Poverty

Quick revise

Millions of people in the world find day to day life hard due to a lack of the needs of life. Approximately 1.3 billion people have less than US$1 per day to live on and half of the world’s population (about 3 billion) has less than $2 (£1) per day.

Many say that the gap between rich and poor people is getting wider. LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries) often have huge debts which need to be paid off and which use up all of their income from other sources.

These countries do not have (adequately) the six basic needs – food, water, shelter employment, education and healthcare.

The effects of poverty

It is hard to imagine the effects of poverty and the misery it causes.

  • Adults, children and babies are malnourished.
  • Life expectancy is low.
  • Diseases spread easily.
  • People have to travel a long way to fetch water.
  • Poor education means that the next generations are not equipped to tackle the problems in the future.
General Muslim beliefs
  • Wealth and money ultimately belong to Allah.
  • All Muslims are commanded to give generously, in their time, prayer, talents and money.
  • The third pillar of Islam is zakah which requires Muslims who earn enough to give a percentage of their income to help the poor and needy.
  • At the end of Ramadan (when the fasting helps Muslims to identify with the poor) there is a special payment for those in need called zakat-ul-fitr.
  • All Muslims are equal through their membership of the Ummah – the worldwide community.
Specific Teachings

‘Spend of your substance out of love for [Allah], for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer.’ (Qur’an, surah 2:177)

‘Whoever saved a life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.’ (Qur’an, surah 5:32)

‘He is not a believer who eats while his neighbour remains hungry by his side.’ (Hadith)

‘Every day two angels come down from heaven. One says. ‘Allah, Compensate everyone who gives in your name.’ the other says, ‘Allah, destroy every miser.’ (Hadith)

Charities

Muslim Aid is based in London and was formed in 1985. It provides money and aid to victims of disasters and poverty.

It funds and supports various long-term campaigns which aim to give skills, training and basic needs to those who require them. It is important for Muslim Aid to give people the skills that mean they can fend for themselves in the future.

What can Muslims do?
  • Give generously (within their means), not only when they are required to, but also making voluntary donations (sadaqah).
  • Support charities that provide emergency aid (Red Crescent, Muslim Aid, Islamic Relief Worldwide).
  • Encourage others and governments to support those in need.

QUESTION

Explain how and why Muslims might show concern for the poor.

Answer

How:

  • Support charities such as Muslim Aid, Red Crescent or Islamic Relief Worldwide.
  • Give generously of their time and money – not just when they have to but voluntarily.
  • Encourage governments and others around them to support those in need.

Why:

  • The Qur’an says clearly that Muslims need to help those in need (learn at least one quotation for this).
  • It is one of the pillars of Islam – so a key aspect to Muslim life.
  • It shows you are a part of the Ummah – the worldwide Muslim community.