The Child’s Rights: The Parents’ Duties

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Children-Playing

Islam’s general approach to children may be summarized in a few principles: First, it is a divine injunction that no child may become the cause of harm to the parents (Al-Baqarah 2:233). Secondly, by implication the parents should reciprocate and cause the child no harm either. The Qur’an recognizes very clearly that parents are not always immune from over protectiveness or negligence. On the basis of this recognition, it has, thirdly, established certain guidelines and pointed out certain facts with respect to children. It points out that children are joys of life as well as sources of pride, seeds of vanity and false security, fountains of distress and temptation. But it hastens to stress the greater joys of the spirit and caution parents against overconfidence, false pride, or misdeeds that might be caused by children.

The religious moral principle of this position is that every individual, parent or child, relates to God directly and is independently responsible for his deeds. No child can absolve the parent on the Day of Judgment. Nor can a parent intercede on behalf of his child. Finally, Islam is strongly sensitive to the crucial dependence of the child on the parents. Their decisive role in forming the child’s personality is clearly recognized in Islam.

In a very suggestive statement, the Prophet declared that every child is born into the true malleable nature of faith (i.e., the pure natural state of Islam), its parents later on make it into a Jew, Christian or pagan.

According to these guidelines, and more specifically, one of the most inalienable rights of the child in Islam is the right to life and equal life chances. Preservation of the child’s life is the third commandment in Islam.

Another equally inalienable right is the right of legitimacy, which holds that every child shall have a father, and one father only. A third set of rights comes under socialization, upbringing, and general care. To take good care of children is one of the most commendable deeds in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was fond of children and he expressed his conviction that his Muslim community would be noted among other communities for its kindness to children.

It is charity of a higher order to attend to their spiritual welfare, educational needs, and general well-being. Interest in and responsibility for the child’s welfare are questions of first priority. According to the Prophet’s instructions, by the seventh day the child should be given a good, pleasant name and its head should be shaved, along with all the other hygienic measures required for healthy growing. 

Responsibility for and compassion toward the child is a matter of religious importance as well as social concern. Whether the parents are alive or deceased, present or absent, known or unknown, the child is to provided with optimum care. Whenever there are executers or relatives close enough to be held responsible for the child’s welfare, they shall be directed to discharge this duty. But if there is no next of kin, care for the child becomes a joint responsibility of the entire Muslim community, designated officials and commoners alike.

Dr. Hammudah Abdalati graduated from al-Azhar Universiy of Egypt. He received an M.A. in Islamic Studies from McGill University and a Ph. D. in Sociology from Princeton University. In 1958 he joined the Department of Islamic Culture at al-Azhar. He was appointed in 1960 the first full-time director of the Canadian Islamic Center of Edmonton, Aberta. From 1967 till he passed away in September 1976, Dr. Abdalati was Associate Professor of Sociology at Utica College of Syracuse University.

Source : OnIslam

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India Muslims Save Sacred Hindu River

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CAIRO – Indian Muslim scholars are extending their hands to save a river sacred to the Hindus from pollution, which has been a cause of harm to millions of residents.

“The failure of various projects to make Ganges pollution-free following rampant corruption proves that only the involvement of common people of the country can save the river,” Mukti Sangram Acharya Pramod Krishnan, convener of Ganges River, told Press Trust of India.

“And the support of Muslims in this task is equally important.”

Muslim scholars have thrown their weight behind a campaign to save the sacred Ganges River from pollution.

Terming the drive to clean the river as a “holy campaign”, Maulana Saeedur Rehman, principal of Center of Islamic studies, said Ganges, though it is associated with Hindus, is not any less important for Muslims.

His position is also supported by Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangimahli, member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Firangimahli said Ganges is a national river and that both Muslims and Hindus live on its banks and earn livelihood through it.

The religious leader appealed to all Muslims to contribute to render the river free of pollution, calling on the central government to create a new ministry for conservation of rivers.

Ganges is a trans-boundary 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river of India and Bangladesh.

The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs.

The river is worshiped by the Hindus as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism.

The Ganges was ranked among the five most polluted rivers of the world in 2007, with its pollution threatening not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.

Muslim Endeavor

Muslims and Hindus will work together to devise a plan on clearing the river.

“Soon we will sit together and formulate a joint work plan and also visit the areas on the banks of the river to create public awareness,” Krishnan, the convener of the river, said.

Krishnan blamed the bridges built by the government for the pollution of the sacred river.

Citing National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), he said oxygen and other vital contents in the Ganges are getting destroyed gradually because of the seven bridges on the river.

“If the river is made free of bridges it would become pollution free,” Krishnan said.

Muslims account for 160 million of India’s 1.1 billion people, the world’s third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.

The Muslim endeavor comes against strained relations between Hindus and Muslims in the country.

Deep-seated tensions between India’s Muslims and Hindus flared when Hindu mobs demolished the 16th century Babri mosque in 1992.

More than 2,000 people were killed in ensuing ethnic violence between Hindus and Muslims over the mosque demolition.

In 2002, hundreds of Muslims were hacked and burned to death in communal violence that broke after a fire accidentally flared up at a train.

Islamic Banking Knocks Germany’s Doors

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banking

CAIRO – Turkey’s Kuveyt Turk investment fund plans to open the first Islamic bank in Germany in October, amid hopes of overcoming the bad effects of the ongoing euro crisis and get a share of the successful Islamic banking pie.

“The idea of an Islamic bank is that it adheres to Islamic investment guidelines and principles,” Zaid el-Mogaddedi, founder and director of the Institute for Islamic Banking and Finance (IFIBAF) in Frankfurt, told Deutsche Welle on Saturday, September 1.

Istanbul-based financial institute Kuveyt Turk would open the first Islamic bank of its kind in Germany next October.

Germany Tastes Islamic Finance

The bank was introduced as many Europeans hope to sign on to a banking institute that offers only transactions backed by tangible assets rather than highly speculative financial management which caused the ongoing euro crisis.

