Earth is the source of sustenance for all living beings (41:10, 50:11, 55:10, 56:73, 79:33, 80:32). So, no one has the right to deprive anyone from the right of access to sustenance (17:20). The sign of Islamic system is clear from the Prophet’s (PBUH) hadith that Allah’s protection disappears from a town in which a single person sleeps hungry. And Khalifa ‘Umar (R) went further and said that even if a dog were to die of hunger on the banks of Tigris then he will be accountable for this in the Hereafter. Islamic system is not just enforcing laws. Its essence and fundamental value is respect for all human beings:
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ
(17:70) – Indeed We have conferred dignity on all human beings.
So, in a true Islamic system all humans will have equal dignity – not just in theory but in real life as well.
And the second attribute of an Islamic system is that Allah is the sole Sovereign. He does not allow any human to rule over other humans:
لَا يُشْرِكُ فِي حُكْمِهِ أَحَدًا
(18:26) – He allots to no one a share in His rule! [Asad]
So, how does He rule? He rules through His commands contained in His Book, the Quran. Allah enforces His commands on earth through human hands. So, a human is only an agent for enforcing divine commands, not a ruler. The Quran says that every human deserves sustenance with dignity. The entire Surah Al-Maa‘un is devoted to this issue:
أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ ﴿﴾ فَذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ ﴿﴾ وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ ﴿﴾ فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ ﴿﴾ الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ ﴿﴾ الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاءُونَ ﴿﴾ وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ
(107:1-7) – Have you ever pondered over the plight of the person who says that he has submitted to Islam but in actual practice he belies it? His life proves that if Deen is represented by what he practices, then all its claims are wrong. The essence of Deen is that no one should be helpless, or even feel helpless. If for some reason a person’s needs are unfulfilled, then he or she should be helped at once. However, see the attitude of this person who pushes away the helpless, neither assisting the needy nor persuading others to do so. In order to show himself to be a religious person, he offers a lot of prayers. For such people prayers become a source of self-deception because they are deceiving themselves (and others) that they are virtuous. They, in fact, are oblivious of the goal of Salah. The objective of Salah is to establish a society in which everyone follows Divine Laws and every human being continues to receive nourishment. These people are unmindful of Salah’s objective and its consequent responsibilities. After performing visible rites, they believe they have fulfilled the duties of Salah as assigned by the Almighty. The outcome of such self-deception is that while on the one hand they do offer prayers, but, on the other hand, they take control of the sources of sustenance. These however should remain open and available, like ever-flowing springs to all needy people. They thus deprive the needy of the sources of nourishment and so they belie Deen.
Accumulating wealth has been condemned by the Quran:
الَّذِي جَمَعَ مَالًا وَعَدَّدَهُ
(104:2) – Woe unto one who amasses wealth and gets into the habit of counting.
He makes it the goal of his life. He is stopping it from reaching others and thus committing crime against humanity.
(70:18) – He does not keep his wealth freely available for public welfare, but amasses and hoards it by filling his coffers and blocking all its outlets.
Before the advent of banks, money (in coins) was kept in bag whose mouth was tightly closed so that coins do not slip out. The Quran uses the word “nafaq” for a bag whose both ends remain open. This gives a perfect picture of the Quranic economic system where wealth keeps flowing without let or hindrance like the free-flowing blood in a living physical body.
Accumulating wealth, in fact, is the source of most of the evils of society. When the society takes responsibility for meeting the needs of everyone and their family, then why would one accumulate wealth; then why would one be worried about anything?
نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ
(17:31) – It is We who shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you.
This is what Islamic government announces. Then there will be absolutely no need for accumulating wealth since the Islamic government will have the responsibility to take care of all the basic needs – food, housing, medical care, education, and providing job to everyone. And everyone’s responsibility in this system will be to work hard to the best of one’s ability. Those who are incapacitated to work will be under the care and responsibility of the state which will take care of all their needs. This is the true Islamic system in which no one sleeps hungry according to Prophet’s (PBUH) hadith. If that is not the case then Allah’s protection is lifted from that state; then it no longer remains an Islamic system. That is the reason the Quran declares that the chief offenders in the eyes of Allah are those who obstruct the free-flowing sustenance from reaching other human beings:
مَّنَّاعٍ لِّلْخَيْرِ مُعْتَدٍ مُّرِيبٍ
(50:25) – Their offence was that they withheld wealth by not keeping it open and available for humankind’s benefit and development. They erected barrier in the way of improving human condition. Thus, they rebelled against the Divine Order.
Allah is the creator and hence owner of the Earth (7:128); so, accepting human masters besides Him is giving them godly status. In fact, the Quran says that when humans start following their desires then they turn their desire into God (45:23). Whatever or whomever we follow, that becomes our god or Ilaha which means authority that is obeyed (not worshiped). Allah does not give this authority to any human to make others obey him (6:57). This will be an affront to humanity. All humans are equal in the eyes of Allah. According to the Quran, only Allah has the right to rule and no one else (12:40; 12:67). And Allah rules, as mentioned before, through his Book, the Quran.
The Quran says:
وَالْأَرْضَ وَضَعَهَا لِلْأَنَامِ
(55:10) – Every living being has the right of access to earth’s sustenance.
