Human Rights In Islam


  • bookcover

  • Human Rights In Islam


  • 3. Establishing justice in financial dealings and in the distribution of wealth

      
                Islam ordains rulings which establish justice in all financial dealings and in the distribution of wealth. It also affords equal opportunities for everyone to work and improve his status in addition to narrowing the gap between the classes of society, thereby achieving justice in its most perfect form.

     

            The sublime status attained by Islam in this respect has never been equalled by any faith, code or law in ancient or modern times. In order to achieve this aim, Islam ordains the following nine rulings.

     

            1-The most important ruling concerns the means of acquiring wealth or any kind of profit. Islam prohibits acquiring wealth through blackmail, fraud, or by monopolizing the necessities of life. It also prohibits exploiting the needs of the people or profiting from one's status of authority or Power, which usually result in an illegal increase of wealth. This leads to a great difference in the wealth of the various classes of the community, and by prohibiting such measures an economic balance can be achieved.

      
            Islam also prohibits usury in very definite terms and describes it as a great sin, threatening the usurers with a severe punishment from God Almighty. Islam accordingly prohibits all wealth that is the consequence of usury. The following Quranic verses demonstrate this ruling "Those who devour usury will not stand except as stands one whom the Evil One by his touch hath driven to madness. That is because they say "Trade is like usury", but God hath permitted trade and forbidden usury. Those who after receiving direction from their Lord, desist shall be pardoned for the past their case is for God (to judge) ; but those who repeat (the offence) are Companions of the Fire they will abide therein (for ever). God will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity for He loveth not creatures ungrateful and wicked. Those who believe and do deeds of righteousnes, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. O ye who believe ! Fear God and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers. If ye do it not, take notice of war from God and His Apostle : but if ye turn back, ye shall have your capital sums: deal not injustly, and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly. If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it, by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew"[1].

     

            Islam prohibits all forms of usury, the most predominant of which was making loans of money to those in dire need for a certain period of time at a profit previously agreed upon. If the person in debt was unable to pay back the loan with its profit at the appointed date, the period of the loan would be extended with an increase in the profit to be paid.

    Islam also prohibits all transactions based upon fraud, bribery or unjustly consuming people's wealth. This is expressed in the following Quranic verse : "And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it as bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) people's property.[2]

     

            The Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, is related to have said : "Whoever cheats my nation is not one of us".

     

            He also said that any transaction agreed upon by both parties concerned is blessed by God, but if they withold the truth or cheat in the transaction, all blessing shall be erased.[3]

     

            The Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, said : "Nothing that has originated from ill-gotten gain will ever flourish and the Fire of Hell will be its home". He also said that if a person donated ill-gotten wealth in charity, it would not be accepted by God and if he spent ill-gotten wealth, it would never be blessed and if he left it after he died, it would be fuel to burn him in the Fire of Hell.[4]

     

            The Faith of Islam prohibits monopolizing any goods necessary for people's livelihood, with the intention of controlling the price. This is expressed in the following Saying of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him : "Whoever monopolizes people's food provisions for forty days will have angered God and disobeyed Him".[5]

     

            This prohibition applies to the monopoly of any commodity or goods in industry or trade, with the intention of controlling the market and taking advantage of the consumers' needs. This is in keeping with the Islamic principle that governs all forms of transactions and is expressed in the following Saying of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, which states that no one should subject others to harm.

     

            The Faith of Islam absolutely prohibits the exploitation of authority and power to acquire wealth, and rules that wealth acquired in this manner be confiscated and deposited in the treasury of the state for the welfare of the needy and indigent Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, himself introduced this ruling. One day Ibn Al Latbiya of the Azd tribe, gave the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, a share of what had been presented to him in the form of gifts and retained a share for himself. The Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, became furious and called upon the people to listen to what he had to say and said : "Thanks be to God and praise be to God. I have appointed men as governors to represent me in matters for which God has made me responsible and now one of you comes to me and offers me gifts and retains gifts saying that these gifts had been presented to him. If he had remained in his father's or his mother's home, would anyone have offered him a gift ? By God Almighty, if anyone takes any such gift or offering it will be wrapped around his neck on the Day of Judgement, be it a camel that growls or a cow that bellows or a sheep that bleats". Ibn Al Latbiya accordingly returned all the gifts that had been presented to him.

