Free Essay: Islamic Views on Wealth and Poverty
Just like other religions that we have across the globe, Islam too has its own beliefs and teachings when it comes to wealth and poverty. Islam is cognizant of the fact that in life, people can never be the same in terms of material wealth. Islam does not go against the fact that there is always a clear distinction between human beings with regards to property and means of sustainability. It highlights that that is the nature of life, which is often in terms of stairs.
Considering that such disparity in the income and wealth of different people exists, Islam further points out that there is a similar distinction in other highly valued gifts like intellect, grace, beauty, physical strength among other traits of an individual. With regards to this, the Almighty Allah says in An-Nahl: 71 that, ‘’And Allah hath favored some of you above others in provision.’’ With this, there is no doubt that some people are given more material gain than others in life. It justifies the existence of wealth and poverty.
Further, in Az-Zukhruf 32, the Almighty Allah says that, ‘’we have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of the world, and raised some of them above others in rank that some of them may take labor from others.’’ However, this does not mean that those in power or have wealth should use it to oppress the less fortunate or poor. What is meant by Allah in the verses above is that those endowed with extraordinary gifts like wealth should use them in catering for other people’s interests and development.
Islam strictly speaks in great condemnation that wealth should be under the control of some individuals to the detriment of the majority. Thus, it has set out certain principles one of which is forbidding all unlawful means of investment like Riba (interest), monopoly of wealth, illegal trades, and fraud among others. This is meant to limit the act of investing money as not to lead to enlarging the gap that exists between the rich and the poor.
Islam also has another principle that proposes enjoining Zakah that is an obligatory offering by the wealthy to the poor. It requires that the rich or those with material wealth take a portion of their wealth and give to the poor in order to also find means of sustenance. The offering is either issued monthly or after a specific period of time towards the benefit of the poor. A line from the Quran also reads, ‘’He will never be deemed a true believer, he who fails to aid his starving neighbor, despite hi affordability to do so.’’
Muslims are of the belief that all are equal before Allah irrespective of material wealth. Thus, it is always in the interest of those who are capable or wealthy to help the poor since that is what Allah requires. Muslims believe that wealth and good health has been given to each by Allah as a test and so they must be used for the benefit of others.
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