“You have to see that it in the Islamic financial system are also mechanisms that mimic the interest rate effect – though it is not the same,” said Martin Schulte, an Islamic banking expert at the Association of Foreign Banks in Germany.

“Money is fruitless, that is to say that simply transferring money does not create economic value,” he said.

“It is a medium of exchange, which itself has no economic power.”

Conventional banking, however, is partly based on the concept that lending money is a service in itself that is worthy of compensation.

“But in the Islamic understanding it is possible to develop products that are economically useful and complement the conventional banking business from a macro perspective very well.”

Islam forbids Muslims from usury, receiving or paying interest on loans.

Islamic banks and finance institutions cannot receive or provide funds for anything involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork.

Shari`ah-compliant financing deals resemble lease-to-own arrangements, layaway plans, joint purchase and sale agreements, or partnerships.

Investors have a right to know how their funds are being used, and the sector is overseen by dedicated supervisory boards as well as the usual national regulatory authorities.

Failing?

Introduced years ago in different European countries, experts hope German new Islamic funds to be more successful than that of UK and France.

“The decisive point will be whether the Islamic banks offer an attractive product portfolio and good services,” El-Mogaddedi from the Institute for Islamic Banking and Finance, said.

Also “whether the communication is clear enough to bring Muslims and non-Muslims to the bank as an attractive alternative,” he added.

A study published in 2012 by the Stresemann Institute found that “Islamic finance” had failed in European countries because Muslim customers had lower income levels and thus little investment potential.

But El-Mogaddedi said the failure of Islamic financial products in Europe came down to bad marketing.

Staying reluctant for years to taste the booming industry, an Islam-conform investment fund was established in Germany in May 2012 by the Malaysian asset manager CIMB Principal.

The fund was approved by the German Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.

The new Islamic finance targets Germany’s roughly 4 million Muslim residents, along non-Muslims.

Islamic banking is one of the fastest growing financial sectors in the world.

Islamic financial products got their first major boost after the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Many Arabs withdrew their money from the US at the time, and some of those funds, according to Abdullah, ended up in Malaysia and the Gulf states.

A second boost came during the international financial crisis, when Islamic financial products actually showed profits.

The Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans Index, which tracks the 100 biggest Islam-compliant businesses in Europe, the US and Asia, has nearly doubled over the last five years.

The Shari`ah-compliant system is now being practiced in 50 countries worldwide, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the global financial industry.

Currently, there are nearly 300 Islamic banks and financial institutions worldwide whose assets amounting to $1.6 trillion (1.2 trillion euros).

Islamic finance on MBAs

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Top business schools in the West are incorporating elements of Islamic finance onto their MBA programs in order to educate their students about global economies.

Encouraged by the recent economic downturn, business schools and their students are considering the option of specializing in Islamic finance in order to diversify their skills, thus appealing to a rapidly growing international financial market.

“The Islamic finance industry has been growing at a rapid rate over the past two decades, with assets in that sector now in excess of US$1 trillion,” explains Walid Hejazi, associate professor of international business at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Canada. “Although these assets are concentrated in the Middle East and Asia, there is an increasing participation by US, European and Australian businesses in the sector, with Canada lagging significantly.”

Islamic finance in international corporations

In fact, with major financial corporations based in non-Islamic countries opening up Islamic finance departments to specifically cater for their business interests in Shariah compliant countries, as well as residents of those countries living abroad, many experts believe the importance of specializing in Islamic finance on MBA programs will increase in the coming years.

“Most major banks have either already established or are looking to open Islamic finance windows in their retail and investment arms in the immediate to near future. The demand to seek out graduates who can understand the novelty and complexity of the Islamic finance market is at an all-time high,” explains Dr Omneya Abdelsalam, senior lecturer and director of the El Shaarani Islamic Business and Finance (EIBF) Research Centre at Aston Business School in the UK.

“All of the ‘Big Four’ auditing firms (PriceWaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte) have established their own independent Islamic finance divisions, and there is a long list of international financial services companies (for example HSBC, Deutsche Bank, UBS, among others) which are starting to enter into wholesale trade and investment in the Shariah compliant market.”

A UK home for Islamic finance

With its first MBA specialization in Islamic finance due to commence in October 2011, Dr Abdelsalam’s EIBF Research Centre at Aston Business School was the first dedicated study centre for Islamic finance at a recognized institution in Europe. As both Durham Business School and Bangor Business School are due to follow suit, the UK’s business education sector is clearly taking the importance of studying Islamic finance seriously.

Currently, five European business schools, all located in the UK, either offer, or plan to offer MBA electives in Islamic finance: Aston Business School, Bangor Business School, the University of Aberdeen Business School, Greenwich University Business School, plus the privately operated London School of Business and Finance. The London-based Cass Business School also offer it as an Executive MBA specialization from their Dubai location, which became the first ever MBA with an Islamic finance element when launched in 2007.

Iqbal Asaria, visiting lecturer at Cass Business School who teaches the module, points out that the financial crisis experienced by Western economies has helped significantly in the growing popularity of Islamic finance as an alternative financial system, where risk is shared between lenders and borrowers, and any form of interest is banned.

“Given the growth of Islamic finance it is increasingly important for MBA students to study this subject to get a well rounded exposure to current trends in finance. This has become doubly important post the crisis in conventional finance,” says Asaria.

Dubai’s financial impact

Rotman’s Hejazi agrees, arguing that the recent economic problems in Dubai have helped Islamic finance to evolve, so that it no longer caters purely for those of Islamic faith.

“The difficulties in Dubai in some sense were fortunate in that they have forced the Islamic finance industry to both develop and communicate the governance issues around Shariah compliant financial securities… this is part of the maturing process.”

