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Wealth And Poverty Essay

I am going to outline the Christian teachings and the Islamic teachings on if wealth and poverty is a good or bad thing. I will research on the internet, books etc. I will also have papers to help me with what Christianity and Islam think of wealth and poverty. Christians believe that wealth can be used for good, such as buying food for the starving, or evil, such as buying weapons for terrorists, so being wealthy is not a bad thing. Many biblical teachings show that if people have the wrong attitude to money, wealth can lead them away from God. In the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) Jesus told a story about a rich farmer who had a splendid harvest and decided to build bigger barns in which to store his extra grains when he had done this he thought to himself ‘ you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.’

However, that night he died and had no chance to enjoy his wealth. This story shows that you may have all the money in the world, but this ‘fun’ will stop; it will stop because of your death and you don’t be buried with money but you could give it to people less fortunate than yourself. ‘True happiness is not founding riches or wellbeing, in human fame or power, or in any achievement, but in God alone.’ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1723. This quote is saying that you can only find happiness in God but I think that you cannot find happiness in fame, power or riches etc but happiness is found in achievements, being with family & friends as well as God. Christianity teaches that wealth it self is neither bad nor good, but the way it can be used can be bad. Christians should not see money for its own sake. Christians believe that money is needed to provide a decent standard of living, but Christians must make it honestly and use it fairly.

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Christianity teach us that we should feed that hungry and clothe the naked, many modern Christians believe that they can fulfill this duty whilst having wealth themselves in material possession. I don’t think that this is an acceptable Christian practice because they have the wealth themselves while the people outside their door are starving, I think that they should give around �20 to charity every week or every 2 weeks. The parable of the sheep and the goats teaches us that we ought to do all in our power to help the poor and those in need. Jesus once told a rich man who put money before God to ‘sell everything you have and give to the poor ……. ….you will have treasure in heaven.’ This shows that we all should try and give something to the poor and those in need. The Catholic Church says that ‘God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them…..’ it has also been said that the Church should concern itself first, and indeed second, with the poor and needy.’

Christians believe that poverty is a bad thing and we should do all I our power to stop it, but the church should always come first. Islam’s teaching on wealth and poverty are similar to those of Christianity. Islam teaches that wealth is something given by God for the benefit of humanity and, therefore, is some thing to be shared. Islam has always thought that Muslims have a duty to make money to provide for them selves and their families. ‘It is we who portion out between them their livelihood in the life of the world, and we raise some of them above others in rank so that some may command work from others. But the merry of the lord is better than the wealth they amass’ surah 43:32. This is saying that the mercy of the lord is many betters than the wealth. God had permitted trade and had forbidden usury (lending and borrowing at interest). Surah 2:275.

You should not borrow something or lend something out at a bigger cost, making an interest. ‘O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling… Are an abomination. ‘Surah 5; 93. The believer, i.e. the Muslim should not gamble nor drink alcohol. The Quran teaches that those who live on charity spend their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their lord. Muslims have two main ways to help the disadvantaged; these are Zakah and Sadaqah. Zakah is one of the five pillars of Islam which involves giving 2.5% of your yearly savings to those in need. This is done regardless of one’s financial position. Muslims believe in putting your family first and zakah is collected on money and goods surplus to the family’s requirements.

Zakah has donated annually and is used for paying ransom for the release of hostages of prisoners of war; education promoting Islam for the payment of teachings at the mosques; to help stranded travellers such as those of hajj; helping converts to Islam; to assist the unprivileged and poor members of the community; to pay debts on behalf of those owing money to pay employees collecting zakah. Zakah is only given to Muslims. None Muslims and those who need help in international disasters are helped to Sadaqah. This is additional aid given out of compassion to others in need, and need not be simple financial assistance. Many Muslims chose to give Sadaqah as well as compulsory zakah possibly because the Quran teaches that God has given all wealth and position for the benefit of humanitarian aid. Muhammad (SAW) said ‘he is not a believer who eats full while his neighbour remains hungry by his side.’

Islamic relief is a large charity helping all over the world. Islamic Relief began from a small organization and has since grown into an international organization. Islamic Relief was started in1984 by two students Hany El Banna and Ihsan Shabib. The first donation was just 20p and came from a young child and since that day Islamic Relief had since grown from strength to strength into an international organization. Islamic Relief focuses its efforts on providing emergency relief for those who are victims of Natural Disasters. Islamic Relief used to do short term relief but they soon realised that this was not enough, so they started to do long term projects such as providing clean water, health services, education and encouraging local communities to set up Enterprises to support themselves. Islamic Relief helps in many countries such as Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Mali, Palestine, Sudan, UK, Yemen and many many more.

Islamic Relief gets its money from all over the world 29% is given by the United Kingdom, 16.5% is given by the United States, 18% is given by France, 2.5% is given by Holland, 3% is given by Belgium,5% is given by Germany, 2% is given by the other countries (Sweden, Mauritius, Switzerland), 30% is given by the Field Office and 21% by the head quarters. This money is used for many either development projects, Emergency Relief, development education or raising further funds all over the world. Islamic Relief is a charity which is dedicated to alleviating the poverty and suffering of the world’s poorest people. Religious people support Islamic Relief because it is the duty of all Muslims to care for the less fortunate, to assist those in need even if they are Muslims or non-Muslims.