     

            This principle was applied on a wider scale after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him. During the reign of the Caliph `Omar ben Al Khattab, he confiscated the wealth of the governors of the Islamic states, which they had gained from trade and other transactions which were prohibited. He also confiscated the gifts and wealth presented to them as a result of their status and authority.

     

            `Omar ben Al Khattab applied this ruling to the governors of Basra and to one of the governors of Bahrein. The Caliph `Omar learnt that this governor's wealth had increased greatly during the period of his reign, so he calculated his wealth and confiscated what he believed to have been acquired as a result of his status and deposited it in the treasury of the state.

     

            This procedure demonstrates `Omar ben Al Khattab's concern for the fulfilment of justice, and this episode concerning the governor of Bahrein is evidence of the strict measures he took to prevent any form of; illicit gain. `Omar ben Al Khattab also reminded the governor of Bahrein that he had appointed him as governor when the governor had not owned a pair of sandals and that he had been informed that the governor had recently bought horses for the sum of one thousand and six hundred dinars. The governor replied that he had possessed horses which had multiplied by breeding and that many valuable gifts had been presented to him.

     

            The Caliph `Omar ben Al Khattab then told the governor of Bahrejn that he had calculated the money to which the governor was entitled for his livelihood and the sum that remained must be returned to the treasury of the state. When the governor objected the Caliph said : "By God I will punish you", and he flogged him till his back bled. The governor then said that he woulddthe confiscated sum of money as charity and `Omar ben Al Khattab replied that such a sum would only have been accepted by God Almighty if it had been his own wealth and he had donated it of his own free will. He finally reprimanded him saying "Have you come from the farthest regions of Bahrein to collect people's wealth for yourself and not in the Cause of God or for the welfare of the Muslims ?"

     

            `Omar ben Al Khattab behaved in a similar manner with one of the governors of Al- Kufa when he confiscated half his wealth which he estimated had been acquired as a result of his status as governor. The Caliph `Omar ben Al Khattab also sent a message to a governor of Egypt in which he wrote that he had been informed that the governor's possessions which included a great number of slaves, livestock and valuable crockery had increased greatly: The governor replied that the land was fertile and productive and that it produced more than was needed for the expenses of their livelihood. `Omar ben Al Khattab sent him another message in which he declared that he was well informed concerning the errors of the governors and that the governor's message had proven his guilt and that he the Caliph considered him guilty. He informed him that he had dispatched Muhammad ben Muslima to confiscate half his wealth and he ordered him to obey Ibn Muslima and to submit to his commands since the whole matter was clear and decisive. The governor obeyed the Caliph's command and submitted half his wealth to Muhammad ben Muslima to be confiscated.

     

    1. The Faith of Islam has established a just system of inheritance which distributes wealth between people fairly and in a just manner. It also prevents the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a minority of people by dividing the estate of the deceased person into lesser portions for a large number of his relatives, thus widening the circle of people who benefit from the estate. This just system ensures the distribution of the wealth after a few generations to a large number of people in the form of small ownerships, thereby narrowing the gap between the classes of society and fulfilling the principle of socialism in its most sublime form. In order to ensure the establishment of these sublime principles, the Faith of Islam prohibits any procedure that violates the laws of inheritance. This is manifested in the following Quranic verses :"Those are the limits set by God: those who obey God and His Apostle will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath, to abide therein (for ever) and that will be the supreme achievement. But those who disobey God and His Apostle and transgress His limits will be admitted to a Fire, to abide therein : and they shall have a humiliating punishment[6]"

            Accordingly most Muslim jurists prohibit family endowments, by which the owner of property or wealth entails the profit of his property, after his death, upon a certain group of his relatives or any other person he names, according to the terms and amounts that he desires. This procedure prevents the wealth from being circulated in the normal manner and violates the laws of inheritance.

     

            In 1952, the law 180 in Egypt annulled all forms of family endowments and decreed that any such endowments in the future would be considered illegal.[7]The Faith of Islam also prohibits a person from bequeathing in his will anything to any of his heirs which would grant him more than his legitimate due, according to the laws of Islamic inheritance. The Prophet Muhammad,- blessings and peace be upon him - declared that an heir should not be included in the will. The laws of inheritance in Islam also prohibit a person from bequeathing more than a third of his estate to people who are not his heirs. This law was ordained to protect the legitimate heirs from the whims of their legators.

