Handout 1: Religious Messages about Money and Wealth

Handout 1: Religious Messages about Money and Wealth
Handout 1: Religious Messages about Money and Wealth

Hindu Scripture and Teaching

  • Wealth has to be won by deeds of glory. (Rig Veda Samhita vi-19-10)
  • A man shall strive to win wealth by the righteous path. (Rig Veda Samhita x-31-2)
  • One who gets up early morning gets the treasure. (Rig Veda Samhita i-125-1)
  • One shall not be selfish and consume all by himself. (Rig Veda Samhita x-117-6)
  • Wealth accumulated through 100 hands should be distributed to 1000 hands. (Atharva Veda Samhita iii-24-5)

Buddhist Scripture and Teaching

  • One is the path that leads to material wealth, the other is the path that leads to Nirvana.  — Gautama Buddha (Dhammapada 5:75)
  • If greed can be removed, human suffering will come to an end. (Avatamsaka Sutra 22, Dasabhumika)
  • Enlightened beings are magnanimous givers, bestowing whatever they have with equanimity, without regret, without hoping for reward, without seeking honor, without coveting material benefits, but only to rescue and safeguard all living beings.(Garland Sutra 21)
  • The impulse "I want" and the impulse "I'll have"—lose them! That is where most people get stuck; without those, you can use your eyes to guide you through this suffering state. (Sutta Nipata 706)
  • One should give even from a scanty store to him who asks. (Dhammapada 224)

Jewish Scripture and Teaching (All quotes from the New Revised Standard Version Bible)

  • By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread
    until you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
    you are dust
    and to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:19)
  • You shall not cheat in measuring length, weight or quantity. You shall have honest balances and honest weights… (Leviticus 19:35)
  • All the tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the trees, are the Lord's; they are holy to the Lord… All tithes of herd and flock, every tenth one that passes under the shepherd's staff, shall be holy to the Lord. (Leviticus 27:30, 32)
  • When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year (which is the year the tithe), giving it to the Levites, the aliens, the orphans, and the widows, so that they may eat their fill within your towns, then you shall say, …I have obeyed the Lord my God. (Deuteronomy 26:12-14, excerpts)
  • Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist. (Proverbs 23:4)
  • The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth with gain. This also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
  • Great is work. God’s presence only rested upon the Jewish people when they began occupying themselves with useful work. (Maimonides)

Christian Scripture and Teaching (All quotes from the New Revised Standard Version Bible)

  • For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
  • Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24)
  • Give, and it will be given to you…for the measure you give will be measure you get back. (Luke 6:38)
  • No slave can serve two masters, for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Luke 16:13-15)
  • He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)
  • We must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
  • The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9: 6-7)
  • For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. (1 Timothy 6:10)

Islamic Scripture and Teaching

  • The third of the five pillars of Islam is zakat—giving alms. Give support to those less fortunate, especially the poor. Zakat serves as a reminder that all wealth comes from Allah and should be used to benefit others as well as oneself. Muslims are required by their faith to give 2.5 percent of their wealth to the needy, but may give more if they wish.
  • Believe in Allah and His apostle, and spend [in charity] out of the [substance] whereof He has made you heirs. For, those of you who believe and spend [in charity for them is a great Reward. (Quran 57:7)
  • It is narrated by Abu Musa al-Ashari that the Prophet said: After the major sins which must be avoided, the greatest sin is that someone dies in a state of debt and leaves behind no asset to pay it off. (Sunan al-Darimi hadith collection)
  • Abu Qatadah related that the Prophet said: If anyone would like Allah to save him from the hardships of the Day of Resurrection, he should give more time to his debtor who is short of money, or remit his debt altogether. (Sahih Muslim hadith collection)
  • Asmah related that the Prophet said: Spend, and do not count, lest Allah counts against you. Do not withhold your money, lest Allah withholds from you. Spend what you can. (Sahih Bukhari and also Sahih Muslim hadith collection)
  • Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said: Wealth is not in having vast riches, it is in contentment. (Sahih Bukhari and also Sahih Muslim hadith collection)
  • Jabir related that the Prophet said: May Allah show mercy to a man who is kind when he sells, when he buys, and when he makes a claim. (Sahih Bukhari hadith collection)

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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