that money went and purchased a type of goods usually exported to Egypt. He went and joined with a caravan of traders who were taking the same type of merchandise to Egypt and left for Egypt. 

Story #7: Ascetic’s Advice


The summer heat had become intensified. The sun rays beat down Madinah”s city, garden and farms around it. In such a critical weather condition, a man named Muhammad ibn Munkadar – identified himself as one of the ascetics, pious and anchorites – arrived in Madinah. His eyes cast over a corpulent man who had obviously come out to visit and inspect his farms at that time. Because of his fatness and tiredness, he was treading by his side with the help of a few persons, certainly his friends and relatives.

He thought: “Who is this man in this hot weather of the day leading a busy worldly life?” He came nearer to this person. To his surprise, he was Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (Imam al-Baqir)! 

Story #6:– The Needy and the Wealthy


As usual, the Prophet was sitting in his place in between his Companions. They formed a circle around him and it seemed to be as if the Prophet was a bezel of a ring in between them.

Suddenly one of the Muslims, a poor man dressed in rags, came in through the door. According to the Islamic tradition, regardless of his status, anyone who enters in an assembly should sit wherever he finds an empty place, not considering whether the particular place is suitable for his social status. Therefore, that man looked around, found a vacant place, went, and sat there.

Incidentally he settled down next to a rich and wealthy man. The rich man gathered the edges of his dress and shifted on to another side away from him.

The Holy Prophet was watching and observing the behavior of the wealthy person.

He turned towards him and said: “Are afraid that something of his poverty would transfer to you?”

“No, O Messenger of Allah!”

“Did you fear that some of your wealth might adhere to him?”

“No, O Messenger of Allah!”


“No, O Messenger of Allah!”

“Then why did you draw yourself aside and shift away from him?”

“I confess that I committed an error and made a mistake. At present, in order to compensate my error and to expiate the sin, I am ready to grant half of my wealth to this Muslim brother towards whom I have shown disrespect.”

The man in rags replied: “But I am not ready to accept this offer.”

The Companions asked: “Why?”

The man said: “I fear that I may become arrogant and ill-treat one of my Muslim brothers in the same way that this man did towards me today.”

Source: Murtada Mutahhari, THE NARRATIVES OF THE VERACIOUS, Story 17.

Financial Lesson of the Story:

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


Story #5: ‘Ali and Assem


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.


Financial Story #3: A Companion of Hajj Pilgrimage


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)


Financial Story #3: Tying the Knees of 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.”

Financial Story #1: Yusuf the National Treasurer


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.


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.