Sorry State of Wealth Distribution in the Muslim World

The aspect of distribution of wealth must be important in Quran since on the very first page of the main text, chapter two verse three (2-3) there is a condition laid out for momin- Believers to follow, given as 

ينفِقون— “and (the believers) spend out of what We have provided for them”. This is also reaffirmed in verse 4-39 as a requirement. The word yunfiqoon and its derivatives appear in the book over seventy times, give or take one or two.

Generally yunfiqoon is translated as ‘spend’; but it does NOT make sense as to why the Book should put so much emphasis on ‘spending’ one’s wealth. Common sense tells us that one who has the means to do so will, and does spend it on oneself and the loved ones, often lavishly, extravagantly, ostentatiously and sometimes wastefully. But these are also forms of ‘spending’ of one’s wealth, and yet it is frowned upon in the Book, as for example in 7-31 and many other places. The word ‘spend’ therefore needs to be looked at closely.

Briefly this is elaborated and explained in verse 36-47;-

And when they are told “spend out of the bounties which God has provided you with,” the non-believers say “ shall we then feed those whom God, if He had wanted, He would have fed them Himself ?”

The condition seems to have a much broader implications than just ‘spend’. Also, so as not to dwell on the semantics—the “feeding” is not to be restricted to mean just quenching the fire in the bellies of the poor, by giving food and drink as a religious ritual.

In the general Muslim society and its religious rituals, these small acts of mercy are termed as ‘charity’. Yet the needy have a ‘Right (haqqahu)’ in the wealth of the wealthy 30-38, 70-24 as the Book says. This ‘Right’ therefore can only be established and guaranteed by the State — a central body to spread, distribute and circulate the wealth equitably amongst its citizens, as its social obligation and duty.

Salaat and Zakat are the two faces of the one coin in the Book, yet in 2-3 Zakaat is replaced with Nafq as a basis of the principle of distribution of wealth. Otherwise the combination of Salaat and Zakat remains, without mentioning the quantum figure for the later. One must conclude then that it must be in order to give the flexibility for the State to implement its fiscal policy as required. But our churches have taken upon themselves, to fix it at 2.5%, as divinely ordained! The good Book has alerted us of such falsehood in 2-79 etc saying –they write the books with their own hands and then say “haazaa min indillah”—this is from God”

Individual’s acts of charity, is very much encouraged in the Book; in a society where the State has abrogated its responsibility or is unable to look after its people, but with the condition that ‘the right hand should not know what the left hand is doing’; but more so it is emphasised that to ensure the ‘dignity ‘ of every human being 17-70, it is the collective responsibility of mankind – the agency being the States– to which, God who is the master of the universe 43-85, has in the broadest sense entrusted with all its resources to it 45-13; and therefore, the responsibility of fulfillment of national duties to manage and look after His creation.

In Muslim society ‘charity’ –giving to the needy and the receiver being in need of charity is compounding the felony as it is ‘demeaning’ to the receiver of their “human dignity” and elevates the giver –the so called ‘generous person’– to a higher strata—creating a class of  wealthy religious élites, which is not acceptable to Quran.

It is argued that if charity is a religious-must, then it should be necessary for the society to always maintain a deprived class of people in the community so that the wealthy can earn religious merit by their acts of mercy and the poor to remain poor to perform a holy duty set upon them. Some religions do operate on this principle. In the words of the poet Iqbal:-

Pدستِ  دولت  ٓافريں کو مزد  يوں ملتی رہی raise is always heaped on the rich-giving-palms

ہِلِِ ثروت جيسے ديتے ہيں غريبوں کو زکاتAs the opulent people give Zakat to the poor!

(Digressing a bit; a poster was put out by Amnesty International, showing a South American Bishop or Cardinal—proponent of ‘Liberation Theology’ saying that “when I fed the poor, they said I was a saint, but when I asked them why are they poor, they said I was ‘a communist’ ”! Muslim rulers should ponder this statement).

In the social emocratic countries, an unemployed person, for what ever genuine reason, if is incapacitated to work, receives an income from the State to maintain a minimum quality of life, and the receiver feels no stigma of having received a charity, as there is not a known individual who contributed towards it. The irony is that the Muslim religious brigades there brand these countries as Kafir, yet enjoying the handouts quite happily!

Whereas no Muslim State, including those officially called ‘Islamic State’, theocracies and some very wealthy ones at that, pass the test of Quranic system! Exception may be cited of Ghadafi’s regime where one is given to understand that every Libyan was provided with all the social benefits as in the West.

Is that not at least one of the many reasons why people from third world generally and many Muslim countries, some immensely rich in resources and religious too, flock to them and register themselves at the social service office on arrival—some times even the rich ones do too? Admittedly it is true of all third-world countries and all types of people, but that is no excuse for those calling themselves momin as they would want to be classified as believers.

Can the Quranic system of distribution and circulation of wealth be summarised in a nut shell out of so many verses on nafaq in the Book? It seems the following are the main ones:-

Fulfil the needs of the deserving needy, for It is their right, so that the humanity as whole develops and progresses with dignity.

