Monday, 24 October 2011

One perspective on the 'advance' development of the west and Islam


In this entry, comparison will be made on the prohibition of alcohol in Islam and the west.

Most muslims understand the word 'jahilliyah' as the period of ignorance in Arabia before the coming of the Prophet salallahualaihiwassalam. During this period, the arabs of Makkah are involved in a lot of activities where we would say are backwards, disgusting and immoral.

In this period of ignorance (jahilliyah) also refers to individual education. Most of them were illiterate, barely have any understanding of science and basically no system in life. One thing for sure is that, the arabs during jahilliyah heavily rely on alcohol as part of their lives. They had about 250 names for alcohol which shows their obsession for alcohol. Having 250 names for a type of drink is exceptional for any culture.

The came of Islam brought changes to this jahilliyah or backward culture. The changes are in the sequence manner. First they asked Prophet Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam for guidance on liquor. "They ask you about strong drinks and games of chance. Say :"in both is great evil, even though there is some benefit for people, but their evil is greater than their benefit." They ask: "What shall we spend in the Way of Allah?" Say :"Whatever you can spare." In this way Allah clearly expounds His injunctions to you that you may reflect upon them." (Surah albaqarah verse 219) Then, as they were difficult to part with alcohol, some offer their solah while intoxicated hence making errors in Qur'anic recitation. Then the verse was revealed "O you who believe! Do not draw near to the prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying; nor when you are defiled..." (Surah nisa verse 43) Liquor still showed its harm as people fight with each other and etc hence the following verse was revealed. "O you who believe! Strong drink and game of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that you may succeed." (Surah al maidah verse 90)

After receiving this clear instruction from Allah, the arabs of jahilliyah who were so attached to alcohol part their ways with alcohol. Until today, muslims still stay away from alcohol. Of course there are some of those black sheeps, but generally muslims avoid alcohol. The punishment for a muslim to be caught drinking alcohol was 80 lashes. Even without the practise of this punishment, muslims generally manage to keep a distance from alcohol.

In the U.S around 1930's they tried to banned liquor. They spend about 600 million dollars for campaign and all the expenses to prohibit alcohol. Even with most of its population who are literate and generally have good knowledge of science, the prohibition of alcohol didn't last long. In the end, the community caused the prohibition to be taken off. The law of prohibition of alcohol in this context was created by human. The rationale of the law comes from the will of the people. Therefore if people do not will such prohibition, it will then be lifted or taken off. This shows the weakness of the so called "democracy" - the voice of majority. The voice of majority doesn't necessarily proves that it is the correct guidance/path. Hence if the voice of majority is being followed, the minority will then suffer. The rationale of the law also comes from the feelings and influence of what the majority receive. Creating a law following instinct or feelings can cause a great error in our lives. Hence we actually need a law that does not originate from human.

Islam managed to prohibit alcohol without even spending one penny/cent for campaigns and etc. It is done through iman and fear of Allah. This is the strength and benefits of Islam that victory can be obtained through iman. Usually the west is being labelled more advance compared to the muslim countries. Despite their "advance" they could not achieve what the muslims did and it lasted for more than 1400 years. I'm of the opinion that Islam is more advance because it takes into consideration of the next life or the life in hereafter. The west only 'advances' in this life in the world and do not have a clue or preparation for the life of the hereafter.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

"No hudud please, we're Malaysian" ???

Narrated Anas bin Malik radiallahuanhu: The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "None will have the sweetness(delight) of Faith

(a) till he loves a person and loves him only for Allah's sake,

(b) till it becomes dearer to him to be thrown in the fire than to revert to disbelief (Heathenism) after Allah has brought him out (saved him) from it,
(c) till Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam) become dearer to him than anything else."

Narrated Tariq: 'Abdullah said, "The best talk is Allah's Book (the Qur'an), and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam.