     

            There can be no comparison between Islam's just and fair system of inheritance and the current system of inheritance in the countries of the Western world by which a person bequeathes all or most of his estate to his eldest son, or even bequeathes all his estate to whomever he wills. These laws resulted in the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a minority of people which generated hatred and envy in the hearts of the deprived members of society and led them to feel a grudge against the society that permitted these laws. Consequently extremist subversive ideologies appeared and led to an upheaval in the economy of the society. This paved the way for the rebellions and revolutions that arose in many countries.

     

    1. The Faith of Islam imposes various forms of taxes and alms upon people's wealth and economic activities in order to achieve justice for all classes of the community. Such laws also meet the needs of the indigent and destitute, in addition to preventing the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a minority of the community.

     

            Taxes were imposed upon certain commercial activities the most important of which are:

    (a) Land Taxes:

     

            This tax is either pecuniary or both pecuniary and in specie and was imposed annually upon the land, the owners of which were at peace with the Muslims before war was waged, or upon the land left to them by the Muslims after they had defeated them in warfare.

    The land tax that the Caliph `Omar ben A' Khattab imposed on the greater part of Iraq was five dirhams annually for every 3600 square cubits of clover or vegetables, and ten dirhams annually for every 3600 square cubits of vinegroves and palm trees. He also imposed one dirham and one measure of wheat or barley for every 3600 square cubits of land that was irrigated and produced wheat, barley or similar grain.

     

            The land tax continued to be imposed upon the aforementioned land even after the land owners embraced Islam and this land is termed Taxed Land. The taxes were paid to the treasury of the state for the general welfare of the Muslim community. This included improving the living conditions of the Muslims, paying the salaries of government officials, the governors, the  judges the jurists and the soldiers who protected the state, in addition to building mosques, bridges and paving the paths in the land.

     

    (b) The Extraction of Metal Ores from the Land:

     

            If the land was the property of a person, he would be entitled to whatever was dug out of the land be it solid or liquid, even if someone else had extracted it, since it was buried in his property, to which he had a legal right.

     

            If the land did not belong to any person, whatever was extracted or dug out of the land belonged to the person who had extracted it, if it was a liquid like crude oil, or a solid that could not be melted like rubies, emeralds, crystal, amber, topaz or arsenic. If it was a solid that could be melted like gold or silver or a combination of a solid and a liquid like mercury, the person who extracted it was entitled to four fifths of it and was obliged to submit one fifth of it to the treasury of the state which spent it upon poor people, orphans and wayfarers.

            These laws were established at a time when these metals were not of paramount importance in the lives of the people. The Faith of Islam gave the ruler of the state the right to confiscate any source of wealth for the welfare of the Muslim community, in addition to having the right to estimate the tax upon it, according to the importance of the source, and according to the economical circumstances of the state.

    (c) Hunting and Fishing:

      
            The hunter who hunted on the land was entitled to the animals and birds that he killed. Those who fished in seas and rivers were also entitled to the fish, pearls, sponges, mother of pearl and everything else they caught in their nets. Islam did not impose any tax upon what was hunted on the land or what was caught from the seas or rivers.

      
            However, if the ruler of the state considered that the welfare of the state necessitated imposing taxes on hunting and fishing in order to replenish the treasury of the state, he was legitimately entitled to do so. If such a situation arose, most jurists declared that the hunter and the fisherman were entitled to four fifths of what they had hunted or caught while the remaining fifth should be paid to the treasury of the state to be spent according to the needs of the indigent and needy. This principle was applied when one of the governors of the Islamic states informed the Caliph `Omar ben Al Khattab that a pearl had been extracted from the sea of the state and `Omar ben Al Khattab commanded that a fifth of its value be deposited in the treasury of the state. He also ordered that one fifth of the value of any ambergris be deposited in the treasury of the state.[8]

      
    (d) Custom Taxes and Taxes on Merchants:

      
            These were imposed upon merchants passing certain surveillance posts on their journeys and merchant ships passing by certain Islamic ports. 
     

            These taxes were estimated at one tenth of the value of the goods. The official responsible for collecting these taxes was accordingly called Al `Ashaar, - meaning he who takes one tenth. These taxes were paid to the treasury of the state for the welfare of the Muslim community in common with the other taxes.

