Eradication of Poverty – an Islamic Solution.

Friday, 7 January 2011 | comments

By: Moinuddin pathan
Poverty means the state of being poor, lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts. It defines the state of one with insufficient resources. It may cover a wide range from extreme want of necessities to an absence of material comforts. Poverty is one of the main problems which have attracted attention of sociologists and economists. It indicates a condition in which a person fails to maintain a living standard adequate for his physical and mental efficiency. It is a situation people want to escape. It gives rise to a feeling of a discrepancy between what one has and what one should have. A number of factors are responsible for the wide spread poverty.


At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. The poorest 40 per cent of the world’s population accounts for five per cent of global income, and the richest 20 per cent accounts for three-quarters. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.” The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s seven richest people combined. 1.6 billion People — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity. (Source: www.globalissues.org)


The majority of the world population today lives in poverty. It is clear that the world system we have set up today is unjust and inhumane. Otherwise, how can we allow this situation to continue with less than 10% of the world population controlling over 90% of the wealth and resources on this earth?

In India alone, where one billion inhabitants reside, an estimated 260.3 million are below the poverty line, of which 193.2 million are in the rural areas and 67.1 million are in urban areas. More than 75% of poor people reside in villages. Poverty level is not uniform across India. The poverty level is below 10% in states like Delhi, Goa, and Punjab etc whereas it is below 50% in Bihar (43) and Orissa (47). It is between 30-40% in North-eastern states of Assam, Tripura, and Meghalaya and in Southern states of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.



Islamic Solution:

God Almighty commanded us to give compulsory-charity, which is known as ‘Zakat’ (Pronounced: Zakaat). Zakat has to be given by the rich class of the society to the poor. Agricultural productions have 5-10%, and the excess amount from other sources have 2.5% of Zakat, which should be distributed systematically among the poor. This help in the eradication of poverty and hunger. And when the zakat money is collected from each and every rich individual, then we can collect around thousand billion dollars annually from all over the world.

Imagine what we can do with the money collected. Apart from satisfying the hunger, the governments can give interest-free loans to the farmers who in turn increases the yield of the country, the loan can be given to the small industries who can develop and multiply the income of the country, the loan can also be provided to the poor students for their educations who can later contribute to the country. Systematic use of the zakat money not only eradicates the poverty but also makes the country developed.

The importance of the zakat can be understood from various Quranic ayaat including 24:22, 9:34-35. Zakat is one of the main pillars of Islam (Sahih Bukhari 1:2:8), and a person cannot be a believer unless he believes in zakat and obeys it. God Almighty warns severely for those who don’t give zakat. The holy Quran says “And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (Wealth) think that it is good for them (and so they do not pay the obligatory Zakat). Nay, it will be worse for them; the things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is Well Acquainted with all that you do.” (3:180). 

Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) also counseled about zakat and said "Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the Zakat of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, 'I am your wealth, I am your treasure.' "(Sahih Bukhari 2:24:486). The holy prophet even emphasized on giving zakat even a small amount by saying "Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity." (Sahih Bukhari 2:24: 498).

This proves the importance of zakat in Islam and how Islam deals with poverty. Zakat is the right of Poor and we cannot snatch the right of anyone. The system of zakat is an effective system which can eradicate poverty easily. That’s why I say, Islam – the only solution for mankind.





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