Poverty and Economic Fair in Islamic Perspective
Poverty is the classical problem that has presented in the beginning of human history. There are many efforts that have done to handle this problem. However, the problem of poverty is still presenting until nowadays. The perspective of economic that is prevailing today has given many advances of material. In the same time, the progress of economic system is directing to the other advances that cannot be imagined before. Nevertheless, both of contemporary economic perspective and system have no ability to decrease the problem of poverty. The facts have shown that poverty is violent, especially in Muslim communities (Nasution, 2004: 125).
The contemporary phenomena of poverty that is doing, is the problematic things in developmental program. The economic development cannot be accompanied by the advance of social welfare. In fact, the development programs impact to the imbalance of the prosperity that is called as “the distorted development” (Midgley, 2005: 5). The social welfare as the development and economic activities product is only achieved by little groups of society. While, there are many groups of society that cannot get the prosperity.
The poverty is like a contradiction in contemporary economic activities that carries the freedom. As we know, liberal-capitalism is the only one of ideological choice that is being hegemony in the world, perhaps in economic world. Therefore, the contemporary economic thinking is identical with the perspective of liberal-capitalism. The economic contemporary perspective sees that each individual can fulfill their necessities by themselves. Every individual have a basic rights, rational choice, and the abilities to determine their life (Midgley, 2005: 130). It causes that the poverty concept as the individual disability to use their potency to create the prosperity in economic activities.
Moreover, the contemporary economic perspective sees that the poverty is the effect of inability of individual to increase the quality and quantity of production (Nasution, 2004: 128). Decreasing of production, this give an effect to the low income. This condition continues to the disability for them in competing to the others that have higher productivity. As the result, they fail in that free economic competing. The poverty is a logic consequence as their disability in the economical struggles.
Shortly, the economic contemporary system ideally gives a freedom to everyone to use optimally their potencies. But, in reality, the freedom of individual results the unfairly in its economic activities. In textually, the freedom of individual in economic activities can trigger the potencies of individual. However, the individual ability in economic life is not same each other. They are always different. As the effect, this becomes a problem. Because, the individual who have better ability and capital certainly will win in that economic struggle. While, the unfortunate individual who have less ability and capital cannot compete there.
The condition has worst in the rational concept in liberal-capitalism perspective that in modern society, individual will act rationally to the things that gives them benefit (Ritzer, 2004: 395). So, the individual that have the capital slowly will dominate the others in economic activities. The individual becomes as a human who extinguish each other (homo hominy lupus) in the name of the economic freedom.
In addition, individual who have the capital are trying to defend their position in accumulating the capital. Karl Marx (1818-1883) has emphasized this in the concept of class struggle, which the owner of capital (bourgeoisie) certainly will reserve the capitals that available in the market by exploiting the workers (proletariat) (Allan, 1951: 78). That condition has create unfairly for the weaken individual in economic activities. Indeed, the system creates the ‘unfreedom’ in the individual who have no capital, because they are depended to the owner of capital.
Radicalism of freedom in economic activities in one side has brought the human being to the great achieving that cannot be imagined before. But, in other hand, the system has created a gap between the rich individual and poor individual in the economic activity and that is growing up. The contemporary economic system gives a freedom to them who have economic abilities and capitals to be increasing and accumulating their capital in economic activities. But, this system has alienated the poor people who have no capital. As the result, the poor individuals become poorer and the rich individuals become richer. It is the system that does not give a freedom and justness.
Islamic Perspective of Economic
Basically, Islam sees that economic activities are one of the activities that are purposed to make the wealthy in this earth (Quran 11: 61). The implementation of that concept is realized with the reaching of the social prosperity in the society, both individual and communal with the effectiveness efforts (Dumair, 1998). The welfare of society in economic activities is the principal in Islamic perspective. Islam does not only demand the individual advance, but also it is needed the wealthy in community. Therefore, Islam is contradictive with the liberal-capitalism perspective in economy that emphasizes the individual freedom without paying attention to the social condition. Even orienting to the social wealthy, Islam stresses the urgency of the individual freedom in economic activities as the exertion to reach the prosperity. The welfare of social is based from the individual wealthy. Every individual should be given the equal and wide freedom to expand their potencies (Quran 62: 10).
In Islam perspective, the individual freedom should not be used to create the dominating in economic activities as we see now. Therefore, Islam prohibits the accumulation of the property (Quran 104: 1-2). This causes that the accumulation of the property and capital by individual is the beginning of the appearing of the poverty problems. Islam sees that the basic problem of the poverty is the effect of undistributed of the property and capital in economic system. Of course, this is contrast with the thinking of economic contemporary that determine the problem of poverty because of the individual unproductively. This perspective argues that the individual unproductively will direct to the low income of the individual. That is different with Islam perspective that gives positive opinion to every individual. Islam sees that every individual has the ability to increase all human potency. The problem of poverty appears because the individual have no access to the capital in carrying their economic activities.
The poverty is the fact in the economic life and it cannot be deleted. Therefore, Islam does not promise to lose it. But, Islam tries to decrease the negative effect and the amount of poverty problems. In this case, Islam gives a solution by the concept of redistribution of property and capital (Quran 59: 7).
Redistribution of the property in Islam is the important thing to decrease the imbalance of the property ownership. In this distribution, Islam gives the justness to every individual that is unfortunately life as poor person. By the distributed property, it is hoped the individuals can do optimally their ability without the material and economical barrier. So, individuals have the true freedoms in their activities.
The economic freedom in Islam is not only the radical freedom, where the freedom is only given to insignificant individual groups who have a lot of capital and property. While, there are many other individuals who are oppressed because they have no capital. In Islam, the economic freedom should be based to the principle of justice, where each individual have an equal right to work in economic activities without fear because of domination from the others. With the distribution of property, it is hoped to create the economic freedom for each individual who is blocked their economic activities because have no capital, like today’s fact.
Allan, Kenneth (1951) Exploring in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World. London: Sage Publication Ltd.
Dumair (1998) Islam dan Ekonomi. http://members.tripod.com/~bimcrot/global/isnom.html
Midgley, James (2005) Pembangunan Sosial: Perspektif Pembangunan dalam Kesejahteraan Sosial. Jakarta: Ditperta Islam Departemen Agama RI.
Nasution, Mustafa Edwin (2004) Zakat: Beberapa Fakta tentang Usaha Pengentasan Kemiskinan, in Reinterpretasi Pendayagunaan ZIS: Menuju Efektifitas Pemanfaatan Zakat, Infak, dan Sedekah. Jakarta: Piramedia.
Ritzer, George and Douglas J Goodman (2004) Teori Sosiologi Modern. Jakarta: Kencana.