Therefore, the sustenance of earth must be open to all. If humans are granted right of ownership then earth will turn into hell as it has. Few clever and powerful humans and nations then control the resources of the earth and drive the rest of humanity into vassalage. The landowners enjoy while workers decant their blood, sweat, and tears to produce the sustenance. The capitalist sharks swim in the ocean of luxury while poor miners extract the natural resources from under the earth and suffer. These human sharks claim ownership of earth while driving the rest of humanity into destitution. The Quran proclaims repeatedly that Allah is the owner of Earth:
إِنَّ الْأَرْضَ لِلَّـهِ
(7:128) – It is a fact that all the earth belongs to Allah.
لِّلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ
(2:284) – Unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in earth.
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَرِثُ الْأَرْضَ
(19:40) – It is a fact that We alone shall remain the inheritor of the earth; that We are the owner of the earth.
الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّـهِ أَندَادًا وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
(2:22) – You will find protection from life’s pitfalls only within the universal system of Sustenance according to which Allah made the earth a resting place for you and scattered various planets in space which remain in dynamic stability in their orbits through mutual force of gravitation. Allah also caused rain to come down from the sky so that means of nourishment could be provided for all of you. It is evident that all means of sustenance have been given to you free. So, therefore, Allah alone is the Owner and Master of these means and you are permitted only their use. Thus you must be careful lest you make human beings masters of these means. If you were to do this, then it would be tantamount to Shirk, i.e., setting up rivals to Allah.
Allah addressees the entire humankind (2:21, 114: 1-7) – too many verses to list – not any particular nation or a group. So, no nation or group has the right to control and stop this free-flowing sustenance of Allah. The verse (2:22) above clearly defines who the “أَندَادًا” of Allah (i.e., competitors of Allah) are? Well, they are the ones who declare ownership of land. Ask them: how you became owners? They will reply: we are owners because we bought it from someone else. Ask them: how they became owners? Well, they bought from someone else… and so on … and so on … and so forth … until we reach the end of the chain of this ownership link. So, the very first one of this chain grabbed the piece of land and didn’t pay. So, he stole it. And the law is that any stolen property no matter how many times it changes hands – remains a stolen property. So, everyone becomes a competitor of Allah “أَندَادًا” – by virtue of theft – and becomes a Mushrik. Iqbal puts this beautifully:
O Custodian of Kaaba! Don’t let Iqbal enter its premises
He keeps crafting one god after another god every moment
His yearning keeps creating brand new gods all the time
When it comes out of one knot then it creates another one
الَّذِي جَعَلَ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ فَأَلْقِيَاهُ فِي الْعَذَابِ الشَّدِيدِ
(50:26) – They took others as sovereign authority instead of Allah. The verdict against them would be: “Throw them into the severe chastisement of hellfire!”
There are different kinds of hellfire. Allah says:
نَارُ اللَّـهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ ﴿﴾ الَّتِي تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى الْأَفْئِدَةِ
(104:6-7) – This is the fire ignited by Allah, the flames of which engulf their hearts.
This is the severe punishment for those people who create partners of Allah and stop the free flow of His sustenance.
Reforms happen to those who admit their mistakes. But those who are under the impression that by mechanically performing religious rituals all their sins will be forgiven even though they are engaged in activity that is profoundly against the Quran, would never admit their mistakes that they are transgressing against Allah; that they are creating partners of Allah; that they are stopping the flow of Allah’s sustenance from reaching those who really need it. How could these people be reformed?
Then the Quran says:
وَقَدْ قَدَّمْتُ إِلَيْكُم بِالْوَعِيدِ
(50:28) – We gave you Our Book. We gave you mind to think. So, it is useless to blame others. Why don’t you take responsibility for your own doings?
مَا يُبَدَّلُ الْقَوْلُ لَدَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ
(50:29) – Our Law is unalterable, and all decisions are taken according to it. However, this does not mean that like other tyrant rulers We take a stern attitude. No, not at all. We do not commit any wrong against Our servants and everyone gets fair reward for his deeds.
What a great reality the Quran has explained of Islamic system: it is cruelty on the people if there is uncertainty about the law. If a law is not based on true justice then a judgment delivered according to that law cannot be called justice. The true justice is:
بِالْحَقِّ وَبِهِ يَعْدِلُونَ
(7:181) – justice delivered according to the Truth (Al-Haq). And the law must be eternal and unchangeable:
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ
(6:115) – Allah’s eternal and unchangeable laws based on truth and justice have been set forth in this Book in a complete form.
How peaceful and secure people will feel in a society based on these eternal laws! That society will be a heavenly society on earth.
The unseen which is hidden from the eyes now will ultimately be visible one day. This is the crux of belief in the unseen according to the Quran. The Quran tells those who have this kind of Iman in their hearts and minds:
ادْخُلُوهَا بِسَلَامٍ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ يَوْمُ الْخُلُودِ
(50:34) – Enter Jannah with a sense of peace and security. That henceforth life will be the lifetime of Jannah. And:
لَهُم مَّا يَشَاءُونَ فِيهَا وَلَدَيْنَا مَزِيدٌ
(50:35) – In this Jannah there will be everything which they would desire; But there is even more with Us. A human being’s desires are limited by his degree of consciousness. He cannot comprehend the next evolutionary stage of life. God’s knowledge is unlimited and hence He knows human needs in every stage of the evolutionary journey.