      
    (e) Other taxes:

      
            These taxes were imposed on the mints where coins were minted and on shops. The taxes were paid to the treasury to be spent on the welfare of the citizens of the Islamic states.

      
    (f) The Faith of Islam grants:

      
            The Faith of Islam grants the ruler of the state the right to impose permanent taxes in certain fields if the welfare of the Muslims necessitates it, in addition to the afore- mentioned taxes. If the coffers of the treasury are empty or the state is unable to meet with the necessary requirements of the state such as paying the salaries of the soldiers in the army or the salaries of the government officials, Islam grants the ruler of the state the right to impose temporary taxes upon the wealthy citizens and upon certain economic activities and dealings, for the welfare of the state. These taxes are cancelled when the need for them no longer exists.

      
            In addition to the various forms of taxes, Islam imposes the system of almsgiving upon four sources of wealth. The first source includes crops and fruit whereas the second source is cattle. The third source includes gold and silver and the fourth source is trade and commerce. The alms due on crops and fruit are one tenth of the produce of the land if it is irrigated by water flowing from a river or a spring or by rain. If the land is irrigated by buckets, water wheels or irrigation ditches, the alms due are half a tenth of the produce of the land, and this form of alms is imposed only on land owned by Muslims.

      
            Some jurists decree that both land tax and alms on crop and fruit are due on the Muslims who own the above mentioned land, whereas other jurists exempt the lands taxed with land tax from fruit and crop alms. In this case, in their opinion, the owner of the land only pays the land tax.

      
            The lands upon which alms on crops and fruit are due are called "Ushriya Lands", namely lands that submit one tenth or half a tenth of their produce as alms. [9]Alms are due on cattle if the owner of the cattle is a Muslim and if his cattle are a specified number and graze upon common pasture most of the year. The owner must also possess the cattle for a whole lunar year. The alms due on the cattle depend upon the number and species of the cattle.

     

            If a person owns less than five camels, alms are not imposed on him. If he owns five to nine camels that graze upon common pasture for a lunar year, the alms due are one ewe. If he owns ten to fourteen camels, the alms due are two ewes, and if he owns fifteen to nineteen camels, the alms due are three ewes. However, if he owns twenty to twenty four camels, the alms due are four ewes. If he owns twenty five camels, the alms due are a she-camel that is more than a year old in addition to five ewes. The alms accordingly increase with the increase of the number of camels owned, and alms due on cows, sheep and horses are similar to the alms due on camels and this is explained in detail in the references of Islamic jurisprudence.

     

            The alms due on gold and silver are a quarter of a tenth of their value if they remain in a person's possession for a whole lunar year. The weight of the silver must be at least two hundred drachmas and the weight of the gold must not be less than twenty weights of what is explained in detail in the references of Islamic jurisprudence. The alms on trade and commence are a quarter of a tenth of what a person possesses for a lunar year. The value of the goods or the property must be equal to the value of the gold and silver upon which alms are due. The four classes of alms are all donated for the welfare of the members of the Muslim community as is mentioned in the following Quranic verse : "Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds) ; for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth) ; for those in bondage and in debt ; in the cause of God ; and for the wayfarer (thus is it) ordained by God, and God is full of knowledge and wisdom"[10]

     

            A poor person is he who does not own the sum of money, gold, silver, goods or property that obliges him to pay alms. A needy person is he who does not own anything.[11]Those employed to administer the funds are those people responsible for collecting the alms, and they are granted a share of the alms for fulfilling their duty as collectors of alms regardless of their wealth or poverty.

     

            There were three classes of people whose hearts had been reconciled to Islam as a result of certain circumstances. One class included people whom the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, had reconciled to Islam and their people had followed their example and embraced Islam. The second class of people were those who had embraced Islam but whose faith was weak and the alms helped to strengthen their faith. The third class of people were given alms in order to ward off their evil. These three classes were granted alms during the first few years after the advent O (Islam, but after the Faith of Islam was firmly established, alms for these classes of people were cancelled.

     

            Those in bondage refers to the slaves, and a certain sum of money from the alms was used to liberate them by buying them from their owners and then granting them their liberty. Those in debt who are entitled to alms are those who do not possess the sum of money or property that imposes upon them the duty of paying alms, and cannot pay their debts.

