Search This Blog

Google+ Badge

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shar’ia (Islamic) analysis of the financial crisis

Shar’ia (Islamic) analysis of the financial crisis


What comments does the eminent Shaykh Muhammad al-Munajjid have to make about the financial crisis?

Praise be to Allaah.

It is obvious to everyone that the financial crisis is shaking the entire world, East and West. It is a serious event that is giving the politicians, decision makers, prominent thinkers and economists sleepless nights. It is a huge calamity that is very complex and has many implications, which explains the great turmoil being experienced by economists and politicians, and it also explains why so much is being written about it, analyzing it from different points of view. They are in a state of great confusion, and some of them have started to blame one another for what has happened.

This crisis requires some explanation in order to highlight some important (Islamic) shar’ia aspects that have to do with it.

1. The crisis is real : It has led to the collapse of major banks and financial institutions; international stock markets have declined, trillions of dollars have evaporated, billions have disappeared from the financial markets, many countries in the world have hit rock bottom, millions have lost their wealth, be it in the form of shares, savings or investments; the investments of the American people in the stock markets have lost $4 trillion. This crisis has become like a tsunami, striking the economies of many countries (of America, Canada, England, Iceland, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Russia, Romania, Spain, Kenya, Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Philippines & many other modern countries).

2. “The roof fell down upon them” : Economy and money (consumption, gross-fashion, wastefulness, selfishness) are the main foundation of Western society, and when they were content with that and forsook the laws of Allaah, “Allaah struck at the foundation of their building, and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them, and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive” [al-Nahl 16:26].

What we are seeing today of large scale destruction is about to utterly destroy them. The economic structure that they boast about and think will protect them has become the cause of their turmoil and decline. The calamity has come to them from above and from below. They thought that their financial system was perfect but from that system has come that which they never expected. “And the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive”.

3. “Say (to them), ‘It is from yourselves (because of your evil deeds)’” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:165] : Just as calamities and disasters have known, tangible causes, they also have spiritual causes. The fact that there are tangible causes does not contradict the fact that there are spiritual causes too. Oppression, transgression, sin, disobedience to Allaah and denying the rights of others are all causes of calamities befalling people at both individual and group levels, and even at the global level on occasion, as we are seeing in this crisis which involves calamities one after another.

“Evil (sins and disobedience to Allaah) has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds)” [al-Room 30:41]

“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He (Allaah) pardons much” [al-Shoora 42:30]

In the saheeh hadeeth it says: “When zina (fornication, adultery) and riba (Usury/Interest) (usury, interest) appear in a town, then they have brought the punishment of Allaah upon themselves.” Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ (679).

What has befallen the people is not a problem from heaven; rather it is a calamity that has befallen them because of their sin and what their own hands have wrought.

4. Allaah gives respite but does not forget : He gave them respite whilst they were dealing in riba (Usury/Interest) and consuming it doubled and multiplied (cf. Aal ‘Imraan 3:130) and waging war against Him for so many years, until He punished them with shortness of crops and destruction, as He did with Pharaoh and his people before: “And indeed We punished the people of Fir‘awn (Pharaoh) with years of drought and shortness of fruits (crops), that they might remember (take heed)” [al-A’raaf 7:130].

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah gives respite to the wrongdoer until, when He seizes him, He will not let him off.” Then he recited (interpretation of the meaning): “Such is the Seizure of your Lord when He seizes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His Seizure is painful (and) severe” [Hood 11:102]. Agreed upon.

No one should think that Allaah in His exaltedness, might and power is leaving these people to wrong others and rebel (disobey Allaah) in the earth wrongfully (cf. Yoonus 10:23), disbelieving in Him and committing every major sin, then He will not send down His wrath and punishment.

5. The destiny of falsehood is to weaken and diminish : No matter how high it rises, there will come a day when it will inevitably be brought low. This is one of the laws of Allaah that never changes. “It is Allaah’s promise that nothing rises in this world but He will bring it down.” Al-Bukhaari, 2872.

The Westerners occupied the pinnacle of the global economy, and they said: “Who is stronger than us?” so Allaah brought them down from their financial fortresses and citadels, (which they built over the tear & blood of millions & millions of people) and instilled fear in their hearts and exposed the falseness of their claims.

6. Breaking of the stick of the Western world: The woodworm of riba (Usury/Interest) and haraam (forbidden) financial conduct has eaten away the stick on which the Western world was leaning and giving the world the impression that it was strong and standing upright, when in fact it was leaning on a stick that was rotten from the inside so when it fell it became clear to the jinn and mankind, east and west, that the structure was hollow and the foundations were rotten and cannot be saved or restored. The German Minister of Finance, Peer Steinbrueck, (and many others like them) stated: “The world will never go back to the way it was before the crisis.”

7. Allaah declares war on riba (Usury/Interest): “O you who believe! Fear Allaah and give up what remains (due to you) from Riba (Usury/Interest)a (from now onward) if you are (really) believers. 279. And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allaah and His Messenger …” [al-Baqarah 2:278-279]

This war is being manifested today in many ways: on hearts and minds, on abundance and prosperity, on wealth and power, happiness and peace of mind. It is a war of worries and fear, destroying and crushing as a result of this abhorrent riba (Usury/Interest)-based system, that is still being waged until today, consuming everything in its path.

