THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Poverty Alleviation on a Sustainable Basis in the Islamic Framework
Allah (SWT) is the sole creator of this vast universe and whatever it contains. He created man as a master piece of His creation and elevated him to be His vicegerent on earth. He made all physical systems and other creations to cater human needs from the time immoral. And those holding political power in Muslim countries under Islamic teachings are required to make necessary arrangements for the satisfaction of his material needs through efficient utilisation of resources and equitable distribution of goods and services and also to fully protect him from all kinds of fear besides the fear of starvation. There is ample evidence in Quran, Sunnah, and practice of Caliphs to provide food as well as social security to each and every individual in an Islamic economy. Pointing to this fact, an Ayah of Quran enjoying upon Quraish to worship Allah because He has protected them both from starvation and fear by granting them food and peace.1 Similarly a Hadith says that a society where a Muslim has to starve is forsaken by Allah.2 The first four Caliphs were fully conscious of their obligation towards meeting the needs of poor. Hazrat Umar (RA) declared, “if a camel dies at the bank of Euphrates, I am afraid Allah would make me accountable for it”.3 The overwhelming stress on satisfaction of basic needs and social security both of current and future generations leaves no justification for the prevalence of widespread poverty in Islamic framework. As a matter of fact, Islam and absolute poverty cannot persist together.