Need And Its Satisfaction

Man’s need for a certain thing spurs him on to invent and produce it. Without being needed, there is no point in producing it. Such an act of production is deemed a waste of energy, money and precious time, and Islam forbids useless activities.

Such an act of production is deemed a waste of energy, money and precious time, and Islam forbids useless activities.

The Holy Qur’an expresses its attitude in a sentence of disapproval and protest and scolds those who built and construct for the sake of playfulness and extravagance.

“Do you built on every height a monument? You (only) sport.” (Holy Qur’an, 26:128)

As the Qur’an severely forbids this waste of energy, money and time, without any logical justification, it forbids, in the same manner, wastefulness, which is used of something to satisfy a need, which is already satisfied.

“….and eat and drink and be not prodigal; surely He loves not the prodigals.” (Holy Qur’an, 7:31)

No one denies that departing from this abnormal conduct, i.e. frivolousness and wastefulness, has a positive impact on economic life and preservation of human wealth.

When Islam forbids wastefulness, and extravagance in food, clothing, residence, ornamentation, expenditure…it virtually calls man to control and wisely manage his economic life, and achieve a balance between need and gratification.

Islam views human needs as fact, which must be satisfied to the saturation point, without underestimating or overestimating them.

“….And everything with Him has a measure.” (Holy Qur’an, 13:8)

“…and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure.” (Holy Qur’an, 25:2)

“And they who, whenthey spend are neither extravagant nor parsimonious, and the just mean is ever between these.” (Holy Qur’an, 25:67)

“Surely the squanderers are the devil’s brethren. And the devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord.” (Holy Qur’an, 17:27)

“And make not your hand to be shackled to your neck, nor stretch it forth to the utmost (limit) of its stretching forth, lest you sit down blamed, stripped off.” (Holy Qur’an, 17:29)

In a lengthy tradition reported by Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) from Messenger of Allah (S), the prophet says:

“There are certain people among my ‘ummah’ whose prayers will not be answered”.

Then, he named these people…until he said:

“…and a man whom Allah has favored with lot of money spend all of it and come asking Allah: ‘O lord! Support me with your sustenance’, to which Allah responded by saying: ‘Have I not lavished a much on you? Why did you not manage it with economy, as I ordered you, without wasting it unwisely? Did I not forbid you to spend your money extravagantly?’”1

Islam calls for the gratification of all human needs, of all kinds, whether they are material needs and services, like medical treatment, education, food drink, clothing, residence…or psychological and intellectual ones like literature, art, ornamentation, entertainment…etc.2

As we have noticed, Islam makes the need the origin of the production, expenditure and consumption, so as to create a balance between the need, the production and the consumption.

In this way, economic risks and ethical dangers, emanating from frivolousness, extravagance and excessiveness, are prevented. The individual and the community, under Islam, are raised upright and honest, in conduct and mentality. With honesty, people can manage the processes of need - gratification, consumption, and ownership properly and will be able to establish healthy, sound links with each other.

  • 1. Al·Kulaini, Ibid p.67.
  • 2. In our booklet (Islam and Physical care) we elaborated in details on how Islam satisfies human physical needs.