7

I've been reading some stuff about Islam, I have been going to Islamic type forums and I have managed to build up a very general picture about Islam and Muslims in general. That picture seems to be that Islam seems to be geared towards the poor. Is this true?

For example, it seems that Islam seems to give poor people reassurance to be happy with what they have. I don't understand that. You get what you dedicate your life towards right? Which is why the rich are rich and the poor are poor. For example, if the rich gave all their money to the poor, it would only be a matter of time before all that money ends up with the rich again.

Think about it, doesn't a student who studies medicine day and night for years become a good doctor? Doesn't a student who studies science day and night for years end up creating a rocket which takes man to the moon and back? So it's only natural that a student who studies wealth day and night for years becomes wealthy, just as a student of Islam who studies Islam day and night becomes a scholar.

Anyway, what I have found on Islamic forums is that people seem to be hostile towards the rich. For example, whenever I try to chat to muslims on an islamic forum, and tell them that they need to do something if they want the good stuff in the world, you have to work hard at it. I normally get a response that this life is not to earn money.

Why? The more money you have the more you can give to charity, the more you can help people. But it seems that is not how the average muslims sees it. Is that because Islam teaches you that? i.e. money isn't everything. I agree money isn't everything, but it's right up their with oxygen when it comes to importance.

So my question, is Islam geared towards the poor, as I always seem to get hostile responses from Muslims when I tell them that they need to work hard if they want to earn plenty of money to help the poor and needy in abundance.

Another example that I have found is that it seems generally accepted that if you're poor, you're poor, that's how god wants you to be. Really? God doesn't want you to have billions so you can give millions to charity? God prefers for you to be poor, so you don't give to charity, or at best have a little money to give 2.5% a year, which works out to a few $100 dollars?

So my question, if it's not clear from the text above, is Islam geared towards the poor, and does it try to reassure the poor to be content with the little they have instead of striving to earn more in-order to help more people financially?


Also, please understand that everything I have said about Muslims is very very general based on opinions created by myself by speaking to only a few Muslims. So I fully understand that it might not be true in all cases, or all of the time. I did mention something like this before, but it seems to have been edited out for some reason..

12

First of all, when you form some general opinion about something from someone else's opinions, there is danger in misinterpreting. Therefore I highly recommend you to ask for reference from other people to support their claims and provide your reference to support your claim.

Islam acknowledges man's desire to be wealthy.

زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَاللَّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ

Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.
3:14

However, more often than that, Quran encourages men to give wealth justly. There are lots of suras and sunnahs about this, I give one here as an example.

مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّائَةُ حَبَّةٍ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
2:261

What Islam discourages, is to accumulate wealth (out of greed) and not spend a just portion of it.

هَا أَنتُمْ هَٰؤُلَاءِ تُدْعَوْنَ لِتُنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَمِنكُم مَّن يَبْخَلُ ۖ وَمَن يَبْخَلْ فَإِنَّمَا يَبْخَلُ عَن نَّفْسِهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ الْغَنِيُّ وَأَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ ۚ وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُم

Here you are - those invited to spend in the cause of Allah - but among you are those who withhold [out of greed]. And whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself; and Allah is the Free of need, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.
47:38

And here it is clearly stated that you should spend the excess, whether for charity, for your family or other just causes.

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ ۖ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا ۗ وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, "In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they should spend. Say, "The excess [beyond needs]." Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought.
2:219


Now to talk about what you mentioned. Suppose a person strives to earn a lot of money, not to keep it out of greed, but only to spend it in just causes or charity. Then clearly it is very good and no harm in that. And the more he helps other people, the more his reward will be.

However, if a person strives to earn a lot of money just for the money, although with more money he can do more charity, it is not as good. It is stated in Quran that when you do charity you need to be sincere.

وَالَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ رِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَا بِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۗ وَمَن يَكُنِ الشَّيْطَانُ لَهُ قَرِينًا فَسَاءَ قَرِينًا

And [also] those who spend of their wealth to be seen by the people and believe not in Allah nor in the Last Day. And he to whom Satan is a companion - then evil is he as a companion.
4:38


On the other note, I noticed that you have much haste in judgement. You talked about average Muslim. There are roughly 1.8 billion Muslims around the world. How many have you talked to on a forum? Maybe 10-1000? It seems to me that your data pool is not big enough for you to form statistically significant hypothesis about the "average Muslim".

And Allah knows the best.

  • Yes, I thought this was a very good answer. And you're right, my opinion was based on a very small group of muslims (which can easily be applied to English speaking people, or any other type of person, and I fully understand that it can be inaccurate. I didn't find anything offensive in your answer. Plus I don't believe in making money to keep it, I am a believer of the following: The more you give, the more you get, but you can't give more if you don't have much to give. – user3550 Jun 6 '13 at 8:14
  • @user3550 Even if, hypothetically, 90% Muslims are hostile toward the rich, you can at most say "most Muslims are hostile toward the rich", but it is problematic to say "Islam is hostile toward the rich" or "Islam is geared for the poor". Islam is Allah's religion and Muslims are people who submit to Allah. We are fallible and Allah is not. Just because most submitters do/think something, does not always 100% reflect the stance/ideas in Islam. – user2350 Jun 6 '13 at 8:29
  • 1
    @mezhang, I agree. Plus, I did mention that in my original question, but it seems someone decided to remove it. Please check the older versions of my question which included stuff like "I understand that my opinion is very general, and it is not true in all cases". :) – user3550 Jun 6 '13 at 8:30
3

Islam isn't really geared toward the poor, at least not in the sense you're describing. Wealth, as everything else in this world, is transitive: It will not help us on the day of judgement. It can, however, distract those with weak faith from the importance of the hereafter.

