An Analysis of Pakistan’s Poverty Problem from an Islamic Perspective
Muhammad Hussain and
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Muhammad Hussain: International Institute of Islamic Economics, International Islamic University, Islamabad.
The Pakistan Development Review, 1995, vol. 34, issue 4, 857-864
Poverty is a widespread problem that particularly afflicts developing countries. A number of studies, have analysed the phenomena of poverty in Pakistan. Some of these studies are based on arbitrarily chosen poverty-lines, and others are based on poverty-lines determined on the basis of nutritional requirements or basic needs of human beings. The incidence of poverty is greatly influenced by the poverty-line used for a particular study. Therefore, the way a poverty-line is defined is of great significance in determining the incidence of poverty. In Islamic literature, certain limits for poverty and prosperity have been prescribed. Fuqaha like Imam Abu Yousuf consider a person prosperous if he owns wealth equivalent to or more than the amount of Nisab. A person is considered to be poor if he owns wealth less than the amount of Nisab. Nisab for gold was equal to 20 Miskals and Nisab for silver was 200 dirhams, which were equivalent to 140 Miskals in weight. Some other Fuqaha, in connection with determining different lump-sum amounts of Jizyah to be assessed for the prosperous, the middle-class, and the poor Zimmies, have considered those as prosperous persons who owned wealth equivalent to ten thousand dirhams or more, those owning wealth equivalent to two hundred dirhams but less than ten thousand dirhams, as middle-class persons, and those owning less than two hundred dirhams, i.e., the amount of Nisab as poor persons.
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