Islamic Studies

All of Us are Poor


For all the college students out there, we know that being broke is normal. But I’m here to tell the rest of you that you are all broke as a joke too. Every. Last. One of you.

You may be thinking: “I just graduated, I make an awesome salary, I just bought this brand new 09 car, and I’m doing very well!” Or, “I live my parents and they take care of me!”

Well my response to you is that you’re still broke. Very very poor.


Read the words of your Rabb:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ

“O mankind! You are all Fuqaraa’ to Allah, but Allah is Rich, Worthy of all praise!” (35:15)

Allah ta’ala addresses all of us, every last one of us. Not just the believers, Not just the Prophet but Muslim, non-Muslim, white, black, woman, man…every last human on this earth: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ O Mankind!

أَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ إِلَى اللَّهِ
You are all Fuqaraa’ to Allah. Al fuqaraa is plural of the word faqeer which is from the root fa-qaaf-ra (ف ق ر) and faqr means poverty. Faqeer is one who has poverty and one who is poor. If we look at the root of this word, Faqrah is used for part of the spine and faaqirah is used for that which breaks the spine. So a faqeer is one who is suffering from back-breaking poverty, one who is extremely needy, so desperate for anything that could save them.

In the Qur’an, there are two words used to describe a poor person: faqeer and miskeen. What is the difference? Faqeer is someone who has no wealth and no means of obtaining wealth. So they have no money in the bank and they don’t have a job (told you: broke as a joke!). While a miskeen is one who is also poor, but they have the means, they just need a little extra to make it.

So Allah ta’ala doesn’t call us masakeen (plural of miskeen) but He says, we are all Fuqaraa’- you are all extremely poor. You do not own or possess a thing. And if wasn’t for Allah ta’ala, you would have nothing. You are all in need of Allah ta’ala, in the dunya and aakhirah. In every state of your existance: in the womb, as a baby, as a toddler, as a young person, as an old person, at the time of death, in the grave and in the hereafter.

So we are fuqaraa’. Who is Allah?

Allah is: الْغَنِي Al-Ghaniyy, the One who is Rich, the Independent. Ghaniyy is from ghayn-noon-ya (غ ن ي) and ghaniyy means richness. So Allah is The One who is Very Rich, the One who is Self Sufficient, the One who is Free of All Wants and Needs. He needs nothing from us. Absolutely nothing. He has everything and we have nothing.

And He is: الْحَمِيد Al Hameed: The Most Praiseworthy. Hameed is from ha-meem-daal (ح م د) and Hameed is the One who is deserving of praise, if one does hamd of Him or not. He doesn’t even need our hamd!

What lessons can we take from this ayah?

  1. Do not let the thought pass in your mind that you are benefiting Allah azza wa jal in any way. Don’t be an arrogant broke person!
  2. Be humble to Allah azza wa jal. Remember that Allah ta’ala needs nothing from us. Why would He, Al Ghaniyy, need something from a puny, weak, broke human like ourselves when He Possesses the Kingdom (mulk) of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them? We are nothing.
  3. Ask Allah ta’ala, and He will give you. “…O My servants, all of you are hungry (needy) except for those whom I feed, therefore seek food from Me so that I may feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked (need clothes) except for those whom I provide garments, therefore seek clothing from Me so that I should clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day and I am there to pardon your sins, therefore seek forgiveness from Me so that I should grant you pardon…” (Hadeeth Qudsi, Saheeh Muslim)
  4. Attribute all good to Allah ta’ala, and not to ourselves. You didn’t memorize the Qur’an yourself. You didn’t study the deen yourself. You didn’t graduate yourself. You didn’t get that job yourself. You didn’t, you didn’t, you didn’t. Allah azza wa jal gave us all of these blessings, we did not will it for ourselves. Don’t take credit for something you didn’t do.
  5. Be grateful for what Allah ta’ala has given you and thank Him. Do hamd of Al Hameed. (Duaas for gratitude will be posted in the comments) How would we feel if we gave a load of cash to a homeless person who was in so much need of anything, yet they just took the money and didn’t even say thank you? We’d be angry, right? And for Allah is the Highest Example! How can we, al fuqaraa’, receive blessing after blessing and not thank Allah for it? He is not in need of our thanks and gratitude, Allah ta’ala says in surah Ibrahim ayah 7: لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ, indeed if you are grateful and give thanks, surely I will definitely increase you, but if you are ungrateful (then know) My punishment is indeed most severe.

What have we done to show Allah ta’ala we are truly thankful? Remember: Shukr (gratitude) is by action! The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam would pray qiyaam until his feet would swell, and when asked by A’ishah radi Allahu anha why he still prays even though his past and future sins are forgiven, he said the famous answer: a falaa akuna ‘abdan shakoora? Should I not prove myself to be a thankful servant? So we should use these blessings that Allah has given us to do good, and not use them to disobey Him. Allah ta’ala says in surah Saba ayah 13: وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ, a FEW of My slaves are thankful.

Will you be among those few? Or will you be an arrogant, ungrateful broke person?

Alhamdulillah. Hamdan, katheeran, tayyiban, mubaarakan feeh. Allahumma a’innaa ‘alaa dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ‘ebaadatika. The most perfect praise is only for Allah, a praise that is countless, good and blessed. O Allah, help us to remember You, to thank You, and to worship You in the best way. Ameen.

About the author


Amatullah is a student of the Qur’an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta’leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur’an, Tajweed (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work and will be completing a Masters program in 2014. Her experiences include working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement, and accessibility for people with disabilities.

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  • subhanAllah the Qur’an is so intensely insanely deep.