     

            "Those in the Cause of God", refers to those who fight in the Cause of God and are separated from their regiments and those pilgrims who are separated from their families and have no money to enable them to travel. Scholars who strive to seek knowledge are also entitled to alms. Alms are also granted to the soldiers who are separated from their regiments in times of war to aid them in joining their regiments or to assist them in joining their families if there is no war.

     

            The wayfarer is a person who possesses wealth in his own land, but on leaving his homeland has no means of earning his living, so he is granted alms to meet with his necessary demands and to enable him to return to his homeland.

     

            Originally all forms of alms were paid to the treasury of the state which distributed the alms to the aforementioned categories of deserving people. Nevertheless, the land owner or the merchant or the wealthy man who owns property is permitted to donate his alms himself to the deserving cases in his community. It is preferable to donate the alms collected in a district to those entitled to alms who live in the same district unless there are no deserving cases in the district. The ruler of the state, however, is entitled to use his discretion for the welfare of his subjects in distributing the alms as he sees fit, provided that the sums of money that he distributes do not exceed the sum of the alms. Almsgiving is one of the five pillars of Islam, the other four pillars being : the belief in God and that Muhammad is the Prophet of God, performing prayers, fasting and making the pilgrimage. Almsgiving plays an important role in preserving the economic equilibrium of the nation by narrowing the gap between the classes of the nation and creating a spirit of cooperation and joint responsibility in the Muslim community.

     

            The extent of the importance of almsgiving is manifested by the fact that Abu Bakr Al Siddiq, the First Rightly Guided Caliph, fought the tribes that refused to pay alms after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, although many of them had not renounced the Faith of Islam. Abu Bakr Al Siddiq considered them all apostates and declared his famous statement : "By God if they refuse to give me a camel's shackle which they were accustomed to giving to the Prophet, I will fight them until they submit it". Abu Bakr Al Siddiq carried out his resolution in spite of the opposition of many of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him. He was finally able to convince them and was accordingly able to overcome the greatest crisis that had threatened the Faith of Islam after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him. There is a difference between taxes and alms, since alms are not only imposed upon the profit of the capital or its products but are also due on property. If the property does not make any profit, its value will be consumed by the alms after forty years, since the alms due on property are one fortieth of its value. The same applies to gold, silver and chattels.

            (4) The Faith of Islam commands wealthy people to donate charity to the poor and needy on certain days and on specific occasions, the most important of which are:

     

    1. a) Alms on the first day of the Feast of the Lesser Bairam. Every Muslim able to do so is obliged to donate these alms to the poor and needy on the first day of the Feast of the Lesser Bairam on behalf of himself and all the members of his family. The alms were originally four pounds (lbs) of wheat or eight pounds of barley, dates, or raisins or their value. This form of alms is obligatory and not merely a commendable or righteous deed.[12]

            In Egypt, if every head of a family fulfilled this obligatory religious duty on the first day of the Feast of the Lesser Bairam, all poor and indigent people would be supplied with their needs.

     

            (b) The animals that are slaughtered and sacrificed on the first day of the Feast of the Greater Bairam and the animals slaughtered and sacrified by the pilgrims during their pilgrimage are another example of charity. In both cases, the families of the person who performs this religious duty are permitted to partake of the meat of the sacrificed animal, but most of it is distributed as charity to the poor and needy. This is referred to in the following Quranic verses : ".... and when you are in peaceful conditions (again), if any one wishes to continue the`Umra on to the hajj, he must make an offering, such as he can afford,.. "[13] Also: "And proclaim the pilgrimage among men : they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant highways ; that they may witness the benefits (provided) for them, and celebrate the name of God, through the Days appointed, over the cattle which He has provided for them (for sacrifice) : then eat ye thereof and feed the distressed ones in want."[14]

     

            (5) The Faith of Islam has ordained charity to the poor and needy as expiation and atonement for many sins, such as breaking one's oath as is clear from the following Quranic verse : "God will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths : for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families ; or clothe them ; or givea slave his freedom."[15]

     

