Islam provides rights of the Poor and Needy 

Rights of the Poor in Islam

One of the central principles of Islam is helping others. While some perceive Islam as a faith that encourages violence rather than positive contributions to society, the Qur’an and especially the hadith highlight how helping another human being is a fundamental aspect of Islam. Muslims’ primary goal is to worship God, but this is done not only through rituals like prayer and fasting but also through the treatment of other people. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

“Only the charities (are) for the poor, and the needy and those who collect them, and the ones inclined their hearts, and in the (freeing of) the necks, and for those in debt and in (the) way (of) Allah, and the wayfarer – an obligation from Allah. And Allah (is) All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Surah At-Tawbah 9:60)

The Quran is the Islamic holy book, believed by Muslims to have been transmitted to Prophet Muhammad through a series of divine revelations, which were then collected and written down. 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. Allah says:

فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَارًا يُرِيدُ أَن يَنقَضَّ فَأَقَامَهُ قَالَ لَوْ شِئْتَ لَتَّخَذْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا

“Then they found in it a wall which was on the point of falling, so he put it into the right state.” (Surat Al-Kahf 18. 77)

Religion Islam is the complete code of life. Islam teaches us to treat all mankind with love, respect, and honour as Almighty Allah commanded us to do so. One of the most widespread problems is poverty, hunger, and starvation that most human beings facing in these days. Allah Almighty loves those who help poor and needy people for getting His pleasure.  Allah says:

وَأَمَّا الْغُلَامُ فَكَانَ أَبَوَاهُ مُؤْمِنَيْنِ فَخَشِينَا أَن يُرْهِقَهُمَا طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا

“And as for the boy his parents were believers, and we feared that he would overburden them (by) transgression and disbelief.” (Surat Al-Kahf 18:80)

Allah (Exalted be He) praises those who spend for His cause to help the poor and the needy in the Islamic society. Helping the poor and needy by giving charity is considered as one of the virtuous acts in Islam. Religion Islam warns those who cloak and save their wealth and don’t spend for the cause of Allah or in His way. Allah says in the Quran for these people:  Allah says:

يَوْمَ يُحْمَىٰ عَلَيْهَا فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُكْوَىٰ بِهَا جِبَاهُهُمْ وَجُنُوبُهُمْ وَظُهُورُهُمْ هَٰذَا مَا كَنَزْتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ فَذُوقُوا مَا كُنتُمْ تَكْنِزُونَ

“(The) Day it will be heated [on it] in the Fire (of) Hell and will be branded with it their foreheads and their flanks and their backs, “This (is) what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard.” (Surat At-Taubah 9:35)

Poor people in every nation are always the ones who suffer the most. They are suppressed and treated as inferior to their richer counterparts. They seem to be at a disadvantage, not only financially but also socially. In many parts of the world, the poor are treated worse than animals; Islam strictly forbids such behaviour and gives the poor status of respect and equality.

The Zakah is to be distributed among people of the following categories, depending on need:

  1. The Destitute: Those who don’t have material possessions nor means of livelihood.
  2. The Poor: Those with insufficient means of livelihood to meet basic needs.
  3. The Indebted: Those who are in debt and have difficulty repaying it.
  4. Stranded Traveller: The traveller who does not have enough money to complete their journey.
  5. To Free Slaves: Zakah money is to be used to purchase slaves and free them.
  6. New Muslims: Those who are new to Islam and require help to integrate themselves into the Muslim community.
  7. In the Path of Allah: Zakah money can also be spent in the path of Allah. This can include many things, basically any project that helps Muslims or Islamic causes.
  8. Zakah Workers: Those whose job it is to collect and re-distribute Zakah money get their salary from the Zakah money.
  9. Establish Prayer: And dispense the Purifying Alms (Zakat) and bow in worship with those who bow (2:43).
  10. The believers: Both men and women are allies of one another. They enjoin good, forbid evil, establish Prayer, pay Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Surely Allah will show mercy to them. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise (9:71)
  11. The needy who do not do beg:
  12. Food and the needy:
  13. Moderation in giving:
  14. Righteousness:
  15. Sadaqa:
  16. Stinginess: Allah does not love the arrogant and the boastful, who are niggardly and bid others be niggardly and conceal the bounty which Allah has bestowed upon them.

