In recent weeks it’s become even clearer to me that Islam DOES in fact have all the answers to the problems and challenges we are being faced with, whether, they be financial, social, spiritual or otherwise. However, this does not mean creating an Islamicised alternative to every societal ill. Some practices and institutions just simply have to be abandoned.
Take the example of the disgustingly called Islamic Banks with their disguised (100% riba) mortgages. The pro-riba activists argue that this institution is necessary to enable Muslims to buy their homes. Is that it? You permit and disguise riba so that Muslims don’t feel left out of the housing market? That really is literally playing with fire!
Unless we really get to grips with what we call Muamalat we’ll be going around in circles. In a Muslim led society there are core institutions and practices that do away with the causes of most of today’s problems and it is our duty to become familiar with them.
Unemployment is tackled by a free and open marketplaces accessible to anyone who wants to engage in commerce. Unjust monopolies, usurious manipulation and unfair commercial contracts are not permitted.
Poverty is firstly tackled through the correct collection and distribution of Zakat. This is complemented by the institution of awqaf, set up by wealthy Muslims, which take care of the mosques, soup kitchens, clinics, educational initiatives and much more.
Gambling, alcohol and other intoxicants are obviously not permitted and nothing more need be said about that.
On a more local and personal level, many of us have those people who come to us when they need a loan and conversely there are those people that we go to when we need a loan whether for business or personal reasons. There are also those individuals who voluntarily manage community saving schemes (pardner etc). These people are more effective “personal bankers” than anyone with that title working for a bank today. It is this combination of personal and institutionalised movement of capital/wealth that keeps any society wealthy as demonstrated in the great story of Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, which we will look at in greater detail another time, Insha Allah.
Finally we have to make use of arbitration in settling disputes and also take advice when negotiating contracts. It is up to us to insist on no usurious clauses in our transactions and to include Islamically acceptable methods of settling disputes or winding up our businessses and contracts. This extends to wills and bequeaths.
With these things in place we are then left with a situation that encourages the movement of capital in what is a much “bigger” society than any conservative or coalition government could ever dream of. With these things in place we are beginning to look after the most vulnerable in our communities. By putting these things in place we are beginning to do what is pleasing to Allah. The added beauty is that we are in the wonderful position of being ble to implement all these things today, right now, right where we are.
May Allah shower great blessings on those movers of wealth amongst us and make their deeds count heavily in their favour on that day when ALL debts are called in.