ISLAMIC ECONOMIC SYSTEM
Muhammad Zeeshan Farrukh
When we talk about the practice and implementation of Islamic Economic System with all enthusiasm and energy, we generally stress on abolishing interest-based financial system and the practices of the same by the government. Unfortunately, we only look at the big picture and absolutely ignore the role of general public's daily economic/non-economic practices in the enforcement of Islamic Economic System within the society.
Unfortunately, it is our common dilemma that we do not realise our responsibilities but criticise others. In the context of Islamic Economic System, first, we will have to consider our role --in its implementation-- at the personal level and analyse as to what extent we are honest and fulfill our economic responsibilities in the light of Shariah guidelines.
If we seriously analyse and compare our economic practices and orders of Almighty Allah, we might easily know what is not right in our daily lives. This analysis and comparison will raise a question whether our day to day transactions and economic activities are being done according to Shariah. If the answer is negative, we must consider about the facts very seriously and try to follow the commandments of Allah.
In this respect, we should analyse what are the sources and ways of our earnings and where we are spending our money. We carry out these activities at our free will and government or any other authority does not influence the means of our earning and the modes of our spending. If we are earning or spending in accordance with the teachings of Almighty Allah, we are practicing Islamic economic system and if we are not, we are not practicing it at all and this means there is a hindrance from our side in the implementation of Islamic economic system within the society.
The one considerable fact while undertaking economic activities is the realisation of the welfare of the society that we generally ignore while doing day to day transactions. The selfishness and self-interest-securing attitude have no place in the economic paradigm of Islam. We must carry out everyday activities keeping in view the economic interests and welfare of the whole society because the true believer of Islam always thinks in the overall interest of the society. We have to ask ourselves whether we think for others' interests.
If every individual realises the capacity of his/her responsibility at a personal level, we could easily achieve the economic system as desired by Islam. If we talk about individual capacity, some can do it in a limited way while others on a wider scale as some of us have less authority and others more, within the society. The government is as well a group of individuals - who are also members of the society-- therefore, those individuals who have been given power and authority from Almighty Allah, must do the right thing, as they can do, otherwise they would be answerable before Allah. But here, we should not forget that everybody will be answerable to Allah in his/her own capacity, so first of all we should correct ourselves and then go after others.
The collective strength of people might become the sweeping power needed to enforce Islamic Economic System by influencing government and institutions as well. If business community and general public boycott the interest-based financial institutions and do not make transactions and get financial facilities from the same, these would go for the option of Islamic way of financing. On the other hand if our businessmen and citizens at large continue to make transactions with these conventional institutions, they will never feel an obligation to go for Islamic option. In my opinion, our business community and individuals are the main reason for this continuance.
Honesty, faith, and consideration of social welfare are the main components that can lead to a just economic system. It must be noted that economic system is a general behaviour of the society. If, as a nation, we want to adopt and enforce the behaviour as revealed by Islam, we should try to become a faithful and good Muslim. Otherwise, we could not achieve a just society because the implementation of a just economic system is very much a responsibility of the individuals and members of the society. If every individual strikes a balance between self-interest with the welfare of the society, the society will emerge as a place where love, affection, and social harmony will become the order of life and the hatred among individuals will come to an end.
In this respect, every Muslim should know and learn the Islamic economic laws regarding different agreements and contracts, daily economic transactions, law of inheritance, zakat, ushr, charity, and other orders/commandments of Islam that are related to economic activities. Muslims should be aware of such commandments as they can follow them with religious spirit. When a Muslim follows the economic guidelines of Islam, while making transactions, dishonesty and selfishness stay at bay.
Writer is a Product Specialist at UBL Ameen Islamic Banking
(The Islamic Banking Division of United Bank Limited, Pakistan)