Being the most just and the kindest of all religions, Islam has conferred certain special rights on the weaker and the poorer sections of the society and on every kind of a needy person. It has been made the duty of all well-to-do people to look after their well-being and to serve them in whatever way they can. Allah praises those who spend for His cause in order to help the poor and the needy in the Islamic Society. This is based on the instructions of the verse in the Qur’an:
“And in their wealth is a recognized right; for the (needy) who asks and the one who is deprived.” [Al-Qur’an 70:24-25]
As a matter of fact Islam regards the charity given to the poor and the needy as one of the most virtuous deeds. Moreover, Islam warns those who conceal and save up their wealth and do not spend for the cause of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West. But the righteousness is to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Prophets, and to give of your wealth out of love for Him, to your kin and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves…” [Al-Qur’an 2:177]
Those who accumulate wealth without giving the due right of the poor and needy as commanded by Allah, are promised by Allah that they will receive a severe punishment on the day of Requital. Allah says in the Qur’an:
And those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend in the Path of Allah then warn them of the painful torment. [Al-Qur’an 9:34]
For this reason Zakah was prescribed as one of basic tenets of Islam. Zakah is a set percentage of the accumulated wealth over a period of one year.
Allah said about Zakah:
“…..do good to parents and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give Zakah.” [Al-Qur’an 2:83]
Our Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was extremely kind to the poor. He was an excellent example for all mankind.
Poverty leads to many problems such as theft, murder, attacking people and taking their property unjustly. If poverty is not uprooted by helping the needy, these problems do not decrease but prevail and increase instead. Poor persons aren’t hateful or inferior beings, as they are thought of in our society, they are respectable citizens just like others. Besides, a person does not become rich from his/her money, it’s the character and morality that makes a person wealthy or poor.