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The Ends Justify the Means? The Powerball Lottery, Good Intentions and Pure Earnings am seeing people post about the noble and charitable things they will do if they win the $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot. What they don’t realize is that is precisely why they will not win.

If you are a good person God will protect you from money that will only cause you harm. There is an interesting story found in Rabi` al-Abrar of al-Zamakhshari and later al-Mustatraf of Baha’ al-Din al-Abshihi wherein Imam `Ali (عليه السلام, peace be upon him) displays a prudent lesson in choosing whether your income is through good or evil.

(ودخل علي بن أبي طالب ـ رضي الله عنه ـ المسجد وقال لرجل كان واقفا على باب المسجد: أمسك عليّ بغلتي، فأخذ الرجل لجامها، ومضى وترك البغلة، فخرج علي وفي يده درهمان ليكافىء بها الرجل على إمساكه بغلته فوجد البغلة واقفة بغير لجام، فركبها ومضى، ودفع لغلامه درهمين يشتري بهما لجاما، فوجد الغلام اللجام في السوق قد باعه السارق بدرهمين، فقال علي ـ رضي الله عنه: إن العبد ليحرم نفسه الرزق الحلال بترك الصبر، ولا يزداد على ما قدر له.)

`Ali bin Abi Talib radi Allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) approached the Mosque and said to a man who was standing at its gate, “Please hold my mule for me.” So the man took it by its bridle, but then walked on leaving the mule behind.

`Ali came out of the Mosque with 2 dirhams (silver coins) in his hand so that he could compensate the man for holding his mule. But he found the mule standing there without its ornamental bridle. So he climbed the mule and rode on.

He gave his squire the 2 dirhams to go buy another bridle. The squire found the very same bridle which the thief had sold to whom he bought it from for 2 dirhams.

To this, `Ali remarked:

“The bondsman made forbidden for himself pure earnings by abandoning his patience. And he received naught more than what was determined for him anyway.”

Not a single one of the world’s richest people made their fortunes by winning the lottery. You will not be the first. Work hard and honest for your earnings and you will be rewarded for it, but not at the cost of your honor.


About the author

Shibli Zaman

Shibli Zaman

Shibli Zaman was born in Summit, New Jersey and raised in Houston, Texas. Since his childhood, he has frequently traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Later in life, much of this time was spent studying Islamic jurisprudence in the Shafi`i and Hanbali schools of law. He has a deep appreciation for different cultures and is literate in several languages such as Arabic, Persian, Pashto and Urdu. Surprising for a Muslim, he is also adept in Hebrew and Aramaic. Having a proclivity for Semitic linguistics enabled him to study the Biblical texts from a unique perspective. He holds a gold medal in Bible Memory from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has contributed to one of the most significant websites defending Islam's textual sources and traditions from an academic perspective, He was an employee of Shaykh Salman al-`Awdah from whose inspiration he benefited tremendously and assisted in the early phases of his English website,

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