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The Solution to the Problem of

Wealth and Poverty

Al A’llaamah Abdur Rahmaan As-Sa’dee

The aims and politics of people have varied greatly regarding
the issue of wealth and poverty according to their personal
ambitions not in accordance to their following the truth and
looking for the comprehensive good of all. All of them erred
from the beneficial way in as much as they were not restricted
by the directives of the Islamic religion. Their ideas varied
and they acted accordingly whereupon far reaching evil and
tremendous trials occurred between those who claimed to help
against poverty, the impoverished, the laborers and those
miserably holding on to the wealth and money.

Allah guided the believers to the straight path in all of their
affairs in general and concerning this issue particularly.

The religion came with what is for the good of the rich and
poor according to what is possible in as much as that Allah
ruled in His decree and pre-destining that the creation are
different levels, some are rich, some are poor, some are noble
and some are ignoble for the purpose of tremendous aspects of
wisdom and secrets that would be difficult to fully express.

He connected them to one another with strong bonds and
subjected them to each other whereas balanced interests are
exchanged between them and they need one another.

The Wise Law Giver legislated firstly: that they be brothers
and not exploit one another for personal exploitation, but
rather it instructed them to undertake towards one another
their legislated obligations by which their harmony would be
completed and life would be established. It ordered everyone
to direct themselves in their entirety to the general interests
that would benefit both parties such as the bodily acts of
worship, charitable projects, struggling against and
confronting the enemy and repelling their enmity by every
means while each person does according to their ability and
strength. This person does so with his body and money,
another does so bodily, another does so monetarily; another
does so with his influence and direction while still another
does so with his learning and teaching. This is because the
ultimate goal is one and the interest are shared. The goal is
noble and the means to it are noble.

Furthermore, He mandated in the wealth of the rich the
obligation of Zakah according to what has come of legislated
details. He made its payment to repel the needs of the needy
and to facilitate the interest of the religion which establishes
the affairs of the religion and the world. He encouraged
kindness at every time and every occasion and mandated
warding off the dire necessities from those in dire need,
feeding the hungry and clothing the unclothed.

Likewise he obligated particular expenditures upon family and
children and all connected to them and to establish the
obligations of interpersonal dealings that occur between
people.

Along with that he ordered them not to merely rely upon their
might or power and not to look at their possessions with an
unchangeable or tranquil outlook, but rather their outlook
should always be to Allah, His favor, His making things easy
and to seeking His assistance as well being grateful to Him for
what He graciously bestowed upon them and specially gave to
them of richness and wealth.

He mandated upon them to stay within the bounds and not
submerge themselves into luxuriousness and extravagance in
such a manner so as to harm their morals, character and all of
their circumstances. Rather they are to be as Allah the most
high said:
{ ‫والذين إذا أنفقوا ل يسرفوا ول يقتروا وكان بي ذلك قواما } [ سورة الفرقان‬
67 ‫ الية‬: ]

Along with that He ordered that their seeking of richness and
the world be a noble, clean endeavor such as that they not be
polluted with unclean earnings which lay between usury,
gambling, cheating, treachery and deception. Rather, they are
to restrict themselves with the fair restrictions of the religion
in their transactions just as they restrict their selves with it in
their worship.

Also it ordered them to look at the poor with mercy and
kindness, not with an outlook of harshness, cruelty,
selfishness, pompousness, gluttony and arrogance.

With these wise instructions the wealth in the religion is in the
epitome of nobility and perfect consideration and so richness
in this aspect is a praiseworthy characteristic and a perfect,
high and lofty quality on account of the religion having
disciplined and cleaned it. It encourages distancing ones self
from its vileness and encourages the acquiring of its virtues.

As for what Islam does with the poor then it orders them and
anyone who has not reached his personal likes to be patient
and pleased with Allah’s decree and control and to recognize
that Allah is All Wise thus having various wisdom in that as
well as assorted benefits:

{ ‫وعسى أن تكرهوا شيئا وهو خي لكم وعسى أن تبوا شيئا وهو شر لكم وال‬
216 ‫ الية‬: ‫] يعلم وأنتم ل تعلمون } [ سورة البقرة‬
Their having this outlook will cause the departure of sadness
that occurs in hearts which causes incapability and laziness.
Furthermore it ordered them not to look at the creation to ward
of their poverty and need and not to ask them except when
asking is unavoidable in dire necessity to do so and that they
are to seek the warding off of poverty from Allah alone
without partners with what He has made as means to repel
poverty and acquire richness. There are various deeds and
means and each person is to busy himself with the means that
apply to him and are befitting of his circumstance. In doing so
he benefits from being free of the yoke of the creation and
trains himself on strength, activity and combating laziness and
inactivity. Alongside that, no jealousy falls into his heart for
the rich over what Allah gave them from his bounty.
{ ‫ول تتمنوا ما فضل ال به بعضكم على بعض للرجال نصيب ما اكتسبوا‬
} ‫وللنساء نصيب ما اكتسب واسألوا ال من فضله إن ال كان بكل شيء عليما‬
32 ‫ الية‬: ‫] [ سورة النساء‬

Also He ordered them to be sincere in their actions,
transactions and industries and not hasten sustenance in
getting dispicable earnings that do away with the worldly life
and religion. Also it ordered them with two matters that will
help them against the difficulty of poverty: Moderation in the
management of ones livelihood and being satisfied with
Allah’s sustenance. Therefore little sustenance alongside wise
moderation will be much and satisfaction is an unexhaustable
treasure and is richness with no money. How many poor
persons have been divinely guided in favor of moderation and
satisfaction, not envying the luxurious wealthy or being
disturbed by the scarcity of what he has of little sustenance?
When the poor are guided with the directives of the religion
such as patience and being attached to Allah, freedom of the
yoke of creation, hard work and striving in noble beneficial
actions and satisfaction with Allah’s favor, the downtrodden
feeling and hardship of poverty will ease up for them. Along
with that they don’t cease striving to get wealth, hope in their
lord and await His promise. The are to have taqwa of Allah
for verily:

{ ‫ومن يتق ال يعل له مرجا ويرزقه من حيث ل يتسب ومن يتوكل على ال‬
3 , 2 ‫ اليتان‬: ‫] فهو حسبه } [ سورة الطلق‬

So these are the religious teachings and directives from Allah
and His Messenger to the wealthy people and the poor that
will facilitate goodness for them and repell them from evils
and harms. They will produce the most beautiful fruits for
them in the immediate and the eventual sense. This is the only
solution from The Glorious Lord for the problem of wealth
and poverty and whatever there is besides that is hardship,
wretchedness, harm and destruction. And Allah alone is the
True Guide.