Wealth and poverty is a very important topic in Islam. It could be the difference, for many people, between going to heaven and going to hell in the next life (Akhirah). It affects everyone in the world as money has become an essential part of surviving. Wealthy people tend to get connected with being ‘powerful’ whereas the poorer people get associated with being ‘weak’. This is a link many people use.
Allah chooses who to give wealth to and who not to give it to. Wealth is a test made by Allah for us. The richer people are judged on how they spend it and the poorer people are judged on how they do without it and whether they are patient.
In this coursework I will try and outline the Muslim teachings on wealth and poverty, explain the need for world development and look in to a Muslim charity organisation.
Muslim Teachings on Wealth and Poverty
What is poverty is Islam?
Poverty is the lack of those things that decide the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, but also such the opportunity to learn, to work and to enjoy the respect of others.
Many people will see this as a punishment but in Islam, we believe that it is a test from Allah. If we are patient we pass our test and we get heavily rewarded by Allah. If we get angry and start blaming everyone then we get sinned and it shows to us that our belief is not strong.
Poverty can be caused by moral evil or natural evil. Moral evil is the result of any morally negative event caused a person. An example of a moral evil might be murder, or any other evil which someone can be held responsible. Natural evil is not caused by a person, it is natural. An example of this is an earthquake or a tsunami. Both of theses types of evil can make a wealthy person much poorer. This is Allah saying he can take things away in an instance.
This world is only a test; it is a stepping stone to the next life. This is why we must not be closely connected with our wealth because at the end of the day it is nothing. We get tested on how we earn our money. Here are some hadith regarding this:
– ‘Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said: A time will come upon the people when one will not care how one gains one’s money, legally or illegally.’ (Bukhari)
– ‘It is reported by Jabir that the Prophet said: The flesh and body that is raised on unlawful sustenance shall not enter Paradise. Hell is more deserving to the flesh that grows on one’s body out of unlawful sustenance.’ (Ahmad).
– ‘Abu Said related that the Prophet said: The truthful and trustworthy businessman will be in the company of Prophets, saints and martyrs on the Day of Judgment.’ (Darimi, Tirmidhi)
Throughout the world, non believers are doing bad things yet they live luxuriously and Muslims do well but are still poor. This is Allah testing our patience. We should consider this test as a good thing because you get the chance by Allah to gain reward. The rich must spend on the poor to gain reward:
– Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: The Lord’s commandment for every one of His slaves is, ‘Spend on others, and I will spend on you’. (Bukhari, Muslim)
– Safwan ibn Salim related that the Prophet said: Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah’s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)
The poor should not start begging but instead put their trust in Allah as seen in the following hadith:
– Narrated Hakim bin Hizam that the Prophet said: The upper hand is better than the lower hand (i.e. he who gives in charity is better than him who takes it). One should start giving first to his dependents. And the best object of charity is that which is given by a wealthy person (from the money which is left after his expenses). And whoever abstains from asking others for some financial help, Allah will give him and save him from asking others, Allah will make him self-sufficient. (Bukhari)