Today they are affected by depression, anxiety, frustration and nervous breakdowns as a result of the financial crisis, to such an extent that the American psychologist Nancy Molitor said: “I have never in twenty years of practicing this profession seen a day like this. The levels of anxiety break all records.”

It has reached a level where murders and suicides are taking place as a result of the pressure of this crisis.

8. “Allaah will destroy Riba (Usury/Interest)” [al-Baqarah 2:276] : Destruction is both tangible and intangible. It takes away the blessing of wealth so that a person does not benefit from it, or it takes away the wealth altogether, as we have heard about the evaporation of $2 trillion in five days from the American pension funds. The crisis has led to the disappearance of sixteen banks, including the IndyMac bank which was controlling assets worth $32 billion and deposits worth $19 billion. In fact bankruptcy proceedings have been brought against seven major banks in Europe. (And many other banks & financial institutions are on this line too).

Some analysts expect more than 110 banks could be closed down, with assets reaching around $850 billion, by the middle of next year (2009-2010).

9. The one who deals in riba (Usury/Interest) will be punished in such a way that defeats his purpose : “And that which you give in gift (to others), in order that it may increase (your wealth by expecting to get a better one in return) from other people’s property, has no increase with Allaah” [al-Room 30:39]

In the saheeh hadeeth it says: “There is no one who deals in riba (Usury/Interest) a great deal (to increase his wealth) but he will end up with little (i.e., his wealth will be decreased).” Narrated by Ibn Maajah and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.

This has been proven to people in many ways, such as the ten richest people in Britain losing $40 billion; one of the major dealers in riba (Usury/Interest) lost his wealth over a period of four months at a rate of $7 million per hour; in Russia the losses incurred by businessmen have reached almost $230 billion, which represented 62% of the total wealth of the rich Russians! How deep is the regret of such people!

10. When riba (Usury/Interest) and gambling come together, it is a sign of doom and destruction : One of the results of this combination is that major American banks declared bankruptcy, such as Leman Brothers, Integrity, Washington Mutual; and the largest insurance company, AIG, which paid $11 billion in compensation, collapsed and incurred the greatest losses in its 90 year history.

Between 2 and 3 million Americans are faced with the risk of losing their home because they are unable to pay monthly installments.

Despite these reports, some of those in whose hearts is a disease are asking us to insure our deposits against bankruptcy!

11. The result of greed: Greed, avarice, deceit and cheating in contracts, as well as misleading people and taking advantage of their need are all factors which have a clear effect on the crisis. Some of these banks went to extremes in lending more than 60 times their actual capital, out of greed and desire for more profit. Some of their newspapers have commented on this crisis by saying: Put the blame on greed.

12. Dangers of dealing with illusionary assets: The crisis has shown a great difference between the tangible sector involving goods, services and real products, and the modern financial derivatives such as electronic money, financial bonds, credit cards which are like illusionary money, and electronic funds which do not exist anywhere except in computer memories, and which gained their value from the banks' guarantee of them. Once trust in the banks and financial institutions is lost, their value disappears.

What will they do after the astronomical figures of billions and trillions which were dancing across the screens of the stock exchanges evaporate?

13. The free economy and failure : This crisis is the greatest evidence of the failure of the theory of the free economy and leaving the door wide open so that the individual can do what he wants, without any limit or guidelines on his economic transactions, so that wealth may grow. This led to an increase of capital for one group in society, so the balance was tipped and the class system emerged, with consequences which are contrary to the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): “in order that it may not become a fortune used by the rich among you” [al-Hashr 59:7].

Despite the so-called freedom, we find that their solution to the problem is interference of the state, with its authority, to nationalize the banks and financial institutions and pump money into buying assets, changing the system and limiting the freedom of owners in order to protect economic institutions from collapse. (Double standards & Deceitful systems)

14. Decline of capitalist principles: This crisis has exposed the failure of the capitalist system and its inability to achieve financial security, balance and social and economic justice between the various groups of society. How often the West boasted of its financial system and claimed that it was the most perfect ever achieved by mankind, to such an extent that Fukuyama said: “American society is the pinnacle of human perfection and human maturity, after which there is nothing.” Today Western leaders admit the failure of their financial system, and even describe it as worn out and worthless.

The French President Sarkozy even said: We need to rebuild the global financial and currency system from the roots upwards.

They called a summit in which the leaders of major nations met in order to set out a new global financial system before the end of the year.

(They were following a wrong ideology, they are following a wrong ideology & it seems that they want to follow a wrong ideology in the future)

15. Where are those who were deceived by this global economic system? : Those who thought that they had betaken themselves to a powerful support (cf. Hood 11:80)? They said: The global financial system is well built and cannot have any faults... then it became clear that they were following a mirage in which there is nothing real, and that they had been deceived by false appearances that did not deserve all this praise and commendation.

There was great wisdom in the delay in its fall, which served as a trial and respite for the wrongdoers and those who were deceived by them, as well as exposing the hypocrites and those who were tempted by the systems of the non-Muslims.

16. Then were they confounded with shame (cf. al-Anbiya’ 21:65): After going through the initial impact of the financial collapse, some hypocrites and capitalists emerged to defend their worn out financial system, claiming that the problem was not in the system, rather it was in poor application of it and the lack of some restrictions, and that there was no need to change it; rather it only needed some adjustments. This is stubbornness on the part of those who are not learning anything from events.

