Podcast

Poverty From A Muslim Perspective – A Khutbah By Imam Marc Manley

إِنَّ الإِنسانَ خُلِقَ هَلوعًا إِذا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزوعًا وَإِذا مَسَّهُ الخَيرُ مَنوعًا إِلَّا المُصَلّينَ الَّذينَ هُم عَلىٰ صَلاتِهِم دائِمونَ وَالَّذينَ في أَموالِهِم حَقٌّ مَعلومٌ لِلسّائِلِ وَالمَحرومِ

We talked about wisdom. Its function. To reconsider, to make the best application of knowledge or facts.

What is our conception of poverty? What do we think of the poor?

We we think “that unemployment and poverty are the fault of poor people and their deviant attitudes and behaviors” versus poverty being the consequence of macroeconomic changes and public policy.

Many times we tend to individualize poverty versus looking at it on a large scale. This is the Qur’anic view of such words as faqir/fuqara’, miskin/masakin, al-Sahil, al-Mahrum.

The American myth of “hard work”. There are many who work extremely hard and they have so little. It cannot be reduced to a work ethic or laziness.

We raised funds for the victims of San Bernardino. Many of us believed the propaganda that we were somehow to blame for it collectively.

Yet other urban organizations (some of which are founded/ran by Muslims) seek to charitable donations for good causes we don’t give because those orgs aim at helping black and brown populations (ironically some are Muslim!).

The obvious difference being that many of us feel (1) we’re not implicated in their poverty (2) we’ve obviously bought into the propaganda fed to us when we “passed through customs” towards black, brown, and poor populations.
What does the Qur’an and the Prophet have to say about poverty?

إِنَّ الإِنسانَ خُلِقَ هَلوعًا
إِذا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزوعًا
وَإِذا مَسَّهُ الخَيرُ مَنوعًا
إِلَّا المُصَلّينَ
الَّذينَ هُم عَلىٰ صَلاتِهِم دائِمونَ
وَالَّذينَ في أَموالِهِم حَقٌّ مَعلومٌ
لِلسّائِلِ وَالمَحرومِ

“Truly, human beings are insatiable from the moment they’re created, for they’re worried when misfortune comes, yet greedy when times are good. However, it’s not the same with those who are inclined to prayer, who are diligent in their devotions and who know that there’s a claim on their wealth from the poor who ask and from the poor who are held back from asking.” Qur’an 70: 19-25

أَنَّهُ كَانَ يَقُولُ شَرُّ الطَّعَامِ طَعَامُ الْوَلِيمَةِ يُدْعَى لَهَا الأَغْنِيَاءُ، وَيُتْرَكُ الْفُقَرَاءُ، وَمَنْ تَرَكَ الدَّعْوَةَ فَقَدْ عَصَى اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏‏

Abu Hurayrah relates that the Prophet said, “The worst food is that of a wedding banquet to which only the rich are invited while the poor are not invited. And he who refuses an invitation to a banquet disobeys Allah and His Messenger.” Sahih al-Bukhari, 5177

For more about poverty, read this engaging article by Imam Marc here entitled Deviant Attributes and Behaviors – Do Muslims Blame The Poor Or Uplift Them?

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