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These 5+ Hadiths Show How Islam Fights Hunger

Part 2 of 3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Part one of this series features 14 Qur’anic verses and hadiths that show how Islam fights hunger.  This includes:

– Recognizing food security as a valuable blessing

– Encouraging work and production

– Discouraging wasteful spending and consumption

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We continue in this part exploring some of the strategies used by Islam to achieve food security and to solve the problem of hunger. 

Encouraging plantation and agriculture

15. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” (Bukhari)


16. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“If the Hour (the day of Resurrection) comes while one of you is holding a palm shoot and it is possible for him toplant it before the Hour takes place, let him plant it.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

Leaders should share people’s suffering

When those in power share the same living standards of ordinary people, they will be more aware about people’s needs and suffering and, therefore, they will be more concerned about finding solutions.

17. `Abdullah ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his household used to spend consecutive nights hungry with no dinner. Most of the bread they used to eat was barley bread (which was a cheap type). (Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani)

State has duties to fulfill

A Muslim government is responsible to take necessary measures to ensure food security. That includes:

Strategic planning

Analyzing the problem and coming up with suitable plans and policies is an essential role that the state is responsible for. In Surat Yususf, Allah recounts the action plan offered by Prophet Yusuf to the governor of Egypt to weather an expected famine.

The Surah also highlights the competency of Prophet Yusuf that qualified him to be in charge of Egypt treasury at the time.

Recording these details implies the importance of planning and employing the most competent when dealing with a serious problem like hunger:

18. Allah Almighty says:

{[Joseph] said, “You will plant for seven years consecutively; and what you harvest leave in its spikes, except a little from which you will eat.

Then will come after that seven difficult [years] which will consume what you saved for them, except a little from which you will store.

Then will come after that a year in which the people will be given rain and in which they will press [olives and grapes].”} (Yusuf 12:47-49)

Ensuring basic needs

Adopting policies that encourage work and secure citizens’ needs is also one of the state roles.

19. Al-Mustawrid ibn Shadad narrated that the Prophet said:

“Whoever is in charge of a work for us and has no house, let him have a house. If he has no wife, let him get married. If he has no servant, let him have one and if he has no riding animal, let him get one. Taking anything extra will be deemed ghulul (ill-gotten money)”


Fighting corruption

Corruption wastes nations’ resources and causes negative effect including the spread of poverty. So, making necessary reforms dries up channels of corruption is an important state’s responsibility. The following two hadith are quoted from the collection, 15 Anti-Corruption Hadiths:

20. Abu Humaid ibn Sa`d As-Sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet employed a man from the tribe of Al-Azd named Ibn Al-Lutabiyyahh to collect the Zakah. When he returned (to the Prophet with the collections), he said: “This is for you while this (other wealth) is a gift presented to me. (So, it is mine).”

So, the Messenger of Allah stood on the pulpit, praised Allah, extolled Him and then he said,

Why does an official whom I send (in a mission) say: ‘This is for you and this has been presented to me as gift’?

Why did he not stay in the house of his father and mother to see whether gifts will be given to him or not?

By (Allah) in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, if any one of you takes anything (wrongfully,) he will bring it on the Day of Resurrection, carrying it on his nick…

Then he raised his hands till we could see the whiteness of his armpits and repeated twice, “O Allah! Have I conveyed (Your Commandments)?” (Muslim)


21. `Adi ibn `Umairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

Whosoever among you is appointed by me to a position and he conceals from us (even) a needle or more, he is acting unfaithfully and will bring it on the Day of Resurrection“.

Upon hearing this, a black man from Al-Ansar stood up and said:

“O Messenger of Allah, take back from me your assignment.”

The Prophet asked, “What happened to you?

The man replied: “I have heard you saying such and such.”

The Prophet said,

I say that (again) now: Whosoever from you is appointed by me to a position, he should bring everything (of its revenues), big or small. (Then,) what he is given therefrom, he may take. What he is disallowed to take, he should avoid.” (Muslim)

To be continued.