10:30 AM

Rate Your Riches

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

I was recently thinking "How poor am I?" I tried to think of a scale and used the American grading scale for my example.

: Very Wealthy: Royalty(A+), Celebrities (A), Upper Class Citizens (A-)
: Well-Off: Mid-Upper Class Citizens (B+), General Business Owners (B), High Ranked Military (B-)
: Normal: Can afford international plane tickets at the drop of a hat (C+), Middle Class Citizens (C), Struggling to keep up appearances of Middle Class but not in debt or under 1,000USD debt(C-)
: Struggling: Can afford home, food, has clothes on back, under 5,000USD* in debt (D+), can only afford home, basic foods like rice, meats, veggies, has clothes on back rarely new though, between 5,000USD to 8,000* USD in debt (D), can only afford studio-one room home, basic foods like rice and meats, gets constantly second hand clothes, between 8,000USD and 12,000USD* OR not in debt but still reduced to basics (D-)
: Poor: Living at the basic means, studio or shack, rice and sometimes meats and veggies, always needs donations of food and clothes, heavily in debt 10-20,000USD* or living in a region of extreme poverty (F+), Living at basics but unable to provide anything for family (F), Starving, stick house, over 25,000USD* in debt, not able to provide for self much less family (F-)

*: Paying back this debt and higher back to zero debt would make them so poor they couldn't live.

These are approximates that I believe people fall into. I heavily weighed my and my families areas and came up with I am "D". I thought about my neighbors who are at D- and realized I had more than them alhamdulliah and upped my status to D. I think there are plenty of agencies that help those in the D- to F+/- area but few who help those in the D through C-. This class of people rely heavily on help from others who are kind enough to swing some money their way to help out with the basics. But many times people of this category believe they have the basics covered so why should they "beg" for money or ask for it. Sure if a friend of family give me money I sure take it with a hearty thank you but I don't ask for it. *ahem except in the case of my parents, may Allah make their lives easy*

A funny thing happened the other day that made me think a lot more about this though. I was going to my second Taraweeh prayers (since i can only go on Friday nights) and my son was being disruptive and had a smelly diaper suddenly and my daughter started running amuk and trying to walk in front of people praying to get Qur'ans so I took them out of there real fast having only prayed Isha'a. I had forgotten my backpack with my son's changings and phone in the car. My husband was in with the men -still praying- so i couldn't just waltz in and ask for him. So I waited outside the masjid and waited and waited and I got tired and sat down on the large cement area. I waited more and some men started leaving. A few passed me looking at me oddly and that got me to thinking... I must look like a beggar sitting here with my kids waiting for someone to take pity on me and give me money (just like i used to see in Lebanon). Then I thought harder about that that if someone did give me some money I surely wouldn't mind. It would be nice to have some money to call my own for once. Suddenly a man walked by and I was keeping track of my wandering son when he back tracked and shyly/nervously offered me a 10dhs. I smiled and thanked him in Arabic and he looked relieved (probably glad I didn't yell at him for thinking I was a beggar). I said alhamdulliah right a way and made du'a for this kind man's family. I was glad I could help someone else attain a good deed by taking the charity he offered. I told my daughter to hold the money for me since abayas don't have pockets. I thought then hey if i sit here long enough maybe I can get enough to buy groceries for the week tonight. So we kept waiting for my husband.... another brother left and passed me then stopped to riffle through his wallet and pulled out another 10dhs. I took it and thanked him. Cause he too wasn't sure if I was a beggar or not. He left relieved I made du'a for his family. Finally my husband came out as I was passing the money to my daughter to hold. He comes and hugs my son then as he hugs my daughter she shouts "These men gave Mama money!" I blushed and he looked at me just shocked. I told him what happened I was just sitting there they mistook me for a beggar and his eyes were as wide as saucers. "They thought you were a BEGGAR!" He exclaimed. "I know. Hey I got 20dhs, we can buy tomatoes, dates, lettuce, and cucumbers for the week for that much." I said quietly. He looks at me as if seeing me with new eyes. "You are ok that they thought you were a beggar?" He asked. "Sure why not we can use the money. Just wish I could have gotten more though." I smiled. He had grown up that beggars were the lowest of low society and one never begged until forced to because you had been starving for a week or you had children that were starving that day. I grew up with people sometimes had to beg. Many times I'd ask for spare change for bus money from complete strangers and mostly was given it. No big deal and it made them happy to help someone. If someone asked me I gave them. So for me it was ok I allowed these men to think i was a beggar and accepted their offerings. Their angels wrote their good deeds.

Another friend of mine told me recently not asking for help when you need it is a matter of pride and so that too allowed me to swallow mine more and accept their humble offerings. I was able to buy a few more groceries that I would have if they hadn't given me money and I was grateful for that. So if you too are in the low C's or under in the D's or F's please don't feel bad about asking now and then for a friend or family to help you out. It may feel a little odd but really, not only are you getting a benefit, but they are too. And of course it's the responsibility of those who can afford it to give charity to those who need it. The angels write it all down.

If you'd like to name your rating and how it makes you feel go ahead in the comments and I don't mind if you choose anonymous I'll still publish it.

10 intelligent thoughts:

Najeeba said...

Lol! Nice article. I would put myself in the C- or D. AS to begging, I don't think I would do it bcoz we are taught like ur hubby is taught. And I dont think I will take money for granted, although we are in debt. And yeah, as you said, it is a problem of pride too.

Susie of Arabia said...

It's not like you were actually sitting there begging. I think it's a little funny that those kind men thought you were a beggar. And I'm sure you're right - it DID make them feel good about themselves that they are in a position to be able to help someone else out and they chose to do it.

Nouveau Riche said...

Wow. Our family's financial situation recently increased greatly, to perhaps a C+ (though I can now flying internationally at the drop of a hat, the concept is still mind-boggling and I doubt I'd do that much.

Before I would have said we were at a C-, but our debt was greater than 12,000 USD. Maybe it's just easier to carry debt in the states.

Yet your scale of wealth goes two degrees higher. I don't figure people at that level of wealth in my everyday thinking anyhow. At my C- level, my wealth was greater than 99% of the people on the planet, and I was always very aware of that.

American Muslima Writer said...

Najeeba, thanks for chiming in, subhanAllah the pride is something we must work on to purify our hearts more. Inshallah you will be eased from your debts.

American Muslima Writer said...

Suzie, heheh yeah it was funny though that they were helping themselves more than helping me alhamdulliah.

American Muslima Writer said...

Mrs. Riche, I'm glad you are so aware of your advanced staus in a good way that you appreciate those under you but I never knew what huge impact thoise higher levels had on epole until i moved to UAE and saw them up close and personal.
Mind-boggling how the super rich live!

American Muslima Writer said...

I'm finding this poll suddenly very interesting, who is that one person who voted A? DO we have a celeb in our circle? A princess or prince? Or someone being a jerk and voting a LIE! Hmmm the questions are mysterious...... I'm glad to see the broad range is around C/D though. As for the unfortionate at F May ALlah bless your life with goodness and relieve your poverty and debt insha'Allah.

Susanne said...

I liked your story about sitting outside the mosque NOT begging. ;-) Thanks for sharing.

American Muslima Writer said...

Susanne: welcome and thanks for the comment. Hehehe, not begging indeed ;)

American Muslima Writer said...

To Anon *unpublished comments*

my new e-mail is if you want to talk further about your comments I'd be happy to tell you.

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