Forgotten Miracle

Category: Articles, Faith, Society | Topic: interest (riba), miracles | Views: 5,454

Muslims have long been familiar with the scientific, literary, and prophetic miracles in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (example of the prophet). Whether it is in the fields of medicine, embryology, astronomy, physics, mathematics, linguistics, prose, vocabulary, prophecy and numerous other sciences, scholars have diligently done their research to bring to light references providing challenging information that could not have been available to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) at the time of Revelation. Such knowledge undisputedly confirms the claim that the Message of Qur’an and the Sunnah could only be revealed and inspired by the Divine.

However, some other aspects of the Quran and Islamic way of life, that are not any less of a miracle and in many ways more critical to our daily lives, need to be stressed more often.

The world vision of the Islamic way of life emphasizes a just economic system. Islam does not deny the market forces and market economy. Profit motives and private ownership is acceptable. But the basic difference between capitalist and Islamic economy is that in secular capitalism the profit motive and private ownership is given unbridled power. In Islam the market economy is guided by divine injunctions that keeps the interests of all parties in balance. Volumes have been written about Islamic economics and several major educational institutes, like Harvard University have set up centers to study Islamic finance. Within the Islamic economic system, one of the main elements is the aspect of “Riba”. This term encompasses not only the concept of usury, but also that of interest.

Islam’s categorical prohibition of transactions involving Riba is a concrete example of how miracles are not merely signs for people to reflect upon and appreciate God’s creation. Instead, they are realistic and effective prescriptions to deal with the financial ills, injustice, and abuses created by mankind toward their fellow human beings. This economic miracle is also tangible proof that whatever was prohibited 1400 years ago, is for the welfare of humanity, in all regions and at all times.

The principles of an Islamic economic system are based on simple morality and common sense, which form the bases of many religions.

The universal nature of these principles is apparent even at a cursory glance of non-Muslim literature. Usury was prohibited in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Plato and Aristotle considered charging interest contrary to nature. Shakespeare and many other writers, particularly those writing in the 19th century, have attacked the barbarity of the practice. Much of the morality championed by Victorian writers such as Dickens – ranging from the equitable distribution of wealth to man’s fundamental right to work – is clearly present in the Islamic economic model.

While wars, disasters, famine, and calamities affect many people and need to be addressed by the people of conscious; 85% of humanity is suffering from debt and economic injustice. Today, there are developing nations that pay the World Bank and the IMF more than 60% of their national budget just to service in the world economy. Similarly, in countries like the United States, every citizen is born with more than $2,000 in debt. These are clear signs that Riba-based economies are the source of an epidemic injustice that doesn’t discriminate between "rich" and "poor", because it bankrupts humans on the national and individual levels, and benefits the minority.

All prophets have struggled to establish a just system for humanity. Jesus overturned the tables of the moneylenders in the temple, because he was offended by their exploitive practice of adding interest to loan capital. In his farewell speech, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) instructed the Muslims to give up all Riba (usury and interest) they have, whether they were lenders, borrowers, buyers, or sellers.

Gods commands are eternal and equitable and do not change based on the needs of the Federal Reserve or International Monetary Fund. Prohibition of Riba is the best cure to free humanity from economic slavery. It was valid during the time of Jesus (pbuh) and will be valid until the universe stops expanding.