They started the "article by saying are our politicians bad, crazy or stupid?" Does this not show you that they lack of good manners and respect to those who are seeking ways to improve the country (i.e politicans, governers)? They can argue with the politicians but calling them bad, crazy or stupid are not from the teaching of Islam. Narrated Abu Hurairah radiallahuanhu: The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "A good, pleasent, friendly word is a Sadaqa." [Sahih Bukhari]

The continued by saying "if I were the opposition, I would jump and present my party". This already shows that they are trying to divide the community. Show link. Also the title 'No hudud please, we're Malaysian' stresses on nationalism/tribalism. "And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for  whom there is an awful torment." (surah al-an'am verse 35) Nationalism is HARAM because the Prophet Mohammad (saw) said in the following Hadeeths:
"Leave it. It is Rotten " [Bukhari & Muslim] refers to all forms of Asabiyah, nationalism, racism, and patriotism. 
Grouping the Muslims on tribalistic lines is clearly forbidden. It is narrated by Abu Daud that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "He is not one us who calls for `Asabiyah, (nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for `Asabiyah or who dies for `Asabiyah."
" ...People should give up their pride in nations because this is a coal from the coals of hell-fire. If they do not give this up Allah (swt) will consider them lower than a lowly worm which pushes itself through khur (feces)." [abu Dawd and Tirmidhi].

"An offer of the hudud law and its grim serving of chopped-off Muslim hands and feet, and stoning to death! What kind of future is that?" This clearly indicates that their definition of future is only in the lifetime of this world. They are entirely worried of what is going to happen to "Malaysia" in the future but not considering about the Muslims in the hereafter. Muslims should believe that future also means in the hereafter.

"So it's okay for Muslims to be brutalised?" There should be no police or jail if they put it in that sense if they are scared to be brutalised. Nobody should go to jail because that person is being brutalised and deprived from the main society. The idea of jail is to make people fear of it so that nobody would dare to make any evil. If anyone decides to do evil, they would be punished to prison, life sentence and etc. Similarly with hudud law, it is to create the fear and reminder that there is even a worse punishment in the hereafter. I can point out that by doing hudud, the taxpayers money will be saved to pay the food and accommodation of the prisoners. Plus, those who committed evil acts are not likely to commit again.

"What if the thief was a Chinese or Indian ...while the Malay is now disabled.." The issue here is about Muslims and their law, why write Chinese, Indian and Malay? This MAY BE because they are trying to strike racial issues. Clearly we have chinese muslims, malay christians and etc. There is no need to include race in this issue/article. This article is either trying to provoke or just simply bad composition. Hence, clearly there is no conspiracy to make the MALAYS permanently disabled. The hudud law is made to encourage MUSLIMS to do good and avoid commiting evil.

"But they are Malaysian citizens who have every rights to speak up on laws that allow for brutal and inhumane punishments against their fellow citizens, the majority population boot." This clearly shows that we do not have personal rights to practise our religion! Clearly they do not receive the knowledge in the Qur'an or the pious Muslims about Prophet Noah. If it was clearly up to the majority, they would be afflicted by destruction. Muslims believes in the law that was prescribed, by following the majority will not let us practice it!

"Who wants to live in such society when your neighbour, ... are subject to a cruel legal system?" Another question can be raised from this is that who wants a neighbour who is a criminal and is not afraid to commit evil? Narrated Ibn Umar radiallahuanhu Allah's Mesengger salallahu alaihiwasalam said, "Jibril kept on recommending me about treating the neighbours kindly and politely, so much so I thought that he would order me to make them as my heirs." [Sahih Bukhari]

Narrated Abu Shuraih: The Prophet salallahualaiwasalam said, "By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! It was said, "Who is that, O Allah's Messenger?" He said, "That person whose neighbour does not feel safe from evil." [Sahih bukhari]

They have mistaken rape for zina. Clearly rape is different from zina. Zina is consensual but was witnessed/caught by some. Rape is non-consensual.
During the time of the Prophet (saw) punishment was inflicted on the rapist on the solitary evidence of the woman who was raped by him. Wa'il ibn Hujr reports of an incident when a woman was raped. Later, when some people came by, she identified and accused the man of raping her. They seized him and brought him to Allah's messenger, who said to the woman, "Go away, for Allâh has forgiven you," but of the man who had raped her, he said, "Stone him to death." (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

