Poverty has remained a concerning global problem. The alarming increasing rate of poverty in the third world is disturbing, and Muslim Countries are no exception.
Islam About the Poor and Poverty
Poverty is not encouraged in Islam. However, for a stable economic and social system, various Ahadith and Quranic verses support the concept of helping the poor. Here we will highlight authentic Islamic quotes about being poor and the concept of poverty in Islam. It will be concluded with practical guidelines in light of Islam on alleviating poverty and promoting a fair economic system.
13 – Concept of equality in Islam
As evident from the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), equality near Almighty Allah is not dependent on one’s ethnicity, color, or financial status. No one is superior over one another based on caste, like some other religions. The only measure for success in Islam is when to Allah SWT one is superior in Taqwa (being God-conscious) and good deeds.
12 – A Sign of Righteousness is to Help the Poor
Quran also tells us the true definition of righteousness. The significance of the concept of giving in Islam can be realized from the fact that amongst the fundamental beliefs of believing in Allah SWT and other articles of Faith, giving wealth is also highlighted. This is evident from the verse below.
11 – Rights of Poor in Islam
So, what does Islam say about poverty? Repeatedly through Ahadith and Quran, we know how the privileged members of the society should help the poor and needy. For example, Surah Al Maa’oon states that those who do not encourage feeding the poor are as if that person has denied the day of judgment.
And again, in the end, it says that the characteristics of these people are so stingy in acting kind that they refuse small everyday acts. These acts can include not giving salt or water to the needy. The Surah tells what Allah SWT says about the poor and feeding the poor.
10 – Looking after Poor Neighbors
The rights of neighbors are undoubtedly given much preference in Islam. However, if the neighbor is poor then he/she becomes more deserving. As evident from the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH):
9 – Feeding the Poor
Similarly, the rights of poor people are addressed in one of the five pillars of Islam: Fasting.
The following verse from the Holy Quran tells that for those who have to miss obligatory fast due to illness or traveling; the compensation is to feed the poor people for each missed day. This is also known as fidya. However, for any fasts that are missed during Ramadan unnecessarily, Kaffarah, a penalty has to be paid. Hadith On Fasting can be read here.
8 – Begging in Islam
Islam disapproves of indolence and begging. A Muslim’s honor, dignity, and virtue are shattered when begging as it shows that the person is not willing to use Allah’s blessings of sound health to make a basic living. Instead, that beggar relies on easy means to put dignity at stake and spread hands in front of others. The definition of Miskin, i.e. needy, is given by Prophet Muhammad (PHUH) below.
It’s important to note down as many Ahadith and verses of the Quran have the word Miskin and often many are confused.
7 – Looking After The Poor
Prophet Muhammad PBUH only allowed asking for others to take care of one’s needs under the following three situations:
- Those who are indebted and cannot pay their debts as evident from the Hadith below.
- People whose property was destroyed because of calamity or disaster
- Those who became poor and their poverty status is acknowledged by those who are around them or those who know them.
As for those who have basic food for the day and means to work for a living, for them, it is not allowed to beg.
6 – How to Avoid Poverty
Prophet Muhammad PBUH advised performing Hajj and Umrah as it removes not only sins but also poverty. Here you can read details about performing Hajj.
5 – Seeking Refuge From Poverty
Prophet Muhammad PBUH also taught Dua to seek refuge from poverty. Poverty is not considered a virtue in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught the following Dua to get rid of humiliation and poverty as it puts a human position at a degrading end.
4 – Glad Tidings for the Poor
For the unprivileged members of the society who are poor due to unavoidable circumstances, Prophet Muhammad PBUH has given glad tidings as mentioned in the Hadith below. This is a comforting message as Allah rewards them in the Hereafter for their patience and miseries on this Earth.
3 – Zakat in Islam
Islam encourages wealth to circulate from the rich to the needy in society. Zakat is obligatory, and Sadakah is non-obligatory falls into the circulation of wealth.
- Zakat is made compulsory on one’s wealth once a year. The importance of Zakat can be assessed from the fact that it is one of the five pillars of Islam. However, it is important to remember that Zakat is not to be given to everyone we think is needy or poor. The following verse of the Quran clarifies the heads to whom Zakat can be given. It includes enslaved people, for newly reverts to Islam, for the staff who are employed to collect Zakat, for those who are in debt and for the traveller who is in need (irrespective if in the home country the traveller is financially well off)
2 – Giving Charity
Sadakah on the other hand is the voluntary charity given to the deserving members of society. Prophet Muhammad PBUH has described the best form of charity in the following Hadith.
1 – Maintining the Dignity of the Poor
It is also not liked to make a public display when giving charity so to maintain the dignity of the poor person who receives it:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What the Quran says about poor?
The Quran encourages sharing of one’s wealth with the poor and needy in form of Zakat and Sadaqah.
Q. Is it okay to be rich in Islam?
Islam does not oppose being rich. However, to be extravagant and not to give the deserving members of their society their share in spite of being rich is not encouraged.