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Muslim Teaching on Wealth and Poverty

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When it comes to wealth and poverty, there are many significant roles that Islam plays in a Muslim’s life. Poverty is the term used when people live without the basic essentials that all people need in order to live adequately. These conditions are always below standard. There are two types of poverty. The first type is ‘absolute poverty’ : when a person does not have the basic essentials needed to live and the second is ‘relative poverty’: when a person does live an adequate life style but sees people richer than them and yearns for what the richer person has. This type of poverty is usually very common and which many people experience.

Islam encourages Muslims to help those in need and be considerate towards others. This attitude is expressed by making charity an obligation upon Muslims. However there are different types of charity and it is not all of them that are compulsory. Zakah is the act of charity that is an obligation but is commonly referred to as a tax. This is inaccurate as it is one of the five pillars of Islam therefore is a divine duty. It is a right that the poor have over the rich. Consequently, people who refuse to pay their share of Zakah are ones who deprive the poor of the God-given right. Viewing it as tax lessens the importance of Zakah and its importance is quite apparent in various verses of the Quran and hadith. It has been revealed in the Quran that: ‘In their wealth there is a known share for the beggars and the destitute’

It is such that the Quran associates Zakah instantaneously after Salah (prayer which is the first pillar of Islam and which is seen to be such that it differentiates Muslims from non-Muslims) further displaying the great importance that Zakah holds in a Muslim’s life.

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... money. They must not invest in anything that goes against Islam and must not waste their money unnecessarily and must not gamble their earnings away. As the Quran states: Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?

To conclude, Muslims must be grateful for the wealth they receive as they realise that everything they have is all from Allah. Every one is born equal in the eyes of Allah and born ‘naked’ and will leave in this state. They must not be greedy for wealth or miserly as their wealth belongs to Allah. Therefore it must be shared with others by giving charity. Work is an important part of a Muslim’s life as it is the only way they can earn money lawfully which further highlights this essential part of a person’s life.