    “Be grateful for what Allah ta’ala has given you and thank Him. Do hamd of Al Hameed. (Duaas for gratitude will be posted in the comments) How would we feel if we gave a load of cash to a homeless person who was in so much need of anything, yet they just took the money and didn’t even say thank you? We’d be angry, right?”

    In a particular city of a particular Muslim country, there are beggars who will come up to you and say, holding a 6 month old child, look at me, i’m so poor, this poor kid is an orphan, give me money, give me money, i need clothes, the kid needs food…and what can you do but give?

    but what happens after that? this person does not thank you, and on top of that insists you give more and more and more. even if you gave up to 100 pounds, they’ll insist they need more from you. and then other beggars will see this happening [the fact someone got something], and they will swarm you, insisting their rights for money from you, and will literally follow you down the street, maybe even for blocks, insisting you give them something.

    look at this scenario:
    – very poor person, clearly in a cycle of poverty, holding a kid born into poverty who is raised doing nothing but begging on the streets from childhood, and unfortunately [sooo sad], very likely to make this his or her [particularly her] living in adulthood.

    – they beg of you, “i need this, i need this, give me this”…you give.

    – then they DEMAND you give them more, without thanking you for giving the first time.

    Obviously you don’t give for their thanks, but are not appreciative of their demand for more. Isn’t this just a little annoying?

    Apply this scenario to our situation. Allah Musta’aan! How we are fuqara! And then we ask Allah and ask Allah and ask Allah… do we ever thank Allah ‘Azza wa Jall…especially where it counts most? in our heart and actions? Or do we just keep demanding for more, and then when we get it, show complete unappreciation?

    but then there are those people on the streets who if you give them something small, they make dua for you and show how much they appreciate it…don’t you just want to give more to them?

    so how about ALLAH the HIGHEST Example subhanahu wa ta’ala? that if we show some gratitude, as mentioned in the above verse in Surah Ibrahim, Allah will increase us! isn’t shukr worth it? May Allah give us thabat and make us of the shakireen AMEEN

    jezakiAllahu khayran Sr Amatullah please keep posting these gems!

  • That was very beneficial alhumdulillah. Since you mentioned in the post that the shukr (thanks) duas will be in the comments, I want to start it off by mentioning a very important dua about which the Prophet (sw) said: “…whoever says this in the morning has indeed offered his day’s thanks and whoever says this in the evening has indeed offered his night’s thanks.”!

    After (or before) fajr prayer:
    أَللَّهُمَّ مَا أَصْبَحَ بِي مِنْ نِعْمَةٍ، أَوْ بِأَحَدٍ مِنْ خَلْقِكَ، فَمِنْكَ وَحْدَكَ لا شَرِيْكَ لَكَ، فَلَكَ الحَمْدُ وَلَكَ الشُّكْرُ
    allahumma maa asbaha bi min ni’matin, au bi ahadin min khalqik, fa minka wahdaka laa shareeka laka, falaka al-hamdu wa laka ash-shukr.

    After ‘asr prayer:
    أَللَّهُمَّ مَا أَمْسَى’ بِي مِنْ نِعْمَةٍ، أَوْ بِأَحَدٍ مِنْ خَلْقِكَ، فَمِنْكَ وَحْدَكَ لا شَرِيْكَ لَكَ، فَلَكَ الحَمْدُ وَلَكَ الشُّكْرُ
    allahumma maa amsaa bi min ni’matin, au bi ahadin min khalqik, fa minka wahdaka laa shareeka laka, falaka al-hamdu wa laka ash-shukr.


    “Oh Allah, what blessing I or any of Your creation have risen upon, is from You alone, without partner, so for You is all praise and unto You all thanks.”

    * The two du’as mentioned above are the same except after fajr you say “asbaha” (morning), and after ‘asr you say “amsaa” (evening).

  • wa iyyaki ukhtee, Ameen to your duaa. Jazakum Allahu khayran for giving such a beautiful example, subhanAllah how true it is!

    Jazakum Allahu khayran br Zubair for posting that duaa, you beat me to the khayr! InshaAllah I will post some more duaas in a few.

  • Two ways that we can show shukr is by:

    1- Praying two raka’at out of shukr. The whole salah is a form of dhikr.

    2- Doing Sajdah as Shukr. (see here: This is an authentic sunnah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

    Other duaas:

    1- Narrated from A’ishah radi Allahu anha, “When the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam saw something that pleased him, he would say: Alhamdulillahil lathee bi ni’matihi tatimmus saalihaat, and when he saw something that displeased him, he would say: Alhamdulillah ‘alaa kuli haal. (Narrated in Sunan Ibn Maajah, classified as Saheeh according to Shaykh Albaani rahimahullah in Silsilatus Saheehah hadeeth 265)

    الحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي بِنِعْمَتِهِ تَتِمُّ الصَّالِحَاتُ
    Alhamdulillahil lathee bi ni’matihi tatimmus saalihaat means: All praise and thanks are only for Allah, the One who, by His blessing and favor, perfected goodness/good works are accomplished.

    الحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ عَلَى كُلِّ حَالٍ
    Alhamdulillah ‘alaa kuli haal means: All praise and thanks are only for Allah in all circumstances.

    2- Duaa for completing a meal:

    3- Duaa for wearing a garment:

    4- Duaa when waking up:

    Can anyone think of other duaas?

  • asalaamu alaykum, thank you very much for posting. a sister that i used to know would call herself a porper, this really agravated me, because she clearly was not in a conventional sense, but she didn’t explain what you just did. al-hamdulilah thanks once again

  • Sister Amatullah, may Allah reward you the best in this world and in the hereafter. I really learn a great deal from your writings. InshaAllah, I’ll be taking the next al-huda class.

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