5 years ago
Islam is a universal religion, a holistic system that satisfies one's spiritual and material needs, it also addresses the social problemssuch as poverty, this problem that, despite the tremendous scientific development the world made, remained impossibly unsolved with the result that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening to the extent that the problem of some countries is how to dispose the surplus of food while some many peoples in some African countries starve to death.
Islam fought poverty through the following legislations:
Annual zakat ( obligatory), of Ramdan Zakat (obligatory), giving voluntary Alms and Fighting unemployment
In Islam Zakat ( a certain sum of money) is the right of God in one's money; this right should be given to the poor. It should be given as a right to poor, and not as a favour. Paying "Zakat" is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, next in importance to doing obligatory prayer; it is the giving of a small percentage of one's income to charityin the end of each lunar year.
The linguistic meaning
In Arabic, the word "Zakat" means both 'purification' and 'growth; paying the zakat purifies one’s properties from what might find its way to one's possessions in illegal way, moreover; it blesses our money and increases it.
Who should pay the annual zakat
Not all people are to pay Zakat, only the rich whose possessions is equal to a certain weight of gold excluding his or her personal needs (debts, clothing, household furniture, utensils, cars etc. are termed article of personal needs). The amount of Zakat is 2.5 % and it is paid each lunar year.
There are certain privileges that zakat payer should enjoy:
As to those who are to pay Zakat, they are every adult, mentally stable, free, and financially able Muslim, male and female.
God says in the Holy Quran what means: "The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise." (The Holy Qur'an 9:60).
Who should receive Zakat?
Zakat is to be distributed among people of the following categories, depending on need:
1) The Destitute: Those who don't have what could support their livelihood.
4) Stranded Travelers: The traveller who does not have enough money to complete their journey.
6) New Muslims: Those who are new to Islam and require help to integrate themselves into the Muslims community.
The Annual zakat can solve the world poverty
Zakat benefits are numerous that can't be numerated, it has many spiritual, social and economic benefits; it reminds the Muslims that all that he has is just a blessing from Allah, it fulfills social security, brings the society members close to each other and removes any feeling of grudge between the classes of the society. It narrows the gap between the rich and the poor and creates an atmosphere of love in the society. It also brings Muslim closer and closer to Allah, it is an expression of submission to Allah and an acknowledgement of gratitude, the receiver of Zakat receives it as a grant from Allah out of His bounty, a favor for which he feels that he should be thankful to Allah.
Zakat also helps economy to prosper; Zakat is against hoarding money because the rich will try to invest their money lest it is eaten up by Zakat and this will help redevelop the state economy.
In this connection the prophet says:
As to the rate of Zakat, Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet said:
If the Islamic law was implemented in the world today, the word poverty would be expurgated from dictionaries within just one year and no miseries would arise. To be sure imagine the Zakat due on agricultural products, animals (5% to 10% of the produce) are distributed among the poor, there is also the " Rekaz zakat" which is due on the wealth inside the earth such as oil and metals; this kind of Zakat, still not applied and questionable, is equal to 20% of whatever is extracted from the earth except gold and silver.
The Rekaz Zakat of the six rich gulf states amounts to (100 milliard dollars) yearly, this amount of money could annihilate the problem of poverty all over the Islamic world, imagine that all of the world are Muslims and this kind of Zakat in addition to the other kinds of Zakat is paid, could be there poor people under the sun?
Now consider this simple fact: Forbes Magazine reported that in 2004 there were 587 billionaires worldwide, with a combined net worth of $1.9 trillion dollars. If in 2004 these 587 richest people in the world paid zakat, we would have had $47.5 billion dollars distributed among the poor.
This calculation has just considered less than 600 individuals on this earth. What about if everyone contributed to a global Zakat fund in the same way? The total world GDP (summation of gross domestic product of all countries in the world) was estimated in 1999 to be $27,357.9 billion dollars. The 2.5% Zakat on this would amount to $683.95 billion dollars annually. These are just ball park figures to give the reader an idea of how much money Zakat can generate.
Giving voluntarily alms
Among the many ways to eliminate poverty is giving alms voluntarily.
There are a lot of verses in the Holy Quran that exhort the Muslims to spend out of what God has given to them, also there are many hadiths that show how high the status a Muslim can get because of giving alms to the poor.
In the Holy Quran, God says in the Holy Quran what means:
There are many other verses that stress the aforementioned fact in the above-mentioned verse.
