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I have often heard the people say that if the zakat system is implemented “properly” in Pakistan, poverty will end. I’ve always wondered how?
While I do believe that poverty, in fact, was ended in the Islamic Empire, how could a proper zakat system end poverty? It doesn’t make any sense. Would the needy stop being needy if they are given money by the State, and not by the people themselves?
The thing is that most people miss the second part of the equation that our religion has provided. The second part of the equation to end poverty. Without which the most efficient zakat system can do nothing. While Islam has made it compulsory for the wealthy to give charity, it has also forbidden it for the needy to beg.
According to an interpretation of a hadith:
Reported by Abu Huraira (RA), “The poor person is not the one who goes to the people (begging them) and is dismissed with one or two morsels and one or two dates. The poor is that who has not enough (money) to satisfy his needs; his condition is not known to others that they may give him something in charity, nor does he beg of people.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Another Hadith implies:
Hamza, son of ‘Abdullah, reported on the authority of his father that the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: “When a man is always begging from people. he would meet Allah (in a state) that there would be no flesh on his face.”
Now, this has several implications. Firstly, if a needy person truly considers begging haram he will never beg. And when he receives some aid, he will use it wisely because he doesn’t know if he might get more in the future. He will likely try to become economically activated.
On the other hand, if a person doesn’t consider begging haram, he will just consume whatever aid he receives, because he knows tomorrow he can go out to ask for more. The law of economics, states: As the wages increase, so does the labor.
So if we keep giving charity to beggars, they will only increase. Not decrease. We are already experiencing the effects, as walking on the streets, shopping, eating an ice cream, or stopping at a signal has become a nuisance.
So what should be done?
It’s very simple. We stop paying beggars because we aren’t really helping them but only making it worse. We should only give charity to NGOs who are actually doing something to eradicate poverty. Like running schools or helping poor people to set up businesses