“And never came an Ayah from among the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord to them, but they did turn away from it” [Ya-Seen 36:46]

“Say: “Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth,” but neither Ayât nor warners benefit those who believe not” [Yoonus 10:101]

17. Dangers and harm of separating the economics from Islam : For a long time the hypocrites said that it was essential to separate between economy and religion, but implicitly they were saying what the people of Shu’ayb said: “ ‘O Shu‘aib! Does your Salaat (prayer) command that we give up what our fathers used to worship, or that we give up doing what we like with our property? Verily, you are the forbearer, right‑minded!’ (They said this sarcastically)” [Hood 11:87].

What does religion have to do with people's personal conduct and how they deal with their wealth, their political, social and economic life, their method of production and ways of distribution? The crisis has shown us that the economy, if it is removed from shar’ia rulings and principles, will wander in the darkness and lead to disasters and problems.

18. Shar’ia (Islamic) financial principles are a safety valve for the economy : Because the people overlooked these (Islamic) shar’ia principles in their financial dealings and transgressed the sacred limits of Allaah through lending and borrowing on the basis of riba (Usury/Interest), selling debts, illusionary transactions, selling before taking possession, selling things that they did not possess, deceitful and ambiguous transactions and dealing with gambling and insurance, that led to calamity and the collapse of their companies and banks. The size of the ill-fated financial derivatives which are the cause of doom in the world is more than $600 trillion.

19. A sound foundation leads to a sound structure: “Is it then he who laid the foundation of his building on piety to Allaah and His Good Pleasure better, or he who laid the foundation of his building on the brink of an undetermined precipice ready to crumble down, so that it crumbled to pieces with him into the fire of Hell. And Allaah guides not the people who are the Zalimoon [wrongdoers]” [al-Tawbah 9:109]

There can be no economy without the light of revelation, not as the hypocrites claim that “there can be no economy without banks and no banks without riba (Usury/Interest).”

20. A golden opportunity for (Islamic) da’wah : What has happened is to be regarded as a great opportunity for the followers of the Islamic economic system to explain that it is the only successful system that can achieve what the world needs.

Westerners (some) themselves have begun to realize this fact. The biggest economic newspaper in Europe has called for application of Islamic law in the economic field so as to escape from the clutches of the capitalist system which is behind the economic calamity that is overwhelming the world.

One of them even wrote, wondering: “Is Wall Street ready to embrace the principles of Islamic sharia?”

Sawati Taneja, a financial expert in Europe, said: “The financial crisis in America is giving a golden opportunity to Islamic economics which is opposed to usurious transactions.”

21. Readiness of political and financial systems to accept the Islamic system: After the system was opposed to it before, a book has recently been published by the Italian researcher Loretta Napoleoni, under the title Rogue Economics, in which she points out the importance of Islamic financing and says: “The Islamic banks can become a suitable alternative to Western banks.”

Some Arab banks have started to think seriously about stopping many financial dealings that have an alien Western character, such as selling debts and selling options. Unfortunately they only thought of that after the West decided to do so, following them step by step.

22. Investing in this crisis to convey the truth to people: One of the duties of Islamic financial experts is to seek out the principles of the Islamic financial system in the Qur’aan and Sunnah and present them to mankind in a complete, independent financial system, not following other systems or adopting a patchwork approach.

The Islamic system is not free of riba (Usury/Interest) only, and it is not limited to some rules in exclusion to others. It is not the system that offers Western products with an Islamic veneer; rather it is a complete and independent system that achieves the aims of sharia and justice in all financial transactions.

23. Manifestation of Allaah's wisdom in legislation : It has become clear to anyone who has a mind and deep understanding that Allaah does not prescribe anything except that which is in the people's best interests, and He does not forbid anything except that which is harmful to them in this world and in the Hereafter. This financial crisis has shown clearly the harm caused by riba (Usury/Interest) and financial transgressions. Glory be to the One Who forbade it and emphasized that prohibition.

It is no surprise that the editor-in-chief of Challenges magazine said: “If the people in charge of our banks had tried to respect the teachings and rulings that are mentioned in the Qur’aan, these disasters and crises would not have befallen us

24. Healing and recovery cannot be by means of that which Allaah has forbidden: The source of the money that was allocated to save the banks and rescue the financial system, as they say, was borrowing on the basis of riba (Usury/Interest) or unjustly increasing taxes, or printing more currency without anything to support it, which will lead to inflation. The French newspaper Le Parisien stated that the French government would give €10.5 billion to 6 banks with interest at a rate of 8%. This is also a loan on the basis of riba (Usury/Interest) from other banks and nations. What they are implicitly saying is: Treat me with that which was the cause of my illness.

25. Material strength belonging to anyone other than the believers, deceives them and makes them arrogant: And it leads them to be arrogant in the land and enslave others, and it makes them forget the might of Allaah, and make them disbelieve in Him and deny His signs. This is the serious problem that befell the people of ‘Aad: “They were arrogant in the land without right, and they said: ‘Who is mightier than us in strength?’” [Fussilat 41:15]

How many tyrannical nations and peoples in the past and at present behave in the same manner; Allaah will destroy them as He destroyed the people of ‘Aad.

The kuffaar today have no protection against the wrath of Allaah: “Are your disbelievers (O Quraysh!) better than these [nations of Nooh (Noah), Loot (Lot), Saalih, and the people of Fir‘awn (Pharaoh), who were destroyed)]? Or have you an immunity (against Our Torment) in the Divine Scriptures?” [al-Qamar 54:43].

