Letters to the Editor
Islamic Economic System
Q. I wish to know what the economic system of Islam is?
The Islamic economic system is a simple, uninvolved, and coherent one. It is simple to follow because it is natural; that is, it agrees with the innate nature of the things. Its main features are as follows:
(1) It does not allow for interest-bearing dealings, in any form, however subtle, however little, and however hidden. Thus a major strategy for sucking the wealth from the bottom to top, is blocked at the start.
(2) Secondly, it does not allow for capital to make capital, money to make money. Labor on part of the moneyed, must be a necessary component of any economic activity.
(3) Thirdly, it does not allow for virtual money to make real money. Finally,
(4) It does not allow for making speculative money; or, money out of speculations.
Its main benefits can be observed in market economies. Recently, even the while the world capitalistic economies were stumbling, the market economies of Muslim countries were doing well – in some places, actually thriving.
The present-day industrial economy, which was largely brought into being by capital provided by interest-bearing banks, has been led to the brink by the very banks that were its backbone, so that the economy is now in a vicious circle. It is hard to judge how much of it is real, and how much virtual. Therefore, it is hard to predict where it will lead to. Will it suffer a bubble-burst, and, how long will that be avoided by resorting to money-printing strategy, are open questions that no economist can answer.
On the other hand, since the industrial economy of the Muslim states (and not the market economy) blindly followed the model given by the West, they are subject to same upheavals. Further, because they blindly followed the Western model, Muslim countries have not been able to develop an Islamic model, far from generating an Islamic economic system. The limbo lasts.
In fact, for want of ethical integrity and professional expertise, even a small-scale version of Islamic economic system could not be developed by Muslims and vociferous Islamic propagandists endlessly talking about the Islamic economic system.
So, insomuch as the non-Muslims are concerned, who are the main players in global economic activities, an Islamic economic system remains no more than some loose talk or an utopian dream of the armchair economic sophomores.
Q. Is it practical to implement Islam over masses in this era? And what is the right method to achieve an Islamic state run according to Sunnah of Prophet (saws)? Please explain.
No system of government can be setup and run successfully without the willing participation of the majority of its people. We are of the opinion that the Muslim masses are not ready to play any role that the establishment of a new system would demand. Their commitment to Islam is conditional: If they can, with little work, but not too much of it, get a fair share of the amenities, gadgetries, and luxuries that the rich enjoy, and in quick time, then “yes” to the Islamic system of government. But, if that cannot be delivered, on those conditions, then, they would, with no regret or apprehension, opt for another type of government, secular, democratic, military, whatever. In crude words, they want the cake, but do not want to pay for it.
Therefore, we see the establishment of an Islamic State as a distant dream; in addition to the fact, that much that those who talk of it, understand fully, what exactly a Islamic government stands for, or, what shape in reality it will take in our times. However, since the question comes up quite often, the next issue of YmD offers, Allah willing, an article under the editorial column dealing with how an Islamic state could be attempted.
Q. I am a regular reader of YMD and I have a question. Is it permissible in Islam to marry a boy who works in stock exchange? Please do send me a reply as soon as possible. Our decision is dependent on your answer.
There is no harm in working for stock exchange so long as one does not deal in shares of establishments that sell wine.
As for the decision depending on our answer, we believe it should depend on your parents’ advice.
Q. I am an eighteen years old girl. I aspire to become a fiction writer and wanted to know if it’s the right kind of vocation for a Muslim girl. My brother informed me that it could affect my Akhirat. I needed to know how fiction stories can contribute towards sending out a wrong message, and how this profession can be used for a good cause.
The advice you received is not surprising. Today’s Muslim’s reaction to every idea that is good and constructive is to say no to it. It has sort of become automatic brain-reflection.
Contrary to the fear, fiction writing is not un-Islamic. To be sure, if the intention is to benefit the readers, it could win rewards.
People’s tendency in our contemporary world, to treat fiction as truth, and truth as fiction, opens a door for the reformers to penetrate their minds, and infuse ideas in a fictitious, subtle way, for the readers to accept them as truths of life. And novels are one of the best ways of doing it. In fact, many Urdu female writers in India used novels as the medium to pass on the culture of the times to the next generation. Naseem Hijazi wrote novels to depict past history. Abdul Hameed Sharar wrote novels highlighting and treating various social issues. Nineteenth century Urdu literature (Hindi did not exist then), is quite similar to the Victorian age literature of Europe.
Many authors of the past Muslim world used it to roll out good ideas, and change the mind-sets. The Victorian age fiction writers immensely influenced the minds of several generations that followed them. The transmission of the so-called Christian Morals owes much more to the writers of this age than to the Church itself where attendance was as fast declining as reverence and credibility.
