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 Said Nursi’nin Demokratik Toplum Tasavvuru

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Bitmeyen Esaret: Yoksulluk
Güz 2004   [ 88. Sayı ]

Endless Slavery: Poverty


Poverty as well as prosperity is one of the basic realities of the history of humanity. This reality has been survived both individually and socially. Considering from the historical point of view, we can observe that the individual and as well as the society has played changing roles in the pendulum rolling between prosperity and poverty. This indicates us that poverty is not an immutable destiny. However, our society stands for some centuries at the lowest rank of the development list. These morbid circumstances have been embodying most of the Islamic societies for the last centuries. We can even say that poverty is the cause of the contemporary slavery and misery of the Islamic world. Certainly, there is a "relative poverty" in feelings and mind beside the "real poverty". The man who does not learn to suffice has been always poor.

Another crucial point of the subject seems to be the relationship between the development and freedom. Art/industry and production which seems to be weapons against the poverty could only be emerged under freedom. The role of the freedom dimension represented itself in forms of free trade and competitive market economy seems to be undeniable. On the other hand, to enjoy freedom accurately, it seems to be necessary to get rid of the despotism of poverty. Trade is a motivator for art, too.

We plan to explain the subject in this dossier around some key concepts such as "real poverty, relative poverty, necessity, art/industry-production, development, consent of the word of God, injustice of income distribution, class conflict, consumption, extravagance, contentment, gratitude, custom, the problem of subsistence, debauchery, quality of life, entertainment, desires of self, working, love of life, virtue, spiritual taste". We attempt to define the real and relative poverty, to explain the socio-cultural, economic, religious and historical reasons for poverty; to find out its negative influences upon the individual and society, to study the solutions for poverty.

We also attempt to manifest the reason and consequences of poverty that causes hostility and clash between classes and nations, that brings the ethical degeneration into appearance which ends up in the social failures; that puts impediments on the "humanity" by blunting the aesthetic concerns of individuals and societies.

Starting from the remark of "The consent of the word of God is materially fitting to the development" by Bediüzzaman, we especially look for the answer of the particular question as we try to emphasize the reasons and consequences of the poverty/backwardness: Is it possible to say that the poverty has been encouraged by the inaccurate understanding of Fatalists, and whether did this continue with the Sufist understanding of "a bit, a dervish's coat is enough"?

We also do not deny the role of the custom, TV and the advertisement sector in the transformation of the unnecessary expenditures to the necessary ones which we may define as "relative poverty".


Atilla Yargıcı argues that people are not created equally in terms of economic circumstances, and this diversity is necessary for the balance of society. He believes that only this difference will enable the mutual assistance of people who are created as social beings. He also mentions that poverty and prosperity are examinations for people. Yargıcı emphasizes that the zekat institution of the Qur'an is an instrument to fill the gap between rich and poor. It provides for poor people an honorable life and also it will finish the potential of conflict between these two strata.

Osman Özkul sees the modernist world-view, capitalist and colonialist understanding of Western civilization at the heart of the illness of poverty. He suggests that long-term ways should be produced to solve this illness.

Osman Güner argues that religion may be an important resistance point in the struggle against poverty. He also claims that religion can contribute much to this struggle as an efficient and effective civil initiative.

Şevket Topal whose subject was "the Inspection of the Poor in Islam" mentions that in every phase of history a part of the society has been poor. Nonetheless, there have been some activities in order to protect these poor people both individually and socially. He emphasizes that there are many regulations in the essential sources of Islam about poor people, which have been cared by Islamic societies and put into application.

Hülya Alper stemming from the principle of unity, writes about the granting which functions in Islam as an impediment on poverty. She emphasizes that to share the property which is totally on one's own hand is an important factor about his/her faith.

Cemal Ağırman writes about the fact that poverty is not a result of destiny. In his article he also mentions about the importance of working and earning, the necessity of being away form extravagance and the value of the contentment. He speaks about extravagance as a consumption type which was not seen relevant to the value composition of Islam. He proposes contentment as the most powerful weapon against it. According to Ağırman, Islam has recognized the private property, but this does not mean an unlimited freedom by the spending of your own good by your own will.

According to Ali Murat Yel, the elimination of poverty has not been possible throughout history. But thanks to the globalization and liberalization the commercial life is expanded which transforms the poverty to a global problem. In order to solve this global problem, it begins a process in which global actors should take part. The elimination of poverty will be occurred not only by the economic measures but also by the social solidarity.

Vejdi Bilgin defends that the idea of the ideal religious life can only be possible in a poverty has been changed in our time, and it emerges that poverty is a negative situation for the religious life. From the point of view of a simple ethical outlook, he argues that after fulfilling of some religious duties, it is problematic for a person to deviate from the average life-standard.

Murat Çiftkaya argues in his article which is primarily on "existential poverty" that this concept is a tool for the acknowledgement of the Lord, and at the same time it enables one to establish an equal and friendly relationship between the other people and creatures, to mercy them.

Ali Seyyar mentions that poverty is a social risk both for the society and the state. In order to eliminate this risk, the social state should burden many duties. He particularly emphasizes the significance of the public social assistance by the elimination and prevention of the ultimate poverty. In his comprehensive article, after Seyyar defines the basic essences of the social policies for the benefits of poor people, he discusses the efficiency of the current public social assistance which is operating according to the current legislation. He also suggests short-term and medium-term social policies in order to prevent poverty.

Lütfullah Cebeci claims that the Western world is responsible from the exploitation and oppression which condemned most of the people to poverty even though the resources on the earth are sufficient for the humanity. According to him the only alternative power to stop this was Islam.

Necdet Subaşı, analyses the tensions among the religious and poor families in his article in which he talks about the debates on poverty, religiosity, and family.

İlknur Türe, explains in her article, how the capitalism moves the human self towards inaccurate directions and how it has put human being into a spiritual gap. According to her, this gap could be filled by the obedience to Islam.


We let you to meet with the content of our journal and wish to meet you in our 89th issue again.