26. The consequences of injustice, transgression and arrogance are bad: Those who act unjustly, transgress and are arrogant in the land unlawfully are not safe from a bad end and will not prosper. “Verily, the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) shall never be successful” [al-An’aam 6:21] “And those who do wrong will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned” [al-Shu’ara’ 26:227]

The strongest nation in the world today is in need of help and wants to borrow by any means, after spending in its unjust war on Iraq more than $700 billion (& $350 billion for facilitating crime & murder in Afghanistan) , as some of its politicians admit. Some of their researchers have estimated that the cost of their military adventures throughout the world has reached $3 trillion.

27. The way in which Allaah deals with unjust nations is one and the same: “How many a town (community) given to wrongdoing, have We destroyed, and raised up after them another people!” [al-Anbiya’ 21:11] “And these towns (population, ‘Aad, Thamood) We destroyed them when they did wrong. And We appointed a fixed time for their destruction” [al-Kahf 18:59] “And a disaster will not cease to strike those who disbelieved because of their (evil) deeds or it (i.e. the disaster) settles close to their homes, until the Promise of Allaah comes to pass. Certainly, Allaah breaks not His Promise” [al-Ra’d 13:31]

The word qaari’ah (translated above as ‘a disaster’) appears in the indefinite and is general in meaning, so it may refer to any type of disaster, such as thunderbolts and storms, or it may instill panic and fear in people's hearts, such as financial collapses and crises. It is silent fear on the screens!

The British professor of political and economic science, John Grey, wrote an article in The Observer entitled The Tipping Point in America's Fall from Power, in which he said: “The era of American domination has ended.” Similar claims have also been made by Russian politicians and others (all around the world).

28. The bad consequences of sin affect everyone: This is apparent in the harm that has befallen all global economies and is confirmed by the words of the Secretary General of the United Nations: “The financial crisis threatens the livelihoods of billions worldwide.”

In a letter sent by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to 34,000 food safety offices throughout the world, it says: “The collapse of money markets in the world is going to lead to real famine that will affect 36 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America by the beginning of 2009.

The losses in global stock markets have reached nearly $3 trillion, and $155 billion evaporated from the Gulf stock markets in one week.

The president of the International Labour Organization warned that around 20 million people would lose their jobs by the end of next year as the result of the crisis.

Allaah spoke the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning): “And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allaah is Severe in punishment” [al-Anfaal 8:25]

It is by the wisdom of Allaah that those who were at the centre of the financial earthquake have become hated in the sight of people throughout the world, as they regard them as responsible for this disaster.

29. Allaah has great wisdom in His will and decree: His decree is based on His wisdom and justice; this is the decree of the Almighty, All Knowing. Nothing happens in this universe contrary to His wisdom, for He is Most Wise, All Aware.

By His wisdom, He has made calamities and disasters a means of admonition, reminding and turning people back to Him. “And verily, We will make them taste of the near torment (i.e. the torment in the life of this world, i.e. disasters, calamities) prior to the supreme torment (in the Hereafter), in order that they may (repent and) return (i.e. accept Islam)” [al-Sajdah 32:21] “That He (Allaah) may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allaah, and begging His Pardon)” [al-Room 30:41]

There are some people who will turn back to Allaah because of this crisis, but there are many on whom the punishment is justified (cf. al-Hajj 22:18); they will never repent or turn to Allaah. “When Our Torment reached them, why then did they not humble themselves (believe with humility)? But their hearts became hardened, and Shaytaan (Satan) made fair‑seeming to them that which they used to do” [al-An’aam 6:43].

30. True Sovereignty belongs to Allaah: He entrusted people with this wealth; what He wills He will leave, what He wills He will take; He makes rich whom He wills and He makes poor whom He wills; He gives what He wills and He withholds what He wills. This crisis is a lesson for those who were misled and deceived, who said what Qaroon said (interpretation of the meaning): “‘This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess’” [al-Qasas 28:78]. They forgot that Allaah is able to seize them and take away their wealth suddenly.

31. Man is impatient and irritable: This crisis has exposed the extent of impatience and irritability that affects people as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient; 20. Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him; 21. And niggardly when good touches him. 22. Except those who are devoted to Salaah (prayers)” [al-Ma’aarij 70:19-20].

If something bad happens, he panics and despairs: “And if We give man a taste of mercy from Us, and then withdraw it from him, verily, He is despairing, ungrateful” [Hood 11:9].

This crisis has resulted in cases of suicide, murder, heart attacks, strokes, chronic diseases, nervous breakdowns; mental crises… some studies have concluded that 57% of workers in stock exchanges are affected by psychosomatic illnesses. In a statement issued by the World Health Organization it says: “The financial crisis will increase levels of mental illness worldwide.”

As for the believer, his case is completely different. “How wonderful is the situation of the believer, for all his affairs are good. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him; if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him. This does not apply to anyone but the believer.” Narrated by Muslim (2999).

32. Man is very attached to money: This crisis is a clear example of the fact that Allaah has mentioned in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “And you love wealth with much love” [al-Fajr 89:20].

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allaah has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers) with Him” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:14].

The effect of that was that some of those who lost their wealth committed suicide, because wealth was everything in their lives, so when they lost it, they no longer had any motive to carry on living, so they committed suicide after becoming slaves to the dinar/dirham and dollar. This is the result of the heart becoming attached to something other than Allaah.

