Praise be to Allaah.
This hadeeth was narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2352) from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him), according to whom the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O Allaah, cause me to live poor and cause me to die poor, and gather me among the poor on the Day of Resurrection.” Al-Tirmidhi said: This is a ghareeb hadeeth.
It was also narrated by Ibn Maajah (4126) from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him).
Many scholars classed it as da’eef. If we assume it is saheeh, then what is meant by “poor” here is being humble before Allaah, not having little wealth.
Ibn Katheer said in al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah (6/75):
With regard to the hadeeth narrated by Ibn Maajah from Abu Sa’eed, that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O Allaah, cause me to live poor …”, it is a da’eef hadeeth, and it not proven from its isnaad, because it includes Yazeed ibn Sinaan Abu Farwah al-Rahaawi, who is very weak (da’eef jiddan). And Allaah know best.
It was also narrated by al-Tirmidhi with another isnaad from Anas … then he said: This is a ghareeb hadeeth.
I (Ibn Katheer) say: there is some weakness in its isnaad, and there is something objectionable in its text. And Allaah knows best. End quote.
Al-Haafiz said in al-Talkhees (3/109), after quoting this hadeeth:
It was narrated and classed as ghareeb by al-Tirmidhi, and its isnaad is da’eef. A similar hadeeth was narrated from Abu Sa’eed by Ibn Maajah, but there is also some weakness in its isnaad. There is another isnaad in al-Mustadrak, from ‘Ata’, and it was narrated by al-Bayhaqi from ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit. End quote.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah be pleased with him) was asked about this hadeeth and he said:
This is narrated, but it is da’eef and is not proven. Its meaning is: cause me to live with humility, but the wording is not proven. End quote from Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (18/357).
He also said (18/326):
This hadeeth was narrated by al-Tirmidhi, and it was mentioned by Abu’l-Faraj (Ibn al-Jawzi) in al-Mawdoo’aat. Whether its wording is saheeh or not, the poor person who is praised is the one who is humble before Allaah, it does not mean the poor person who has no wealth. Rather a man may be poor and lacking wealth but he may be a tyrant. As the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in a saheeh hadeeth: “There are three to whom Allaah will not speak or look at on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He praise them and theirs will be a painful torment: a king who tells lies, a poor man who is arrogant and an old man who commits zina.” And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I am a slave; I eat as a slave eats and I sit as a slave sits.” Being “poor” is an attitude, and it means being humble, as ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace be upon him) said: ‘And dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest’ [Maryam 19:32].
In Lisaan al-‘Arab it says (13/216):
The original meaning of miskeen in Arabic is humble, and the original meaning of faqeer is needy.
Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O Allaah, cause me to live poor (miskeen)” meaning thereby humble, not one of the arrogant and proud, i.e., humble and submissive before You, O Lord, not arrogant. The word miskeen here does not mean poor in the sense of being in need. End quote.
In al-Talkhees (3/109), al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar quoted al-Bayhaqi as saying of this hadeeth: In my view it does not mean that he was asking for poverty in the sense of having little, rather he was asking for humility. End quote.
And Allaah knows best.