During the time when Umar (raa) was the Khalifah, a woman accused his son Abu Shahmah of raping her; she brought the infant borne of this incident with her to the mosque and publicly spoke about what had happened. Umar (raa) asked his son who acknowledged committing the crime and was duly punished right there and then. There was no punishment given to the woman. (Rauf)
Islamic legal scholars interpret rape as a crime in the category of Hiraba. In ‘Fiqh-us-Sunnah’, hiraba is described as: ‘a single person or group of people causing public disruption, killing, forcibly taking property or money, attacking or raping women (hatk al ‘arad), killing cattle, or disrupting agriculture.’ [Can be found at]

Clearly this Hudud law have caused fear in their hearts. Hence it shows how effective the Hudud law because it managed to cause fear and may Allah make us righteous muslims so that we are avoided from the punishment in this world and the hereafter.
may we always be guided to the right path. Insha'Allah.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Bismillahirohmanirohim ( In the name of Allah the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

Nowadays, there are a lot of convenience store that operates 24 hours a day. This culture  originated from the West but it is not impossible to find this culture in the East too. The idea is not only appealing to the capitalist entrepreneur but also to provide convenience to consumers to make any purchase at any time of the day. Therefore it looks like a win-win situation for both parties. Since Eastern countries (/Malaysia) do not have 4 seasons, having 24 hours shops/stores seem to be a trend. One of the reason people in Malaysia like to go out at night is because of its cool breeze and hence they avoid the blazing sun during the day.

We usually claim that we follow a religion as a source of guide to life but sometimes we are not men of our words. We find it difficult to practise what we preach even though we know it is the right way. As we understand, in Islam, the night is for us to rest and also to devote our time for prayer privately as it was practised by the Prophet Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam. Evidently when Khalid al-walid was leading the army, their night was devoted for worshipping. Qubuqlar, the Roman deputy commander sent a Christian arab to enter the Muslim camp to be a spy. So he spent a day and night in the Muslim camp as a spy and when he returned to Qubuqlar, he said "By night they are like monks, by day like warriors.."

As we know from the lifetime of the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam, after isha' prayers it is the time to go straight home. The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam do get occasional visits after Isha' from Abu Bakr as Siddiq due to their friendship (even before Prophethood) and also because of being the father to Prophet's salallahualaihiwasalam wife (Aisha radiallahuanha). Other than these visits, after Isha was not a time to gather/meeting/discuss. Usually the gathering/meetings are held after Fajr prayers when sometimes the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam turns after leading the prayer and ask if anyone had any question or any dreams to be interpreted. So, according to the Prophet's lifetime, night time is for rest and worshipping.

Why is it important for the night to be quiet/spent indoor?

i) In Islam we don't just observe others' rights such as parents rights, neighbours rights and etc. Islam also observes the right of the body from the individual. We have to eat what is Halal (permitted), the right amount and etc. Similarly, our body have the right to rest.

ii)The community needs to rest. By doing this, pollution may be reduced because less people travel at night, and also less electricity/power usage.

iii) Crimes may be reduced. If the culture instill in our mind that night time is for resting, most people would stay home. Therefore, those few people left roaming at night must have certain agendas in their mind. Crimes are easier to be conducted in the dark and ideal to the criminals due to its low risk. It is easier then for the authority to monitor. Therefore staying out at night will create a higher percentage to be a victim.

iv) The night should be spent with family. Ensuring their safety of the family members from the intense of the darkness. Also the time to be intimate and appreciate each other as the day has been spent on business, learning and etc.

In Surah Al-Falaq verse 3 we are being advised :"And from the evil of night's darkness when it spreads around;" It is a clear advise and prayer for us to avoid evil in the night. The issue has been discussed from the perception of the general community or "the consumers". What about the benefits on operating business 24 hours? Some may argue that 24 hours generates more income but are we looking for more income or more barakah in the income? Sometimes it shows how materialistic we are because of wanting to generate more income without considering anything else. This is the attitude of the capitalist.