With Islamic finance’s emphasis upon shared risk, and alternative methods of benefitting from personal wealth, it’s little wonder why economically damaged Western countries find the principles of the system appealing. However, whether MBA students following Islamic finance courses in Western nations are truly international, or are made up of a majority of Islamic expatriate students, keen on returning to their home-country after graduation remains to be seen.

Source : www.topmba.com

Islam, Lim and I

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He is a close childhood friend – Lim Wei Choon. We go way back from the time when we were in our formative years until we graduated from secondary school. However, as fate would have it, we parted ways soon after completing our SPM. I advanced to Form 6 while Lim pursued his studies in the United States. Despite being separated by circumstance, it is impossible to leave behind tons of memories shared as we grew into our teens.

Traveling down memory lane, Lim would visit our family house every ‘Eidul-Fitri’ without fail, especially not to miss out on savoring his favorite ‘Dodol’ made by my late father. At times, he would even partake keenly in ceremonial events held at our house. As much as I enjoyed Lim’s affable visits, for a legitimate reason however, I was not quite as reciprocal. With a few exceptions of birthdays and ‘Chinese New Year’ celebrations, my fear of Lim’s family pet dog, unfortunately, had dissuaded me from being a frequent patron at his home.

Nonetheless, at school, we were points of reference for each other, particularly on our subjects of expertise. Lim – Mathematics. Me – Bahasa Malaysia. Together, we sailed through many adventures; fishing, swimming in cascade, skipping out school just to watch a ‘break-dance’ competition, among others. Bonds were gradually formed, intertwined between the innocence and curiosity of our young minds. A warm reminiscence, that skin color and religious differences was never a barrier to our friendship.

*****

Twenty years passed. I got to know from his sister, while pursuing his career abroad, that Lim had eventually acquired a ‘Green Card’ and became a permanent resident in the United Sates. Apart from the geographical distance, lack of technological means had also played a role in making regular communication between us, that more difficult. Back in those days, internet, e-mails or mobile phones were unheard of and we were not really into writing letters between male friends. Initially, there were occasional postcards as a way of keeping tabs, but as time elapsed, we had since lost contact entirely.

The shocking news was brought about by Lim’s sister one morning, at a local wet market, who found me by sheer accident on an otherwise mundane day. She told me Lim’s returning back to Malaysia. To my absolute astonishment, I was also notified that his name is no longer Lim Wei Choon, but has been ‘Ahmad Zulfakar Lim Abdullah’ ever since 5 years ago. SubhanAllah! Praise and Glory to Allah – What unexpected happiness to find out that my long lost childhood friend had embraced Islam. I was beyond thrilled and simply could not wait to meet him up again, more so now that he is one of the ‘brothers’.

The much anticipated day finally arrived. There was a small celebration at his family house to commemorate his home-coming. It was already evening when I turned up and guests had quietly dissipated.

“Assalamu’alaikum…” His first sentence rolled out of his lips.

There was an unspoken air of difference about him. He looked different. He looked somewhat mellowed and… serene. Assured by the facts and no sooner had I replied his salaam, tears were streaming down our cheeks and we were hugging as though we were lovers who have been too long apart.

“They’ve been friends for a very long time, these two. Way back since they were just little boys.” Lim’s mother interjected, in an attempt to convincingly explain our poignant reunion and emotional display among the remaining guests. I supposed I was too overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for Lim’s submission to Islam… that the tears were a natural physiological expression of what mere words could not possibly describe.

Still reeling from raw emotions, Lim ushered me to a nearby swing in the courtyard of his home so we could hold a more private conversation. The distance and the miles were irrelevant, so did the time Lim spent away from home – his strong command of the Malay language is an obvious testament of that.

“Talha, am I not your best friend?”

“Sure, why do you even need to ask?”

“If you truly meant that, why did you let me suffer?”

“I do not understand. Suffer? What do you mean, Lim?”

“Why don’t you ponder for a moment? We’ve known each other for ages. Your home is just like my second home. But has it ever come across your mind to educate me about the beauty of Islam? Why that I had to be thousands of miles away… in order to discover it? Why not here, in Malaysia – an Islamic country? Don’t you find it ironic, that I became a Muslim at the hands of a former Christian minister?”

I was stunned and rendered speechless. Lim completely caught me off-guard. For a moment of apprehensive silence, he continued.

“If you are truly my best friend, why do you intend only to treat me well in this temporary world? Don’t you even care where I would end up in the hereafter? You actually have the heart to watch your friend suffer in hell?”

“You know, if I have not found Islam and I died in vain, I’d hold every Malay Muslims in our neighborhood accountable. For not reaching out when you are all the forefront ambassadors in spreading the message of Islam. Enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil. You can see around us the effects of inaction, especially to those who are close to you.”

“Do you realize how privileged and blessed you are to be born in a Muslim family? Do you comprehend that Islam is meant for all humankind – not just a religion for an elite few? As Muslims, you are here to present the real, true, good Islam. The Qur’an asks us to join together in this mutual teaching, outreaching to other people who are not born Muslims, like I was.”

With an impassive gaze, my head hunched down, out of pure shame.

An important matter for Muslims to realize is that da’wah is an obligation upon them, as successors of the Prophet of Islam (SAW) righteous message. But from what I observed, the Malay community is seriously lacking in the spirit of ‘jihad’ and the drive to call out people to Islam. How will Allah’s help arrive when the community does not help in Allah’s cause?

I’m not trying to be self-conceited but I feel a deep sense of regret. We have to fittingly express gratitude for the blessings of Islam and Iman as calling people to Allah also means completing our own worship, the reason for which we are created. It is one of the noblest acts that entail a high reward. And further, it is not befitting to call the non-muslims as ‘kufr’ because ‘kufr’ means disobey; unless if you have first fulfilled your responsibilities with knowledge, seriousness and wisdom, but still, they turn away from your call.