            This form of expiation applies to most cases of breaking the fast of Ramadan; and he who breaks the fast of Ramadan without any legitimate reason must fast the days that he had not fasted in addition, to the ordained expiation. Old people and people who have chronic ailments whose physical condition prevents them from being able to fast are only obliged to feed an indigent person two meals for every day they cannot fast. Both the expiation and the sacrifice are given to the poor and needy and are estimated in terms of grain or the value of grain.[16]Expiation is also ordained for a man's oath that his wife be to him as if she were his mother - namely that there was to be no marital intercourse between them. This was a Pre-Islamic custom which Islam strove to eliminate, and imposed upon the husband who wanted to resume marital relations with his wife as one of the forms of expiation that are mentioned in the following Quranic verses : "But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered, (it is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other this are ye admonished to perform and God is well acquainted with (all) that ye do. And if any has not (the wherewithal), he should fast for two months consecutively before they touch each other. But if any is unable to do so, he should feed sixty indigent ones ."[17]The Faith of Islam also imposes expiation for certain circumstances during the pilgrimage as is expressed in the following Quranic verse "And complete the Hajj or `Umra in the service of God. But if ye are prevented (from completing it), send an offering for a sacrifice, such as ye may find, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. And if any of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp, (necessitating shaving), (he should) in compensation either fast, or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice ; and when you are in peaceful conditions (again), if any one wishes to continue the `Umra on to the Hajj, he must make an offering, such as he can afford, "  [18]

     

            (6) The Faith of Islam ordains that wealthy people support their poor and needy relations and those relatives who are unable to earn their living. This system is explained in detail in the books of Islamic jurisprudence. Islam also commands the people in every district to cooperate with each other and to assist one another. It is therefore the solemn duty of wealthy people to aid and assist the poor and to feed those people who are unable to earn their daily bread.

     

            Some jurists declared that, the state was responsible for the death of any citizen who had died of starvation. In such a circum, the man's relatives are all obliged to pay blood money to his immediate family, since the Faith of Islam considers that his wealthy relatives who did not assist him in his ordeal were responsible for his death.

     

            There are many verses in the Qur'an which ordain kindness and generosity to one's neighbours, whether they be living near to one's home or at a distance. The following Quranic verse is an example of this principle "Serve God and join not any partners with Him ; and do good - to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers,...''[19] The Prophet Muhammad - blessings and peace be upon him - enjoined kind and generous treatment to one's neighbours in more than one of his Sayings. He said : "He is not one of us who goes to sleep at the end of the day, after having had enough to eat, while his neighbour is hungry". It has been related that a man visited Abdullah ben Abbas while a sheep was being slaughtered, and Ibn Abbas said to his servant who had slaughtered the sheep : "Do not forget to give our Jewish neighbour a share of the meat". He uttered this sentence `three times and the man who had witnessed this incident asked him why he had repeated his request so many times and Ibn Abbas told him that the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, always recommended them to treat their neighbours generously so often that he believed that he would give them the right to inheritance.

     

            (7) The Faith of Islam ordains that the treasury of the state support any person who cannot earn his living. This includes old men and women who have no relatives to support them. In this respect Islam does not differentiate between Muslim and non-Muslim subjects. The Caliph `Omar ben Al Khattab once saw an old non-Muslim man begging in the streets, so he granted him immediate financial support from the treasury of the state and uttered his famous statement : "We will not have treated you justly if you pay your taxes to the state during your youth and the state leaves you to beg in your old age".

     

            (8) The Faith of Islam grants the ruler of the state the right to distribute the state's wealth in a manner that achieves an economic balance between the classes of the community, even if this necessitates granting wealth to a certain class or group of people. The Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, introduced and established this just tradition after divine inspiration had been revealed to him. The Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, granted all the wealth of the spoils of the battle against the tribe of Al Nadeer to the Muhajirin namely those who had emigrated from Mecca to Al Medina, in addition to two poor men of the Ansaar who were the original inhabitants of Al Medina, in order to narrow the gap between the wealth of the Ansaar and that of the Muhajirin. By so doing, there existed a balance between the wealth of both the Ansaar and the Muhajirin who made up the Islamic community. This incident is referred to in the following Quranic verses : "What God has bestowed on His Apostle (and taken away) from the people of the townships, - belongs to God - to His Apostle and to kindred and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer ; in order that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you. So take what the Apostle assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear God ; for God is strict in Punishment. (Some part is due) to the indigent Muhajirs, those who were expelled from their homes and Their property, while seeking Grace from God and (His) Good Pleasure, and aiding God and His Apostle : Such are indeed the sincere ones ." [20]Al Ansaar are " the wealthy among you", referred to in the Quranic verse.

