This vice consists of amassing wealth in an illegitimate manner without caring to avoid haram and forbidden means of earning. This vice is caused by greed and the love of the world, and results in moral deterioration and the loss of human dignity. Several verses of the Holy Quran and many traditions severely warn about approaching haram means of income and remind of the dire consequences of it.
It must be kept in mind that wealth is of three kinds: 1. That which is purely halal (legitimately acquired). 2. That which is totally haram (illegitimately earned). 3. That which is mixed up of both haram and halal earnings.
What is halal is usable and what is either haram or of doubtful origin (mushtabah) must be avoided. Haram things are of many kinds, such as pork or dog's flesh, alcoholic drinks, all those things whose consumption may harm the body, anything gained through force, injustice, or theft, earnings made through unlawful practices, such as cheating in weight or hours of work, hoarding, bribery, usury, and all other illegitimate means which have been described in detail in the books on Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence).
The opposite of earning through haram means is abstinence from all forms of haram practices (wara an al-haram). This virtue can gradually become a habit in the individual through the exercise of self restraint, so that he will ultimately be able to abstain from even those things which are mushtabah (i.e. of doubtful legitimacy). A prophetic tradition says:
Whoever lives on halal earnings for forty days, God shall enlighten his heart and cause springs of wisdom to emanate from his heart flowing to his tongue.
Adapted from: "Jami' al-Sa'adat" by: "Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi"
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