I am profoundly mortified with everything that Lim had said to me. It was the cold, hard truth – a reality that had not crossed my mind as I got busy only trying to improve myself. I got blurred in my ultimate vision as one of Allah’s caliphs. Now it brightly dawned on me that calling to the message of Islam is not a choice, but an obligation. If you strive to serve Allah’s religion, Allah, in turn, will help you in this world and in the hereafter. In other words, Allah is the helper of those who work for the cause of Him. He multiplies His rewards in return for His slave’s little efforts.

Later that evening, my spirit renewed. I am committed to be a da’iyaa. Lim, a recent Muslim for only 5 years, had converted more than 20 non-believers including his own brother. Why am I, a Muslim of 40 years (am I really?) has not presented the truth about Islam to even a single non-believer?

May Allah forgive me for I have limited capacity to fully appreciate the extent of His blessings on one who is born into faith and Islam.

*This article is an English translation of ‘Aku, Lim dan Islam’. Original article by taalidi@arjunasetia. Translated by NurJeehan.

An Islamic Approach to Business Ethics

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What is Ethics?

Ethics may be defined as the set of moral principles that distinguish what is right from what is wrong. Ethics has a twofold objective: it evaluates human practices by calling upon moral standards; also it may give prescriptive advice on how to act morally in a given situation. Ethics, therefore, aims to study both moral and immoral behaviour in order to make well-founded judgments and to arrive at adequate recommendations. Sometimes ethics is used synonymously with morality. An action, which is morally right, is also called an ethical one. Codes of morality are called ethical codes. Business ethics can also be defined as business morality.

Business Ethics

Business Ethics is the branch of ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within a commercial context; the various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business setting; and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons engaged in commerce. Generally speaking, business ethics is a normative discipline, whereby particular ethical standards are formulated and then applied. It makes specific judgments about what is right or wrong, which is to say, it makes claims about what ought to be done or what ought not to be done. Generally speaking, business ethics is concerned with the study of what is good and bad, right and wrong, and just and unjust in business.

Ethics in Islam

Islam places the highest emphasis on ethical values in all aspects of human life. In Islam, ethics governs all aspects of life. Ethical norms and moral codes discernable from the verses of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (sws) are numerous, far reaching and comprehensive. Islamic teachings strongly stress the observance of ethical and moral code in human behaviour. Moral principles and codes of ethics are repeatedly stressed throughout the Holy Qur’an. Besides, there are numerous teachings of the Prophet (sws) which cover the area of moral and ethical values and principles. Says the Holy Qur’an:

You are the best nation that has been raised up for mankind; You enjoin right conduct, forbid evil and believe in Allah. (3:110)

The Prophet (sws) also says:

I have been sent for the purpose of perfecting good morals. (Ibn Hambal[1], No: 8595)

This goes without saying that there is a general consensus among human beings about certain fundamental ethical values. However, the Islamic ethical system substantially differs from the so-called secular ethical systems as well as from the moral code advocated by other religions and societies. In the Islamic scheme of things, adherence to moral code and ethical behaviour is a part of I%man (faith) itself. According to the Islamic teachings, Muslims have to jealously guard their behaviour, deeds, words, thoughts, feelings and intentions. Islam asks its believers to observe certain norms and moral codes in their family affairs; in dealings with relatives, with neighbours and friends; in their business transactions; in their social affairs, nay in all spheres of private and public life.

Islam has its own distinctive value-based ethical system for business dealings. It prescribes certain specific guidelines for governing business ethics. It (i) enumerates the general ethical rules of business conduct, (ii) identifies ethically desirable forms of business, and, (iii) specifies the undesirable modes of transactions.

Given the nature of Islamic ethical and moral codes, it would be beyond the capacity of one paper to fully comprehend the subject. In the following pages, our effort will be to confine ourselves to the discussion of some specific principles of business ethics in Islam.

Freedom of Enterprise

Islam gives complete freedom to economic enterprise. Each individual in an Islamic society enjoys complete freedom in the earning of his livelihood. He can start, manage and organize any kind of business enterprise within the limits set by the Islamic Shari‘ah. However, freedom does not and must not operate without a sense of responsibility. An individual is free to pursue his economic activities provided he respects the code of conduct prescribed for the profession, which broadly means choosing things lawful and shunning matters unlawful. The dictates of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (sws) serve to set a scale in everybody’s mind to distinguish between the lawful and the unlawful means of earning, and to prohibit or disapprove of all things that are either morally wrong or socially unacceptable.

Islam, as a matter of principle, prohibits all activities which may cause harm either to the traders or the consumers in the market. It encourages the prevalence of free market where everyone earns his sustenance without government intervention. However, it puts certain restraints in order to eliminate the incidence of injustice and check malpractices and unlawful operations. In all other respects market in Islam is free from any state intervention. However, if the people fail to take guidance from the Holy Qur’an in matters relating to business transactions, an Islamic state will strive to organize the market transactions on sound Islamic principles. Freedom of enterprise in an Islamic market will, therefore, be regulated by the (i) dictates of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) and (ii) the directives of the temporal authority. During the early centuries of Islam, this function was mainly performed by the institution of Muhasbah (headed by a Muhtasib or market inspector). The institution of Muhasbah was an important institution whose functions were broad-based and multifarious, chief among them being keeping a watch on the harmful practices prevalent in the market and the society and checking the incidence of injustice and malpractices in the market.

Islamic Tenets Concerning Business Transactions

Islam demands a certain type of behaviour from the economic agents – the consumers and the producers. The behaviour prescribed for the economic units of the society are so devised as to lead to a happy state of affairs, which is the ultimate goal of Islam. An Islamic market is characterized by certain norms that take care of the interests of both the buyer and the seller. There are a number of rules of ethical discipline in Islamic commercial transactions without which business contract would be regarded as lacking perfection in the light of the code of good manners, decency and ethical excellence. Some of these tenets are as follows:

Keenness to Earn Legitimate (Halal) Earnings

Islam places great emphasis on the code of lawful and unlawful in business transactions. Many Qur’anic verses disapprove the wrongful taking of the property.