33. Weakness of trust in Allaah with regard to one's livelihood: This crisis has exposed the extent of anxiety about the future, as the result of fear of not being able to provide basic needs and get rid of debt and its consequences. If people believed in the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning), “And no moving (living) creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allaah” [Hood 11:6] and “Verily, Allaah is the All‑Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong” [al-Dhaariyaat 51:58], He would provide them with good and easily available provision as He provides for the birds.

34. In the loss of the tyrants' wealth there is a lesson that reminds us of the attitude of the two groups towards the tyrant Qaroon: When he appeared before the people in his pomp and finery, “Those who were desirous of the life of the world, said: ‘Ah, would that we had the like of what Qaroon (Korah) has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune’”[al-Qasas 28:79].

This is what the deceived say in every era. As for the people of knowledge and faith, they say: “Woe to you! The reward of Allaah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this none shall attain except those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient in following the truth)” [al-Qasas 28:80].

When Allaah caused the earth to swallow him up, the outcome was: “And those who had desired (for a position like) his position the day before, began to say: ‘Know you not that it is Allaah Who enlarges the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His slaves. Had it not been that Allaah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up (also)! Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful’” [al-Qasas 28:82].

35. This world does not stay the same and it will vanish. “Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish” [al-Rahman 55:26]. : This world is a diminishing shadow; its pleasures will fade and its adornment is not real.

“The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing)” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:185] “The Hereafter is better and more lasting” [al-A’laa 87:17] “The Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever” [Ghaafir 40:39]

i.e., the Hereafter is the place of settlement, peace and tranquillity.

This world is green and sweet, and it deceives people. When the disbelievers thought that their wealth would last forever, after they had become successful in trade and industry, and had advanced in technology and invention, the Command of Allaah reached them and caught them unawares, as He says (interpretation of the meaning).

“Until when the earth is clad in its adornments and is beautified, and its people think that they have all the powers of disposal over it, Our Command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday! Thus do We explain the Ayaat [signs] in detail for the people who reflect” [Yoonus 10:24]

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children. (It is) as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers evildoers), and (there is) forgiveness from Allaah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers good‑doers). And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment” [al-Hadeed 57:20].

36. Shortcomings of mankind in analyzing and predicting crises: Some studies of future trends in the West suggested that it would continue to flourish and that the markets would continue to improve. Indeed one of the centers for the study of future trends predicted that 2009 would be a year of economic prosperity.

The American Morgan Stanley Bank expected the price of a barrel of oil to reach $150, and they said: “The era of cheap oil has come to an end.” Others expected the price to reach $200 a barrel.

With the advance of mathematical science and probability theories, and the invention of computers which analyze and work out very complex equations, some Westerners thought that that was enough to judge the future and know about it precisely, so they relied a great deal on the results of their research. So this crisis was a great disappointment and contrary to their expectations and studies, a shock which prompted them to admit their shortcomings and incapability, and admit that they were going to have to recalculate and adjust their predictions. Allaah spoke the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning): “And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little” [al-Isra’ 17:85]

“They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world (i.e. the matters of their livelihood, like irrigating or sowing or reaping), and they are heedless of the Hereafter” [al-Room 30:7]

Some of their wise men had warned of this collapse and its causes, but they paid no heed until it was too late, after it was no longer possible to avoid it.

Finally, we ask Allaah, may He be exalted, to support His religion and make His word supreme, to cause Islam and the Muslims to prevail and humiliate the hypocrites and disbelievers, to compensate with good those Muslims who have been affected and increase their reward. May He help us all to do that which He loves and is pleased with. “And Allaah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not” [Yoosuf 12:21].

Islam Q&A

Please visit my other blog posts.

If you have any Questions about Islam please visit

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Searching for Happiness a call to non Muslims

If you have any Question on Islam please visit the links below: , , , , , , ,

Searching for Happiness_ a call to non-Muslims

Shaykh Saalih as-Sindee

Happiness is a common goal that everyone strives to attain. Philosophers, intellectuals, doctors and artists alike have all strived in search of the causes of happiness and ways to escape anxiety.

The reality is, however, that the proposed solutions achieve only partial or superficial happiness. They are more or less like drugs which only provide temporary relief; when their effect wares off, anxieties return two fold.

The following words invite you to ultimate happiness and will lead you to true success. But before you begin reading, I hope that you to take a moment to try to open your heart and mind - as the intelligent one is he who searches for the truth no matter where it lies.

An undeniable reality is that permanent happiness cannot be achieved except by believing in God - The Creator - and following His guidance. Since it is He who created mankind, He is the one who knows what pleases and benefits them, just as he knows what saddens and harms them. A number of psychologists have affirmed that only a religious person lives with true content and serenity. So if believing in God leads to ultimate happiness, then how can this be achieved?

There are numerous religions and a variety of creeds. However, their critical differences in core issues make it impossible for all of them to be correct. So which is the correct religion? What is the correct creed that God requires us to believe in and in the end pleases Him? And which one of these creeds guarantees us happiness in this life and in the hereafter?

