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The policy of Islam in fighting poverty

Text been Jumu’ah Khutbah Translation, 27th Rabi-Al-Awwal 1439AH, equivalent to 15th December, 2017, delivered at AL – Noor Masjid, ICICE, Wuse II, Abuja

All praise is due to Allah. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Him and prophet Muhammad is His final emissary.

Fear Allah servants of Allah.

Few months back the discussion was on the FGN intervention for fighting poverty and the effort being done to make them devoid of elements (Riba, interest etc.) that make them not applicable or accessible by Muslims. I understand that lot of efforts are being put in to make that a reality. There is need commend and encourage all those who are sparing no effort to achieve that aim. May Allah reward them in abundance.

The discussion today is on the strategies put up by Islam to fight poverty. The strategies are theoretical and practical. Theoretical by shaping the mindset to abhor poverty. Muslims are enjoined to seek refuge in Allah from poverty. Prophet Muhammad used to say: “O Allah I ask You guidance, piety, chastity and final independence.” Muslim: 4898. He also says: “O Allah I ask you useful knowledge, good provision and good and acceptable deed.” Bukhari: 5859.

Practical by:
1. Compelling members of society to be productive.

2. Awareness and orientation. 3. Social responsibility.

The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) issued a research paper last month (Safar 1439, November 2017) titled: Islamic Finance Tools and Mechanisms to Alleviate Poverty.

The research contained horrible statistics about number of people deprived of food, clean water, shelter and education as well the gap between poor and rich people is getting wider on an unprecedented scale.

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The research states that Islam cured poverty from two dimensions: 1. Productivity: through economic development. Qur’an 67: 15.

2. Redistribution: through institution of Zakah among others. The tools and mechanisms proposed by the research are:

1. Zakah: (Compulsory alms giving) The research estimates annual Zakah due on wealth owned by Muslims worldwide is about: $137.5b.

It also mentioned that the World Bank have started considering studying Zakah and other poverty fighting instruments of Islam in order to put strategies for fighting poverty worldwide as stated by John Martin Page, Jr, Director, Poverty Reduction and Senior Advisor, Development Policy, 2000-2004.

2. Waqf (Enwoment Fund)
3. Sadaqah (Voluntry alms giving)
4.Al-Qard Al-Hasan: (Good Loan.) Examples are Al-Birr

Cooperative of Makkah who gives loan to the needy since 1419 H.

Another example is Akhwat of Pakistan, established in 2001.
5. Fighting extravagancy, food waste (especially in Ramadhan),

financial mismanagement

Vision 1440H/2020CE of the Islamic Development Bank focusses on Zakah and Waqf for reduction of poverty. Both institutions if well explored and harnessed could serve as social and national safety network. Microfinance is no less important.

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