"And to (the people of) Midian We sent their brother Shu'ayb. He said: "My people! Serve Allah; you have no god but He. And do not diminish the measure and weight. Indeed I see that you are prospering now, but I fear for you the chastisement of an encompassing day in the future. (85) My people! Give full measure and weight with justice, do not diminish the goods of others, and do not go about creating corruption in the land. (86) The gains that Allah let's you retain are better for you, if you indeed believe." [Surah hud verse 84-86]

These verses show that we should always beware of our economic dealings. Even if one gains a lot of income from doing business at night, does it have barakah? Clearly I have shown that there are more cons than pros in doing business in the night. The people of Midian weren't fair in their economic dealings and mainly because of this and rejecting Prophet Shu'ayb "So a mighty earthquake overtook them, and by morning they lay overturned in their houses." [Surah al-ankabut verse 36]. Let us not be obsessed in generating income without considering anything and disobey the instructions of Allah, insha'allah.

Although this verse refers to people who rushed away without listening to the khutbah of the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam in order to do business with the caravan that was arriving, we should ponder on it. "But when they see a chance of trade or entertainment they scatter off to it and leave you standing there. Say: "What is with Allah is better than trade or entertainment. Allah is the best of providers." [surah jumu'ah verse 11]

The night in the current trend is usually being spent by operating business(trading) or entertainment (lepaq, karoake and etc) yet, Allah has mentioned that what is with Allah is better and Allah is the best of providers. So, we should limit the business operating hours as the night is better left for rest and worshipping and not be obsessed in generating income without considering anything and disobey the instructions of Allah, insha'allah.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Criticism on sunnah and hadith


Lately, I have come across a few people who don't believe in the Hadith or Sunnah. Some argue that Hadith is just a "word of mouth" and how can one be sure it is the Prophet's saying as it is all "hearsays". So, question is, is it impossible for a person to memorise the Hadith?

Firstly, Hadith is preserved in the same way of the Holy Quran which is through memorisation (although the Qur'an were written down by the scribes, it is memorised before recorded). Memorisation was the way of the uneducated/ poor arabs learn things. Most Arabs were not literate during the period of Jahiliyah (ignorance), and those who were not literate had no choice but to memorise what they have learnt. The literate Arabs were then the scribes which documented what have been said and done.

Qur'an was revealed by the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam about 1400 years ago. It was revealed to him in fragments and not all at once. It was compiled as a Qur'an during the reign of the first caliph (Abu Bakr) by the initiation of  Umar al Khattab. The duty was given to Zaid bin Thabit. So it was compiled after the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam passed away. What happened during this gap of time? If one were to accept Qur'an as the word of the truth, why can't one accept the sunna and hadith?

Umar al Khattab initiated it because the hafidh (protector) of Qur'an were the frontliners in the Jihad fisabilillah helping to expand the Islam empire. They were hafidh (protector) of the Qur'an not only from the memorisation part but they were also hafidh of the moral values in the Qur'an. This is the reason that they are the frontliners, because they understand and do not want to contradict themselves with the teachings of the Qur'an.

Anyway, Umar al Khattab was worried that all the hafidh being killed therefore suggested to Abu Bakr to compile the Qur'an in writing. Clearly, they relied heavily on people who had memorised the word of Allah subahanawata'ala (it is also undeniable that they needed the written verses as well to compile the Qur'an). Since all Muslims have no doubts in the Quran, why are there people who wouldn't accept the Sunnah and Hadith when in actual fact it is being preserved through memorisation until the time of Imam Malik, Bukhari and etc.

Arabs at the beginning of Islam were of the ignorance. Their level of ignorance were drastic which they do not learn how to read or write. Due to the ignorance of the people, those who are poor and no authority were oppressed. The oppression also caused them not being able to educate themselves on how to read/write. Therefore they relied heavily on memorising. In the early years of spreading Islam, the oppressed people were more keen towards embracing Islam. Hence, they were keen to learn more about Islam without knowing how to read and write which left them with no choice but to memorise. This is another point that make the Sunnah and Hadith reliable as it is relied heavily on memorisation.

Abu Hurayrah (Abdurrahman) radiallahuanhu is an example of a person who travelled to Madinah and wanted to study the ways of Islam with Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam himself. He dedicated himself to studying by living in the Prophet's mosque in Madinah. Even though he was so dedicated, he did not know how to read or write. Therefore relied heavily on memorisation. Perhaps when one do not know how to read/write they will master the art of memorising.