Hording of wealth negates progress and development. Conversely circulating excess to need wealth judiciously and freely is essential to the development and progress of self and humanity as a whole.

The State is obliged to undertake the task of providing for the essentials of life and the individual is obliged to contribute towards it by payments of State Tax.

In a State governed on Quranic priciples—an Islamic State– there should never be any deprived class of people; to provide for the ‘religious’ rites of the rich to perform ‘holy’ rituals on the poor

In 1972/ 3(?) during a World Bank conference  in Nairobi, a Pakistani economist gave a private lecture where he said that just one Middle Eastern oil rich State could provide for the entire Muslim world’s budget per year! That was then and the position today is even better in terms of their immense oil wealth. One must assume that he was an expert.

So where is this Muslim world’s and Universal humankind’s wealth gone or is disappearing? Could the answer lie in the trillion dollars arms deals in the Muslim world? Ironically the deals are made with the very warmongers who have instigated the buyers to fight among themselves for decades, and often the buyers hire the same to put the noose round their necks, so to speak?

The natural resources of Muslim countries are considered as the private property and the country itself as their fiefdom of those who are in Power, which is often inherited or even usurped.

Obscene and extravagant display of wealth, on one hand and the abject poverty, illiteracy and backwardness of Muslim people on the whole, should make them hang their heads in shame if they are momin!

Yes, it must be admitted that some of these rich states and super rich people donate here and there  for the construction of Mosques, minarets and MADrasas too and occasionally a school or two, but with strings attached, such as for self promotion and propagation of their particular religious creed.

The world needs a new age financial system.

It has tried ‘greed is good’ philosophy of and failed number of times before too- ala a few GFCs.

It has tried central planning and the idealism of ‘one for all and all for one’ and failed. (China is straddling both sides of the fence today experimenting with ‘one country two systems’).

Absolute monarchy, oligarchy and theocracy where it exists have proved to be the bane if not the ruin of nations in financial terms.

Therefore a lay person should be allowed to ask; — Why not try the Quranic system; a universal system for mankind where greed is frowned upon, distribution and circulation of wealth is encouraged, feudal system and perpetual land ownership is forbidden and personal morality and good character is the basis of ‘modus operandi’ of governance. The bonus of it all is that it has nothing to do with any Religion, Church dogma and its professional piety-clad-elite class to administer it.

It is dangerous for a lay person, to tread in the mine field of social science.

Although it is considered as disciplines of science by academia and professionals yet, looking at the state of the world, it can not, by any stretch of imagination be accepted as scientific. The very poor standards of famous ‘ratting agencies’ and experts, for example giving triple ‘A’ rating for financial management for decades past to a bankrupt nation, which today owes the world fourteen and half trillion dollars, is a glaring example of the fallacy of it being science.!

This being a dry subject, a little light hearted dig at our situation may not go astray. Most of us have come across the comic list of 21 economic models of the world for example, Socialism is given as:- You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbour.

However the list does not give the Middle Eastern (Arab) and Islamic (Quranic) models of distribution of wealth. Here is the Arab model:

You have two Camels

You hire an US army vet to artificially inseminate them.

The vet tells you they are both males.

You thank them for their uncanny ‘intelligence’.

In gratitude you buy their two ‘hummers’ for 30 billion dollars!

Then pay them some more and hire one more army vet to drive them around.

The Islamic model may be given as:

You have two cows.

You give one to your neighbour in exchange for his Bull.

Nature takes its course and both neighbours prosper.

21 Economic Models Explained With Cows

SOCIALISM

You have 2 cows.

You give one to your neighbour.

COMMUNISM

You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM

You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM

You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM (CY)

You have 2 cows.

The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away…

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM

You have two cows.

You sell one and buy a bull.

Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.

You sell them and retire on the income.

SURREALISM

You have two giraffes.

The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.

You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.

Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM

You have two cows.

You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.

The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.

The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.

No balance sheet provided with the release.

The public then buys your bull.

A FRENCH CORPORATION

You have two cows.

You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION

You have two cows.

You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.

You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.

You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.

You decide to have lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.

You count them and learn you have five cows.

You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.

You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.

You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.

You charge the owners for storing them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION

You have two cows.

You have 300 people milking them.

You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.

You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.

You worship them.

A BRITISH CORPORATION

You have two cows.

Both are mad.

AN IRAQI CORPORATION

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.

You tell them that you have none.

No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country.

You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of Democracy….

AN AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.

Business seems pretty good.

You close the office and go to the pub for a few beers to celebrate.

A NEW ZEALAND CORPORATION

You have two cows.

The one on the left looks very attractive.

A GREEK CORPORATION

You have two cows.

You borrow against the cows from the Germans

You kill the cows and make souvlaki

You can’t pay the interest so the Germans lend you more money

You can’t pay the interest so the Germans lend you more money

You can’t pay the interest so the Germans lend you more money

You can’t pay the interest so the Germans lend you mor

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