Poverty الفَقرُ

The Censure of Poverty

ذمُّ الفَقرِ

1ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): كادَ الفَقرُ أن يَكونَ كُفراً.

1– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Poverty is almost infidelity.’[al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 307, no. 4]

2ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): اللّهُمّ إنّي أعوذُ بكَ مِن الكُفرِ والفَقرِ، فقالَ رجُلٌ: أيَعدِلانِ ؟ قالَ: نَعَم.

2–The Prophet (S) said, ‘O Allah I seek refuge in You from infidelity and poverty.’ A person asked, ‘Are these two equivalent?’ He said, ‘Yes.’[Kanz al-’Ummal, no. 16687]

3ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): لَولا رَحمَةُ رَبّي عَلى فُقَراءِ اُمَّتي، كادَ الفَقرُ يَكونُ كُفراً.

3– The Prophet (S) said, ‘If it was not for my Lord's mercy on the poor of my community, poverty would just about be infidelity.’[Jami’a al-Akhbar, p. 300 no. 817]

4ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الفَقرُ سَوادُ الوَجهِ في الدّارَينِ .

4– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Poverty is blackness of the face in the two worlds.’[‘Aaw’ali al-La’ali, v. 1, p. 40, no. 41]

5ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الفَقرُ أشَدُّ مِنَ القَتلِ.

5– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Poverty is worse than killing.’[Jami’a al-Akhbar, p. 299, no. 816]

6ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الفَقرُ المَوتُ الأَكبَرُ.

6– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty is the greater death.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 319]

7ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الفَقرُ يُخرِسُ الفَطِنَ عن حُجَّتِهِ، والمُقِلُّ غَريبٌ في بَلدَتِهِ.

7– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty silences the sagacious from his proof, and a poor person is a foreigner in his own country.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 3]

8ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لابنِهِ الحسنِ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ: لا تَلُمْ إنساناً يَطلُبُ قُوتَهُ، فَمَن عَدِمَ قُوتَهُ كَثُرَت خَطاياهُ . يا بُنَيَّ، الفقيرُ حَقيرٌ لا يُسمَعُ كلامُهُ، ولا يُعرَفُ مَقامُهُ، لو كانَ الفَقيرُ صادِقاً يُسَمُّونَهُ كاذِباً، ولو كانَ زاهِداً يُسَمُّونَهُ جاهِلاً. يابُنَيَّ، مَن ابتُلِيَ بالفَقرِ فقدِ ابتُلِيَ بأربَعِ خِصالٍ: بالضَّعفِ في يَقينِهِ، والنُّقصانِ في عَقلِهِ، والرِّقَّةِ في دِينِهِ، وقِلَّةِ الحَياءِ في وَجهِهِ، فَنَعُوذُ باللّه‏ِ مِن الفَقرِ.

8– Imam Ali (a.s.), speaking to his son Imam Hasan (a.s.), said, ‘Do not blame a person who tries to seek his ration, for he who does not have a ration, his mistakes increase. O son, a poor person is humiliated, his words are not heard, and his status is not recognized. If a poor person speaks the truth, they call him a liar, and if he is an ascetic, they call him ignorant. O son, those who are tried with poverty are tested in four things: weakness in their certainty, deficiency in their intellect, fragility in their devotion, and lack of shame on their face. So, we seek refuge in Allah from poverty.’[Jami’a al-Akhbar, p. 300, no. 818]

9ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لابنِهِ محمّدِبنِ الحَنَفِيَّةِ ـ: يا بُنَيَّ، إنّي أخافُ علَيكَ الفَقرَ، فَاستَعِذْ بِاللّه‏ِ مِنهُ ؛ فإنَّ الفَقرَ مَنقَصَةٌ للدِّينِ، مَدهَشَةٌ للعَقلِ، داعيَةٌ لِلمَقتِ.

9– Imam Ali (a.s.), speaking to his son Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya, said, ‘O son, I fear for you because of poverty, so seek refuge in Allah from it, for poverty brings diminishment in one’s faith, confusion to the intellect and a motive for hatred.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 319]

10ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الفَقرُ في الوَطَنِ غُربَةٌ.

10– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty in one’s homeland is like being foreign in it.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 56]

Praising Poverty

مَدحُ الفَقرِ

11ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الفَقرُ فَخري، وبِهِ أفتَخِرُ.

11- The Prophet (S) said, ‘Poverty is my honour, and I am proud of it.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 55, no. 85]

12ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الفُقَراءُ أصدِقاءُ اللّه‏ِ .

12– The Prophet (S) said, ‘The poor are the friends of Allah.’[al-Firdaws, v. 3, p. 157, no. 4423]

13ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): اللّهُمَّ أحيِني مِسكيناً، وتَوَفَّنِي مِسكيناً، واحشُرْنِي في زُمرَةِ المَساكينِ.

13– The Prophet (S) said, ‘O Allah, revive me as a destitute, and make me meet death as a destitute, and resurrect me among the destitute.’[Kanz al-’Ummal, no. 16669]

14ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الفَقرُ أزيَنُ عَلَى المُؤمِنِ مِنَ العِذارِ الحَسَنِ عَلى خَدِّ الفَرَسِ.

14– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty is more decorative for a believer than a beauty spot on the cheek of a horse.’[al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 265, no. 22]

15ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): المَصائِبُ مِنَحٌ مِنَ اللّه‏ِ، وَالفَقرُ مَخزونٌ عِندَ اللّه‏ِ.

15– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Calamities are endowments from Allah, and poverty is stored with Allah.’[al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 260, no. 2]

Traditions Narrating about the Virtue of Poverty over Wealth

ما رُوِيَ في تفضيلِ الفَقرِ علَى الغِنى

16ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الفَقرُ راحَةٌ، وَالغِنى عُقوبَةٌ.

16– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Poverty is convenience, and wealth is punishment.’[Kanz al-’Ummal, no. 44144]

17ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الفَقرُ خَيرٌ مِن الغِنى، إلّا مَن حَمَلَ في مَغرَمٍ وأعطى في نائبَةٍ.

17– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Poverty is better than wealth, save those who relieve others’ debts [with their own wealth] and give during tragedies.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 56, no. 86]

18ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ضَرَرُ الفَقرِ أحمَدُ مِن أشَرِ الغِنى.

18– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The harm of poverty is more praiseworthy than the exuberance of wealth.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 5904]

19ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): في مُناجاةِ موسى (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) :يا موسى، إذا رَأيتَ الفَقرَ مُقبِلاً فَقُل: مَرحَبا بشِعارِ الصالِحينَ، وإذا رأيتَ الغِنى مُقبِلاً فَقُل: ذَنبٌ عُجِّلَت عُقوبَتُهُ.

19– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrated, ‘Allah said in an intimate conversation with Moses (a.s.), ‘O Moses, when you see poverty coming, then say to it, ‘Welcome O mark of the righteous’, and when you see wealth coming, say, ‘A sin whose punishment has been hastened1.’[al-Kafi,v. 2, p. 263, no. 12]

The Interpretation of Poverty

تفسيرُ الفَقرِ

20ـ في صُحفِ إدريسَ: لا غِنىً لِمَنِ استَغنى عَنّي ،ولا فَقرَ بمَنِ افتَقَرَ إلَيَّ.

20– Bihar al-Anwar: ‘It is narrated in the scriptures of Prophet Enoch (a.s.) [Prophet Enoch (a.s.) is known as Idris in the Arabic tradition (ed.)]: There is no wealth with those who are not in need of Me, and there is no poverty for those who are in want of Me.[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 95, p. 462]

21ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): أيُّها الناسُ ... ما الصُّعلوكُ فيكُم ؟ قالوا: الرجُلُ الذي لامالَ لَهُ، فقالَ: بلِ الصُّعلوكُ حَقَّ الصُّعلوكِ مَن لم يُقَدِّمْ مِن مالِهِ شيئا يَحتَسِبُهُ عِندَاللّه‏ِ وإن كانَ كثيراً مِن بَعدِهِ.

