How can the poor overcome their financial problems?
By: Abdul Adheem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani
Question: How can poor families overcome their financial problems, since the requirements of life are greater than the income these families receive?
The answer: Poverty is not a new problem for man. Islam has treated poverty with its wise verdicts and moral teachings and with supplications and with strengthening the moral aspects of man and family. We feel sorry for most Muslims who have virtually said to Islam: stick to the limits of books and lectures and do not enter our practical life especially in our closed rooms!! Therefore, they have brought upon themselves different problems in their lives.
Society, with its poor and rich, has kept away from the wide mercy and abundant blessings of Allah. Whoever divorces piety, Heaven divorces him. Allah says, (And if the people of the towns had believed and guarded (against evil)
We would certainly have opened up for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they rejected, so We overtook them for what they had earned). The poor commit some disobediences that bring them poverty and the rich commit some disobediences that bring them distresses, and thus poverty increases in the society. Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, ‘There is no abundant blessing, unless there is a lost due beside it.’
Panting after the desires of this life, material pleasures, and lavish expenditures is failure to know the facts to which Allah has invited us.
From amongst the poetry ascribed to Imam Hasan (a.s.) is the following verse: “O people of a transient world, Adhering to an evanescent shadow is silliness.”
Observing this fact, the economical life of a family must be well organized. The husband, his wife, and the other qualified members of the family can manage the income of the family in the best way and spare some of it for emergencies.
It is useful to quote here what I have read in the al-Wa’iy al-Islami magazine, vol. 414: “Many problems happen to families because of disorganization of the income between the two spouses or the income does not cover their needs.
Nowadays, these problems have become more complicated because of the rise in prices, the high level of living, the change of life’s luxuries of yesterday into essential needs today, and the increasing number of population that leads to an increase in consumption.
The circumstances and the disagreements that emerge because of money and defects in managing the income and expenditures may be different from one family to another, but there are some important concerns such as the changes that affect the lives of the spouses are such that each of them will not have his/her own independent opinion about the financial matters. In fact, the opinion of the other side will be important, especially if the wife has a job and a personal income.
Some modern families suffer from serious financial problems, and some husbands may belittle the material needs, which may increase the disagreement between spouses.
But how can spouses face these financial crises?
1. Each spouse has to inform the other of his/her actual income so that they conduct all their affairs clearly and with fidelity.
2. The spouses, together, have to specify the most important points of expenditure.
3. They have to agree that the income of the husband and the income of the wife become one to build the family and not to satisfy their personal wishes.
4. They have to agree to balance their joint incomes so that nothing disturbs their expenditure.
5. They must avoid participating in different projects and many installments in order to not be overwhelmed by the great expenses required from each of them.
6. If one of them faces a financial problem, he/she has to frankly inform the other spouse so that they can make the necessary changes to their budget.
Each husband and wife should not place money and financial problems in the first position of their life, for the pillars of a happy family stand on mutual understanding and respect before all. Money alone does not bring happiness and tranquility, but it is a means to achieve the requirements of life.”
There are many Qur’anic verses and supplications to be recited to invoke Allah for livelihood. They are mentioned in the books of supplications. What I mention here is something that I myself have experienced. It is reciting the second and the third verses of the sura at-Talaq (65), (…and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet, and give him sustenance from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him; surely Allah attains His purpose; Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything) three times after every prayer, attentively and sincerely.
 Holy Qur’an, 7:96.
 Refer to a story about this verse under the title (This is the true gold) in our book Qissas wa Khawatir (stories and ideas).