     

            (9) In addition to the aforementioned rulings, Islam takes every opportunity to urge wealthy people to donate charity to the poor and needy, in order to earn the Grace of God and His Reward. The Faith of Islam also prohibits the hoarding of wealth and avoiding donating it in the Cause of God. Such miserly conduct is considered a great sin and these misers are threatened with a severe punishment on the Day of Judgement. Countless Quranic verses declare this ruling in almost every chapter of the Holy Quran. The following Quranic verses are examples of the aforementioned ruling : "It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West ; but it is righteousness - to believe in God and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers ; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves ; "[21] Also : "They ask thee what they should spend (in charity). Say Whatever ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever ye do that is good, - God knoweth it well."[22]

     

    Also "O ye who believe Spend out of (the bounties) We have provided for you, before the Day comes when no bargaining (will avail), nor friendship nor intercession. Those who reject Faith - they are the wrong doers".[23] "The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of God is that of a grain of corn it groweth seven ears, and each ear hath a hundred grains. God giveth manifold increase to whom He pleaseth and God careth for all and He knoweth all things. Those who spend their substance in the Cause of God, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury,- for them their reward is with their Lord on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve"[24]

     

            "And the likeness of those who spend their substance, seeking to please God and to strengthen their souls, is a garden high and fertile heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest, and if it receives not heavy rain, light moisture sufficeth it. God seeth well whatever ye do."[25]

     

            "O ye who believe ! Give of the good things which ye have (honourably) earned, and of the fruits of the earth which We have produced for you, and do not even aim at getting anything which is bad, in order that out of it ye may give away something, when ye yourself would not receive it except with closed eyes. And know that God is Free of all wants, and Worthy of all praise[26]

     

            "And whatever ye spend in charity or devotion, be sure God knows it all. But the wrong-doers have no helpers. If ye disclose (facts of) charity, even so it is well, but if ye conceal them, and make them reach those (really) in need, that is best for you. It will remove from you some of your (stains of) evil. And God is well - acquainted with what ye do".[27]

     

            "Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve[28]

      
            "By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love ; and whatever ye give, of a truth God knoweth it well".[29]

      
            "Serve God and join not any partners with Him And do good - to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the Companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess for God loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious; - (nor) those who are niggardly or enjoin niggardliness on others, or hide the bounties which God hath bestowed on them for We have prepared, far those who resist Faith, a Punishment that steeps them in contempt "[30]

     

            "And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the Way of God : announce unto them a most grievous penalty - on the Day whenheat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs. - "This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves : taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried "[31]

     

            God Almighty ordains that this form of charity is the religious legitimate right of the poor and needy as is expressed in the following Quranic verses: 
     

            "And those in whose wealth is a recognized right for the (needy) who asks and him who is prevented (for some reason from asking) "[32]

     

            "So give what is due to kindred, the needy, and the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek the Countenance, of God, and it is they who shall prosper"[33]

     

            There are numerous Quranic verses which demonstrate that Islam considers that it is the religious duty of the person who possesses wealth, bestowed upon him by God Almighty, to spend it in His Cause. This is expressed in the following Quranic verse : "Believe in God and His Apostle, and spend (in charity) out of the substance whereof He hath made you heirs. For, those of you who believe and spend (in charity), - for them is a great Reward".[34]

     

            (10) The Faith of Islam urges wealthy people to donate the wealth tht exceeds their needs in the Cause of God Almighty. It has been related that Abu Dhar Al Ghaffary said that on one occasion, the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, walked with him in the direction of Mount Uhud and told him that he would not wish to possess as much gold as the size of Mount Uhud and spend it in the Cause of God then die leaving two carats of gold that had not been spent in the Cause of God, Abu Dhar asked him if he had meant two tons of gold and the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, replied that he had meant two carats of gold, which had not been spent in the Cause of God.[35]

     

            This incident urged Abu Dhar to encourage wealthy people during the reign of the Caliph `Othman ben `Affan to donate the wealth that exceeded their needs in the Cause of Islam and for the welfare of the poor and indigent members of the community. He also advised them not to squander their wealth or to spend it extravagantly on luxuries and warned them againt hoarding it and never lost an opportunity of reminding them of the needs of the poor and indigent.