Does the Sunnah and Hadith rely only on sanad (chain of narrators)? No, it does not! Most of the Hadith do refer to the revelation of the verses. Hadith are mostly explanation of the verses. Without the Sunnah and Hadith it is difficult for muslim to pray, make hajj and etc. The bible states how the Prophets prayed, even so it is not being practised by Christians. Therefore, without the Sunna and Hadith, muslims would not even know how to pray and will end up with empty mosques! Most importantly, these Sunna and Hadith are in spirit with the Qur'an. For example, the verses on the prohibition of riba from the Qur'an (baqarah verse 275), then there came hadith on explaining riba and the way to prevent it. There are no contradictions between the verse of the Quran and the Hadith. The Hadith are there just to explain the grey areas. So, what is the purpose/excuse of rejecting these Hadith? Why would then people go to an extent of saying the Hadith as being fabricated?? Some have criticised that Bukhari is not reliable because verification on the reliability of the hadith is only/solely by checking the isnad (chain of narrators). This is not true! Bukhari mastered a few techniques other than verifying the isnad. He mastered the art of ascertaining the veracity of the Hadith's texts through its chain of narration (isnad), the background of the hadith narrator (al-asma al-rijal), as well as a sound knowledge and understanding of the Qur'an in order to determine whether the Hadith was in compliance with the Divine revelation. This is what made his work famous in the first place! Yet, there are common people in the ummah who dares to criticise his work!

Then, there are those verse on obey Allah and His Messenger. How do we obey the Messenger if it's not from the Hadith? It's almost impossible to follow the Qur'an without the sunna and hadiths. I don't really mind if there are people out there who doesn't want to practise the sunna & hadith, but to go all the way to abolish it and abolish shari'ah law without any justification is just out of hand. Its ironic that these type of people would like to talk about the "Islamisation of education".

Another thing to ponder before ending this entry is the azan (calling to prayer). It has been practised for centuries and there are no difference in its text, be it in the past or present,  or even on the geographical location. From Japan to the U.S the wordings for the azan are exactly the same and it relied on memorisation and not in writings. Do not rule out something just because it is being memorised. These are the few points that I have and I'm sure there are many other facts to support the authenticity of the sunna and hadith. Allah knows best!

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)
This entry is based on the various hadith that you could find in this website The right way of dealing with rulers

What are the cause of riots? Firstly, it is because that people are not steadfast to the religion. They do not have any rope to hold on to give a good principle and concious towards themselves.

These riot are supposed to be a revolt towards the injustice behaviour of those who are in authority. The teachings of Islam has always been parallel with peace. Do riots symbolise peace? From my point of view riot is definitely nothing close to peace. How about the unjust ruler? Should they go unpunished? This has been explained in the hadith. "Prophet’s saying reported on the authority of Hudhayfa Ibn Al-Yamân رضي الله عنه: “There will be rulers who will not be led by my guidance and will not adopt my tradition. There will be among them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies ofhuman beings”. I said: “What should I do O Messenger of Allah, if such timeovertook me? He said: “You will listen to the commander and carry out his orders, and even if your back is lashed and your wealth is seized (by force),you should listen and obey”"
What are the role of the community? The community should always be helping, and advising the unjust ruler. Then, there is the question, why should opposition exists? This is usually because the 'oppositions' think that they are more capable in ruling the country. It is also normal that the 'oppositions' way of opposing is by pointing the injustices done by the ruler. They do this not necessarily to help, assist and advise the government, but they do this to gain the support of the community to oppose the ruler. After establishing this they will continue with movements with the support of the community by doing protests and riots.

