Divine Wisdom in Making Some People Poor
Fatwa No: 87624

  • Fatwa Date:5-5-2004 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 16, 1425
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1. Is chest beating and using knives during Muharram allowed?
2. I have always seen poor people suffering and rich enjoying, although former have more belief in the Almighty. Why so?
3. During our duty in the hospital, sometimes we miss Jumu’a of Fridays due to emergencies, saving people. Are we right?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

1) What is done in the month of Muharram like chest beating and hitting one’s body and other people’s bodies like children and others is forbidden and not permissible. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “He is not amongst us whoever slaps his cheeks, and tears up his clothes by clouting and weeping, and behaves in a manner similar to the people of Jaahiliyah (Pre-Islamic Era of Ignorance).” [Muslim]
What is done is considered as forbidden lamenting and loud weeping, and it is a transgression on one’s body with what is not allowed in the Sharee’ah.
2) Know, dear brother, may Allah protect you and enable you to do good and safeguard you from the deceit of Satan and his misconceptions, that it is Allah who created the human being, and brought him to existence from non-existence, and blessed him with many hidden and apparent blessings.
Allah Says (what means): {And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 16:18]
If a person ponders about the blessings of Allah, He would certainly know and realize that all the favors are in the Hands of Allah and with the Grace of Allah.
We would like to mention some examples of these blessings which we are accustomed to. The blessing of the tongue is one of the greatest blessings. It is with the tongue that a person tastes, turns the food in his mouth, and speaks. Allah has blessed us with the blessing of the tongue and the blessing of the speech. Allah Says about the blessing of the tongue (what means): {Have We not made for him two eyes? And a tongue and two lips?} [Quran 90:8-9]
Allah Says about the blessing of the speech (what means): {Created man, [And] taught him eloquence.} [Quran 55:3-4]
If a person ponders and thinks, he will realize that the animals around him have bigger and larger tongues but do not have the ability of speech. So, who gave you the ability to speak and did not give it to others?
As regards the blessing of the mind (brain), it is indeed a great blessing. It is with the brain that a person thinks, judges and distinguishes between things, learns about events, and invents and innovates and so on. The current civilization that people are living in today is only one fruit of the fruits of the blessings of the brain. The animals that have preceded the human being in existence on this earth, are still living with the same condition as they were created at the beginning. The bird is still making its nest and the lizard is still entering its hole; contrarily to the human being, he has built buildings and skyscrapers, and constructed planes, boats and other visible and known things. So, did the human being think twice, and thank his Lord for these blessings?
What is strange is that this human being is totally helpless, cannot help (or harm) himself or dispose of anything relating to his affairs; he totally belongs to Allah, and does not thank Allah for these blessings, and argues why Allah did not give him such and such. Does Allah have to give him that?
To answer and clarify this, we like to mention a simple example, and Allah has the Best Example.
If a rich and generous person gave money to one poor person, and gave a car to another one, and gave a house to a third one, then would a sound and sane person say that the rich has to give equally to the people otherwise he is an oppressor and unjust person?
Allah, the Most-High, gave His servants uncountable blessings, and favored some over others in relation to their sustenance for many wisdoms.
These wisdoms are often ignored by those who are not enlightened by the light of guidance.
Among these wisdoms are the following:
Firstly, if all the people are on one level regarding their sustenance and potential, then there would be no life, and life will not be running smoothly, and many dealings and businesses would come to a stand-still position.
Allah, the Exalted, has mentioned this wisdom Saying: {Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of your Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work. But the Mercy (Paradise) of your Lord (O Muhammad SAW) is better than the (wealth of this world) which they amass.} [Quran 43:32]
As-Sadiy and Ibn Zayd said: “The rich employ the poor so that each party will be a means of the existence of the other.
Secondly, there is the question of affliction and choice, so that the grateful will be distinguished from the ungrateful, and the truthful will be distinguished from the one denying the truth. So the rich is afflicted with wealth, and the poor is afflicted with poverty, to see whether the rich will be grateful to Allah for His blessings on him, and spend his wealth according to the Order of Allah, and whether the poor will be patient and thank Allah on whatever situation he is in, without being jealous towards others, or becoming impatient or bored about the predestination of Allah and His wisdom.
By doing so, both of them will be raised in status if they are patient, and whoever amongst the two becomes discontented and is not pleased with the Decree of Allah, will be punished. It is reported in a Hadeeth that when Allah loves a person he afflicts him in order to hear that person imploring Him earnestly.
It is known that the most afflicted people are the Prophets, then the most perfect and the most perfect. It is reported in Sunan Abu Dawood ( may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him) that Ataa’ ibn Yaaser said:
"Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him entered upon the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and found him unwell, clad in velvet, so he put his hands on him and felt the heat through the velvet. Abu Sa'eed then said: “O! Your temperature is extremely high, O Prophet of Allah! The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) then said: “We (Prophets) are afflicted with the worst afflictions and the reward is multiplied for us.” Then Sa'eed said: “O Prophet of Allah! Who are afflicted by the worst and hardest afflictions?’ The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: “The Prophets.Sa'eed asked again: ‘Then who else?” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) answered: “The scholars.” He again asked: ‘Then who else.’ The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) responded: “The pious people. Some of them are afflicted with poverty until they do not find anything except a gown to wear; and some are afflicted with lice till death; some of them are happier when afflicted than one of you when being given sustenance.
Al-Haakim said: “This is an authentic Hadeeth according to the conditions set by Imam Muslim. Ath-Thahabi said in at-Talkhees: “This Hadeeth is on the condition of Imam Muslim and has many proofs.
In the Saheeh of Ibn Hibbaan and others it is reported, Sa’eed narrated: “O Prophet of Allah! Who are the people who are most afflicted?’ The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: “The Prophets, then the most perfect, then those who are less perfect. A person is afflicted according to his religion. The affliction does not leave a person until it leaves him walking on the land without any sin.
Thirdly, Allah, the Most-High, gives (to some) and does not give (to others) according to what makes them righteous. Allah Says (what means): {And if Allah were to enlarge the provision for His slaves, they would surely rebel in the earth, but He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily! He is in respect of His slaves, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer (of things that benefit them).} [Quran 42:27]
Imam Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in the interpretation of the above verse, presented the evidence of the Hadeeth reported by At-Tabraani and Ad-Daylami in his book of Al-Firdaws, and reported by Abu Na’eem in his book of Al-Hilya, that is narrated by Anas and ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Gibreel came to me and said: O Muhammad! Your Lord is Saying Salaam to you, and is Saying, “Amongst My slaves there are those who will not be true believers except with wealth, and if I turn them into poor people, they will disbelieve. Amongst My slaves are also those who will not be true believers except with little sustenance, and if I turn them into rich people, they will disbelieve. Amongst My slaves are also those who will not be true believers except with sickness, and if I give them good health, they will disbelieve. And there are amongst My slaves those who will not be true believers except with good health, and if I make them sick, they will disbelieve.
The above Hadeeth is reported also by Ibn Al-Jawzi, in the book of al-‘Ilal, and if it is a weak Hadeeth, its meaning is correct and true. That’s why Imam Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reported this Hadeeth but did not comment on it.
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reported it as well without comment, in his dissertation called “Qaa-ida Fi al-Mahabbah.
So, if anybody does not understand these realities, it is because of two things:
Firstly, the consideration that being rich is a honor from Allah, and being poor is a humiliation of the slave by Allah. Allah has responded to this wrong belief saying: {And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.” But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.”} [Quran 89:15-16] Allah also Says (what means): {And it is not your wealth or your children that bring you nearer to Us in position, but it is [by being] one who has believed and done righteousness. For them there will be the double reward for what they did, and they will be in the upper chambers [of Paradise], safe [and secure].} [Quran 34:37]
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) clarified and explained the true criterion and standard of a person being better than another person in the sight of Allah by Saying: “O, people, indeed your Lord is One, and your father is one; know that there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or a non-Arab over an Arab, or a red person over a black person, or a black person over a red person except by piety.” [Ahmad]
How many people of descent jobs, with Eeman (faith) and piety are considered of a greater status, more beloved, and more honorable by Allah, than a person with a high rank, power and money but turning away from Allah.
Secondly, the fact that some people look to this life separately from the Hereafter. The person looks to the transgressor and does not consider taking vengeance against him, and looks to the person who is wronged and does not consider standing by his side, supporting him and demanding the return of his rights, and so on. However, if he is certain of the Day of Judgement, and the punishment and reward therein, he would certainly be sure of the coming Justice, and so the matters will no longer be ambiguous for him.
Allah Says (what means): {Or do those who commit evils think We will make them like those who have believed and done righteous deeds - [make them] equal in their life and their death? Evil is that which they judge. And Allah created the heavens and earth in truth and so that every soul may be recompensed for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged.} [45:21-22]
3) If carrying out the mission mentioned in the question (emergencies, saving people) needs your presence and there is nobody else to do the work (in your absence), then there is no harm to delay performing the Friday prayer, and you are excused, Allah willing.
However, if somebody has an excuse not to attend the Friday prayer, he has to pray Thuhr. He has the choice: he can either pray at the beginning of the time of the prayer, in the middle, or at the end of the time of the prayer.
However, some scholars prefer for a person who has an excuse not to attend the Friday prayer, not to pray until he is sure that the Friday prayer is finished; for instance when the Imam stands up from the second Rak’ah, this is because it might be that the excuse of the delay is finished and the Friday prayer is not yet finished; but this only by preference.
However, delaying the Thuhr prayer (until the last part of its time) could lead him to be busy and too preoccupied to perform it. In this case, it is more appropriate to pray Thuhr at the beginning of its time.
Allah knows best.

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