Says the Holy Qur’an:

Do not devour one another’s property wrongfully, nor throw it before the judges in order to devour a portion of other’s property sinfully and knowingly. (2:188)

Do not devour another’s property wrongfully – unless it be by trade based on mutual consent. (4:29)

The above verses prohibit the believers in no uncertain terms to devour the property of others by illegal means. The Prophet (sws) endorsed the importance of legitimate ways of earning in the following words:

Asked ‘what form of gain is the best? [the Prophet] said, ‘A man’s work with his hands, and every legitimate sale’. (Ahmad, No: 1576)

From the above it is clear that a Muslim trader must be determined to earn only through legitimate means. He should not only avoid illegitimate means in earning his provisions and livelihood but also distance himself from matters dubious and doubtful. The Prophet (sws) is also reported to have said:

Leave what makes you doubt for things that do not make you doubt. (Tirmidhi, No: 2442)

Things legitimate and illegitimate are clearly defined in Islam and, in between them, are doubtful things, which should be avoided. A true Muslim businessman should be wary of the doubtful things in order to keep himself clear in regard to his faith and his honour because one who falls into doubtful matters is sure to fall into that which is unlawful (Haram). A tradition of the Prophet (sws) states:

A time will come upon the people when one will not care as to how he gets his money whether legally or illegally. (Bukhari, No: 1941)

Foremost among the unacceptable business practices strongly condemned in Islam is Riba. Riba (interest), by definition, is the extra sum the moneylender charges from the borrower for deferred payment. Islam has forbidden all forms of Riba since it involves both oppression and exploitation.  Islam strictly forbids this form of tyrannical dealings and condemns it in severe terms. The Holy Qur’an says: 

Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury). (2:275)

Devour not Riba doubled and re-doubled. (3:130)

It further states:

O you who believe! fear Allah and give up what remains of your demand for usury if you are indeed believers. If you do it not, take notice of war from Allah and his Apostle: but if you turn back you shall have your capital sums; deal not unjustly and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. (2:278)

The Sunnah is equally emphatic in denouncing Riba.  The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

May Allah send down His curse on the one who devours Riba and the one who pays it and on the two witnesses and on the person writing it. (Ahmad, No: 624)

These and many other verses of the Qur’an and traditions of the Prophet (sws) clearly demonstrate that all those business transactions which involve interest in one form or other, are unlawful in the sight of Islam. According to the Qur’anic teachings there is a clear distinction between genuine business profits and interest; while the former is recommended and desirable, the latter is hated and undesirable. 

Trade through Mutual Consent

Mutual consent between the parties is a necessary condition for the validity of a business transaction. It, therefore, follows that a sale under coercion is not acceptable in Islam. A sale transaction is to be regarded as legal only if it is made through the mutual consent of the parties concerned. Taking advantage of someone’s plight and charging high price is also a form of pecuniary exploitation and as such forbidden in Islam. The Holy Qur’an says:

O you who believe! eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities: but let there be amongst you traffic and trade by mutual goodwill: nor kill [or destroy] yourselves: for verily Allah has been to you Most Merciful. (4:29)

Thus two key elements of general theory of contract are endorsed emphatically in these verses: mutual consent and gainful exchange. One can also find importance of mutual consent for legality of a business deal. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

A sale is a sale only if it is made through mutual consent. (Ibn Majah, No: 2176)

Truthfulness in Business Transactions

Islam encourages truthfulness in business transactions and raises the status of a truthful merchant so much so that he will be at par with the holy warriors and martyrs, in the Hereafter. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

The truthful merchant [is rewarded by being ranked] on the Day of Resurrection with prophets, veracious souls, martyrs and pious people. (Tirmidhi, No: 1130)

The Prophet (sws) has also exhorted the believers to strictly adhere to truthfulness in business transactions. He says:

The seller and the buyer have the right to keep or return the goods as long as they have not parted or till they part; and if both the parties spoke the truth and described the defects and qualities [of the goods], then they would be blessed in their transaction, and if they told lies or hid something, then the blessings of their transaction would be lost. (Bukhari, No: 1937)

The tradition implies that Allah blesses business dealings if both the buyer and the seller are true to each other. Telling lies and hiding facts will result in the loss of divine blessing. A tradition reads.

The Holy Prophet said: ‘Traders are wicked people’. The Companions asked: ‘O Messenger, has Allah not permitted business?’ The Messenger replied: ‘Of course He has declared trading lawful. But they (i.e. the traders) will swear by Allah and do evil, they will not speak but tell lies’. (Ahmad, No: 14982)

Trustworthiness in Business Transactions

Trustworthiness is one of the most important principles of ethical discipline in commercial transactions. Trust is a moral virtue and duty incumbent on a Muslim in the performance of his affairs. It demands sincerity in work and purity of intention from every believer. A true Muslim trader will not, therefore, barter his Akhirah (hereafter) for worldly gains. He will avoid fraud, deception, and other dubious means in selling his merchandise. The sense of mutual trust demands that the pros and cons of commodity be revealed to the buyer so that he purchases the commodity in full satisfaction. Says the Holy Qur’an:

O you believers! Do not betray Allah and the Messenger, nor knowingly, betray your trusts. (8:27)

Generosity and Leniency in Business Transactions

One should be lenient and generous in bargaining. Therefore, whoever demands his debt back from the debtor should do so in a decent manner. The Prophet (sws) invokes Allah’s mercy thus:

May Allah’s mercy be on him who is lenient in his buying, selling, and in demanding back his money [or debts]. (Bukhari, No: 1934)

The Prophet’s exhortation to Muslims means that a creditor should be easy and generous in demanding back his money. The debtor, in turn, should also give back the debt to the creditor on time with due thanks and politeness. The Prophet (sws) was the best of all people in repaying the debts.