21– The Prophet (S) said, ‘O people! … Who are the utterly destitute?’ They said, ‘A person who does not have any money.’He said, ‘No, rather the real destitute is he who has not offered any of his money regarding it to be for Allah, even though he has a lot more after that.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 77, p. 150, no. 86]

22ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الفَقرُ فَقرُ القَلبِ.

22– The Prophet (S) said, ‘[True] Poverty is the poverty of the heart. [Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 56, no. 86]

23ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لا فَقرَ كالجَهلِ.

23– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There is no poverty like ignorance.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 54]

24ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): أكبَرُ الفَقرِ الحُمقُ .

24– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘The greatest of poverty is stupidity.’[Bihar al-Anwar, Saying 38]

25ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ وقد سُئلَ: أيُّ فَقرٍأشَدُّ ؟ ـ: الكُفرُ بعدَ الإيمانِ.

25– Imam Ali (a.s.), when asked what was the severest of poverty, said, ‘Disbelief after faith.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 77, p. 377, no. 1]

26ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): فَقرُ النَّفسِ شَرُّ الفَقرِ.

26– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty of the soul is the most evil poverty.’[Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 6547]

27ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الغِنى والفَقرُ بعدَ العَرضِ علَى اللّه‏ِ.

27– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Wealth and poverty come after submission to Allah.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 452]

28ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لا فَقرَ بعدَ الجَنّةِ، ولا غِنى بعدَ النارِ.

28– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There will remain no poverty after Heaven, and no wealth after the Hellfire.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 216]

29ـ الإمامُ الحسنُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لمّا سُئلَ عنِ الفَقرِ ـ: شَرَهُ النفسِ إلى كُلِّ شيءٍ.

29– Imam Hasan (a.s.), when asked about poverty, said, ‘It is the greed of the self for everything.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, no. 225]

30ـ الإمامُ الهاديُّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الفَقرُ شَرَهُ النفسِ وشِدَّةُ القُنوطِ.

30– Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty is the greed of the self and the extremity of despair.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 78, p. 368, no. 3]

Praiseworthy and Disparaged Poverty

الفَقرُ المَمدوحُ والمَذمومُ

31ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لمّا سُئلَ عمّا يُروى عن أبي ذَرٍّ: ثلاثةٌ يُبغِضُها الناسُ‏وأنا اُحِبُّها: اُحِبُّ المَوتَ واُحِبُّ الفَقرَ واُحِبُّ البَلاءَ ـ: إنّ هذا ليس على ما يَرَونَ ؛ إنّما عَنى: المَوتُ في طاعَةِ اللّه‏ِ أحَبُّ إلَيَّ مِن الحَياةِ في مَعصيَةِ اللّه‏ِ ،والفَقرُ في طاعةِ اللّه‏ِ أحَبُّ إليَّ مِن‏الغِنى في مَعصيَةِ اللّه‏ِ، والبَلاءُ في طاعَةِ ‏اللّه‏ِ أحَبُ‏إلَيَّ مِن الصِّحَّةِ في مَعصيَةِ اللّه‏ِ.

31– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), when asked about the [meaning of the] saying of Abu Dharr: “There are three things that people hate but I love: I love death and I love poverty and I love tribulation”, said, ‘This is not as they have understood it. What he meant is that death in the obedience of Allah is more beloved to me than a life of disobedience to Allah; poverty in the obedience of Allah is more beloved to me than wealth [accompanied] with disobedience to Allah, and tribulation [accompanied] with obedience to Allah is more beloved to me than good health with disobedience to Allah.’[Ma’ani al-Akhbar, p. 165, no. 1]

32ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الفَقرُ مَعَنا خَيرٌ من‏الغِنى مع غَيرِنا، والقَتلُ مَعَنا خَيرٌ من الحَياةِ مَع غَيرِنا.

32– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty with us [i.e. our guardianship] is better than wealth with other than us, and death with us is better than life with other than us.’[al-Khara’ij wa al-Jara’ih, v. 2, p. 739, no. 54]

33ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): غِنىً يَحجُزُكَ عنِ الظُّلمِ خَيرٌ مِن فَقرٍ يَحمِلُكَ علَى الإثمِ.

33– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Wealth that prevents you from oppression is better than poverty that drives you to sin.’[al-Faqih, v. 3, p. 166, no. 3614]

34ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الفَقرُ المَوتُ الأحـمَرُ، [قالَ الراوي: [فـقلـتُ لأبي عبدِاللّه‏ِ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): الفَقرُ مِن الدِّينارِ والدِّرهَمِ؟ فقالَ: لا، ولكن مِن الدِّينِ .

34– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty is red death.’ The narrator said, ‘I asked Abu ‘Aabdullah [al-Sadiq] (a.s.), ‘Poverty of dinars and dirhams?’ He said, ‘No, rather poverty in one’s faith.’[al-Kafi, v. 3, p. 266, no. 2]

Humiliating the Poor

تحقيرُ الفَقيرِ

35ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): مَنِ استَذَلَّ مؤمِناً أو مؤمِنَةً أو حَقَّرَهُ لِفَقرِهِ أو قِلَّةِ ذاتِ يَدِهِ، شَهَرَهُ اللّه‏ُ تعالى يومَ القِيامَةِ ثُمّ يَفضَحُهُ.

35– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Whoever degrades a believer, male or female, or humiliates him because of his poverty or lack of ability, Allah, most High, will promulgate him on the Day of Resurrection and then disgrace him.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 44, no. 52]

36ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): لاتُحَقِّروا ضُعفاءَ إخوانِكُم ؛ فإنّهُ مَنِ احتَقَرَ مُؤمِناً لم يَجمَعِ اللّه‏ُ عَزَّوجلَّ بينهما في الجنّةِ إلّا أن يتوبَ .

36– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Do not humiliate the weak ones from among your brethren; for whoever humiliates a believer, Allah Almighty will not bring them together in Heaven until he repents.’[al-Khisal, p. 614, no. 10]

37ـ الإمامُ الرِّضا (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن لَقِيَ فقيراً مُسلِماً فَسَلَّمَ علَيهِ خِلافَ سَلامِهِ علَى الغَنيِّ، لَقِيَ اللّه‏َ عَزَّوجلَّ يَومَ القِيامَةِ وهُو علَيهِ غَضبانُ.

37– Imam Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, ‘Whoever meets a poor Muslim and greets him differently to the way he would greet a rich person, will meet Allah, Mighty and Exalted, on the Day of Judgment, and He will be angry with him.’[Amali al-Saduq, p. 359, no. 5]

That Which Banishes Poverty

ما يَنفِي الفَقرَ

38ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): صِلَةُ الرَّحِمِ تَزيدُ في العُمرِ، وتَنفي الفَقرَ.

38– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Keeping relationships with one’s kin prolongs one’s life and repels poverty.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 74, p. 103, no. 61]

39ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): داوُوا الفَقرَ بالصَّدقَةِ والبَذلِ.

39– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Cure poverty with charity and giving generously.’[al-Khisal, p. 9, no. 22]

40ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): البِرُّ وصَدقَةُ السِّرِّ يَنفِيانِ الفَقرَ.

40– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, ‘Righteousness and almsgiving in secret banishes poverty.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 74, p. 81, no. 83]

41ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ضَمِنتُ لِمَنِ اقتَصَدَ أن لا يَفتَقِرَ .

41– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘I guarantee that those who economize will never fall poor.’[al-Khisal, p. 9, no. 32]

That Which Brings Poverty

ما يوجِبُ الفَقرَ

42ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): مَن تَفاقَرَ افتَقَرَ .

42– The Prophet (S) said, ‘He who acts poor will become poor.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 76, p. 316, no. 6]

43ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الأمانَةُ تَجلِبُ الغَناءَ، والخِيانَةُ تَجلِبُ الفَقرَ .

43– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Trustworthiness attracts wealth, and treachery attracts poverty.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 75, p. 114, no. 6]

44ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): حُكِمَ بالفاقَةِ على مُكثِرِها ـ يَعني الدنيا ـ واُعِينَ بالراحَةِ مَن رَغِبَ عنها .

44– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Poverty is decreed on those who indulge in it - meaning the world (duny?) - and those who turn away from it will be helped with ease.’[Tuhaf al-’Uqul, p. 221]

45ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): مَن فَتَحَ على نفسِهِ بابا مِن المَسألَةِ فَتَحَ اللّه‏ُ علَيهِ باباً مِن الفَقرِ .

45– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Whoever opens the door of begging to themselves Allah will open for them a door of poverty.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 103, p. 20, no. 4]

46ـ الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ لأبي النُّعمانِ ـ: لا تَستَأكِلْ بِنا الناسَ، فلا يَزيدَكَ اللّه‏ُ بذلكَ إلّا فَقراً.

46– Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said to Abu Nu’aman, ‘Do not earn a living from people through us [i.e. in our name], for by that Allah will increase you in nothing but poverty.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 78, p. 184, no. 11]

47ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) ـ عن آبائهِ ^ ـ: مَن لم يَسألِ اللّه‏َ مِن فَضلِهِ افتَقَرَ.

47– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrated from his forefathers (a.s.), saying, ‘Whoever does not ask for Allah’s grace will be empoverished.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 76, p. 316, no. 6]

48ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): أيُّما رَجُلٍ دَعا على ولَدِهِ أورَثَهُ الفَقرَ.

48– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Any man who invokes Allah against his son will be empoverished.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 104, p. 99, no. 77]

Allah’s Excuse to the Poor

اعتِذارُ اللّه‏ِ سُبحانَه مِنَ الفُقَراءِ!

49ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنّ اللّه‏َ جلَّ ثناؤهُ لَيَعتَذِرُ إلى عَبدِهِ المؤمنِ المُحْوِجِ في الدنيا كما يَعتَذِرُ الأخُ إلى أخيهِ، فيَقولُ: وعِزَّتي وجَلالي، ما أحوَجتُكَ في الدنيا مِن هَوانٍ كانَ بِكَ عَلَيَّ، فارفَعْ هذا السَّجْفَ فانظُرْ إلى ما عَوَّضتُكَ مِن الدنيا. قالَ: فَيَرفَعُ فيَقولُ: ما ضَرَّني ما مَنَعتَني مع ما عَوَّضتَني؟!

49– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Allah, Exalted be His praise, apologizes to His believing servant who is needy in this world the same way that a brother would apologize to his fellow brother, saying, ‘By my Honour and Majesty, I did not make you needy in this world because you were low in My view, so raise this veil and look at what I have compensated you with for this world.’ He (a.s.) then said, ‘And he will then raise his head and exclaim, ‘That which You deprived me of does not harm me when offset against that which you have compensated me with.’[al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 264, no. 18]

The Adornment of Poverty

زينَةُ الفَقرِ

50ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): إنَّ اللّه‏َ جَعَلَ الفَقرَ أمانَةً عندَ خَلقِهِ، فَمَن سَتَرَهُ أعطاهُ اللّه‏ُ مِثلَ أجرِ الصائمِ القائمِ.

50– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Allah has made poverty a trust with His creation. So, those who conceal it, Allah will give them the equivalent of the reward of a fasting and praying person.’[al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 260, no. 3]

51ـ الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): العَفافُ زينَةُ الفَقرِ.

51– Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Self-restraint is the adornment of poverty.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 68]

52ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): أشَدُّ شيءٍ مَؤونةً إخفاءُ الفاقَةِ .

52– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The hardest thing to store is hiding one’s neediness.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 78, p. 249, no. 87]

Blessed are the Poor!

طوبى لِلفُقَراء!

53ـ رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): طُوبى للمَساكينِ بالصَّبرِ، وهُمُ الذينَ يَرَونَ مَلَكوتَ السَّماواتِ والأرضِ.

53– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Blessed are the needy for their patience, and they are the ones who will see the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth.’[al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 263, no. 13]

54ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): الفُقَراءُ مُلوكُ أهلِ الجَنّةِ، والناسُ كُلُّهُم مُشتاقُونَ إلَى الجَنّةِ والجَنَّةُ مُشتاقَةٌ إلَى الفُقَراءِ.

