The Neglected Approach to Poverty Alleviation


  • Ibrahim Nuhu Tahir International Islamic University Malaysia


Poverty, Īman, Dhikr, Tawakkul, Zakāt


According to different studies the world is suffering from chronic poverty, with around 3 billion of its population living below $2.50 per day and 80% living below $10 (Shah, 2014). The effects of poverty indiscriminately cut across race, nationality and religion. Governments, non-governmental organizations and international bodies have tried numerous methods to at least remove hardcore and extreme poverty if not eradicate poverty completely. Unfortunately, regardless of the immense financial and human resources   dedicated to this effort it has failed except for a few instances. The key cause of this failure is the dichotomy created between Sharīʿah and worldly knowledge. This has led to abandonment of the methodology used by the early generations such as the era of ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd Al-ʿAzīz (raḥimahullāh), who fully depended on the Qurʾān and Sunnah in his administration to tackle the issue. In Islam poverty is described as a disease affecting the heart hence requiring a spiritual cure. Therefore, Islam recognizes spiritual and physical poverty. This is contrary to the popular secular view that poverty is merely a material deficiency. This is evidence of the disparity between Islam’s position on poverty as a trial and the secular view that it is a situation to be resolved only physically. This paper addresses poverty alleviation through the Islāmic Spiritual Approach and the Islāmic Material Approach which are based on crystal clear divinely guided injunctions from Qurʾān and Sunnah.


Al-Albānī, Muḥammad, N. Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmiʿ al-Ṣaghīr. Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islāmī, 1988.

Al-Bahūtī, Manṣūr. Al-Rawḍ al-Murbiʿ. Riyadh: Madār al-Waṭan, 2005.

Al-Baihaqī, Aḥmad. Shuʿab al-Īman. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿilmiyyah, 1410.

Al-Dasūqī, Muḥammad, ‘A. Hāshiyat al-Dasūqī. Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Kutub al-ʿArabiyyah, n.d.

Al-Dhahabī, Muḥammad. Siyaru ʿAʿlām al-Nubalāʾ. Beirut- Lebanon: Muʾassasat al-Risālah, 1998.

Al-Hilālī, Muḥammad, T., and Muḥammad Khān. The Noble Qurʾān, English Translation of the Meaning and Commentary. Saudi Arabia: King Fahd complex for the printing of the Holy Qurʾān, n.d.

Al-Sijistānī, Sulaimān. Sunan Abī Dāwūd. Beirut: Dār Al-Fikr, 1969.

Al-Shīrāzī. Al-Muhadhdhab. Dimashq: Dār al-Qalam, n.d.

Al-Nasāʾī, Aḥmad. Al-Sunan Al-Kubrā. Beruit: Muʾassasat al-Risālah, 2001.

Al-Qaraḍāwī, Yusuf. Fiqh al-Zakāt. Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Risālah, 2009.

Al-Saʿdī, ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān. Taisīr Al-Karīm Al-Raḥmān Fī Tafsīri Kalām Al-Mannān. Riyadh: Maktabat al-Malik Fahd, 1424.

Al-Ṭabarānī, Sulaimān. Muʿjam Al-Ṭabarānī. Riyadh: Dār al-Sumaiʿī, 1994.

Al-Tirmidhī, Muḥammad. Sunan al-Tirmidhī. Beirut: Dār Ihyāʾ al-Turāth, n.d.

Anup Shah. “Causes of Poverty, Global Issues.”

Arkib Harakah Daily. Don’t Blame Others if Poor Muslims Leave Islam. Harakahdaily.


Avocats Sans Frontières. “How Access to Justice Can Reduce Poverty.” Avocats Sans Frontières.

Boghani, P. “As Chinese Millionaires Rise, Happiness Falls.”

Business “10 Millionaires Business Men who committed suicide.” Business Pundit.

Casino-Free Philadelphia. “Gambling and the Poor.” Casino-Free Philadelphia. .

Ibn Al-Ḥajjāj, Muslim. Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. Riyadh: Dār al-Salām, 2000.

______. Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. Riyadh: Riʾāsat Idārat Al-Buhūth Al-ʿIlmiyyah Wa Al-Iftā, n.d.

Ibn Ḥanbal, Aḥmad. Musnad Al-Imām Aḥmad. Beirut: Muʾassasat Al-Risālah, n.d.

Ibn Ḥajar, Aḥmad. Bulūgh al-Marām. Riyadh: Dār Al-Salām, n,d.

Ibn Ismāʿīl, Muḥammad. Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī with Fatḥ. Riyadh: Dār al-Salām, 2000.

______. Al-Adab al-Mufrad. Riyadh, Maktabah al-Maʿārif, 1998.

Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-AÐīm. Al-Qāhirah: Dār al-Afāq al-ʿArabiyyah, 2006.

Ibn Muḥammad, Hayāt. al-Athār al-Wārida ‘An ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd Al-ʿAzīz Fī al-Aqīdah. Madīnah: Islamic University, 2002.

Ibn Rajab, ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān. Jāmiʿ al-’Ulūm wa al-Ḥikam. Al-Dammām, Dār ibn al-Jawzī, 1427.

Ibn Qudāmah, ʿAbd Allah. Al-Mughnī. Beirut: Dār Kutub al-ʿilmiyyah, 2005.

Irin News. “A Faith-Based Aid Revolution in The Muslim World?” Irin News.

Ismail, Azman and MD. Ḥabībur Raḥmān. Islamic Legal Maxims Essentials and Application. Malaysia: IBFIM, 2013.

Laldin, Mohamad, A. Islamic Legal Maxims & Their Application in Islamic Finance. Kuala Lumpur: ISRA, 2013.

Marsh, S. “German Billionaire Commits Suicide After VW Loses.” Reuters.

McLean, J. “Muslim Charity Squandered Money for Poor.” The Star.

Mohammad, J.K. “Deaths During Zakat Distribution. Dhaka Tribune.”

Mohammed, W. “Zakāt is Being Misused.” Times of India.

Muḥammad, Ḥ.M. “Sīrah wa Manāqib ʿUmar ibn ʿAbdul ʿAzīz.” Madrasato-Mohammed.

Muhammad, Tamir, and Noha, Abū Al-Yazid. Biographies of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, Egypt: Dār al-Manārah, 2001.

Niaz, T. “Corruption, Mismanagement Plague Zakāt System.” Pakistan Today.

Oxford, “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English.” New York: Oxford University Press, 8th Edition, 2010.

Shah, A. “Poverty Facts and Stats. Global Issues.” Global Issues.

Shaikh, Aḥmed and Usman Omarji. “Zakāt, Poverty and the Kitchen sink.” Muslim Matters.

Shiraz, N.S. “Integrating Zakāt and Waqf into the Poverty Reduction Strategy of the IDB Member Countries.” Islamic Economic Studies 22, no. 1 (2014): 79-108.

Sirageldin, I. “Elimination of Poverty: Challenges and Islamic Strategies.” Islamic Economic Studies 8, no. 1 (2000): 1-16.

Sudhirendar, S. “Are Micro-Finance Institutions Exploiting the Poor?” Info Change India.

Tahir, I.N. “Socio-Economic Reforms in Line with the Maqāṣid al-Sharīʿah: The Case of ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd Al ʿAzīz." Al-Shajarah, Journal of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization 20, no. 2 (2015): 211-46.

The Daily Star. “2 Zakāt Clothes Seekers Killed in Stampede.” The Daily Star.

Villarino, M.E., “Zakat Takes the Spotlight.” Devex.

Wizārat al-Awqāf wa al-Shuʾūn al-Islāmiyyah. Al-Mausūʿat al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah. Al-Kuwait: Dār al-Salāsil, 1404-1427.

Yunus, M. “Poverty Alleviation: Is Economics Any Help? Lessons from the Grameen Bank Experience” Journal of International Affairs 52, no. 1 (1998): 47-65.




How to Cite

Tahir, I. N. (2019). The Neglected Approach to Poverty Alleviation. International Journal of Economics, Management and Accounting, 27(1), 41-82. Retrieved from