Food for thought, if the opposition managed to over throw the government what will happen next? If the opposition becomes the ruling authority, they cannot afford to do any mistakes. If there are mistakes and injustice, the community will spark a new protest and new opposition will be established. This will then be a consistent cycle. It will go on continuously and will affect the community and its education as the government is always changing and there is no long term vision. When it affects the education, there will be a less brighter future. The perception of the community will now be too obsessed to monitor those who are in authority. Most of their time will be occupied eyeing every single action by the authority, hence peace will be a distant thing in our hearts.
If everyone can have their own say, who will be the one to listen? In my opinion these are the cause and effect of secularism. Secularism has caused the mass to be confused. It has created a barrier between the religion and the administration of the country. "Give Caesar what belongs to him, and give Jesus what belongs to him." This has been the method adopted today and have separated the morale teachings that a religion can contribute to the development and administration of the country. With this separation, it portrays that governments are greater than religion which will create a perception towards the community that religion means backwards. Therefore people will adopt this method/perception and may do what ever one wishes (I.e criminal acts). Anyway according to the teachings of Islam, everything belongs to Allah (not Caesar, not Jesus, not Muhammad salallahualaihiwasalam) therefore religion should always be observed in every aspect of our lives. We should firstly rely on religion and then rely on our intellect (this is part of the method that is adopted by the shari'ah). We should not just rely on our intellect (secular method) alone because this will cause the destruction of the community. "Nay but humanity transgresses all bounds when it looks upon itself as self-sufficient". (Surah al-Alaq verse 7). When we think we are self-sufficient and not use Allah's laws and words, Allah says "Those who turn from remembering Me shall live lives of misery; We shall raise him blind on the Day of Resurrection,". (Surah Ta Ha verse 124)

This link shows how one should react towards an unjust muslim ruler. Why are these hadith being neglected? Are the scholars not well versed enough? Scholars are actually well versed in this issue. This hadith is probably being neglected because of the weakness in the human hearts. We as the community could not be patient anymore and would like to see changes being made. We would rather follow our hearts than following the hadith so that we could see the unjust authority getting punished. Why are we too obsessed on seeing the unjust ruler getting punished now and putting matters in our own hands? Do we not believe in the punishment of the hereafter? Isn't patience considered as good deeds which will be beneficial in our hereafter? Why are we throwing away the opportunity in doing good deeds and good rewards? Sometimes, some of us muslims (including myself) would prefer to "follow" a hadith only when there are scientific proof! This should not be the method and we should change the attitude to have faith in Qur'an and hadith. We also need to educate ourselves on the authenticity and fabricated hadith. I will touch on this issue "attacks on the authenticity of hadith" in the near future, insha'allah.

Personally I have never liked the ways of the current government (Malaysia) but sometimes we have to try and put aside our feelings and hold fast onto the rope (Islam, refer to Surah al Imran verse 103). Opposing (by protest and riots) in my opinion is not a productive solution. I may not have the slightest idea for the solution, but from what I understand the teachings of Islam, things should be done or implemented in the roots. "Verily Allah does not change a people's condition unless they change their inner selves." (Surah ar-ra'd verse 11)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Islam to suit our ways?

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)
As I have mentioned in the previous entry about discussing in depth on the issue of naming and branding 'Islamic banks'.

In this era, we are always looking for Islam to suit our way of life. 'Islamic banking' is one of the perfect and popular example nowadays. Personally I do not have any objection on most of the legality transaction, but I could not see how Islamic banking contributes to Islam in general.

Is 'Islamic banking' contributing to the development of the Muslim society? No doubt that Islamic banking do provide a way to create Halal transactions but do they have any other impact to the Muslim community? In my opinion 'Islamic banking' should be named as 'Shari'ah banking' like in certain places. This will make more sense because shari'ah is a place where a Muslim seeks its legislation ruling. (I.e nikah, divorce, business & etc).

Islam on the other hand is a whole package. When one says 'Islamic banking', it cannot neglect any muslim, be it rich, poor, healthy, disabled and etc. This is not what 'Islamic banking' is at the moment. They only interact with those who are doing business transaction with them. In the Holy Qur'an, it mentions about rich, poor, those in authority, loyal followers, orphans and etc. Therefore 'Islamic banks' should not neglect any of them. However, we often see them contributing or providing to those who are capable and in transaction with them.

"O you who believe! Enter silm (Islam) perfectly and follow not the footsteps of shaytan. Verily he is to you a plain enemy." (Surah al Baqarah verse 208) The highlight of this ayah is "Enter silm(Islam) perfectly". This shows that Islam is not restricted to just one section (I.e business) but are wide open and involves a lot of things.

People may agree that they call themselves Islamic banks because they handle only banking transaction. So, what is a definition of a bank? Does it only restrict to a certain methods of transactions? Even the Financial Services Authority UK could not define a bank. This is because banking are always enhancing and new methods are being innovated so a banking transaction can never be restricted because if it was restricted, many banks will loose their license.

