War with God?

Interest is like a Termite. It destroys the economy slowly from inside. Only the outlook will look good and it will be hollow inside. The solution to this problem lies in fashioning the life of man according to the directives contained in the divine guidance than in the manmade system that has many flaws and limitations that causes mass poverty, economic imbalance, exploitation, clash of groups, artificial scarcity, starvation death, inflation and socio-economic problems, writes SYED KASIM.

 

The Islamic religion encompasses all aspects of life. Allah, the Creator of human being and everything on the earth, has given guidelines affecting many different aspects of our lives, including the economic one. There is a great deal of information available in the Qur’an and Sunnah which describes how the people of the world are to engage in economic transactions. Just as Muslims are obligated to obey the rules of Islam regarding prayer, fasting, etc., they are also commanded to obey the injunctions regarding their business transactions and worldly affairs. When one reads the Islamic texts concerning interest, one is immediately taken by how stringent the warnings are against any involvement in interest. Allah tells in the Qur’an:

“O you who have believed, fear God and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you should be believers. If you do not, take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger: But if you repent, ye shall have your capital sums: Deal not unjustly, and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly.” (Qur’an 2:278-279)

The rich rule over the poor is an age’s long fact. The borrower is the servant to the lender as the system used by the lender is an insidious system of Interest.

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The children were inconsolable. Mute with shock and fighting back tears, they huddled beside their mother as friends and neighbours prepared their father’s body for cremation on a blazing bonfire built on the cracked, barren fields near their home. They had hopes that their son’s and daughter’s would have a better life under India’s economic boom; they now face working as slave labour for a few pence a day. Landless and homeless, they will be the lowest of the low.

This is the story of hundreds of thousands of farmers who were loving husbands and caring fathers, who had been forced to take their own life. Facing the loss of his land due to debt, they drank a cupful of chemical insecticide or have hung themselves. Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years’ earnings, they were in despair. They could see no way out. ‘But they couldn’t take any more. The mental anguish was too much. They had lost everything.’

As many people are unable to pay the loan their assets are going to the rich from the poor and the gap between the rich and the poor goes on increasing.

Forty-six farmers commit suicide every day in India as they are unable to pay their debts. Farmers’ suicide constituted 14.4 % of the total 1,22,637 suicides in India in 2007, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said in its latest report the Accidental Deaths and Suicide Report 2007’. In 2006, the figures were 17,060 and since 1997 there were 1,82,936 cases of farmers’ suicide in the country. In a grim reminder of the appalling conditions of the farmers in this agriculture dominated country, farmers suicide in the country from 1997 to 2007 now totals to 1,82,936, according to a National Crime Records Bureau report 2007. It is the largest wave of suicides in history.

A whopping 16,632 cases of suicides by farmers, including 2,369 women were reported across the country in 2007. One of the most industrialized and so called developed state like Maharashtra retaining the dubious distinction of having the largest number of farmers’ suicide. In 2007 alone, more than 4000 farmers have committed suicide in the state. Since 1995, farmers’ suicide in Maharashtra has crossed the 40,000 mark. The NCRB said besides Maharashtra, six other states have recorded over 1,000 cases of farmers’ suicides each in 2007.

Maharashtra, where the Central Government pitched in with a special package, reported (4,238) suicides in 2007. Karnataka (2,135), Andhra Pradesh (1,797), Chhattisgarh (1,593), Madhya Pradesh (1,263), Kerala (1,263) and West Bengal (1,102) followed Maharashtra in the list. These states were in the top-seven list in 2006 too. Of these, Maharashtra alone accounted for over 38%. In Vidarbha region of Maharashtra more than half of those who committed suicide were between the age of 20 to 45, their most productive years.

Nearly 2.8 million of the 3.2 million cotton farmers are defaulters now. Most suicide cases relate to those farming families which have run up huge debts as they are unable to pay the loans borrowed from the banks and loan sharks. Crop failures in this situation, therefore, leave farmers with debts they are unable to pay and are then hounded by recovery agents. The reason for the farmers suicide is Interest.

Let us choose the right option and lead a happy, prosperous and peaceful life! Interest is like a Termite. It destroys the economy slowly from inside. It will look good only from the outside; inside it will be hollow.

The solution to this problem lies in fashioning the life of man according to the directives contained in the divine guidance than in the man-made system that has many flaws and limitations that causes mass poverty, economic imbalance, exploitation, clash of groups, artificial scarcity, starvation death, inflation and socio-economic problems.

If an individual wishes to use his money to make more money, then he must be willing to put his money at risk. In other words, he cannot guarantee for himself a fixed return (whose amount keeps growing over time) regardless of the result of the investment that his money is used for. If he puts his money at risk, he is deserving of some share of the profits. However, this also means that he must accept losses if losses occur. This is a system that is based on justice. It also has numerous benefits to it. The one who invests becomes concerned about the results of his investment and cannot demand his “pound of flesh” regardless of what may occur to the debtor.

If the banks would have lent the money to the farmers as partners or investors and not as lenders then the scenario would have been totally different. The suicide rate would be much lesser or nil as the farmers would not have the fear or face any pressure of being crushed by debt.

The main reason for the present economic crunch is Interest. In order to have a peaceful and a happy country and to avoid injustice, we have to abolish interest from the society. There is no responsibility on us except conveying the truth.

“Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is by its nature bound to perish.” (The Qur’an, Chapter al-Isra, 17:81)