For the sake of brevity we will condense the high rewards of giving alms as follows:
Giving Sadaka" alms" will be the way of remitting many of the sins that will incur the hellfire on the Last Day, the Prophet Mohammed says in this regard:
In another hadith, the prophet likens sins to fire that can be extinguished by water. The prophet says:
In another hadith the Prophet says
Also, on the Doomsday, the sun will be close to peoples head, people will suffer much. The prophet says in this regard:
In another Hadith, the prophet says
Moreover, giving alms seeking God's pleasure is a cure from many incurable diseases, many people have depended on giving alms as a cure from incurable diseases. The prophet says:
Giving alms softens callous hearts, the prophet said to the man who came to complain of the callousness in his heart:
Giving alms prevent many afflictions and problems and this what many people have experienced.
Also giving alms blesses one's money, the prophet says
Also giving alms is a way to attain righteousness, God says in the Holy Quran what means:
What is really ecstatic is that giving alms makes you among those whom the angels pray for, the prophet says in this regard:
Each morning two angels descend (to the earth) and pray to God saying' O' God give the generous a compensation (in the place of which he paid) and give each miser a loss'"
Giving alms doubles the reward many times, God says in the Holy Quran what means:
Giving alms is a sign to the true belief, the prophet says
Giving alms is a way to purify money because money is sometimes earned by lying and false oath or what is like that.
The prophet says:
Also, people with moderate income should not lose the high reward of giving alms, the prophet says:
Of alms, the best is that which is given by people with moderate income ( a state between poverty and richness) , and start with people in your family and relatives."
Even spending on your family (wife and children) is highly rewarded, the prophet says:
It should also be noted that the best of sadika(alms) is that which is given to one of your relatives, the prophet said:
A sadika( alms) given to a poor is just a Sadika but a sadika given to a relative is two sadikas( alms); these are sadika( as the previous one) and another righteous act that is made for a relative( and this I, too, highly rewarded)
If a poor has any enmity towards you, this doesn’t mean that you should overlook his rights in your money but this kind of Sadika is considered among the best of Sadikas; the Prophet says: The best of Sadikas is that given to a relative who harbors hatred (towards you).
Giving Alms atones sins
In order to reduce the problem of poverty, Islam has made alms giving a way to atone sins, the following sins need paying alms to the poor to be atoned:
A false oath
If any person gives a false oath, he should free a slave or feed and clothe ten persons or fast three consecutive days.
If someone make avow but did not fulfill it, he should free a slave or feed and clothe ten persons or fast three consecutive days.
To give an oath not to sleep with the wife is also atoned by feeding and clothing ten poor persons or freeing a slave or fasting three consecutive days.
God says in the Holy Quran what means:
But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered,- (It is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: Thus are ye admonished to perform: and Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do. (58: 3)
Sleeping with a wife during the day of (Ramdan) is atoned by freeing a slave or fasting two consecutive months or feeding sixty poor persons.
Doing something harmful is atoned by feeding six persons.
Islam and Unemployment
Islam urged its adherent to work and earn their livings by their hands and warned against those who prefer to rest without work depending on the others.
Islam is a complete system that, if implemented correctly, it would bring happiness to humanity. As to beggary, Prophet Mohammed, guided by God, fought beggary as a craft and in the same time urged the rich to help the have-nots.
A beggar, who he is strong enough to earn his living, incurs God's wrath, so the prophet showed how earning one's living by one's hand is highly hounoured in Islam, the prophet Mohammed says:
In Islam, earning one's living is a way of atoning sins, the prophet says:
In Islam depending on others, while able to earn living, is completely abhorrent and would bring God's wrath. The prophet warned against this bad habit, it is narrated that the prophet was told about a young man who kept his day fasting and his night doing prayer, the companions thought that what he did is something excellent. The prophet asked" who spends on him?"
"His brother"the companions answered.
The prophet said:
The following real story shows to what extent asking people for alms while able to earn living is something abhorring in Islam, it is narrated that the prophet was sitting while a man came to him asking for alms. Seeing his strong physique, the prophet said to him" Do you have anything at home?"
The prophet said
So the man went and fetched them to the prophet, the prophet said to the companions" who would like to buy these?"
A man said I buy them for one dirham.
The prophet said"
A man said" I'd like to buy them for two dirham."
The prophet took the two dirham and said to the man" Go buy some food for your wife by one dirham and buy an axe by the other." And the man did.
The prophet took the axe and by his honourable hand he prepared a piece of wood and fix it to the axe and asked him to go to gather firewood, the prophet asked him not to come back to him before fifteen days.
After fifteen days the man came back to the prophet, he had earned ten dirham by which he bought some clothes and some food, the prophet said to him"
By:Magdy Abd Alshafy