Laiq Ahmed Atif, president, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta, Ta’ Xbiex
“The Gracious God will be merciful to those who show mercy to others. You show mercy to the dwellers of the earth, and the One in the heavens will have mercy on you.”
Throughout recorded history, philosophers and thinkers have sought to solve the problem of how to establish a balance between the rights and obligations of man. The European Union has dedicated 2010 as a year to fight poverty.
Poverty, the condition where human beings lack the basic necessities to sustain life, is a pervasive reality in our world. Poverty is generally defined as a situation where individuals lack essential resources to meet not only their material or economic, but also social, physiological and even spiritual needs.
Poverty is increasing all over the world; nearly all the continents are facing this problem and the current economic crisis and credit crunch have added fuel to this problem.
When we keenly examine the problems of the world, we find that poverty is a base to many problems. When poverty arises and rights of poor and needy people are ignored, people start committing crimes to fulfill their needs. Sometimes poverty even forces people to commit suicides, terrorism, killings and thefts etc.
So, it is very important to examine very deeply the reasons for this increasing poverty and to find out the remedies and solutions to this worldwide problem.
To solve this problem the basic principle of justice should be practised in every section of society. The Islamic concept of absolute justice is all-prevailing and all-pervading. It covers every aspect of Islamic teaching. But that is not all; it goes one step further and attempts to create an attitude whereby the governments and the wealthy are constantly reminded that it is in their own ultimate interest to establish an equitable economic system. They are also constantly exhorted to be on the lookout for the rights of others.
The weak and poor should not be denied their fundamental economic rights such as freedom to choose one’s profession, equal access to opportunities and the basic requirements of life. The lack of this very special attitude has already caused much misery, pain and disorder in the history of human struggle for survival.
There is thus greater emphasis on giving than on taking or keeping. The governments and the wealthy must constantly be on the lookout lest there be a section of society which is deprived of the fundamental human right to live decently.
A truly dedicated state would have felt the need and taken appropriate measures for its fulfilment. Before grief turns into cries and protest and before the need threatens peace and order, the cause of grief must be removed and the need fulfilled.
Among other things, Islam creates an atmosphere where the demand for one’s own rights gives way to regard for the rights of others. The level of consciousness and sensitivity to the suffering of fellow human beings is raised to a degree whereby members of society as a whole are concerned more about what they owe to society than what society owes to them.
In brief, to alleviate poverty from the world we must discharge the rights of others with full generosity and dedication. We must try to be the one who gives and not the one who takes. Everyone should be encouraged to spend money, and to present charity and voluntary services for mankind. Justice shall not be compromised at any cost. And we must develop the love for humanity, kindness and generosity in our hearts, and a great passion to serve the suffering mankind, only for the sake of God.
May Allah the Almighty shower His great bounties and blessings on humanity, and may all mankind enjoy the paradise in this life and the life to come. Amen.
The Times: Thursday, 22nd April 2010