by Shaykh Umar Ibrahim Vadillo
1. You are connecting political colonization to economic colonization: could you please explain how the fall of the Islamic Khalifate had a huge economic impact?
When the colonial powers granted independence to the new Muslim States they left a gift behind: the constitutions. Every constitution guaranteed the preservation of capitalism through the Central Banks, the National Debt and the Law of legal tender. This model ensured the hegemony of the West by means of their financial supremacy. This could have never been possible without the tacit support of the modernist Islamic groups who altered the definition of Riba and diminished the gravity of its prohibition; they turned an ultra-liberal approach to Riba and in some cases the attempt was purely criminal through the Islamization of capitalism, while they obsessively focused their puritan fervour on the personal morality which centred around women, and their dress code in particular.
2. One of the consequences of the colonization is the worldwide coercive secularization: how the influence of the Constitutions placed above the Divine Law can have an economic impact?
All the groups in the late part of the XIX century opposed the Khalifate were constitutionalists. From an historical perspective constitutionalism was anti-Khalifate and anti-Islam. Modernist groups subscribed the idea up until today. How do you recognize a modernist? Every alim and Islamic group who explicitly or tacitly does not want to eliminate the constitutions. The ones who do not recognize the constitutions as being haram; are the same who do not say the Central Banks are haram, National Debt is haram or fiat money is haram. This omission of the modernists explains the state of our affairs.
The constitutions of course they are secular. That means the State and religion are separated. In the West it means the State does not support religion; in the Muslims lands that are dominated by modernist ideology means that Islam is deprived of its political and economic morality. That is to say, the elimination of Muamalat as a legal code and as a model. What is implied is that Islam does not have an economic and political model. Instead the attempt was to Islamise democracy and capitalism. A good example to understand this is to read the constitution of Pakistan.
I do not want to forget that Constitutions have installed the power to governments to tax other than Zakat.in Islam there is no tax other than Zakat. And today under the new constitutionalist models Zakat has been eliminated, transformed into welfare charity and given to wrongful recipients.
3. You are saying that our world is shaped by Riba: how is this a system that enslaves humans and a system of exploitation of the world’s assets.
Riba is haram. Capitalism is the religion of Riba. Capitalism is founded in Riba and has embodied Riba with a logical and technical rationale. The whole world is ruled by capitalism; therefore the world is shaped by Riba. Riba affects everything, what you buy and sell and how you buy and sell. Riba destroys people and societies. Riba is an instrument of theft on two accounts: 1] at a national level with the capitalist economic system installed in the constitutions; 2] at an international level by the outrageous robbery of the US dollar.
At a national level, banks create credit out of nothing which they lend at interest, thus they increase the money supply that originates inflation; the citizens unaware of what is right or wrong assume that inflation is natural although they are subsidizing the loans that create the capital accumulation of modern corporations. People are being robbed and the money is concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy beneficiaries.
At an international level the USA gives pieces of paper that they can create at will in exchange for the material wealth of the rest of the world. When they want more they print more. You do not need to be very intelligent to understand who wins and who loses.
4. Could Muamalat alone represent a model in Islam?
Ibadat represents the relation between mankind and Allah. Muamalat is the relationship between people. Is that a model? Of course, to deny it is to pretend that we did not have any model for the last fourteen hundred years of Khalifate history. The colonialist kuffar made us believe that they were civilizing us, the European modernization theorists called “civilisatory mission” or “mission civilisatrice” which declared that traditional customs had to be destroyed; traditional societies had to adapt or to disappear. Their Islamic modernist subservient counterparts adopted the same approach which was later used very effectively to create the thesis of Islamic modernism or revival.
It is very important to understand this point if we are to understand the role of Islamic modernist groups enforcing the larger masses of Muslims to accept the constitutions and paper money (necessary to banking).
5. How Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham represent the authentic Islamic currency? Why it makes paper money Riba?