Authors like Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka, Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, Thoreau, Bernard Shaw (with drama as the medium), Emily Bronte, Eliot, Poe, Zola and many others, identified the ills of their society and presented ideas of reformation through their fictional works.
It is the writers of junk novels, sex manias, atheists, and the morally corrupt, who came after them, who have brought havoc to the Western societies, and led them to their present-day decay. Meanwhile, the fine literature is sinking lower and lower in the ravines of the Net, read by few, and understood by fewer.
So, go ahead with your ambition. But, you should realize that nothing will be achieved fast, to bring you a name, or even to be noticed. You have to work hard for next ten years, attempting a few courses in between, say a Master’s degree in English literature, to start with. Let this not be a boil in the cauldron.
Witr in Makkah
Q. As I stay in Makkah al-Mukaramah, in the Haram, the Imam offers one Salam for Janaza prayer. Please let me know whether this alright. I recently came to know about YMD. It is a wonderful magazine.
According to all the four Madhahib (Hanafiyy, Shafe`i, Maliki, and Hanbaliyy), any Salah behind any of the four Madhahib’s Imam is valid. So, you may do as the Imam does.
TV and Terrorism
Q. I understand that my religion Islam is about ‘Peace.’ And the very first greeting the Muslim does is ‘assalamualaikum’ which again means Peace. I wonder how its followers can commit acts of terrorism. I request you to look into http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-the-men-who-fund-terrorism-across-the-globe.htm. In this is Hafiz Sayeed, about whom it says that he is a terrorist. Surprisingly, the video suggests that he is a religious and Allah-fearing person. He himself pleads that he is innocent.
We do not believe in one word of the media, whether it is in print or electronic, unless we get confirmation from several sources (but which are not copying each other). The media is in the purchase of a variety of interests, both governmental as well as private, but all out with their own agenda. Truth and falsehood are not words that exist in their dictionaries. It is money that finds mention on every page of their dictionaries.
Q. In contrast, the internet site, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C56wvEcT7fs&feature=related, concerning Hafiz Sayeed is great. It never surfaced in local channels. But when he is shown seen in public, the objective seems to be to increase the anger of the people.
Undoubtedly, the hatred of Islam and Muslims that is simmering in the hearts of many, is doing good damage to Islam and Muslims. But hatred is fire. While it provokes violence against its victims, it burns the hearts of the haters. The Qur’an has said about them (3: 119), “Die in your anger.”
Q. I suggest that your team should approach the Indian TV channels and schedule a program to clear the misconceptions about Jihad and violence. Recently, it has been revealed that the Muslims arrested for Malegaon (Samjhuta) blast, were innocent. America or irresponsible media are trying these techniques to destroy the Muslims.
Mohammed Najmuddin Siddique,
Both have their agendas. They spend billions for a policy that was laid a quarter century ago to contain Islam. It is well-designed and has been highly successful. It will not be reversed for the reason that it is uncomfortable to the Muslims. Beyond drawing consolation that while we suffer, they suffer greater damage to their hearts and minds, there is little we can do beyond meek protests.
Further, we wonder why you wish to leave all defensive actions to us. Why shouldn’t you attempt what you suggest for us?
Lover turned Blackmailer
Q. I was in relation with my boyfriend for five years…
The Devil has made it a fashion to have a boy or girl friend. Divorce has seven gates. This is the first door.
Q. And now it is one and half years I’ve stopped the relation because my parents were not happy with him.
You are lucky you did not fall in love with him. Quite a good chunk of such adventurers believe they are in love. This is the third door.
Q. I used to date him and have taken pictures together.
Dating is the second door.
Q. Now he is blackmailing me saying he will show the videos and pictures I am going to get married to.
He is in keeping with the character of the majority of those who date.
However, you can’t blame him altogether. Can one date with another, get photographs and video films made, (in postures only you know), and then, one fine day say goodbye. Hasn’t he the right to ask, ‘Why did you play games with me?’
But the above is from the point of view of those who date. As a Muslim he should be thankful for your goodbye to a sinful way of life. Turned repentant, he will win the right from Allah to be given a pious wife.
Q. My parents are worried and I feel very depressed of what I’ve done. I am always tensed up and having sleepless nights thinking of what sin I’ve done.
Dating is the sin you have committed.
Q. I want everything to be washed away from me and want to come back to pure and happy life. Will Allah forgive my sins? What should I do to overcome this grief in my mind?
If you are sorry because of the outcome (fear of exposer), then you will be sorry, and mightily so, on another Day. But if you repent, are sorry for the sins, are having sleepless nights out of fear of Allah, and, would expiate by attempting devotional acts and charitable works, Allah will wash away your sins, and will protect you against evil designs.
