Poverty – Part 3 – A Quranic Perspective

Poverty - A Quranic Perspective

Author: Ms. Seen Noon

Allah, the Supreme and the most Gracious, has stated in multiple verses in Quran about utilizing one’s potential to the fullest to safeguard sustenance efforts and improving the living conditions so as to ultimately improve the state of the society as a whole. Dumping it all on destiny is not something which is appreciated in an Islamic society. The orthodox way of thinking, where poverty was considered as a means of gaining closeness to Allah, and a poor man as a holy man is strictly forbidden in Islam. The Quran and Sunnah teach us otherwise, enlightening us with spirits that motivate us towards putting in our whole-hearted efforts and hard work in order to achieve a decent state of living. Earning a reasonable livelihood and then spending on our family and relatives for the sake of Allah moves us a step closer towards a pious, humble, and caring mode of living.

Acts such as begging and asking for money are strictly prohibited in Islam. This sort of behavior fills in a sense of laziness and a laid-back attitude, brainwashing such individuals to let go of hard work and struggle to earn their livelihoods. This gives rise to a constant state of poverty and also an inclination towards haram or illegal means of earning.

Allah – The Ultimate Provider

Allah says in Surah Saba, Verse 39

Quran Surah Saba Verse 39

Say, “Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts [it] for him. But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.” (34:39)

Allah, the Almighty, carves out better paths for His hardworking creatures, so as to reward them for their sweat and dedication. This is done to help us in realizing that we will be blessed in this world and the next if we choose halal means of earning our livelihoods.

Islam is a religion of balance, and disapproves means of extremity, praising such attributes of the citizens where they spare things from their wealth for helping the less privileged and the poor. Allah has promised that He will compensate our charity by a much greater magnitude of what was given away in the first place.

Moderation In Spending

Allah SWT says in Surah Al-Furqan, Verse 67

Quran Surah Al-Furqan Verse 67

‘And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate.’ (25:67)

Greed, misery, excessive spending, are discouraged in Islam, rather, living our lives with pure hearts and piety in our religious offerings is encouraged. A form of balance in our ways of living is the key to ensure that we don’t get off track, and stay on the right path of a moderate standard of living.

Spare with Love

Suran Ale-Imran, Verse 92

Quran Surah Ale-Imran 92

You shall not attain righteousness until you spend out of what you love (in the way of Allah). Allah knows whatever you spend. (3:92)

Just think of it this way, we desire to become closer to Allah, the Almighty, so for doing that we need to adapt means prescribed by Allah. Allah says that we will attain righteousness if we spend our best things as charity / aid in the way of Allah. Now, how can we spend if we are ourselves poor? Islam admonishes the ways to encourage poverty in the society. Also, programs like poverty alleviation schemes are to be planned out so that every society member can have access to the basic human rights.

A Warrior for Allah’s Cause

Our beloved Muhammad ﷺ said:

‘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)

Subhan Allah, charity, spending in Allah’s way, helping out our friends and family members for the sake of gaining Allah’s pleasure; these are all means to become pious believers, stronger in our faith, moving us towards a path that leads to the benefit of all human souls around us.

Paying Zakat

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: When someone is made rich but he does not pay Zakat for his wealth, then on the Day of Judgment his money will be turned into a poisonous snake with two black spots on its head. It will coil around his neck and bite his cheeks and say: ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure’. Then the Prophet recited verse 3:180 of the Quran. (Bukhari)

Surah Ali ‘Imran, Verse 180

Quran Surah Ale-Imran 180

‘And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. And Allah, with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted.’ (3:180)

Paying our due zakat religiously on a yearly basis is a sure shot means for helping out those in need, and also envelopes a deeper benefit of gaining Allah’s pleasure and succeeding in the afterlife. We surely don’t want our necks to be grabbed by a poisonous snake for not paying our zakat and charities. Allah says to us that it’s better for us and He will compensate our giving on a much greater scale, in sha Allah.

Allah says to us in Surah Ash-Sharh, Verse 6 to 7

Quran Surah Ash Sharh Verses 6 & 7

‘Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship].’ (94:6-7)

Allah SWT motivates us so that we work hard in successfully fulfilling our religious and worldly responsibilities, as nothing golden can be carved if no sweat and blood is given to it. An attitude of dedication, patience and perseverance is praiseworthy in the eyes of Allah, making us score a place in heaven in our afterlife, if Allah wills. Encouraging an environment of charity, and sharing with our fellow brothers and sisters is the Islamic way of living your life. May we succeed in practicing these healthy lifestyle habits, fueling our spiritual selves, and improving the society as a whole.

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