Before answering these questions, a criterion must first be established to be used as a basis for correctly determining the true religion. I firmly believe that all sensible people will agree that a religion is not deemed correct simply due to the fact that one was raised in that religion, had parents that adhered to it, or lived in a society that practiced it. Rather a religion's accuracy and authenticity are based upon substantial evidence and firm intellectual proofs. Intellect, the distinguishing factor between mankind and animals, must be applied when studying the issue of religion, which is undeniably the most important and gravest of all matters.

A short journey into the world of religions and sifting through various creeds could prove to be a good method in arriving at the desired conclusion. In order to save you the time and effort, I say with full conviction and confidence that no matter how much you investigate this issue, you will only arrive at one reality: that the true and correct religion is Islam and that true happiness and content lies within it.

Before you hastily rebut this statement and stop reading, please realize that completing the rest would not harm you at all, and it may in fact benefit you. Also, remember that you have an intellect by which you can distinguish things and determine truth from falsehood.

Why Islam?

This is an important question, indicating that the questioner is mature and enlightened. In response I say:

Islam is a religion that includes a number of merits and characteristics that are absent from other religions. These characteristics, alone, serve as convincing evidence that Islam is the true religion of God. You can determine the authenticity of this statement by contemplating them.

Islam's many merits and characteristics make it impossible to elaborate on all of them. However, some of the most important can be summarized as follows:

1) Amongst the greatest merits of Islam is that it fulfills the spiritual aspects of the human being and enables those who embrace it to have an ongoing connection with God. This makes it possible for them to be at ease spiritually. It shields them from chaos, being lost or feeling (spiritually) empty, and protects from mental instability.

2) Another of Islam’s merits is that it coincides totally with common sense. All of the Islamic legislation and its rulings are acceptable intellectually and are never contradictory. One man who embraced Islam was asked why he did so and replied, "Islam never ordered me to do anything that I later wished wasn't obligated, and it never forbade me from anything that I later wished wasn’t forbidden."

Much of what is readily accepted in other religions causes great confusion. This confusion makes it difficult to believe many of the fundamental tenets/doctrines that these religions are based upon. On the other hand, we find that Islam respects the intellect, prohibits ignorance, and condemns blind following.

3) Islam is an all-inclusive way of life attending to both spiritual and physical needs. Practicing Islam does not mean that one has to be secluded or that he is prohibited from the finer things in life. Rather, according to Islam, a person can be religious and still enjoy a normal life - attaining prestigious ranks/positions and achieving the highest academic degrees.

4) Among the merits of Islam is that it is a comprehensive religion. Every aspect of a person’s life is managed by Islam. There is not a problem except that a solution for it lies in Islam, which makes it possible to embrace and practice in every time and place. How can this not be the case in such a well organized religion that has guidelines and positive instruction for every aspect of life including: conflict resolution, buying and selling, social and marital relations, greetings, public etiquettes, and even how a person eats, sleeps and dresses. These practices have not been addressed generally, but rather in precise detail, causing the mind to wonder in amazement. Know that Islam even provides direction on how to wear and remove footwear. It encourages people to use their right hand when eating, drinking, shaking hands, and when giving and receiving items. As for disliked affairs such as using the bathroom, the left hand is to be used.

Islam also has wonderful instructions regarding going to sleep and waking up. When two Muslims meet, Islam directs them on how they should greet each other; a rider should initiate greeting the pedestrian, the youth should initiate greeting the elderly, and a small group should initiate greeting a larger group. These are but a few of Islam’s many comprehensive guidelines for all aspects of life.

5) Another of Islam’s merits is that it establishes good for mankind in all its regulations and safeguards them from evil. It is man himself who benefits from these regulations. Islam's prohibition of alcohol and drugs for example is only because of the great harm they cause to a person's physical and mental health. You can witness the state of a drunken man, no longer human except in appearance. A lot of murders, disputes, traffic accidents and rapes would not have taken place were it not for consuming these mind-altering products.

Islam's prohibition of premarital sex relieves societies of destructive diseases (such as AIDS and other STDs), immoral behavior, and the existence of a generation of illegitimate children. This generation is often deprived of a mother’s love and a father’s upbringing which can lead them to become burdensome on society. Islam prohibits women from displaying themselves publicly. This is because Islam considers women to be valued, preserved pearls; not some cheap merchandise to be displayed for all to see. It does so to protect them from the wolves of mankind - those who are only concerned with satisfying their lusts, even if it is at the cost of a woman’s honor, nobility, status, and purity.

On the other hand, Islam permits all harmless and beneficial drinks. It also permits married couples to enjoy one another within a happy home.

In summary, Islam has not eliminated freedoms and desires. Rather, it regulates them for the benefit of mankind and the society at large.

6) A radiant aspect of Islam is that it pays a great deal of attention to values, character, and praiseworthy manners, while prohibiting mankind from oppression, transgression and bad character. Islam is a religion of love, unity and mercy. It defines an individual’s relationship with his parents, relatives, neighbors, friends and all people. Islam embeds the best of manners in those who embrace it and prevents them from living selfishly. It encourages its followers to help others and take others' feelings into consideration - especially the poor, orphans, elderly and widows. They all have rights in Islam that must not be taken lightly by Muslims. Muslims shouldn’t feel like they are bestowing favors upon others when giving them their due rights, rather these rights are obligations upon Muslims. It is considered to be a great sin in Islam for one to go to sleep with a full stomach knowing that his neighbor is hungry.

