It is not possible to present a single reading of the concepts of poverty, wealth, affluence, etc, in Islamic texts.
Studying Islamic texts from an academic point of view shows that they have an approach to these concepts that is quite based on the mind of individuals. That is to say, poverty and wealth have not been portrayed as two completely concrete phenomena that are separate from mentalities. In Islamic texts, they have been introduced as phenomena that are related to man and his historical aspect. Poor and rich humans have been studied within the framework of conditions and mentalities.
If we want to have a minimal report about Islamic text’s views on these so-called economic concepts, there seems to be five approaches to them:
1- When poverty has been lauded. For example the Holy Prophet (PBHU) said, “Poverty is my pride”. It has also been said that on the Day of Resurrection, the first group of people entering paradise are the poor.
2- Negative views on poverty. It has been said that “Kadal Faqru an Yakuna al-Kufra”. If we want to have a fluent translation of this sentence, it says that poverty is close to having no meaning other than Kufr (disbelief).
3- There are some reports that praise development of wealth for the family.
4- Some reports prohibit wealth and opulence. “Believers, many are the rabbis and monks who in falsehood defraud people of their possessions and bar people from the Path of Allah. Give glad tidings of a painful punishment to those who treasure gold and silver and do not spend it in the Way of Allah.” (Surah At-Tawbah, verse 34)
It has also been said that the last group of people entering paradise are the wealthy.
5- There are also reports about Kafaf which have received little attention. Kafaf is actually a state between poverty and wealth in which one neither has too little means to live nor has more than what he needs in life. That is to say, one spends as much as he earns. This situation has been admired a lot and it has been said that God’s special servants are put in such a situation.
So if someone asks whether poverty, or wealth or Kafaf is good in Islam, such a question is not right and leads to incorrect understanding of Islamic texts.
Actually, these concepts should be studied in the context of the reports in the Quran and Hadiths about poverty, wealth, Kafaf, etc.