Nigerian poverty and religion as pain killer

I believe in prayers and spirituality and both relate with physical/material efforts largely. Nigeria is painfully growing in poverty and in prayers/religiousity. Thus, a question arises, why has religion not rescued the people from extreme poverty in Nigeria?

The answer is not so simple, divine intervention/luck can rescue some people from extreme poverty. What will rescue the masses from deep trap of poverty is a well organised economy that redistributes wealth, spreads opportunities and limits inequalities.

In the absence of an organised economic system, religion will be commercialised and divine intervention will be extremely sought leading a lot of people to become religious, fans of rites/rituals but not genuinely God conscious.

Hence, the rationale for religiousity of victims of poverty will be to seek “spiritual painkillers” very similar to what Karl Marx called “opium” of the masses and not necessarily God conscious spirituality or philosophical appreciation of religion.

China, for example, lifted 500million people from extreme poverty to middle-class not through rituals or religion but by deliberate economic plans. Saudi Arabia, which is the spiritual home of Muslims, has deliberate social welfare system to tame poverty and not just prayers.

Monumental poverty can only be fought through deliberate economic strategies and this has been established in socio-economic teachings of monotheistic religions. For example, Islam has a doctrine called zakat which is similar to “wealth tax” with rules of Islamic finance and non-interest economic system which is a socio-economic rule in Christianity and Judaism too.

This is not to relegate prayers seeking God’s guidance and assistance in all matters but it must be understood that Godly rules and patterns detest negligence and indolence.

Mujib Dada-Qadri, Esq,


[email protected]

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