Friday, April 30, 2010

Islam and my view on wealth and poverty

There are some people of my acquaintance who sincerely oppose any kind of social welfare projects--along with (perhaps because of) some right-wing pundits. These folks believe that poor people don't work hard; at least, not as hard as the rich or middle-class. They believe that their own efforts (pretty much exclusively) contribute to their own success.

Islam prevents me from siding with that opinion. If I believe in Allah, Lord and Sustainer, and believe that He is responsible for providing sustenance for me and for everyone, I can't take credit for it. I can't take credit for my wealth, or blame someone else for their poverty. Just like I can't credit someone with their health, or blame someone for their illness--it's all from Allaah. Wealth is a test as surely as poverty, health as well as illness. And if I, for instance, am being tested with wealth, then it's my responsibility to distribute it as charity to those who are tested with poverty.

With this view of the world, how can people despise social welfare and social justice? How can they despise the poor?

Many people work hard and are blessed with wealth. Some don't work hard at all and still they're wealthy. And many people work hard and still live in poverty.

Unless we truly acknowledge the blessings that we have in life, and the source of those blessings, it's all too easy to blame people for their own troubles and refuse help. But if we understand that everything is from Allah, and understand that we're going to be accountable for how we handle our wealth (if we have it), then isn't it impossible to withhold from charity?


Asim said...

excellent post

UmmAbdulAziz said...

Great post, sister!