In the Quran and in the Prophet Muhammad (saw) Hadith it says “make it an obligation for Muslims to give to charity” saying make it a duty to give to charity. Muslims are required to remember that life is a test and merely a bridge towards a better life. Islamic Relief and Islam go together not only by the name but Islamic Relief takes in Sadaqah and Zakah. Sadaqah means ‘to speak the truth’ this is the duty of all Muslim to strive towards the truth and it is quite often the case that a desire or greed for this world will cloud this judgment. Sadaqah is not compulsory but it is greatly blessed as the giver is giving a sacrifice (sacrifice/holy gift) of their wealth. Sadaqah does not need to be in the form of money and everyone can give Sadaqah. Zakah carries different obligations, it is compulsory and only the rich have to pay. This is necessary in order to create an economically balanced economy.

Zakah is normally calculated as 2.5% after the thresh hold has been reached, this is paid once a year, the distribution of Zakah is determined by Allah ‘Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those who employed to administer the (funds): for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to truth); for those in bond age and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer; (thus is it) ordained by Allah. And Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.’ Al-Quran 9:6 In this part of my course work I am going to cover the argument that “there should be no rich people as long as there is poverty in the world.” The Bible and the Quran have teachings on wealth and poverty and it is an issue that has influenced all great religions e.g. the Bible has on wealth than any other holy book.

“There should be no rich people as long as there is poverty in the world” I disagree with this statement because the people who are rich have worked very hard, very long to earn their money, the money that makes them rich. God has given people gifts, whether the girt to sing, dance very well or even be very creative, people have used their gift to show others what they can do, showing people their talent and if we use the gift from God then that is not wrong. People who are rich should give at least some of their money to charity to try and stop poverty because if 1% of Americas’ wealth can stop poverty in a second then that is the same as all the rich people in the world giving a small part of their wealth to charity. A great example is John Laing; John Laing was a dedicated Christian and was a successful businessman. He made millions of pounds but gave most to charity, when he died at the age of 98 he only had ½371 in his bank account, less than most of the people who had worked for him.

Some people may agree with the statement because rice people do take advantage of the money they have, they think that they have a higher status than others with less money, they use their money to become richer, (gamble), business often based in rich countries do very little to help poor countries, their only goal is to make profits. Rich people spend their money on things which are not useful, get cars which cost more than houses, do drugs, plastic surgery. For one night only P.Diddy’s bill was �50,000 all this money was a complete waste on drinks instead of wasting the money, he could have given that money to charity and a child could have bought some new books for school with his money. In Islam Muslims are expected to give Zakah and the more money you make the more you give, so even if you are really rich you need to give 2.5% of your yearly earnings to charity even if you make a million pounds that year.

When people are rich all they could think of is what are they going to buy next and not thinking of God money is keeping them a distance from the Prophet and Jesus. Celebrities (who are all rich) are role models for their singing, acting etc and ordinary people look up to them but the Prophet and Jesus lives very simple and humble lives, they taught us which are useful for every one and they are the one who should be role models. In conclusion, the points that I agree with are that wealthy people should give some of their money to a chosen charity, that wealthy person should not waste their money or spend too much on one thing, there should be rich people in the world because they worked hard for the money, you should not forget your religion for money and instead of celebrities the Prophet and Jesus should be role models.

I think there is a need for world development because in today’s world there is a big split between the wealthy and the poor. The north part of the world has more economically developed countries (MEDCS) and the south part of the world has less economically developed countries (LEDCS) These third world countries remain undeveloped for a number of reasons, natural disasters are common in LEDCS earthquakes (Tsunami, Asian Earth Quake) floods, droughts etc, so diseases are more common in LEDCS areas but they can’t get much supplies because of the lack of funds. Most LEDCS have to borrow money from MEDCS to survive, causing debt for the LEDCS. MEDCS are now trying to help the LEDCS, charities such as the TEAR fund campaign for a better life for those in LEDCS. Amities such as wells, schools and hospitals are being built in places such as India to try and improve conditions.

I conclusion think that Christianity and Islam have similar teachings on wealth and poverty. The two religions believe wealth can be good if used for the right and bad if used for the wrong (put into the wrong hands). If the wealth is in the wrong person’s hand in Christianity they should not buy weapons for terrorists and more. Christians believe that money is needed to provide a decent standard of living, but Christians must make it honestly and use it fairly. If the wealth is in the wrong persons hand in Islam they should not gamble, drink alcohol or lend and borrow at interest and more. Islam teaches that wealth is something given by God for the benefit of humanity and, therefore, is some thing to be shared.

Islam and Christianity both believe that poverty is an awful thing and that we all should try and put a stop to it. In Islam Muhammad (SAW) said ‘he is not a believer who eats full while his neighbour remains hungry by his side.’ Christianity teaches us that we should feed that hungry and clothe the naked. The bible and the Quran both mention forms of charity, in the Bible it says ‘God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them…..’ In the Quran, it says The Quran teaches that those who live on charity spend their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their lord.

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