What does Islam say about saving money? Should we save money for the future? I read that some of the prophet's Companions died with no wealth, not even a cloth to shroud their bodies for burial. I also read that Abu Bakr gave all his wealth to the Prophet for distribution in charity. So, where does the concept of saving come in?
For proof that it is permissible to save for the future, we need look no farther than the Zakâh on monetary wealth. We do not pay Zakâh on our income. We only pay Zakâh upon our savings and only if those savings have reached a certain level and have remained at or above that level for a full year.
`Aishah said: the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No Zakâh will be levied on money until a year passes from the time of its possession.”[Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1792) with an authentic chain of transmission as stated by al-Zayla`î in Nasb al-Râyah (2/328), al-Nawawî in al-Khulâsah, and al-Albâni in Irwâ’ al-Ghalîl (3/254)]
It was related by `Ali that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If you have 200 durhams and a year passes then you have to pay five dirhams. You do not have to pay anything for the gold you possess until it reaches twenty dinars. If you possess twenty dinars and a year passes a year then you have to pay half a dinar.” [Related by Abû Dâwûd and authenticated by al-Albânî in Sahîh al-Sunan]
A person without savings will never pay Zakâh on monetary wealth. It is the Zakâh that purifies one's savings, by giving the poor ad needy their due from it.
Inheritance is another proof of this. The inheritance laws in Islam are quite detailed and allot percentages of the entire estate to various relatives of the deceased. This pre-assumes that there is an estate which the deceased left behind, which in other words is wealth that he or she had accumulated.
Indeed, due to the importance of leaving behind something to one's needy dependants to provide for them in the event of one's death, the Prophet (peace be upon him) restricted charitable bequests to no more than a third of one's estate.
The following is related about the steemed Companion, Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas, who wanted to make out a will giving away in charity everything that he owned:
He went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said to him: "O Messenger of Allah! I have a lot of wealth and only my daughter to inherit it from me. Should I bequeath all of my wealth in charity?"
The Prophet (peace be upon him) told him that he should not do so. Then Sa`d suggested bequeathing two-thirds of his wealth to charity. When the prophet again refused, Sa`d then suggested half of his wealth.
At this point the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "One-third, and that is still too much. It is better for you to leave your heirs wealthy, rather than leaving them dependent and begging from others.”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2042), Sunan Abî Dâwûd (2480), Sunan al-Nasâ'î (3567) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (2699)]
Also, in the story of Joseph (peace be upon him), we see a good reference to saving.
Allah tells us in the Qur'ân: “(Joseph) said: 'For seven years you should cultivate the land as usual, but leave the harvest that you reap in the ear except for a little that you eat. Then after that will come seven difficult years in which you will eat all that you have set aside except for a little of what you have stored. Then will come a year of abundance in which you will press wine and oil'." [Sûrah Yûsuf: 47-49]
This is a clear recommendation to save for future need.