The prophet is reported to have said that he didn't worry about his followers becoming poor, rather he worried that they would become rich and become so intent on earning more wealth that they'd forget entirely about earning God's reward in the hereafter.

Fundamentally, everything we possess is due to God's will, not our own efforts; even hard work and dedication doesn't offset the fact that there are things in this world beyond our control. Whether rich or poor, we are all commanded to be patient and not let worldly things prevent us from righteousness and following God's law.

And in the end, what matters is not what wealth we had (or didn't have), rather what we chose to do with it.

  • I do find your 3rd paragraph a little confusing. Are you saying that according to Islamic teachings, a student of medicine only becomes a doctor due to Gods will and it has nothing to do with the student striving day and night to study hard to become a doctor and wanting to become a doctor? And that a student of medicine does not become a mechanic due to Gods will, and it has nothing to do with the student studying medicine instead of studying mechanics, and it has nothing to do with him wanting to be a doctor instead of a mechanic? – user3550 Jun 6 '13 at 8:26
  • Everything happens according to God's will; no matter how much time and effort you spend on studying medicine, you have no control over whether you actually get a job or not. – goldPseudo Jun 6 '13 at 13:38
  • Not saying you're wrong, if thats what Islam teaches then fair enough. I just think its a bit too coincidental that the majority of people who study medicine become doctors instead of mechanics. And the majority of people who study mechanics become mechanics instead of doctors. If we really have no control over this, then I would assume that the majority of people who study medicine would have an equal chance of becoming either doctors or mechanics without having to study mechanics after their medics degree? – user3550 Jun 6 '13 at 14:30
  • @user3550 I believe you do understand that studying mechanics, implies that you're geared towards mechanics and not medicine. Can someone who studies mechanics perform surgery? Nor can someone who studies medicine perform "surgery" on mechanical devices. But to the contrary, we may as well have people who study medicine and end up working at the local supermarket, or as a sales agent (which don't necessarily need prior education). – cprogcr Jun 9 '13 at 11:02
3

Rich and poor are relative terms, different people have different quantitative measures as to what is rich and what is poor.Islam has a different take on what is considered as rich or poor, It offers a better understanding of being rich and defines it in an absolute manner :

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Being rich does not mean having a great amount of property, but [it] is being content [with what one has]." - Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadith 453

So if a Muslim is satisfied with what he has , may it be a so little as to be insignificant for most people , yet his quality of satisfaction is what makes him rich. Similarly if a Muslim is having a lot of wealth yet he longs for more to the extent it affects his emotional well being thus not being content and hence not rich.

So far from being geared towards being poor , Islam is "geared" towards being satisfied with what Allah swt has given us, the higher the satisfaction the richer you are, this seems to be more rational to me.

That being said, Allah does like people to be bountiful and there is nothing in Islam that stops a person to seek being wealthy as long as he is content with it without violating Shariah

Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Allah loves to see the sign of His Bounties on his slave."[At-Tirmidhi].

1

Let us go line by line to keep it simpler and easier to relate.

I've been reading some stuff about Islam, I have been going to Islamic type forums

MashaAllah, very good. wish more people start learning about Islam.

Islam seems to be geared towards the poor. Is this true?

Many brothers have already replied about it already

give poor people reassurance to be happy with what they have.

Islam teaches everyone, including poor, to be content with what Allah has provided.

You get what you dedicate your life towards right?

You strive in your work but leave the result to Allah.

Doesn't a student who studies medicine day and night for years become a good doctor?

Allah decided for the student to be a doctor and set him on the course to study medicine. And so on for science, Islam, etc students.

people seem to be hostile towards the rich.

People should welcome everyone, and not be hostile towards rich/poor/etc, for it is decided by Allah.

I normally get a response that this life is not to earn money.

True, if you study and know the TRUE purpose of life.

more money you have the more you can give to charity, the more you can help people.

Do you see this happening in real world? We have rich who only keeps bankers happy, not the poor ppl.

is Islam geared towards the poor.

Islam is geared towards EVERYONE, rich and poor alike.

instead of striving to earn more in-order to help more people financially?

Striving is accepted in Islam, within the limits set by Allah. And real striving is for Akhirah.

Also, please understand that everything I have said about Muslims is very very general based on opinions created by myself by speaking to only a few Muslims.

Understood -)

wassalam, Brother

  • 1
    "Do you see this happening in real world? We have rich who only keeps bankers happy, not the poor ppl.". Yes, believe it or not. I know many wealthy people who give millions every year to charity. I am sure there are many other wealthy people who do this. However, they are not known, as I know for a fact that not all wealthy people like to advertise that they gave this many millions to charity this year etc etc. However, some wealthy people do like to advertise that. +1 for the rest. – user3550 Jun 7 '13 at 12:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.