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“In our life, we practice some extravagance without being aware of it…. For example, there is no logic in putting heavy curtain on our windows and then lighting lamps in daytime when we get sunlight free of cost while electric lamps are costly.”

 As I read these words, I was intrigued by not only the sagacity and starkness of the idea, but also by the speaker of that statement. Sulaiman Al-Rajhi is Saudi Arabia’s rags-to-riches billionaire who was last year listed by Forbes as the 120th richest person in the world. Today, all he owns are his garments. (His interesting interview & profile can be read here.)

I’ve gleaned a number of lessons from what I read about him today. But what piqued my interest the most was his definition of extravagance. There is this notion in some religious people that wealth, by default, is bad – that piety and wealth are antonyms.
A speaker had once rightly debunked that myth and defined wealth as a magnifier of what is inside the person it belongs to. If a person is inherently good, his wealth will glorify his virtues, while a bad person’s riches will only serve to exalt his evil.

As opposed to his other famous billionaire compatriot who is renowned worldwide for his epicurean lifestyle, grand palaces and private luxury jets, Sulaiman Al-Rajhi travels modestly.
“I always travel in economy class with the conviction that Allah bestowed us wealth not for showing arrogance or spend extravagantly but to deal with wealth as a trusted property.”

That, exactly, is the point I want to adopt as my spending principle inshaAllah – that I have Allah’s property entrusted to me for judicious spending. Though Allah has helped me to keep extravagance at bay in major things in life, but after reading and reflecting on this billionaire’s example of subtle or unsuspecting acts of extravagances in our everyday lives, I’m hoping to now try to discern and deal with them around me inshaAllah.

After all, better we do this check and balance here and now, then postpone it for the Day on which no feet will move till we have explained away how we earned and how we spent each penny entrusted to us in this life.