11. Hoarding.



Intelligent and experienced people in the cities know that it is inauspicious to hoard grain and to wait for high prices, and that the profit (expected) may be spoiled or lost through (hoarding). The reason may perhaps lie in the facts that people need food, and that the money they spend on it, they are forced to spend. Therefore, their souls continue to cling to (their money). The fact that souls cling to what is theirs may be an important factor in bringing bad luck to the person who takes (someone's money) giving nothing in return.56 This, perhaps, is what the Lawgiver (Muhammad) meant when he speaks about taking people's property for nothing. In this particular case, it is not a question of (taking money) giving nothing in return. Still, people cling to (the money spent for food); they had to spend it and had no possible excuse, which is a sort of compulsion.

For things that are traded, other than foodstuffs and victuals, people have no compelling need. It is merely the diversification of desires that calls their attention to them. On such, they spend their money voluntarily and willingly, and they retain no hankering after (the money) they have paid. Thus, the person known to be a hoarder is persecuted by the combined psychic powers of the people whose money he takes away. Therefore, he loses his profit. And God knows better.

In this connection, I heard an interesting story about a shaykh of the Maghrib. Our teacher Abu 'Abdallah al-Abili told it to me as follows: "I was in the house of the (chief) judge of Fez, in the time of Sultan Abu Sa`id. He was the jurist Abu1-Hasan al-Malili. He had just been offered, as his salary, the choice of one of the various sorts 56a (of taxes) that were collected by the government." He said: "The judge reflected a while. Then he said: 'The customs duties on wine.' Those of his friends who were present were amused and astonished. They questioned him as to what was in his mind. He replied: 'All tax money is forbidden. Therefore, I choose the tax that is not haunted by the souls of those who had to pay it. Rarely would anybody spend his money on wine unless he were gay and happy with the experience 57 of (drinking wine), and did not regret it. His soul, therefore, does not cling to the money he has had to spend.' " This is a remarkable observation.

And God knows better.