By Crystal Daulton
In the name of Allah, the most gracious and most merciful…Before I begin, I ask Allah for guidance and
to continue to bless the mission of Solace in giving our revert sisters much needed support. May the
donors and team members be given success in the help of spreading the message of Islam, May Allaah allow the
readers to find comfort and answers to the questions and struggles we all face, Ameen.
At first glance, the title of this article may be confusing or even shocking: Hidden blessings in poverty? How could that be?
What is the definition of poverty? The dictionary definition of poverty states that poverty is the state of being poor, or the state of being inferior in quality, or insufficient in amount.
While financial poverty can be uncomfortable, it can be a means for spiritual richness; it can be looked at as a punishment or trial from Allah- I choose to look at it as a trial from Allah, a test of my strength and patience.
Abu Huraira reported, the messenger of Allah peace and blessings be upon him said, “If Allah intends good for someone, then he afflicts him with trials”-Sahih Bukhari.
This is not to suggest you go to the extreme of self-poverty, for Allah knows our intentions. However, poverty gives us strength, it helps us to remain humble and can increase our total reliance upon Him and our belief in Him as Al-Razzaq (the Provider). Of course, it is up to us to do the best we can to improve our condition; but ultimately,poverty helps us to know that it is Allah alone who provides for us.
All of this isn’t to say that poverty should be celebrated. The Prophet ( sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) himself used to seek refuge in Allaah from poverty:
“O Allah! I seek refuge in you from disbelief (in you), poverty and punishment in the grave.”
No doubt, the circumstance of poverty can feel disabling and can test our patience and tawakkul (trust) in Allah. So, how can you develop these strengths? Just like anything else you want to learn, learning to trust in Allah takes time and effort to develop. Reading Quran and finding your favourite surah that brings you ease can be the beginning of building trust in Allah as you grow in your knowledge of Him. Continuously remembering Him and making duaa to Him is another way, and remember – you can always make dua in your own language and use your own words. Your economic poverty can help you to realise your spiritual poverty and enrich your relationship with Allaah by forcing you to dig deep and find those inner resources that will help you to realise the true purpose for which you were created.
Poverty can help us to find and build a community- One of the things that drew me to Islam is the sisterhood and brotherhood in Islam, which filled in the gaps from the lack of support from family and friends outside of Islam. The poverty I experienced helped me to realise that this bond is an especially unique benefit to the revert sister.
The Quran says: “The believers are but a single brotherhood ” (Noble Quran 49:10)
The poverty of some may be a means of others gaining reward and being given the opportunity to help -We should help our fellow sisters in anyway possible. There are sisters who are unable to renew their wardrobe and dress in accordance with Islam women- perhaps you can be the kind person who gives her appropriate clothing; perhaps there is a sister without a husband who lacks skill and knowledge to take care of herself or her children- perhaps someone in the community can share some advice for her; Some reverts don’t have basic necessities such as shelter to protect them from the rough elements, others may not have food to nourish themselves. The test for us in their poverty is –What can we do to help our fellow Muslims? Can we organise a clothing drive online or offline? Can we organise foodbanks within our neighbourhood, can we contribute to organisations such as Solace that help keep our sisters firm on the path?
The prophet S.A.W. said ,
“The believer’s shade on the day of judgement will be his charity.”(Al Bukhari, Muslim)
Charity can be expressed through different means. Are you gifted in a particular areas? Share your gifts. As a teacher you can give the gift of education to a sister help her read and write. A social worker can ask those at the local mosque to post listings of resources available to them in the community. Can you teach a sister a trade or create a resume for her to help her become self-sufficient? Take time to smile to those lying on the street. Give acknowledgement, show respect to those of humanity who Allah created.
Surely those who have been through the trial of poverty feel more keenly the desperate plight of others who are in the situation they were once in, and that in itself is a benefit for the whole community– to have empathic people who have faced the trials that others face and can contribute to solutions for those in need.
This article is by no means an effort to underestimate the devastation of poverty. It is my hope we can
draw closer to Allah and stay in remembrance of him, and maintain a good opinion of Him whilst learning to keep having hope in Him.
The messenger of Allah peace be upon him said:
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”(sahih Al Bukhari)
Keep in mind no situation stays the same forever- Allah S.W.T. is able to turn any situation around, allowing you to be on the other side of the coin of poverty, ready and willing to help others. Have you turned your situation around? Do you have a suggestion for ways in which we can assist our sisters in their fight with poverty? Please feel free to comment below – feedback is always welcome!
About the author:
Crystal Daulton attended the Los Angles Training Institute of Drug and Alcohol Counselling and is a registered drug and alcohol technician. A native of Pittsburgh Pa, Crystal is an aspiring writer who resides in Lancaster Ca. with her 6 children.