Abu Rafi‘ reports that the Prophet (sws) took a young camel on loan. When camels came to him in charity, he asked Abu Rafi‘ to give the creditor a young she camel. Abu Rafi‘ pointed out that there was no young camel except for a four–year old camel of a very good quality. The Prophet (sws) said: ‘Give him the best one, for the best amongst you is he who repays the rights of others handsomely’. (Muslim, No: 3002)

Honouring and fulfilling Business Obligations

Islam attaches great importance to the fulfilment of contract and promises. Islamic teachings require a Muslim trader to keep up his trusts, promises and contracts. The basic principles of truth, honesty, integrity and trust are involved in all business dealings. The Holy Qur’an emphasizes the moral obligation to fulfil one’s contracts and undertakings. A verse states thus:

O you who believe! Fulfil [your] obligations. (5:1)

A tradition of the Prophet (sws) states thus:

The Muslims are bound by their stipulations. (Abu Da’ud, No: 3120)

Another tradition condemns promise-breaking as the hallmark or trait of a hypocrite:

If he makes a promise, he breaks it, and if he makes a compact, he acts treacherously. (Bukhari, No: 32)

In order to safeguard the interest of both the buyer and the seller it is desirable, according to the Islamic teachings, to clearly define all the necessary details concerning the business deal. Each business contract should clearly specify the quality, the quantity and the price of the commodity in question. Thus, in a business contract the offer and acceptance should be made between the parties concerned on a commodity which is with the buyer and, which he is able to deliver. Any commodity which is non-existent or not deliverable is not allowed to be transacted. A contract must be explicit with regard to the rights and obligations of the parties concerned so that it does not lead to disputes and disagreements between them.

Fair Treatment of Workers

Islam puts certain conditions and restrictions to obviate the chances of bitterness between the employer and employees. Islam encourages and promotes the spirit of love and brotherhood between them. According to the Islamic teachings it is the religious and moral responsibility of the employer to take care of the overall welfare and betterment of his employees. Fair wages, good working conditions, suitable work and excellent brotherly treatment should be provided to the workers. The last Prophet of Allah (sws) has explained this principle in the following words:

Those are your brothers [workers under you] who are around you, Allah has placed them under you. So, if anyone of you has someone under him, he should feed him out of what he himself eats, clothe him like what he himself puts on, and let him not put so much burden on him that he is not able to bear, [and if that be the case], then lend your help to him. (Bukhari, No: 2359)

The Prophet (sws) also said:

I will be foe to three persons on the Last Day: one of them being the one who, when he employs a person that has accomplished his duty, does not give him his due. (Bukhari, No: 2109)

The Prophet (sws) is also reported to have said:

The wages of the labourers must be paid to him before the sweat dries upon his body. (Ibn Majah, No: 2434)

Prohibited Matters in Business Transactions

So far we have focused on one aspect of the business ethics – guidelines prescribed by Islam for conducting business transactions. Another aspect of business ethics is the various forms of unethical business practices a Muslim businessman must avoid in his business dealings. Some of these prohibited and undesirable business practices are as follows:

Dealing in Prohibited (Haram) Items

Dealing in unlawful items such as carrion (dead meat), pigs and idols is strongly prohibited in Islam. Dead meat would mean the flesh of any bird or animal dead from natural causes, without being properly slaughtered in an Islamic way. A Muslim, therefore, will not eat the flesh of such an animal or bird. Flesh of an electrocuted animal, or of an animal killed by the blow of a blunt weapon, and of the strangled one is also proscribed in Islam. Also proscribed is the flesh of the animal that has been killed or slaughtered in ways other than Islamic. It is, therefore, not permissible for a Muslim to trade in dead meat. Likewise, trading in pork or intoxicants and sale of idols and statues is not permitted in Islam. A verse of the Holy Qur’an says:

Forbidden to you [for food] are: dead meat, the blood, the flesh of swine and that on which name of other than Allah has been mentioned. (5:1)

The Holy Qur’an also says:

O you who believe! intoxicants and gambling [dedication of] stones and [divination by] arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork: so avoid it in order that you may prosper. (5:90)

The Prophet (sws) is also reported to have said;

Allah and His Messenger made illegal the trade of alcoholic liquors, dead animals, pigs and idols. (Bukhari, No: 2082)

The Prophet (sws) also said;

If Allah makes something unlawful, he makes its price also unlawful. (Ahmad, No: 2546)

Sale of Al-Gharar (Uncertainty, Risks, Speculation)

In Islamic terminology, this refers to the sale of a commodity or good which is not present at hand; or the sale of an article or good, the consequences or outcome of which is not yet known; or a sale involving risks or hazards where one does not know whether at all the commodity will later come into existence. Such a sale is strictly prohibited in Islam because the quality, whether good or bad, is not known to the buyer at the time of the deal and there is every possibility that the contract may give rise to disputes and disagreements between the concerned parties. The Prophet (sws), therefore, prohibited the sale of what is still in the loins of the male; or sale of whatever is in the womb of a she–camel; or sale of birds in the air; or the sale of fish in the water, and any transaction which involves Gharar. (i.e. anything that involves deception). He also forbade the sale of fruits before they look healthy and also the sale of crops until the grain hardens. Nevertheless, such advance sales would be acceptable if the element of Gharar does not exist and the quality and the quantity of the goods are pretty well known and predictable.

Arbitrarily Fixing the Prices

Islam grants absolute freedom to traders provided they adhere to the code of lawfulness. It does not, therefore, encourage the practice of price–fixing and leaves the traders to earn the profits from each other within the lawful limits. As a matter of principle public authorities are not allowed to fix the prices of commodities by force. This is because rise and fall in the prices are linked to various factors other than the greediness of the traders and fixing the prices may endanger both public and private interests.