      
            Abu Dhar's appeal to the wealthy to donate their wealth in charity exceeded the rulings ordained by Islam, namely paying one's taxes and alms. However, the form of charity advocated by Abu Dhar raises the donor to a sublime status in the Grace of God.

     

            Certain scholars misunderstood Abu Dhar's approach to donating charity as being an inclination towards communism. However, Islam and communism are the exact opposites of each other, since Islam ordains that wealthy people pay alms and encourages them to donate charity for the welfare of the poor and needy. These rulings establish and confirm individual ownership of property and wealth, in addition to preventing any conflict between the wealthy and the poor indigent members of the community. Communism, on the other hand, prohibits all forms of individual ownership and calls for the common ownership of all property, which paves the way for conflict between the classes. Thus Abu Dhar's advocation for charity cannot in any way be compared to communism.

      
            The aforementioned examples are proof that the Faith of Islam has administered justice between people in matters of finance, trade and commerce in a manner unprecedented by any other faith in the past or in the present era.

     

            The Islamic community that adheres to the teachings of Islam and applies its rulings and laws on the economic level is an ideal community that encourages people to work and grants every person the reward his efforts deserve. It also encourages ambition and distinction in every branch of work and affords equal opportunities to everyone to make a profit in the various branches of trade and commerce. One of the most important aims of this community is to stabilize the economic balance by striving to narrow the gap between the classes.

     

            The economic relationship between the members of such a community is thus established upon a system of cooperation, sympathy and justice, thereby affording every individual a dignified and honourable life, which is the aim of Islam : "... that is the standard Religion but most among mankind understand not".[36]

     

     

    [1] Surah II, verses 275 - 280.

    [2] Surah II, verse 188.

    [3] Related by Bukhari and Muslim.

    [4] See Masaabeeh Al Sunna.

    [5] Related by Imam Ahmed ben Hanbal.

    [6] Surah III. verses 13, 14. see the details on the Islamic laws of inheritance in the references on jurisprudence and on legal inheritance, the most important of which are Matn Al Rahbiya and its elucidation on the laws of inheritance according to the Shafiy doctrine and Matn Al Sirajiya and its elucidation on the laws of inheritance according to the Abu Hanifa doctrine.

    [7] Two weeks prior to this law, Al Ahram newspaper published a lengthy article written by Dr. Ah Abdel wahid Wafy entitled : "The Family Endowment is a corrupt system which must be cancelled". The author declared that this system was against the principles of Islam and the laws of a sound economy. See. Al Ahram newspaper 28/8/52. The above law was issued on 14/9/52. Also see the author's article entitled "Islam's attitude towards Endowments" in the Social Reform Magazine. March 1944.

    [8] Al Kassabany, Badai' Al Nafa'is. vol.2. p.68.

    [9] See details of opinions of jurists and Abu Hanifa's opinion.

    [10] Surah IX, verse 60.

    [11] These definitions of the poor and needy are based upon the opinion of Abu Ranifa.

    [12] These definitions of the poor and needy are based upon the opinion of Abu Ranifa.

    [13] Surah II, verse 196.

    [14] Sura IX, verses 27, 28.

    [15] Surah V, verse 89.

    [16] Abu Hanifa decrees that the person should offer four pounds (lbs) of wheat or eight pounds (lbs) of barley or dates or the value in money for every day the fast was broken.

    [17] Surah LVIII, verses 3-4.

    [18] Surah II, verses 196.

    [19] Surah IV. verse 36.

    [20] Surah LIX, verses 7- 8.

    [21] Surah II, verse 177.

    [22] Surah II, verse 215.

    [23] Surah II, verse 254.

    [24] Surah II, verses, 261-262.

    [25] Surah II, verse 265.

    [26] Surah II, verse 267.

    [27] Surah II, verses 270-271.

    [28] Surah II, verse 274.

    [29] Surah lll verse 92.

    [30] Surah IV, verses 36-37.

    [31] Surah IX, verses 34-35.

    [32] Surah LXX, verses 24-25.

    [33] Surah XXX, verse 38.

    [34] Surah LVII, verse 7.

    [35] Related by Muslim, Al Bukhari and Al Nisaa'y.

    [36] Surah XXX, verse 30.

  • Advertise with us 

    Corona Virus Pandemic
    Islambasics.com © 2020
    Website security