What is the relationship between honesty and poverty?


Al-Watan newspaper

IS there is a relationship between honesty and poverty? I will talk here about my experience in two countries that are considered poor as per international statistics. In my first trip, I traveled to Azerbaijan, a country that is containing the opposite, the rich and the poor. The country is rich in natural resources including oil and gas. Yet a large percentage of its people live under a certain level of poverty. It was reported that one quarter of the people are migrants and many of them live in Russia.

My story happened in a far away neighborhood from the capital. I was with my friends when we stopped to buy some stuff and pray. My cell phone fell off my pocket when I left the mosque. After a while, I noticed that my cell phone was missing. I went back with my friends to the same mosque to search for it. We found three poor children outside the yard of the mosque. While we were searching, one of the children approached us and said “Mobile! Mobile!” I nodded with my head yes, since I did not understand the language. the child guided us inside the mosque and took a mobile that was hidden inside pillow and gave it to us.

I was so happy to be reunited with my mobile again. The mobile contained information and documents that was more valuable than its price multiplied eight times. This noble act by these children will never be forgotten. It was custom in our culture to give reward for such acts. When we took our wallets to give them some money, they refused to take it. They escaped and we ran after them to give them the money. I was shocked at their refusal. One of my friends put the money inside the pocket of one of the children by force. The child took the money out and in a quick move, he shoved the money in the back pocket of my friend and ran away. The child said that he gets reward from Almighty Allah and not from him, as it was translated later by a man who understood both languages. It was a great blessing to live this moment. It was inspiring and provides a moral lesson of what is to be the behavior of an honest child.

The other incident took place in Indonesia. I forgot my small bag that contained cell phone, cards and other documents in the back seat of a taxi. The taxi took off and we went inside the hotel, where I noticed that I forgot my bag. I told my friend to check in the hotel while I went back to the airport, where I hired the taxi from a company located there. The company located the driver and contacted him. He said that another passenger discovered the bag in the back seat. I waited at the airport for two hours until the driver arrived and handed me the bag with all its content inside. I had to reward this honest driver.

I cannot talk more about the two experiences I had, which reflects on the value and the principal of honesty, especially that the cell phones are considered very expensive for people who live below poverty line. Despite their poor condition and a lack of basic elements of life, they are happy. They face hardships of life with a smile. Those who really look at them will understand the true meaning of happiness that is not linked to wealth, but with their inherent values. They are poor but happy.

Of course I cannot generalize here and say that all poor people are honest, but the two cases above really describe the situation. We cannot see similar example of the two cases mentioned above among the rich, who are wealthy in money and poor in honesty. Such people claim that they fear God, while they will steal from you from the back. If they were able to steal your house, they will add it to their already suspicious account.