The Dinar and the Dirham are known as the Shariah coins. We do not have a concept of official money in Islam, because Islam defends FREEDOM of choice. Allah says in the Qur’an : Trade with mutual consent. Money is part of trading, therefore it cannot be imposed. The Amir cannot force the Muslims to accept Dinar and Dirham. He does not have that authority. To do it will be un-Islamic.In the past Muslim societies have used other commodities as means of payment, such as salt, grains, cereals, dates, etc. If the Muslims for example today chose platinum from the legal perspective of Islam it is totally permissible.
The Dinar and the Dirham are mentioned in Qur’an and they have been our currency until the fall of the Khalifate. Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi in his Ahkamul-Qur’an says that it is obligatory for the Sultan to mint the Dinar and Dirham. Dinar and Dirham must be available, but there is no compulsion to use them. We are free to choose the medium of exchange under Islamic Law.
Paper money is worthless without the legal compulsion of the State. It is also credit which originates from usurious debt. Most people have never thought of this. We must thank the modernist organisations for this.
6. Why Zakat should be paid in Gold Dinar? Do not you think that it will shake the habits of the Muslim people.
Zakat must be paid in ‘ayn. Zakat cannot be paid in dayn. ‘Ayn is tangible merchandise. Dayn is any debt or liability or promissory note. Dinar and dirham are ‘ayn. But you can also pay zakat with rice if you wish.
You cannot pay zakat with paper money. If paper money is a debt, then you cannot pay zakat with dayn. But paper money is not even a debt. If you go with a bill of 5,000 rupees to the State Bank of Pakistan which promises in the note to pay 5,000 rupees what will happen? Will they pay you 5,000 rupees (a rupees is a silver coin)? Of course not.
The Euro is even worse. They do not promise to pay anything. They just have numbers. They already know that the masses are so dumb they will not notice the difference.
So, no. You cannot pay zakat with Euros or paper money.
It is interesting to read the fatwa of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Illish, (1802-1882) the ‘alim from Moroccan origin and Shaykh of the Maliki Madhab in Al-Azhar (who incidentally fought against Al-Afghani and his modernist mantra of replacing taqlid with ijtihad) on this matter. He was asked whether it is permissible to pay zakat with paper currency and he said, yes, you can but only for the value of the paper (the ‘ayn of paper money), not what is written in it. Shaykh ‘Illish was not a modernist.
Al-Afghani was the father of modernism. He explicitly held up the Protestant reformers as examples to follow, arguing that reinterpretation of scriptures was necessary and this led to the whole notion of critical spirit of inquiry that had triggered the scientific and industrial revolutions. Al-Afghani, ‘Abduh, and others called for renewed ijtihad, or the use of independent reasoning in interpreting scriptures. As this idea passed into popular culture, other modernist Muslims began to understand ijtihad as something every individual should do. Thus this “Islamic reformation” had social effects that were similar to those of the Protestant Reformation: a textual criticism of scriptures, reinterpretation for contemporary social circumstances, and multiple and differing interpretations of scripture.
The Introduction of payment of zakat using Dinar and Dirham will simply eliminate paper money. This is because paper money cannot compete with gold and silver. Without paper money the banks will disappear and the Central Bank too. Finally the constitution will have to disappear. Yes, the restoration of zakat will change the habit of the Muslims for good.
7. What definition gives Islam to Commerce? How it differentiates with the definition given by capitalism?
Allah says in the Qur’an: Allah has permitted trade and forbidden riba. Capitalism allows a definition of trading in which riba is part of it. Therefore we differ in how we understand trade. Trading for us excludes riba. Trading also is regulated by Shariah. The full set of regulations about trading is part of Muamalat.
Other matters in which we are more clearly different than capitalism in regard to trading is the question of money and the markets. For us markets are public institution and cannot be privatised. Just like a mosque cannot be privatised. We do not have Carrefour in Islam, we have open markets. Our markets are open to all and we consider a right to trade of people to be able to trade in a level playing field.
This discussion is very important and brings about the role of the wakfs as a fundamental element is levelling the playing field, that is, to guarantee fairness in trading. The opposite of monopoly is not non-monopoly, but actively working to guarantee fairness and equal opportunities.
Associated to the idea of trading is the concept of the caravans and the guilds. They are both part of all pre-capitalist societies, including of course Islamic societies.
