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How Islam Fights Hunger (30 Verses & Hadiths)

How Islam Fights Hunger (30 Verses & Hadiths)

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World hunger is on the rise: the estimated number of undernourished people increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016 (FAO)

The causes of the problem are multiple and the work needed to eradicate it is enormous. Islam has much to offer in this regard. In this series, we present a collection of the Quran verses and Prophet’s Hadiths that directly or indirectly handle the problem. They provide a number of strategies to fight hunger:

Food Security is a Valuable Blessing

Islam recognizes the importance of food security and, thus, deems it a great blessing that should be valued, appreciated and pursued:

1. Allah Almighty mentioned it among the blessings He granted to people of Quraish:

{Let them worship the Lord of this House, Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe from fear.} (Quraish 106: 3-4)

2. Mihsan Al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

Whoever among you wakes up in the morning secured in his dwelling, healthy in his body, having his food for the day, then it is as if the whole world has been gathered for him.” (Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani)

Encouraging Work and Production

Productive work is a duty that everyone should get involved in. There is no room in Islam for laziness or unjustified dependence on others. Earning a livelihood is an obligation that is encouraged, praised and deemed an action of worship.

It is interesting that this duty is connected in the Quran and Hadith with such principles of faith as trust in Allah and with such great rituals as prayers and remembrance of Allah. Worker rights and dues are completely protected and guaranteed:

3. Allah Almighty Says:

{And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.} (Al-Jumu`ah 62:10)

4. Allah Almighty Says:

{He is (The One) Who made the earth tractable to you; so walk in its territories and eat of His provision; and to Him is the Rising up.} (Al-Mulk 67:15)

5. Ka`b ib `Ujrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that a man passed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). When the Prophet’s Companions saw his strength and energy, they said, “if only he used such strength in the cause of Allah.”

The Prophet commented:

If he went out to win bread for his little kids, then it is in the cause of Allah.

If he went out to earn a livelihood for [his] aged parents, then it is in the cause of Allah,

If he went out to make himself content (that is, to protect himself from ill gains or prohibited -desires), then it is in the cause of Allah.

And if he went out to show off and boast about (his strength), then that will be in the cause of the devil.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

6. Al-Miqdam (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one’s own hands. The Prophet of Allah, David used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor.” (Al-Bukhari)

7. Az-Zubbair ibn Al-`Awwam (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

It is better for any of you to take his rope, (cut some wood from the forest,) carry it over his back and sell it, thereby Allah preserves his dignity, rather than beg people who may give him or not.” (Al-Bukhari)

8. Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

If you were to rely upon Allah appropriately, then He would provide for you just as He would provide birds; they go out in the morning empty, and returns full.” (Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani)

Obviously, the hadith indicates, beside the importance of trusting Allah, the necessity of work. Birds do not stay in their nest waiting for Allah’s provision coming to them

9. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

Allah said, ‘I will be the adversary of three (types of people) on the Day of Resurrection: One who makes a covenant in My Name, but proves treacherous; One who sells a free person and eats his price; and One who employs a laborer and takes full work from him but does not pay him for his labor.’ ” (Al-Bukhari)

No for Wasting Resources

Though the world produces twice the needed food, 60 percent of it is wasted in different ways. (The Guardian)

Wasteful consumption is not accepted in Islam. That is not meant to inhibit work and being productive but rather guarantee better management of wealth. Instead of over-consumption and wasteful spending on unnecessary stuff, a righteous believer would prefer to invest in developmental projects and beneficial activities that will secure a better life for him in the Hereafter.

So, taqwa and religiosity will not lead to the reduction of spending or circulation of wealth in the society, it will rather prompt competition in doing good and developing the society

10. Allah Almighty Says:

{And He it is who causes gardens to grow, [both] trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different [kinds of] food and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of [each of] its fruit when it yields and give its due [zakah] on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.} (Al-An`am 6:141)

11. Allah Almighty Says:

{O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.} (Al-A`raf 7:31)

12. Allah Almighty Says:

{Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.} (Al-Iraa’ 17:27)

13. Al-Miqdam (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

A human being has not filled any vessel worse than [his] stomach. A few bites are sufficient to support his back. If it is inevitable (i.e. eating a lot because he likes eating), then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath” (Imam Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albani)

14. Abdullah ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, Allah will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment.” The listeners asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is a just cause?” He replied, “That he will kill it to eat, not simply to chop off its head and then throw it away.” (Ranked Hasan by Al-Albani in Sahih At-Targhib)

To be continued.


About Muhammad Fathi

Muhammad Fathi is the managing editor of the Shari`ah page, AboutIslam.net and a former Imam and teacher at the Quran Institute of America, MI, USA.

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