Islam urges neighborly relations and feeding the hungry

Posted on January 2, 2008

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 Rafik Beekun

 Statistics on Poverty and Inequality from www.islamicrelief.org

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported in 1998 that the world’s 225 richest people now have a combined wealth of $1 trillion. That’s equal to the combined annual income of the world’s 2.5 billion poorests people.

The wealth of the three most well-to-do individuals now exceeds the combined GDP of the 48 least developed countries.

While global GNP grew 40 percent between 1970 and 1985 (suggesting widening prosperity), the number of poor grew by 17 percent.

Although 200 million people saw their incomes fall between 1965 and 1980, more than 1 billion people experienced a drop from 1980 to 1993.

UNDP reported in 1996 that 100 countries were worse off than 15 years ago.

Three decades ago, the people in well-to-do countries were 30 times better off than those in countries where the poorest 20 percent of the world’s people live. By 1998, this gap had widened to 82 times (up from 61 times since 1996).

At present, 3 billion people live on less than $2 per day while 1.3 billion get by on less than $1 per day. Seventy percent of those living on less than $1 per day are women. With global population expanding 80 million per year, World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn cautions that, unless we address “the challenge of inclusion,” 30 years hence we will have 5 billion people living on less than $2 per day.

Two billion people worldwide now suffer from anemia, including 55 million in industrial countries. Given current trends in population growth and prosperity-hoarding, three decades from now we could have a world in which 3.7 billion people are anemic.

As of 1995 (the latest figures available), Federal Reserve research found that the wealth of the top one percent of Americans is greater than that of the bottom 95 percent. Three years earlier, the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finance found that the top one percent had wealth greater than the bottom 90 percent.

In 1996, the Census Bureau reported record-level inequality, with the top fifth of U.S. households claiming 48.2 percent of national income while the bottom fifth gets by on 3.6 percent.

Islam is at heart a religion that centers around helping the needy and the poor, and being neighborly. Those very few who commit dastardly acts of terrorism, brutality and genocide in the name of Islam will have to account for their deeds in front the Almighty. Do not let their self-serving and sinister agenda hijack the true message of peace, love for one’s fellow man and philanthropy of Islam.

Islam and the need to help the poor and hunger

What Islam says about the need for Muslim to care for others, Muslims or not

A short lecture by Imran Ali higlighting the divine decree of Allah from the Qur’an.

Song about Muslims needing to help the poor and those in need

A nasheed (song) by Ahmed Bukhatir.

A Muslim Campaign: “Islam for a Better World”

There are several websites listed under the section “helping others in need” in the right column of this blog. You can choose to donate to these websites or you can start an initiative in your neighborhood in whatever city or country you live in, helping one person at a time.  Below is a sample of what we Muslims can do.  This is a video posted by a new Muslim sister, Sr. Isabella, on the internet:

Islam cares for all living beings

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