54– The Prophet (S) said, ‘The poor will be the kings of the people of Heaven. All people long for Heaven, whereas Heaven itself longs for the poor.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 49, no. 58]

55ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): اِطَّلَعتُ في الجَنَّةِ فَرَأيتُ أكثَرَ أهلِها الفُقَراءَ.

55– The Prophet (S) said, ‘I gazed into Heaven, and I saw that most of its people were the poor.’[Musnad Ibn Hanbal, v. 1, p. 504, no. 2086]

56ـ رسولُ اللهِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): مَن ماتَ ولم يَترُكْ دِرهَماً ولا دِيناراً لم يَدخُلِ الجَنّةَ أغنى مِنهُ.

56– The Prophet (S) said, ‘Whoever dies and does not leave behind him a dirham or dinar, there is no person that will enter Heaven richer than him.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 71, p. 267, no. 17]

57ـ الإمامُ الصّادقُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إنَّ آخِرَ الأنبياءِ دُخولاً إلَى الجَنّةِ سُليمانُ، وذلكَ لِما اُعطِيَ مِن الدنيا .

57– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The last of the Prophets to enter Heaven will be Solomon, because of what he was given in this world.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 52, no. 76]

58ـ محمّدُ بن عبد الحسينِ بن كثير الخزّازُ عَنِ الإمامِ الصّادقِ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): قالَ لي: أما تَدخُلُ السُّوقَ ؟ أما تَرى الفاكِهَةَ تُباعُ والشيءَ مِمّا تَشتَهِيهِ ؟ فقلتُ: بَلى، فقالَ: أمَا إنَّ لكَ بكُلِّ ما تَراهُ فلا تَقدِرُ على شِراهُ حَسَنةً .

58– Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), speaking to Muhammad al-Khazzaz, said, ‘Do you not go to the market? Do you not see the fruit that is sold, and the things that you desire?’ al-Khazzaz said, ‘Yes.’ He (a.s.) said, ‘For everything you see but you cannot [afford to] buy, you receive the reward of a good deed.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 25, no. 19]

  • 1. Al-Majlisi said, ‘The need to combine both types of traditions [praising and disparaging poverty] arose in order to portray that poverty and wealth are both bounties of Allah, most High. He gives each of them to whomsoever He wishes according to the complete benefit He knows for each. So the servant should endure his poverty, and furthermore be grateful for it, and be grateful for wealth when he is given it, and use it as necessary. So with both acting in accordance with what their individual situation requires of them, it is generally agreed that the persevering poor man is rewarded more than the grateful rich man. However the levels of their respective situations are completely different, and there can never be an absolute judgment about either side. It seems, therefore, that [a state of] sufficiency is safer and less dangerous than either of the two sides. Hence, the request for it [i.e. sufficiency] features in many supplications, and the Prophet (S) would ask for it for himself and his household (a.s.).

    Some have said that if this is so, then the best is what the Prophet (S) and most of his companions have chosen in possessing less of the world and distancing oneself from its pleasures.[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 31, no. 26]

    Al-Raghib has said in his al-Mufradat: the word poverty is used with four meanings.

    The first: the need for bare necessities, which generally applies to the human being, as long as he dwells in the realm of this world, or rather, it is general for all existing beings, and this is what is meant in His verse in the Qur’an:

    “O mankind! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah, and Allah - He is the All-sufficient, the All- laudable.”[Qur’an 35:15]

    The second: lack of acquisitions, which is mentioned in His verse in the Qur’an: “[The charities are] for the poor who are straitened in the way of Allah – until His verse:

    “…Charities are only for the poor and the needy.”[Qur’an 9:60]

    The third: poverty of the self, which is voracious greed, denoted by the Prophet (S)’s saying, ‘Poverty is almost infidelity’, and is opposite to his saying, ‘[True] Wealth is the wealth of the soul.’

    The fourth: needlessness of Allah, referred to in his (S) saying, 'O Allah, enrich me through making me needy of You, and do not empoverish me through needlessness of You.' This is what is meant in Allah’s verse in the Qur’an:

    “My Lord! Indeed I am in need of any good You may send down to me.”[Qur’an 28:24]

    [Mufradat Alfau al-Quran, p. 641]