Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



An Analysis of Pakistan’s Poverty Problem from an Islamic Perspective

Poverty is a widespread problem that particularly afflicts developing countries. A number of studies, such as Naseem (1973, 1977); Allaudin (1975); Mujahid (1978); Irfan and Amjad (1984); Cheema (1985); Malik (1988); Ercelawn (1990); Ahmad and Ludlow (1989); Havinga et al. (1990, 1990a); Malik (1992, 1994); Zaidi and de Vos (1993); Malik and Shirazi (1994); and Gazdar et al. (1994), have analysed the phenomena of poverty in Pakistan. Some of these studies are based on arbitrarily chosen poverty-lines, and others are based on poverty-lines determined on the basis of nutritional requirements or basic needs of human beings. The incidence of poverty is greatly influenced by the poverty-line used for a particular study. Therefore, the way a poverty-line is defined is of great significance in determining the incidence of poverty. In Islamic literature, certain limits for poverty and prosperity have been prescribed. Fuqaha like Imam Abu Yousuf consider a person prosperous if he owns wealth equivalent to or more than the amount of Nisab. A person is considered to be poor if he owns wealth less than the amount of Nisab.1 Nisab for gold was equal to 20 Miskals and Nisab for silver was 200 dirhams, which were equivalent to 140 Miskals in weight.2

Nasim Shah Shirazi, Muhammad Hussain