BIG DISCUSSION ! Money is something that has very important Rights in Islam. Money is something that Shaytaan induces humans to kill one another over. Money is something that is not actually a requirement of human existence, unless the systems implemented by human existence are themselves dependent on it.
There are societies in existence that not only function without fiat money, they actually do not even have the concept of exchange. On a daily basis, each village member produces whatever he/she does that day (foraging, fishing, craftsmanship, etc.), then they gather and share whatever they have. They do not require payment from one another. Whatever they collect is free for the taking. Each one takes according to his/her need without obligation of payment.
Here, Rasulullah gives an example of the sharing of the Ash’ari tribe, from whom the great Sahabi Abu Musa al-Ash’ari was counted: The Prophet said, “When the people of the Ash’ari tribe ran short of food during the holy battles, or the food of their families in Medina ran short, they would collect all their remaining food in one sheet and then distribute it among themselves equally by measuring it with a bowl. So, these people are from me, and I am from them.” -this is in Bukhari
As money is a currency, a tool of representing the value of all things in the market for purposes of simplified exchange, there is no evil inherent in it. If it were inherently evil, Allah ta’ala would have prohibited its use. However, one of the major evils that money permits is HOARDING. A farmer producing food, or a clothier producing garments, or a craftsman producing clay pots would have no use for hoarding of their own products. Such hoards would decay (food), or become otherwise aged and useless. Also, their utility beyond the producers own needs would be nothing, were it not exchanged in the market for other goods. Money, on the other hand, allows one to convert one’s produce into currency, and then either use that currency, or hoard it.
Capitalism is based on the hoarding of those who are already wealthy, primarily. Modern capitalism is based on the ability of an individual or group with pre-existing hoards to “invest” into the procurement of a means of production (land for farms, equipment for factories, etc.). After procurement of means of production, they hire “working class” or peasantry who invest their labor into production, and are paid less than what they would have been paid had they been in their own production. The excess value is pocketed by the production “owner”, thereby increasing his/her/their wealth.
The “owner” of the production means is able to pull-off such a scam, because when he opened the factory, he was able to coerce the workers into a state of over-production, thereby cutting his “cost”, enabling him, through cut-throat competition, to drive family-owned businesses out of the market. The skilled workers of the family-owned businesses then are forced to join the reserve army of labor, enabling the factory owner to negotiate unfair wages for his/her/their workers. If the worker doesn’t like the wage, the break-neck pace of production, and the working conditions being offered, he/she may decline the “job offer”, and return to the unemployment line empty handed and starving.
It is quite obvious to see that capitalism not only requires unemployment (reserve army of labor), but may thrive during times of higher unemployment.
Here’s a graph showing the total wages as a share of GDP in the U.S. GDP is at an all-time high, whereas total wages as a % of GDP are at an all-time low. This is due to the market advantages of the capitalist.
Because wealth represents accumulated labor energy (power), and the worker typically has little or none in reserve, the capitalist hoarder is able to utilize that power to manipulate markets, expand personal empires and fortunes, bribe politicians, and even purchase murder as a commodity to further the benefit of the corporate entity.
Allah s.w.t tells us in Surat at-Taubah:
” O you who believe! Verily, there are many of the (Jewish) rabbis and the (Christian) monks who devour the wealth of mankind in falsehood, and hinder (them) from the Way of Allah (i.e. Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism). And those who hoard up gold and silver [Al-Kanz: the money, the Zakat of which has not been paid] and spend them not in the Way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment. ”
He tells us in Surat al-Humaza:
” Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and-backbiter, Who pileth up wealth and layeth it by, Thinking that his wealth would make him last for ever! By no means! He will be sure to be thrown into That which Breaks to Pieces ! And what will explain to thee That which Breaks to Pieces? (It is) the Fire of (the Wrath of) Allah kindled (to a blaze), The which doth mount (Right) to the Hearts: It shall be made into a vault over them, In columns outstretched.”
Allahu Akbar ! May Allah ta’ala save us from behaving as such people by giving us the Yaqeen of the Real Success !
In Surat as-Saff, Allah makes His Divine Offer to the Mumineen, offering them an exchange of what they love in this life for the success of the Hereafter:
” O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty? That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: That will be best for you, if ye but knew! He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity: that is indeed the Supreme Achievement. And another (favour will He bestow,) which ye do love,- help from Allah and a speedy victory. So give the Glad Tidings to the Believers. ”
The example of the Sahabah shows that such sacrifice goes well beyond payment of Zakah ! Not only is Allah ta’ala requiring sacrifice of self (time, effort, and life if necessary), but the spending of the wealth we hold dearly. In the Hadith in Abu Dawud, we hear the following story of Omar r.a. and Abu Bakr r.a. competing with one another to seek the Rida of Allah:
Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) was the quickest of the Companions to rush to any good deed. Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) ordered us to give sadaqa. It happened to coincide with some wealth I had just acquired and I said to myself: If I will ever surpass Abu Bakr, this is the day I will surpass him. And so I came to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) with half of my wealth and he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to me: “What have you left for your family?” I said: The same amount. Then, Abu Bakr came with all of his wealth. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to him: “What have you left for your family?” He said: ” I have left them Allah and His Messenger.” I said: I will never surpass you in anything.” Abu Dawood
It was the efforts of such people, seeking to fulfill the 3 Divine Purposes for Mumineen, through sacrifice of themselves and their belongings, that brought the Love and Help of Allah ta’ala. Allah ta’ala gave them what they sought: 1) The Doors of Islam were opened for humanity until Yawm-il-Akhir (the Last Day), 2) The Community of Mumineen was secured and privileged, 3) they completely adopted the Guidance of Allah and the Sunnah of Rasulullah s.a.w. in their lives. Through sacrifice for the proper purpose came the Acceptance and Pleasure of Allah, and Allah ta’ala has promised them the highest places in Paradise.
Should we not follow them ?