Poverty and Economies in Qur’an


The Concept of Poverty and Economics

The concept of poverty and economics in the early societies is not fully discovered and investigated. Therefore, it is difficult to present the objective picture of the economic conditions and treatment of poverty at that time. Nevertheless, Qur’an provides certain statements about poverty and its nature. Moreover, we can obtain additional data by analyzing the situation in the surrounded countries. However, investigating of the historical context is not the best way of analyzing the treatment of poverty in the early Islam. Therefore, we should base the researches on the early books, such as Qur’an and texts about the life of Muhammad.

In fact, the notions of poverty and economics are closely interconnected in Qur’an. It provides a special economic state, which is based on the poverty (Bonner 392). Poverty was regarded through the prism of purification and circulation and partially through charity. Interestingly, the Islamic interpretation of poverty bears little resemblance with the Christian one, which emphasizes on the permanent relations and contradictions between the rich and poor.

Authenticity of the Ideas in Qur’an

At the same time, researchers argue about the authenticity of the ideas of poverty, provided in Qur’an. The crux of the matter is that other early Islamic books contain a completely different definition of the treatment of poverty at the seventh century. However, it does not mean that Qur’an misinterprets the notion of poverty. On the contrary, Qur’an’s interpretation of poverty is crucial for understanding the economic conditions of that time.

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Poverty is Qur’an is mentioned throughout the whole book. For instance, from the Qur’an we get to know that Muhammad was an orphan with little financial possibilities. During his homily activities, he usually came accross poor people. It is noteworthy that poor people are treated quite positively. Among the main features of a person, Qur’an especially highlights the importance of generosity, mercy and almsgiving. Thus, we can conclude that poor people had a special position in the society of that time, and they were not treated in a negative way (Bonner 400).


Great role in the explanations of the poverty belongs to the concept of purification (Bonner 396). Qur’an widely mentions about the necessity to treat poor people loyally. It says that it is very important to feed poor people, when they need some meal. Moreover, people should not be obsessed with their wealth, and be ready to give it up at any time. In such a context, we get to know about the purification. In fact, it is regarded as the way of expiating a sin. Therefore, the positive treatment of poverty gives a person more chances to achieve an eternal life after death.


Moreover, Qur’an dwells on the explanation of the circulation. It is the other notion, connected with the poverty. From this point of view, Qur’an says that increasing the profits does not give eternal life. On the contrary, wealth only spoils individuals and makes them selfish and mean. Therefore, people should share money and goods with those, who need them in the current moment. Moreover, Qur’an emphasizes on the benefits of providing gifts and presents to poor people. It is one of the ways of atoning sins.

Poverty is regarded from different points of view in Qur’an. On one hand, it represents the way of life of orphans, travelers and other categories of people, who are deprived of the wealth. Moreover, Qur’an applies the word “poverty” to anybody who is not rich or welcomed. From this context, Qur’an provides the idea about the pricelessness of God. It says that every person can speak with God and achieve His help. God is not wealthy and is free of wants or worthy of praise. Therefore, poverty is not an obstacle for people on their way to salvation. On the opposite, it helps to purify people’s minds and make them innocent (Bonner 397).

Such a treatment of poverty leads to the understanding of the economic conditions of that time. As we have already mentioned, circulation of goods is one of the central topics of Qur’an, which idea is related to and is concerned with the treatment of poverty (Bonner 404). In fact, the circulation of gifts, and the return of goods from one person to another forms the basis of the economic relation in early Islam. The circulation of goods promotes the development of the society and the improvement of its characteristics. Therefore, it is a positive phenomenon, which leads to the positive consequences.

Moreover, Qur’an mentions about the set of economic rules and norms which determined the economic relations at that time. According to these rules, poor people play an important part in the social life. Secondly, the economic conditions are controlled by the divine power and are channeled in the right direction. The exchange of goods and gifts makes a positive impact on the development of the society, and it should be promoted.


In conclusion of this economics essay, we can say that Qur’an provides the concept of the economy of poverty. It does not emphasize on the importance of wealth and explains the negative consequences of the huge profits and incomes. On the contrary, Qur’an provides the idea of the divine poverty, which helps to purify souls and expiate sins. Moreover, poverty prompts society to the circulation of gifts and the exchange of goods. As a result, the society becomes more complex and achieves new features. The interpretation of the economic conditions from the point of view of poverty has a solid historical context and provides a significant value for the modern researches and analyses (Bonner 406)

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