Imam Zijad’s Corner: Islam’s approach to eradicating poverty
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was well aware of the impact of poverty on individuals and society in his own day and his teachings illuminate timeless truths for us in the 21st century:
- The question of belief: “He is not a believer who goes to sleep at night with a full stomach knowing that his/her neighbor is hungry.” (Muhammad, pbuh). For me, the entire city of Ottawa is just the beginning of my neighborhood, for I belong to a global village of seven billion human beings.
- Sharing is the policy: “The food of one person is sufficient for two; the food of two sufficient for four…etc.” (Muhammad, pbuh). The greatest prophets of the world’s leading faiths teach that no one has so little that it cannot be shared.
- Generosity is an excellent quality: It is even better when it comes from the efforts of a wealthy people, or society. (Muhammad, pbuh).
- When asked for help, Muhammad never refused a request from the needy, if he had what he was asked about. If he did not have it, he would sometimes borrow it from others and give it to the needy or would promise that he will take care of it. (Muhammad, pbuh)
- Giving also benefits the giver: “Wealth is not diminished by giving.” (Muhammad, pbuh). Giving actually increases our faith and universal value. Therefore, from the faith perspective, giving helps those who give, as well as those who receive.
- Thus, charity will not decrease our wealth…(Muhammad, pbuh)