Islamic perspective

Wealth and Poverty in the Qurʾān, Ḥadīth and the Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ


The central message of the Qurʾān besides the concept of One God (tawḥīd), during the Meccan phase, is socio-economic justice. Both concepts are intertwined and one cannot be separated from the other. The doctrine of charity, in terms of alleviating suffering and helping the needy, constitutes an integral part of Islamic teachings. In the earliest passages of the Qurʾān one finds expressions of severe hostility towards wealth, recommending the rich to make worthy use of their possessions, and the threat of harsh chastisement by God. The remedy applied to the evils caused by the inequality of wealth is the taxation (zakāt, i.e., obligatory alms) of the rich. It sets forth the precept of the good circulation of wealth among the poor and needy, not from the rich to the rich. The Qurʾān makes constant admonitions and demands for zakāt/Ṣadaqa. Wealth and Poverty in the Qurʾān, Ḥadīth and the Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ (PDF).
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