Islam even prohibits two people from whispering to each other in the presence of a third, taking his feelings into consideration. Islam goes even further than that, obligating kind treatment to animals and prohibiting harming them. More specifically, Islam prohibits slaughtering an animal while another watches, or sharpening a knife while it is watching, so that it is not tormented along with being slaughtered.

Truthfulness, trustworthiness, bravery, generosity, humility, abiding by promises, visiting the sick, attending funerals, being dutiful to parents, visiting relatives and neighbors, and striving to help others are all etiquettes that are encouraged by Islam.

On the other hand, Islam strictly prohibits oppression, lying, conceitedness, envy, and insulting or betraying others. It is impermissible in Islam to speak ill of a person in his absence, even if what is being said is true. Islam encourages people to moderate in spending, being neither excessive nor misers.

During times when a lot of societies complain about cold heartedness, materialism, selfishness and so on, we find that Islam has proven remedies for all of these problems.

This summarized introduction should make it clear that Islam is a logical religion that can be easily understood by all people. The doors to Islam are wide open and do not shut for anyone looking to enter.

Understanding all of Islam's teachings in a short article is impossible. However, briefly discussing some of its fundamental tenets should assist in further clarifying the religion for those who are interested.

All of Islam’s regulations and teachings are important, but some have precedence over others. There are six essential articles of faith that one must believe in, and five pillars that one's faith must be built upon.

As for the six articles that must be believed in:

1) Believing in Allah (God) alone, associating no partners unto Him in worship. This is done by believing that Allah alone is the Creator of this universe and everything that is within it, and that it is He alone who disposes its affairs as He sees fit. Consequently, worship can only be offered to Him alone. Worship is implementing the teachings of Islam and its legislation while believing that all other religions are false.

2) Believing in the angels. Angels were created by Allah but we can not see them. They worship Allah and never disobey Him. Allah orders them to carry out many of the universe's affairs. The angel Gabriel, for example, (peace be upon him) delivers Allah’s revelation to the messengers. Another is Mikayeel (peace be upon him), who is entrusted with the affairs of rain. Still there are other angels responsible for writing the deeds of mankind - deeds which they will be held accountable for on the Day of Resurrection. It is essential to believe that all of the angels act solely upon the order of Allah and do only what He wills.

3) Believing in the Books of Revelation. This means to believe that Allah revealed books to His servants comprising of His words. These books contain bliss for mankind by clarifying what Allah is pleased with as well as what He dislikes. The Angel charged with delivering revelation to the Prophets is Gabriel (peace be upon him) - the greatest of angels. A prophet then conveys the revelation to the rest of mankind.

Allah has revealed many books, amongst them: The Torah, revealed to Moses (peace be upon him), The Psalms, revealed to David (peace be upon him), The Gospel, sent down to Jesus (peace be upon him) and the Quran, which was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him).

One must believe that the Quran has abrogated all books prior to it, meaning that - after the Prophet (Muhammad) was sent - it is the only book that can be acted upon, especially since the Quran combines all the merits of past books and further supplements them.

Know that the Quran is from the greatest evidences that this religion is the truth revealed by Allah (God) the Most High. The Quran was revealed over 1400 years ago. Since then till this day, no contradictions or mistakes have been found in the Quran, not even in a single word. Many of the scientific discoveries of modern times were mentioned in the Quran. Since that time until today, nothing has been added to or subtracted from the Quran, while previous revelations have been tampered with and altered.

It is for this reason that you can pick up a copy of the Quran in the far East and find it to be exactly the same as one you pick up in the far West. If you were to come across a copy of the Quran that is hundreds of years old, you would also find that it is exactly the same as the one being printed currently - you wouldn’t be able to find even one letter that is different. This is because of Allah’s protection of this Book, the Book of the religion that sealed all other religions.

Speaking about the Quran would take a lot of time. However, it is enough for you to know that there is nothing like it whatsoever; not by way of (literary) style, its effect on people, nor its information about the unseen.

4) Believing in the Prophets. This is done by believing that Allah has chosen the best of mankind to be recipients of His revelation and ordered them to convey His religion to the people. There are numerous Prophets, among them are: Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Lot, Joseph, Moses and others (peace be upon all of them). Also from them is Jesus. It is imperative to believe that he is among the best of Prophets and to love and respect him. Whoever despises him or denies his prophethood is not Muslim. Likewise it is compulsory to believe that Allah created him from a mother only, with no father, just as Allah created Adam with neither a mother nor a father.

Having mentioned this, we now know that Jesus is a noble messenger and not God, nor is he a son of God. He foretold the coming of a prophet to come after him; Muhammad ibn (the son of) Abdullah, the last of the prophets.

Muhammad ibn Abdullah (peace be upon him) was sent 1400 years ago. It is compulsory for everyone who comes after him until the Day of Judgment to believe in him and his message, and obey his orders and prohibitions.

All those who studied the biography of this messenger have agreed that he is a great personality who has been bestowed with the best of manners and most noble etiquettes. He had characteristics which were not present in anyone before him and will not be present in anyone after him. Anything that you read about him, no matter how small it is, confirms what I am saying.

Allah has also granted him proofs and evidences that establish the authenticity of his prophethood, thus having doubt in this fact is intellectually impossible. Having been given such proofs and evidences of his prophethood, whoever denies his truthfulness, would make it impossible for that individual to establish the truthfulness of any other prophet.

