Why Does God Allow Poverty? | About Islam
Home > Ask About Islam > Why Does God Allow Poverty?

Why Does God Allow Poverty?



Reply Date

May 01, 2018


Why are there people who are so poor in this world? I feel so bad whenever I see the poor people. Why did God make people rich and others poor?



Why Does God Allow Poverty?

Salam (peace),

Thank you so much for your question.

In the noble Quran, The Creator, Allah Almighty says:

{And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.” But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.” No!} (Quran 89:15-17)

The message here is that both wealth and poverty are tests. Neither one of them is a privilege. We do not know how people may be performing in their tests. We do not know their rank with God or the results of their tests.

While being poor, you may be in a much higher rank than rich people, and you may be excelling and receiving the aid and blessing of Allah and His Angels in ways that we can’t imagine.

Allah tells us:

{[…] And your Lord is not ever unjust to [His] servants.} (Quran 41:46)

Being rich is not success in its own. It comes with major accountability, and being poor is not a humiliation. As a matter of fact, we learn from the hadith that poor people enter Paradise 500 years before the rich in the next life.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him-PBUH) said:

The poor are admitted into Paradise before the rich, by five hundred years, (i.e.) half a day. (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)

In another narration, we also learn that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

I stood at the gate of Jannah and saw that most of those who enter it were poor, whereas the rich were held back; but those who were destined to go to Hell were ordered to be sent there (immediately). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

So, always remember that both are being tested, and Allah doesn’t look at people’s wealth or appearances, but He looks at their faith, piety, and righteous acts.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying:

Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds. (Sahih Muslim)

This is all in line with what Allah Almighty told us in the following verse. Allah doesn’t favor a certain color, nationality, tribe, or socioeconomic class. He values people based on their righteousness and God consciousness.

{O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.} (Quran 49:13)

And lastly, remember that this world is temporary and the afterworld is eternal.

The following hadith is very insightful. It shows how Allah Almighty can make the poorest, most miserable person forget anything he has ever seen or gone through after just one dip in Jannah.

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:

Among the inmates of Hell, a person who had led the most luxurious life in this world will be brought up on the Day of Resurrection and dipped in the Fire and will be asked: “O son of Adam! Did you ever experience any comfort? Did you happen to get any luxury?” He will reply: “By Allah, no, my Lord.”

And then one of the people of Jannah who had experienced extreme misery in the life of this world will be dipped in Jannah. Then he will be asked: “O son of Adam! Did you ever experience any misery? Did you ever encounter difficulty?” He will say: “By Allah, no, my Lord, I neither experienced misery nor passed through hardship.” (Muslim)

So, Allah is never unfair to His slaves. He blesses and tests people equally as per their situations and He is The Most Just, the Source of Justice.

But for you, you can appreciate whatever wealth and perceived blessings you have by increasing your gratitude to Allah at all times, and tirelessly helping all those in need around you.

This is how we gain balance in this world, and prove that we are truly people who seek compassion and justice and strive for them until our last breaths.

Hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

12 Tips for Teens on How to Help the Poor and Needy

The Hand That Gives: Etiquette of Zakat and Sadaqa

Zakah and Distributive Justice

Islam and Social Justice (Part 1)

Islam and Social Justice (2/2)

About Dina Mohamed Basiony

Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She is the Chief Editor of ProductiveMuslim.com. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.

find out more!