It is reported that once the prices shot up during the period of the Prophet (sws). The people said:

O Messenger of Allah! Prices have shot up, so fix them for us. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Allah is the One Who fixes prices, withholds, gives lavishly, and provides, and I hope that when I meet Allah, none of you will have any claim on me for an injustice regarding blood or property.’ (Tirmidhi, No: 1235)

However, the role of public authorities comes into play if it becomes absolutely essential to do so, especially in order to prevent exploitation and other unjust practices in the market. Thus, if a trader adopts unfair means, charges unjust prices and indulges in undercutting with a view to doing harm to the smaller traders, public authorities have the right to intervene in the market. They can and should take steps to fix or control the prices so as to eliminate injustice from the market and allow the trader to earn reasonable profit and the buyer to pay a just and equitable price.

Hoarding of Foodstuff

The Arabic word for hoarding is Ihtikar. It means storing foodstuffs or withholding them in expectation of rise in their prices. Sometimes, a handful of traders operating in the market buy the entire quantity of an item, rice for example, and store it up with the object of selling it later at the time of scarcity to draw maximum profit out of it and to dictate the prices. The consumers are left with no choice but to purchase the article concerned from the one who hoards, as he is the only one in the market who holds it. Sometimes, a trader hobnobs with the suppliers who will only sell their merchandise to him. As a result, he holds the entire stock of the essential items that other traders do not possess. He is, therefore, in a position to dictate his terms in the market and sell them at an exorbitantly high price to the needy people. This is an unjust practice and a clear case of exploitation and deservedly condemned by Islam. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have condemned the hoarders when he said:

No one hoards but the traitors (i.e. the sinners). (Abu Da’ud, No. 2990)

He (sws) also said:

The importer [of an essential commodity] into the town will be fed [by Allah], and the hoarder will have [Allah’s] curse upon him. (Ibn Majah, No: 2144)

Exploitation of one’s Ignorance of Market Conditions

One of the most common unethical practices in modern business is to exploit one’s ignorance of market conditions. Sometimes it may happen that a buyer arrives in a town with objects of prime and general necessity for selling them in the market. A local trader may persuade the new-comer to transfer all of the goods to him so that he will sell them on his behalf in the market. He obtains the commodities on a price that is lower than market price and then sells them at a high or exorbitant price. Islam condemns this act of intermediary intervention which involves exploitation of one’s ignorance of market conditions. The practice was prevalent in pre-Islamic society. The Prophet (sws) has prohibited this practice through a number of instructions. A tradition reads: 

A town dweller should not sell the goods of a desert dweller. (Bukhari, No: 2006)

Al-Najsh (Trickery)

The term Al-Najsh means an action in which a person offers a high price for something, without intending to buy it, but just to cheat or defraud another person who really means to buy it. The person practising it may collaborate with the seller to offer high prices in front of the buyers merely as a means to cheat them. This type of fraudulent transaction is totally prohibited in Islam. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

Do not harbour envy against one another; do not outbid one another [with a view to raising the price]; do not bear aversion against one another; do not bear enmity against one another; one of you should not enter into a transaction when the other has already entered into it; and be fellow brothers and true servants of Allah. (Muslim, No: 4650)

As is clear from the above, Islam also forbids the practice of sale over sale and purchase over purchase. This means that it forbids someone to offer a higher price for a commodity after the deal has been accomplished between the parties. Obviously he is offering a higher price in order to spoil the agreement reached between the parties. As a result of this offer the buyer may feel tempted to cancel his contract to sell it at a higher price. It may give rise to disputes and disagreements between brothers. Hence it is strictly prohibited in Islam.

Cheating and Fraud in Business Transactions

The traders and businessmen generally have a tendency to motivate the customers by adopting fraudulent business practices. Islam strongly condemns all such practices in business transactions (Al-Ghashsh). The Messenger of Allah has commanded the believers not to indulge in cheating and fraudulent practices in business transactions. Sale of dead animal, dubious and vague transactions, manipulating the prices, selling the items belonging to a desert dweller by a townsman Al-Najsh (trickery), false eulogy and concealment of defects are all examples of cheating and fraud i.e. Al-Gashsh. The Prophet (sws) has strongly condemned all such practices in a number of traditions and the believer to abstain from them.

The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

The seller and the buyer have the right to keep the goods or return them as long as they have not parted. He also said that if both the parties have spoken the truth and described the defects as well as the merits thereof (the goods), they would be blessed in their deal. If they have told lies or concealed something, then blessings of their transaction would be lost. (Bukhari, No: 1937)

Swearing

The traders often take recourse to swearing to emphasize that their items are of good quality. They claim qualities in the merchandise, which don’t exist. They try to persuade the buyers to purchase their commodity by invoking Allah’s name. Swearing in business for such purposes is forbidden in Islam, be it false or true. False swearing is an act of sin punishable by hellfire. Swearing by Almighty Allah is too great a thing to be used as a means to sell a commodity. The desirable thing in business transaction is that both the buyer and the seller remain straightforward and truthful in their dealings, so that no one will feel the need to swear by Allah in order to create conviction in the mind of the other party. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

Swearing [by the seller] may persuade the customer to purchase the goods but the deal will be deprived of Allah’s blessing. (Bukhari, No: 1945)

Giving Short Measures

Another form of deceit is to manipulate weights and measures. It refers to the act of taking full measures from others and giving them short measures in your turn. Giving short measures was a common malaise plaguing the pre-Islamic days. The community of the Prophet Shu‘ayb (sws) was known for practising it with impunity. Consequently, they were destroyed for their persistence in deceit and disbelief in Allah and His Messenger. Allah the Almighty has repeatedly commanded exactitude in weights and measures. One of the verses says:

And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a just balance. That is good and better in the end. (17:35)

Dealing in Stolen Goods

Almighty Allah has declared thievery unlawful and warned of severe punishment such as cutting the hand of the thief from the wrist joint if the necessary legal conditions for the award of punishment are met. Even if the thief escapes worldly punishment and gets away with stolen goods, it is not permissible for a Muslim to knowingly purchase or sell these items. The stolen items are neither to be bought nor sold by those who know the reality. The Prophet (sws) made the person knowingly buying a stolen commodity a partner to the crime. He said:

The one who knowingly purchases a stolen good, is a partner to the act of sin and the shame. (Kanz Al-‘Ammal, No: 9258)

Conclusion

In modern times business ethics has become a major topic of discussion among business communities and other related organizations. Each and every society has evolved ethical and moral codes of conduct for business transactions. However, the Western secular ethical values are by and large supposed to be utilitarian, relative, situational and devoid of any spiritual sanctioning power. The Islamic ethical codes, on the contrary, are humane rather than utilitarian or relative. They are good for all times and absolute. Ethical and moral codes in Islam are part of the overall Islamic faith and observing them will not only lead to a happy state of affairs in this world but also holds the promise of manifold returns in the Hereafter. Islamic ethical and moral codes thus create a sense of responsibility and accountability in the minds of the believers, be they buyers or sellers.

Our effort in this paper has been to present the Islamic perspective concerning business ethics. As we saw, the ethical code of Islam is multidimensional, far reaching and comprehensive. Islamic ethical framework is repeatedly stressed throughout the Holy Qur’an, and the teachings of the Prophet and encompass all spheres of life including business financial dealings and obligations. The fundamental codes of moral behaviour such as truthfulness, trustworthiness, generosity and leniency, adherence to business commitments and contracts, fair treatment of workers, avoidance of evil practices (such as fraud, cheating, deceit, hoarding of foodstuff, exploitations, giving short measures etc.) provide, to a large extent, the general background of Islamic business ethics. The writer believes that there is a pressing need to study and implement Islamic moral values in the context of the present day business situations

by :Dr Sabahuddin Azmi

Source : http://www.renaissance.com.pk/Mayviewpoint2y5.htm

Candidate for Egyptian Presidency – Dr. Mohamed Morsi

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Dr. Mohamed Morsi, Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau, is also one of the most prominent political leadership figures of the Brotherhood, the organization that led the struggle against the ousted repressive regime in its last decade.

Dr. Morsi was also the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc at the People’s Assembly of 2000-2005, and President of the Department of Materials Science, Faculty of Engineering at Zagazig University.

His full name is Mohamed Mohamed Morsi Issa Ayyat. He was born in August 1951 in Egypt’s Sharqiya province. He received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Cairo University in 1975, then a Master of Engineering degree in Metallurgy from the same university in 1978. He further received a doctorate (PhD) in engineering from the University of Southern California, 1982.

He worked as a lecturer and a Teacher Assistant at the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, and the University of Southern California, US.  He also worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of North Ridge in California between 1982 and 1985, and as a Professor and Head of Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering at Zagazig University from the year 1985 till 2010. He was elected a member of the Faculty Staff Club at the University of Zagazig.

He was also selected as a member of the International Conference of Political Parties and Organizations, and founder-member of the Egyptian Resist the Zionist Project Committee. Dr. Morsi is known to be a hard worker at each position he held – from the various fields of science, in which he excelled, to his career as a determined political leader, in which he proved his great abilities and skills.

He has research in several major fields of industry in Egypt related to practical production solutions. He also conducted dozens of studies in “metal surface treatment”, which is one of the scientific precision industries, during his work at NASA on the development of space shuttle engines in the early eighties.

Due to his constantly firm stance against the repressive measures and oppressive practices of the overthrown regime, Dr. Mohamed Morsi was arrested several times. After the 2005 elections were rigged, Dr. Mohamed Morsi led demonstrations in support for judges demanding independence, refusing referral of some judges to the Competence Commission to punish them for their outspoken views against blatant elections fraud.

Consequently, Dr. Morsi was arrested on the morning of May 18, 2006 with 500 members of the Brotherhood during their protest in front of the North Cairo Court and Al-Jalaa Court Complex in Central Cairo. He spent seven months behind bars.

He was arrested, yet again, on the morning of the “Friday of Anger” on January 28, 2011 during the revolution of January 25 along with a large number of Brotherhood leaders across Egypt. Their arrest was a deliberate attempt by the despotic regime to prevent them from participating in the ‘Friday of Anger’ protests across Egypt.

When several prisons were destroyed during the revolution, and many prisoners escaped, Dr. Morsi refused to leave his prison cell. Instead, he contacted satellite TV channels and news agencies demanding the judicial authorities visit the prison and check the legal position of jailed Muslim Brotherhood leaders, to clarify if there were indeed any legal reasons for their arrest, before leaving prison, since no judicial personnel were available there.

The injustice suffered by Dr. Mohamed Morsi went beyond his person, extending to his family. His son, Dr. Ahmed, was arrested just after the announcement of his father’s nomination for parliament in 2000. He was also arrested 3 times when his father was an MP at the People’s Assembly.

After his great endeavors and proven excellence in political work in his five-year term in parliament, Dr. Morsi was chosen by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura Council as a member of the group’s Guidance Bureau. After the January 25 Revolution, he was elected by the Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council as Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party when that was established by the group.

In Egypt’s Parliament in 2000, Dr. Mohamed Morsi played a prominent and influential role as leader of the parliamentary bloc. He was one of the most active members of parliament, responsible for the most famous questioning sessions in Parliament – for the train crash incident – in which he held the government responsible for the tragic accident. Internationally, he was chosen as the best parliamentarian in the years 2000 – 2005 due to his effective parliamentary performance.

In the 2005 Parliament elections, Dr. Morsi won the highest number of votes, leaving his nearest rival far behind. But a run-off was announced, after which his rival won through blatant fraud.

Dr. Morsi played a major role in the political section of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was supervisor of that section which has seen significant action during the recent period, starting from the reform initiative launched by the group in 2004, then the publishing of a political program in 2007, and led the political operations during the parliamentary elections in 2010.

Source : rohama.org