5) The Last Day. This is fulfilled firmly believing that after this life of ours is over, there is another more complete life. In it, there are immense rewards and magnificent luxuries, as well as punishment. Luxury is in Heaven and punishment in Hell. So whoever is righteous and believes in the religion of Islam enters Heaven, a place that contains untold pleasure and unimagined bliss. All the luxuries on earth cannot be compared to it at all. Whoever enters Heaven will continue to live in such luxuries for eternity as death does not exist therein.

As for those who act upon evil and do not believe in Islam, they would end up in Hell, which contains fires and punishment that can not be imagined, all of the fires of earth and forms of punishment cannot be compared to the punishment of the hellfire at all.

The existence of punishment and reward after this life is an issue that is intellectually acknowledged, because it is impossible for this world to exist and then just diminish into nothingness. This is trifling about, and our Lord, the Creator, does not engage in such activities.

6) Believing in Divine Decree. This is to believe that everything that happens in this world is due to Allah’s knowledge and will. Nothing except what He wills takes place, and what He does not will, does not take place. Allah has written everything in a great book (The Preserved Tablet). Believing in divine decree also includes believing that Allah created everything.

As for the five pillars that must be practiced:

1) Uttering a phrase that is the key to entering into Islam. It is a contract between a servant and his Lord, signifying that he is upon this religion:

“Ashhadu an la ilaha ila Allah, wa ashadu ana Muhammad ‘abduhu wa rasuluhu.”

“I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.”

This testimony signifies the acceptance, admission, and adherence to the fact that worship must be offered to Allah alone. It also includes the acceptance of Islam as the only correct religion, Allah as the only true deity deserving worship, and that all other deities and religions are false. The second part of the testimony entails an affirmation that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and that he is to be obeyed and believed in all that he says.

2) The Prayer. It is a combination of statements, actions and invocations carried out in a specific manner. It is performed five times daily and doesn’t take much time at all. In fact, a prayer may not take more than five minutes. Prayer is the link between a servant and his Lord. It enables a Muslim to be confident, mentally and spiritually at rest, calm and untroubled.

3) The Zakaat. A wealthy Muslim must give a small portion of his money to the poor, 2.5% of his wealth to be exact. Even though it is a small amount, it enables the Muslim community to be conciliated and merciful amongst each other. It propagates brotherhood, love and concern amongst Muslims. And again, Zakaat is only to be given out by the wealthy, not the poor.

4) Fasting. What is meant by fasting is that a person withholds from eating, drinking and sexual relations during the month of Ramadan [which is the 9th month of the lunar calendar] between dawn and sunset. The sick, travelers, and those with valid excuses are pardoned from fasting. They are permitted to eat and drink but must make up the missed days once they become able.

Fasting has many health, personal, and social benefits. Amongst them are: giving the digestive system a break, allowing Muslims to grow spiritually and practice good mannerisms. It enables Muslims to be conscious of their needy brothers and sisters, those who are unable to find enough food to satisfy their needs throughout the year. Consequently, the Muslims humble themselves and strive to help them.

5) Hajj. It is a form of worship that must be performed only once in a lifetime, in Makkah. Those who are physically incapable or not financially able to perform it are pardoned from doing so.

Hajj contains many magnificent benefits; the gathering of Muslims from all around the globe in one place getting to know each other and displaying love for one another, not to mention what a Muslim achieves by way of spiritual purification and character refinement due to experiencing such a spiritual environment in the shade of Hajj.

Hopefully what has preceded is sufficient in clarifying - in a summarized fashion - some of the merits of Islam. I invite all who have not yet entered into the fold of Islam to listen to a sincere invitation from one who only wants good for you: save yourself before death takes you by surprise, and thus you die upon other than Islam - what a great loss that is!

Do you know what dying upon other than Islam means? It means that you would enter the Hellfire, abiding therein for eternity. This is what Allah has warned all those who die without embracing Islam. So why would you take a chance with an issue as grave as this?

I’m going to ask you a question that I want you to answer honestly:

What would you lose if you embraced Islam?

If you embrace Islam, you can continue living your normal ordinary life, but in a more spiritual, organized, and pleasant fashion…and after death, tremendous delight and eternal pleasure await you.

If you have reached a level of conviction, believing that Islam is the true religion, but fear that embracing Islam would prevent you from enjoying pleasures that you cannot live without, then compare these temporary pleasures with eternal pleasure. Which of the two should be given preference?

Furthermore, you can embrace Islam and then gradually try to reduce such pleasures. And if you were to honestly invoke Allah, He would surely aid you in leaving them. In any case, embracing Islam and having shortcomings is better than not embracing Islam at all.

If the barrier between you and Islam is due to having a weak personality, the inability to make such a big decision, or because you fear that people may talk about you or mock you, know that these are just unrealistic thoughts. You would not be the first person to embrace Islam; a lot of others have made the decision to do so. They did not lose anything, their lives were not ruined, nor do they have any regrets. Furthermore, does it make sense that you sacrifice your own well being and happiness in this life and in the hereafter just because you fear mockery or admonishment?

This affair is worthy of your time. Contemplate upon it deeply.

My last words: Do not lose yourself! I ask Allah to bless you with true guidance.

One who wishes only the best for you,

Dr. Saleh Abdul Azeez As Sindee

Translator: Nadir Ahmad, Abu Abdul-Waahid

If you have any Question on Islam please visit , , , , , , ,

Please Visit My blogs regularly, for more interesting updates.

Also visit my other blog Entries.