Coming back to 'Islamic banks', should their transaction be restricted to those who are their clients/customers? Again, what have they contribute to Islam as a whole? So the next time you step in those so called 'Islamic bank' ask them what have they contribute to Islam as a whole.

The whole point of my entry is not to go against the 'Islamic banks' but to expose how often we neglect on certain things to create a better Islam. One may say 'Islamic banks' are doing false advertising. Things that are false should have nothing to do with Islam because Islam is the truth. We as a Muslim community should help these Islamic banks to fulfil Islam whole fully and not partly.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Are we trying to achieve the ideal Muslim community (ummah)?

Bismillahirohmaneerohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

"Whosoever acquires unlawful wealth and then gives it away as sadaqah will have no reward, and he will bear the burden (of his wrongdoing)." From Abu Hurayrah (As cited in Kanz al-ummal)"- from a book I read.

Who would have thought that a good intention (sadaqah) could easily be nullified when one receives their wealth in an illegal way. Even though the intention is good, one should make sure that it is good as a whole and not only bits and pieces of it. Therefore it is vital to know where our wealth is coming from and to make sure that the sources are legal so that not only what we give is Halal but in fact what we eat, drink, wear and etc is Halal too.

When we try to understand the Divine injunctions and the further explanations given by the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam, it becomes clear that the Divine law strikes at its very root. This ayat further shows that any law/changes should happen at its root rather than patching its root: "Verily Allah does not change a people's condition unless they change their inner selves." (surah ar-ra'd verse 11)

The ayat above could be looked at the 'Islamic banking' industry point of view. which then comes to a question on whether they (islamic banks) are helping to change the roots of human development or just making an alternative banking for Halal transactions?

Today we could see some 'Islamic banks' taking steps to safe guard themselves from unwanted risks. Example, if a person gets into a transaction with a bank requiring him to pay monthly instalments, they would be expected to pay the monthly instalments as per their contract. However, if they don't pay, these banks are giving them another chance to pay but including late payment fees on top of the instalments. No doubt it (the late payment fees) is permissible, but is it really helping to change the root itself? Is the 'Islamic bank' playing any role to help these individual to become better Muslims who will always fulfil their contract truthfully and honestly?

The reason of the late payment fees is to safeguard the banks so that they are not being taken advantage by the people who might end up not paying for their instalments. Late payment fees does make sense but is the bank helping to develop a better Muslim community as this in my opinion is more important. Do they put any effort to invest in human development? Therefore, should these banks be named 'Islamic banks'? Naming and branding some banks as 'Islamic banks' is an issue on its own which I will Insha'Allah write more in the near future.

Getting back to the topic, with this kind of mentality, 'Islamic banks' are actually design to suit the current Muslim way of life which may bring advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, it is hindering from achieving the bigger goal, which is to improve and get the ideal muslim community/ummah. In a way, this is not changing the root/inner selves. Instead, the 'Islamic banks' are just patching up any likely holes. This has been the trend for some 'Islamic banks'. They are trying to find ways to patch new holes such as trying to make 'derivatives' permissible and etc. Again, no doubt they are able to justify the permissibility of their transaction, but their effort has never been aimed to change the roots. We should find ways to get/become the ideal Muslim community/ummah who do not lie, cheat, and fulfil their contracts and so on, rather than patching up all these holes to justify its permissibility.

Going slightly off track, I am mentioning this because I've heard this idea from a friend which does not make any sense to myself. Anyway, the idea is that a group of 'gangsters' were created to protect the Muslim community. 'Gangsters' in itself is wrong but they try to make it sound OK by saying they are protecting the Muslims community. Referring back to the Hadith above, this is just like acquiring unlawful wealth and giving it away for charity. This is not striking or changing the root/inner selves. With this mentality, again there can only be less hope in achieving the ideal Muslim community. The muslims do not need such protection from a group of gangsters because "Allah is the Best Protector and is the Most Merciful." (Surah Yusuf verse 64) No doubt we should work hard to get some protection and not just 'tawakkal' but this should be done in a more harmonious way rather than using brutality.

So with the current mentality, are we actually pushing further or getting closer in achieving the ideal ummah? May Allah guide us to change and achieving the ideal Ummah!