Some corporatist white fat guy in a suit, or neo-feminazi chick (I made that up but think of the evil psychologist, Dr. Faxx from Robocop 2) came up with new phrases like, "moderate muslim" and "secular Muslim", "civil democratic blah blah" and I see people buy right into it. 'Separation syndrome' or something, if you will.
It ought to be noted though, that Islam is a complete religion that lays out guidelines for every aspect of life, including the socio-economic-political realm. As God in the Qur'an said to His beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and to us: "This day I have completed your religion for you, fulfilled My favor upon you, and have chosen for your way of life, Islam." (5:3). Today we have a distorted picture of it all, thinking that "islamic governments" are just characterized by oppressing and punishing women and hindering technological advancement (ironically it is the civilized West that keeps bombing countries back to the stone age, but that's another story). It is widely ignored and forgotten that once upon a time, an Islamic Empire existed, once a meritocratic government that created prosperity and destroyed the gap between the rich and poor through mandatory charity (a time existed when you couldn't find a single poor person in North Africa), used taxes for public services alone(!), and led the world in advancement. This empire came to a gradual decline through outside and inner corruption (root cause: greed <--worth clicking), until the empire fell and was divided into the borders we see today, upon the close of World War I. Well, despite the misrepresentations of Islam-based governance and economics, I make it known that this is where I lie;
- Political views: Muslim
- Economic ideology: Muslim
This in turn gives me the belief that ALL of today's economic and political problems can be solved by restoring moral legitimacy in our systems.
Anyway, I really just wanted to share an excerpt about economics in Islam (you know, just in case you thought "islamists" were a bunch of commies or somethin'):
In Islam the market is to be free and permitted to respond to the natural laws of supply and demand. Thus, when the prices became high in the Prophet's time and people asked him to fix prices for them, he replied, God is the One Who fixes prices, Who withholds, Who gives lavishly, and Who provides, and I hope that when I meet Him none of you will have a claim against me for any injustice with regard to blood or property. (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Daoud, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Dari and Abu Y'ala.)
With these words the Prophet of Islam (peace be on him) declared that unnecessary interference in the freedom of individuals is injustice. If, however, any artificial forces, such as hoarding and manipulation of prices by certain merchants, interfere in the free market, public interest takes precedence over the freedom of such individuals. In such a situation price control becomes permissible to protect society from greedy opportunists, for the above hadith [prophetic tradition/narrative] does not mean that price control is prohibited regardless of the circumstances.
If price control compels people to sell their goods at a price which is not acceptable to them or denies them the reasonable profit permitted by God, it is haram [prohibited/unlawful]. If, on the other hand, price control establishes equity among people, for example, by forcing sellers to accept a price equal to that commanded by other comparable commodities, it is allowed—and necessary.
The hadith cited above relates to the first type of situation. Accordingly, if merchants are selling a commodity in the customary fashion without any wrong-doing on their part and the price subsequently rises due to the scarcity of the commodity or due to an increase in population (indicating the operation of the law of supply and demand), this circumstance is from God, in which case to force them to sell the commodity at a fixed price would be unjust compulsion.
In relation to the second type of situation, should the dealers in a commodity refuse to sell it, despite the fact that people are in need of it, unless they secure a price higher than its known value, they must be compelled to sell it at a price equal to the price of an equivalent commodity. Price control here is in conformity with the standard of justice demanded by God. (Refer to Risalat al-hisbah by Ibn Taimiyyah, as well as to Al-turuq al-hikmiyyah by Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 214 ff.)
"The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi ( <- I don't agree with the entire book's/author's message on other issues, but the excerpted part will do.. although the author conveniently ignores the issue below... hm)
Central to Islamic economics is the effort to limit the illusion that money is 'power' (whereas money is merely a means for trading things of use), through prohibition of interest, hoarding, and stressing the moral obligations of human beings to avoid debts and dishonesty.
In fact, the longest verse in the Qur'an (2:282) concerns transactions and debts!
The Qur'an on interest (a few of many references)*:
And eat up not one another's property unjustly (stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully (2:188).
"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah [God], even though it be against yourselves, or your parents or [family], be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not your own lusts, lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, God is ever well acquainted with what you do." (4:135)
And this must constantly be reflected on:
"Whatever you pay as interest so that it may increase the wealth of people does NOT increase in the sight of GOD. As for the charity that you give, seeking with it God's good pleasure, that is multiplied manifold."(Qur'an 30:39)
Today I see this situation loud and clear, and I provoke you towards charity as a wise investment. I also wish to provoke the Muslim readers to scale in as "Muslim" on the so-called economic compass. Or at least, I hope this turned out to be some good food for thought! Just imagine... Imagine no possessions/ I wonder if you can/ No need for greed or hunger/ a brotherhood of man./ Imagine all the people/ sharing all the world. /You may say that I'm a dreamer... lol
Thanks, whoever made it this far!
*Another striking verse is 2:278