Q. Now my parents are looking for an alliance for me and I am happy with whatever relation they choose for me. And I know my parents will choose the best for me.
Not necessarily. Times have changed, corruption has sunk its roots deep. You may not leave the choice of the man for yourself to your parents, altogether. When they have identified a man, make your own inquiries about him. He could be no better than the blackmailer you dated. Use your friends and acquaintances to spy on him. Don’t go by the faces.
Q. But I am afraid about what will happen if my future husband comes to know about the relationship I had before. Please advise me on how I can overcome the stress.
Overcoming the stress or distress has psychological responses and resolutions, which may not worry you much, if your repentance is true and expiation is extensive (2: 257): “Allah is the Protector of the believers.”
If the lover-turned-blackmailer does attempt what he is threatening with, you can explain the whole affair to your husband, and, if your repentance is true, Allah will soften his heart.
In the meanwhile, if you can manage, record the intimidator’s threatening voice on the mobile. Next, you may inform him that you will refer the matter to the police, and get them to visit his house.
You may also inform him that in the event of his blackmailing threats coming true, you will apply to the court, with the evidence in your hand.
Q. This is concerning a question posed to you by a certain TN in the February 2011 issue of your magazine. He said that his fiancé revealed to him that she wasn’t a virgin and that a guy had violated her and ditched her. But he had asked her to trust him beforehand. You basically said that he can marry this fornicator and it would be in conciliation with the Qur’an and Sunnah. How can this be when Allah ordains the believers to marry chaste men and women [24: 32]?
It is not ordainment. It is a suggestion. Had it been mandatory to marry chaste men and women, we would have had to resort to medical tests; and even then, the male would escape detection.
Q. Will this guy ever be able to forgive her and forget the fact that she gave up her dignity to a random pervert?
That would be for him to decide and not readers of Young Muslim Digest.
Q. Doesn’t he as a chaste man deserve better? The problem isn’t that she isn’t a virgin; it is that she is a fornicator.
The answers could be, if given, as sloppy as the questions are.
Q. Shouldn’t you have condemned sexual promiscuity more strongly in this case?
We use the strictest of language to prevent an evil happen. But, when it has happened, we offer sympathy to the wrong-doing. Allah loves to forgive the penitent, why shouldn’t we too?
Such an attitude is also a demand made by the nature of sins and sinners. We are all subjected to Satanic provocations, and, were not Allah to protect us, we are quite prone to falling in them.
Q: I would like to share my comments and opinions on the article ‘The Day My Mother Dies’, by Dr. Akhtar Husain. It was written with simplicity, but the thoughts behind it were far from that. I highly commend and appreciate the work done by Dr. Husain: he backed up nearly every point with definite proof, frankly told the problem as it is in an objective manner, and gave us a better understanding of the situation many Muslim families find themselves in. I thank you for publishing it, as well as adding some profound remarks in between. They made a person think, to fully comprehend the several meanings implied. The article affected me quite deeply, as it spoke, explained and reiterated the truth only.
Parents are the seed from which the child grows. If the seed is deformed, then so will be the child. However, the external factors also affect the life cycle of this seed, the factors of friends, relatives, and their own personality. The situation gets complex.
The usual, ‘We must be better Muslims to fix every problem!’ is true, but too vague to work on for most, also it neither solves any immediate problem, nor gives better understanding. The people then were different; their priority was Islam. But now, the atmosphere is terrible. Despite good upbringing, children (and even parents) can go astray in a second. Why? Because everyone around is doing what is wrong in some way or another: fashion, gossip, money, unnecessary luxury, games, entertainment and ‘always wanting to have fun,’ etc.
If one looks back, in the Prophet’s time there were very few distractions of this type. Relatives are another problem. For a child this is difficult to understand, if something is wrong then why is uncle/aunt/cousin doing it?
I believe that more articles like what Dr. Akhtar Husain wrote are needed. Each article can focus on a different aspect of the problem.
The problem of raising children as Muslims is definitely a challenging one in the modern times. It is as difficult as taking part in Jihad. Treating each child as a project, and the home a battle-ground, has to be taken on as a life-time task. It will require self-effacement, and all those sacrifices that Jihad requires. But, isn’t that exactly the life-style of a Muslim? Isn’t that the way to Paradise?
Zakah on Za`fran
Q. As we grow saffron in our fields here in Pampore Kashmir, please mention what is the nisab (zakat) on saffron?
The Zakah on Za`fran (saffron) is traditionally mentioned as over five munns. However, you are advised to refer to Deoband about the exact amount over the size of your plot, and, essentially, on the kind of land, whether Kharaji or `Ushri; for which you will have to look into the land ownership and previous deeds of sale and purchase.