World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Islam and poverty

Article Id: WHEBN0023698615
Reproduction Date:

Title: Islam and poverty  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Islamic studies, Islam and society, Muslim views, Physics in the medieval Islamic world, McGill University Institute of Islamic Studies
Collection: Islam and Society, Muslim Views, Poverty
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Islam and poverty

Peaking whilst in the Middle Ages, the religion of Islam has a tenuous relationship with the idea of voluntary poverty.[3] While Sufism has encouraged the renunciation of material wealth, Sunni and Shi'ite scholars have traditionally held that self-denial is inconsistent with the Quran's admonition against those who would forbid the good that God has put in this world for his people to enjoy.[4][5]

Some scholars have suggested that Islam began with the message of "sharing with the poor and...the necessity of sacrificing worldy possessions", but following the Hijra flight from Mecca, morphed into a political character extolling conquest.[6]

As scholars began to venerate those who abandoned material wealth in order to pursue full-time worship of God, the idealization of poverty grew to such a point that it began to colour Islamic ideas about the nature of poverty.[3]

Contents

  • Early Muslims 1
  • Sufi scholars 2
  • External links 3
  • References 4

Early Muslims

Muhammad's wife Aisha was noted to have adopted voluntary poverty, Some traditions relate her actions to a hadith which claims Muhammad ordered her "A'isha, if you want to be joined with me, take of this world as little as a rider's provisions, beware of associating with the rich, and do not deem a garment worn out until you have patched it".[7][8] Likewise, his wife Zaynab bint Jahsh was said to have viewed wealth as fitna, a temptation, and gave away all her possessions and took Umar's 12,000Dirham annual monies given to her, and distributed it among the poor.[8]

The first two successors to Muhammad, Abu Bakr and Umar, were noted for their voluntary poverty.Abu bakr was a rich merchant but after he become the companion of Muhammed he became poor because of Quraish tribe's opposition.At the time of Abu Bakr's daughter Ayisha marriage Ayisha have only threadbare clothing which she mended herself Umar was noted for wearing a frequently patched cloak, rather than a new one.[9] When 'Umar arranged for to be sent 1,000 dinars, the latter is said to have wept because he had heard Muhammad say that the poor would enter Jannah 500 years before the rest of the Muslims.[10]

There is a story that claims that a Muslim saw in a dream Malik Bin Deenar and Muhammad Ibn Wasi' being led into Jannah, and noticed that Malik was more honoured and allowed to enter first. When he enquired, noting that he believed Ibn Wasi' was the more noble, he was told that it was true, "but Mohammed ibn Wasi possessed two shirts, and Malik only one. That is the reason why Malik is preferred".[11]

Sufi scholars

Sufis referred to the voluntary abstinence of food as "the white death", the refusal to new clothes as "the green death" and the purposeful burdening of oneself with trouble as "the black death".[12][13]

The saint Rabia al-Adawiyya was said to have spent her life preaching voluntary poverty and complete reliance upon Allah for all needs.[14] Dawud al-Tai, a scholar of Sharia and Hadith who died in 777, was said to own nothing except a mat of bullrushes, a leather water vessel used for wudu and drinking, and a brick which he tucked beneath his head to sleep.[11]

One apocryphal story claims that a novice and a Sheikh were walking in the woods, and the novice was carrying money. When they came to a dark valley with two roads, the novice asked the Sheikh which path should be taken, and was told "Throw away the [money], then you'll be free to take any road you wish". The story teaching that those who own material wealth are ruled by the fear of losing it.[10]

The Sufi Ali Hujwiri wrote a prayer asking God to "first bestow on me goods that I may give thanks for them, and then help me to abstain from them for Your sake...that my poverty may be voluntary, not compulsory".[15]

al-Ghazzali's book "Revival of the Religious Sciences" (Ihya 'ulum al-din) contained a section entitled "The virtue of poverty",(Fadilat al-faqr) which contains a number of stories, such as Ibrahim Bin Adham sending away a sizable monetary donation, noting "I don't want to strike my name from the list of the poor for 60,000 dirhams".[10]

Some Sufi ascetics rely solely on charity for their sustenance, and the Chishti sect forbids them to keep any gift for longer than a day without distributing it to the needy.[16]

External links

  • Relative Poverty; A Shia Perspective

References

  1. ^ Shafaat, Ahmad. Al-Ummah, The meaning of Pride in Poverty, 1984
  2. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie. "Deciphering the Signs of God", p. 192
  3. ^ a b Sabra, Adam Abdelhamid. "Poverty and Charity in Medieval Islam"
  4. ^ Quran 7:32
  5. ^ Renard, John. "101 Questions and Answers on Islam", p. 74
  6. ^ Lammens, Henri. "Islam: Beliefs and Institutions", 1968. p. 115
  7. ^ Hussain, Freda. "Muslim Women", 1984. p. 30
  8. ^ a b Ibn Sa'd, Nisa', p. 53 & 78 & 81
  9. ^ Clark, Malcolm. "Islam for Dummies". p. 218
  10. ^ a b c Ritter, Hellmut. "The Ocean of the Soul", Part 1, Volume 69. p. 232
  11. ^ a b c d Nicholson, Reynold A. "The Mystics of Islam", 1914. p. 26
  12. ^ Razzaqm Abdu. "Dictionary of Su'fi Terms"
  13. ^ Hughes, Thomas Patrick. "A Dictionary of Islam", p. 347
  14. ^ Gettleman, Marvin E. "The Middle East and Islamic World Reader", p. 29
  15. ^ Ahmed, Mufti M. Mukarram. "Encyclopedia of Islam", 2005. p. 154
  16. ^ Singh, David Emmanuel. "Sainthood and Revelatory Discourse", p. 149
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.