The Impact of Disbelief on Economy
Allah obliterates usury but
makes deeds of charity grow in value! Allah does not love
persistently ungrateful wrongdoer.
(Surat al-Baqara: 276)
occupies most of our daily talk. In rich and poor countries alike,
few communities are immune from escalating economic problems. The
majority of people in the world live on the breadline while many
countries depend on foreign 'aid' for survival. Receiving foreign
'aid' adds more to their problems, since, unable to pay even the
interest, these countries face great hardship.
From health to education, all issues are kept moving
by means of finance. However, whether developed countries or not,
economic conditions hit people hard. Wealth, extravagance and their
natural consequence, degradation, sit next to impoverishment. Unable
to meet their essential needs, people fight with each other. Many
reports and studies, programmes for improvement, and seminars to
raise awareness of the issue flounder for want of viable solutions
and the fact remains that, each day adds to the despair and misery
of much of the world.
Unemployment is a major global problem. Even if people
are employed, their wages are not sufficient to secure good living
conditions. Even so, hundreds of candidates apply for a few vacancies
in public service, which will bring a rather moderate income. People
wait in queues for hours in front of unemployment offices in the
dim hope of finding a job.
What is the solution, then? Why do measures fail to eradicate
In any country, economic development, productivity, flourishing
job opportunities, and a productive workforce are essential to maintain
economic stability. Yet, statistics indicate that there are almost
820 million unemployed around the world. When we add the number
of dependants to this figure, the dimensions of the problem become
even more serious.
In our day, economic systems, especially in underdeveloped
countries, rely on bank interest. The high interest rates offered
to depositors by banks have a destructive impact on national economies.
This becomes the main reason why people put their money in banks
rather than investing or using it productively. The wealthy find
it easier to live on the interest they receive rather than working
and in a society where most people do not work it is unlikely to
boost investment, which is essential for the improvement of the
In such systems, newspapers carry bank advertisements
giving the following message: "You can stop investing in your business
and go on a holiday…" This rationale, albeit seemingly simple and
attractive, brings devastation to a country rather than welfare
and wealth. An economy that is not nurtured by investments is doomed
to ruin. Money accumulated in bank accounts and safes is the main
source of such economic problems as inflation. Those who do not
contribute to the economy and who put their money in the bank and
"go on a holiday" will themselves suffer the consequences in the
long term. Their money resting in the bank will constantly lose
value since, in the course of time, it will not keep up with the
rising rate of inflation.
In an economy resting on production, an overall recovery
occurs which benefits everyone. Indeed, Allah commands us to spend
our money for the benefit of people. In Surat at-Tawba, Allah gives
the news of a painful punishment for those who amass their possessions:
You who have iman! Many of the
rabbis and monks devour people's property under false pretences
and bar people from access to the Way of Allah. As for those who
hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in the Way of Allah,
give them the news of a painful punishment… (Surat at-Tawba: 34)
You who have iman! Many
of the rabbis and monks devour people's property under false
pretences and bar people from access to the Way of Allah.
As for those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend
it in the Way of Allah, give them the news of a painful punishment.
(Surat at-Tawba: 34)
In a society where the Qur'anic principles are applied,
practices which are essentially to the benefit of people keep the
system moving. Thus, Allah prohibits usury and thus prevents people
suffering under the burden of debts:
Those who practise usury will not
rise from the grave except as someone driven mad by Satan's touch.
That is because they say, 'Trade is the same as usury.' But Allah
has permitted trade and He has forbidden usury. Whoever is given
a warning by his Lord and then desists, can keep what he received
in the past and his affair is Allah's concern. But all who return
to it will be the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly,
for ever. (Surat al-Baqara: 275)
In another verse, it is stressed that usury does not
bring prosperity to man:
Allah obliterates usury but makes
charity grow in value! Allah does not love any persistently ungrateful
wrongdoer. (Surat al-Baqara: 276)
To improve living standards, stability and order are
essential in all domains of social life. This also holds true for
the economy. Believers are those who should assume the responsibility
of providing solutions. In this respect, nobody has the time to
lose waiting for others to take the initiative. That is because
Allah gave this responsibility to every believer. To fulfil it,
one primarily needs to communicate the religion and the blessings
that the religion adds to one's life.
The members of a community having a sincere faith that
possessions, unlike usury, spent for the good of people will bring
prosperity, will spend the part of their possessions they do not
need for a good cause without hesitation. The benefits of such a
system are evident to society. However, people should not see such
a system as unattainable. The way to prevent this is to teach people
It is also important to stress that, in the type of social
life that is guided by the Qur'an and the Sunnah people strive not
only for their own welfare, but for the welfare of the public since
the values of Islam demand co-operation, solidarity and unity.
Being prohibited by Allah from doing so, people do not
violate one another's rights. No one tries to unlawfully take others'
possessions or rights. No one commits fraud in measuring and weighing.
In a society living by the Qur'an, injustice is never allowed. Consequently,
usury-ridden relations end. The wealthy do not rip off the poor
and people do not attempt unlawfully to take other's portions.
In a society where religious values apply, nothing is
wasted. People consume but avoid extravagance. Co-operation and
justice maintain better living standards and welfare. The Blessed
Period of the first community of Islam, an age of welfare when people
in general adhered to the Qur'an and the Sunnah, is an explicit
example of this fact.