May 15, 2011 - islam op-eds    7 Comments

Poor mouse vs. Rich mouse

So random topic….  Remember that story about the country mouse and the city mouse and how they one day exchange places and hate everything about the other’s life, then return home realizing they actually had it really good? That was a good story and a good lesson! I think I want to write a story about the poor mouse versus the rich mouse though!

Recently, I heard yet again someone tell me they want to “renounce the dunya and live ascetic lives like the sahaba”. Ohkayyyy… I still remember asking one young brother in our community what he was looking for in a spouse and he said “a sister that doesn’t want any dunya and wants to live a very poor simple life”. Hmmmm… ok. Mostly I hear this from young suburban kids whose parents are immigrants to this country and have worked very hard to provide better lives for their kids. Then these kids grow up and somehow get interested in the Deen, but for some reason these kids think it’s more “Islamic” to be poor!

Let me tell you something…being poor is really ugly. It’s a humiliation. It’s a fitnah and a huge test. It’s extremely destructive. I really do not think people should choose it. You are always fighting to survive, worried about tomorrow. It’s no joke that the no. 1 reason couples break up is because of money. And it’s not just about the money, a big part of it is the added stress of not having any! Not having healthcare, not having a decent home, not being able to provide for your kids. Not having a good quality of life. These are things people should think about before they “decide to be poor”.

There’s like a million benefits from being able to provide for yourself and your family well. Why would anyone not want that? Do they think being poor will be less corrupting? Will it make them stay good Muslims. Sorry, so not necessarily true. Being wealthy allows you to be generous, to help provide for others, to build Masjids and schools. To go to Hajj and travel to Islamic lands. Send your kids to Islamic schools. To create jobs and benefit others, to have the upper hand. Helps you avoid doing Haram even, like taking out mortgages or having to take interest loans.  Why not strive to be the one who gives instead of the one who takes.

I heard a story from a khutbah in Texas once. The Imam said ‘There once came a man who sat in the Masjid and waited for others to provide for him. A knowledgable wise man came and asked him why he did that. He said I saw two birds once and the one who had a broken wing was helped by the other one, so I know that Allah will send someone to help me as well. The knowledgeable man said ‘Why do you not strive to be the bird that helps the other one, instead of the broken-winged one?!’”

There is a reason why being a generous host to visitors and guests is a noble virtue in Islam, while being miserly and withholding money (like zakat) is a sin.

So really being a good Muslim is not about living a poor life. This does not make you a better Muslim. You can be a good Muslim that has moderate wealth or even be wildly wealthy. As long as the dunya does not live in your heart you can use it to gain more reward and become a better Muslim, iA.

Ok, the end.




  • Wow Sis J! That was a really powerful post! At least for me it was . . I think as I will be soon entering the work force, establishing myself and soon to be entering my 30′s (!!!! OK, I feel old now too!) the message you sent here hit home for me. Jazak’Allahu Khairan as always

    PS Felt nice to leave comments on the blog after a long time :-)

  • Trying to be poor also seems to be belittling Allah, because if He has blessed you with wealth and you’re renouncing that to become poor then that’s like rejecting His Niyamah.

  • Amazing post as always Jannah! Can’t tell you how much I miss your regular posts…more please! :)

  • Yeah. I truly agree with you. :)

  • Thanks for ur comments guys :)

  • mashallah cool post and rich and poor combination gives a glow in the story nice post will be waiting for the next post