God Almighty commanded us to give compulsory charity, which is known as ‘Zakat’ (Pronounced: Zakat). Zakat has to be given by the rich class of the society to the poor. This help in the eradication of poverty and hunger. And when the zakat money is collected from every rich individual, then we can collect around a thousand billion dollars annually from all over the world.

Helping others, a core principle of Islam:

  1. Islam helps someone and protect from calamity
  2. Islam emphasises the leadership of the poor
  3. Islam provides rights of the Poor and Needy 
  4. Islam to stand ever on the side of the poor
  5. Islam forbids indecency, and manifest evil
  6. Islam provides all the basic human rights
  7. Islam lays down to support for the poor
  8. Islam puts forward a set of foundational
  9. Islam provides security and protection 
  10. Islam has moral values for the poor
  11. Islam establish justice for the poor
  12. Islam a deity be kind to others
  13. Believers give joy and happiness
  14. Make Du’a for others in private
  15. Pay for someone’s groceries
  16. Go to him and fulfil his desire
  17. Allah will make him self-sufficient
  18. Allah is with those who are righteous
  19. Believers help to improve one’s health
  20. Believers provide better living conditions
  21. Believers ease worries or strengthen faith
  22. Helping others is a believer’s worship of God
  23. Believers help others only to provide comfort
  24. A reward of goodness is nothing but goodness
  25. Allah says that to be godly is to be compassionate

Islam, moreover, defines wealth as any surplus that rises to a relative amount—for a sustained time—over and beyond the ordinarily recurring basic needs for oneself and one’s dependents. It also sets up a hierarchy of the needy to which the governing authority and the individual must give: Allah says:

وَمَا آتَيْتُم مِّن رِّبًا لِّيَرْبُوَ فِي أَمْوَالِ النَّاسِ فَلَا يَرْبُو عِندَ اللَّهِ وَمَا آتَيْتُم مِّن زَكَاةٍ تُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَ اللَّهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُضْعِفُونَ

“And what you give for usury to increase in (the) wealth (of) people, not (will) increase with Allah. But what you give of zakah desiring (the) Countenance (of) Allah, then those [they] (will) get manifold.” (Surat Al-Rum, 30:38)

Islam puts the weighty force of divine rule and inspirational exhortation into its core moral value of supporting the poor. It does this by providing specific communal and individual mechanisms that oblige paying the poor their due right in the wealth of the community and the wealth of the individual. Also, it exhorts the believer to give in charity from one’s good earnings and healthful provision:

This is based on the instructions of the verse in the Quran:

  • “You [believers] shall never attain to [the highest] virtue [of faith] until you spend in charity from that which you love. And anything you spend, indeed, God is all-knowing of it.” (Al ʿImrân, 3:92)
  • “And those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend in the Path of Allah then warn them of the painful torment.” (At-Tawbah 9:34)
  • “And those saved from the covetousness of their souls; they are the ones that achieve prosperity.” (At-Taghabun 64:16)
  • “And they were commanded not except to worship Allah, offering Him alone sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular Prayer, and to give calculated Charity, and that is the right Religion.” ( Al-Bayyinah 98:5)
  • “And in their wealth is a recognized right. For the (needy) who asks and the one who is deprived.” (Al-Ma`arij 70:24,25)
  • “Verily Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they change it themselves.” (Quran 13:11)

Muslims must realize that emotional outbursts and thoughtless confrontation are no answers to the multidimensional challenges the Ummah faces today. In fact, as an Ummah with a mission, the right course of action for the Muslims is dialogue, contact, participation, and cooperation at the global level. Allah says:

وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“And not let swear those of virtue among you and the amplitude of means that they give (to) the near of kin, and the needy and the emigrants in (the) way (of) Allah. And let them pardon and let them overlook. (Do) not you like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah (is) Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surat An-Nur 24:22)

To eliminate poverty from Islamic society, Islam imposes the structure of Zakat. Allah Almighty commanded us to treat the resulting problems stemming from poverty such as theft, murder, attacking people and taking their property unjustly by eliminating poverty from the society. Allah says:

لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

“For the poor emigrants, those who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounty from Allah and pleasure and helping Allah and His Messenger. Those, they (are) the truthful.” (Surat Al-Hashr 59:8)

Moreover, helping poor and needy people through charity revives the mutual social welfare and support among members of the Islamic society. Anyone, who has a conscious or unconscious desire to benefit from political Islam, should first try this repeated teaching of being compassionate for a few decades. Maybe it will assuage his or her political ambition and bring him or her to the true teachings of Islam.