8. What is the Islamic Market?
Markets in Madina were public institutions (awqaf). The Islamic cities were, above all, a market-city. The importance of the Suq in the formation and development of the Muslim city cannot be underestimated. Muslim cities were founded on the combination of a Great Market and a Great Mosque. This combination was the heart of every city. Ottoman developers called this combination the Imaret. The Imaret is the distinctive feature of every Islamic city.
Soon after his arrival in Madina al-Munawwarah, the Prophet of Islam, salla’llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, created two institutions, a mosque and a market. He made clear by his statements and explicit injunctions that the marketplace was to be a space freely accessible to everybody, with no divisions (such as shops) and where no taxes, levies or rents could be charged.
The Market is like a Mosque: …
The Messenger of Allah, salla’llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Markets should follow the same sunnah as the mosques: whoever gets his place first has a right to it until he gets up and goes back to his house or finishes his selling. (suq al-muslimin ka-musalla l-muslimin, man sabaqa ila shay’in fa-huwa lahu yawmahu hatta yada‘ahu.)”.
(Al-Hindi, Kanz al-’Ummal, V, 488, no. 2688)
it is a sadaqa, with no private ownership …
Ibrahim ibn al-Mundhir al Hizami relates from Abdallah ibn Ja’far, that Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Hasan said, “The Messenger of Allah, salla’llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, gave the Muslims their markets as a charitable gift (tasaddaqa ‘ala l-muslimina bi-aswaqihim).”
(Ibn Shabba, K. Tarikh al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, 304)
with no rent charged …
Ibn Zabala relates that Khalid ibn Ilyas al-’Adawi said, “The letter of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz was read out to us in Madinah, saying that the market was a sadaqa and that no rent (kira’) should be charged on anyone for it.”
(As-Samhudi, Wafa al-Wafa, 749)
with no taxes levied on it …
Ibrahim ibn al-Mundhir relates from Ishaq ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad, from Abdallah ibn Ja’far ibn al-Miswar, from Shurayh ibn Abdallah ibn Abi Namir, that Ata’ ibn Yasar said, “When the Messenger of Allah, salla’llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, wanted to set up a market in Madinah, he went to the market of Bani Qaynuqa’ and then came to the market of Madinah, stamped his foot on the ground and said, ‘This is your market. Do not let it be lessened (la yudayyaq), and do not let any tax (kharaj) be levied on it.’”
(Ibn Shabba, K. Tarikh al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, 304)
where no reservations or claims can be made …
Ibn Zabala relates from Hatim ibn Isma’il that Habib said that Umar ibn al-Khattab [once] passed by the Gate of Ma’mar in the market and [saw that] a jar had been placed by the gate and he ordered that it be taken away. … Umar forbade him to put any stones on the place or lay claim to it [in any way] (an yuhajjir ‘alayha aw yahuzaha).
(As-Samhudi, Wafa al-Wafa, 749)
and where no shops can be constructed.
Ibn Shabba relates from Salih ibn Kaysan …that …The Messenger of Allah, salla’llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, …said: ‘This is your market. Do not build anything with stone (la tatahajjaru) [on it], and do not let any tax (kharaj) be levied on it’”
(As-Samhudi, Wafa al-Wafa, 747-8)
Abu r-Rijal relates from Isra’il, from Ziyad ibn Fayyad, from one of the shaykhs of Madinah that Umar ibn al Khattab, radiya’llahu ‘anhu, saw a shop (dukkan) which someone had newly put up in the market and he destroyed it.
(Ibn Shabba, K. Tarikh al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, 750)
9. Can you explain why the current Islamic banking activities are wrong? Do they jeopardize capitalism? What is the answer to the promoters of Islamic banking when you arise this topic to them?
Islamic Banking is a Trojan Horse in the land of Islam. From an Islamic perspective is as absurd as an Islamic brothel. It is the child of Islamic modernism. Islamic banking is haram. They think they are doing ijtihad, what they are doing is bringing capitalism to our lands.
The topic has been discussed in many other forums so I remit to them. I will only point out one issue in particular is the contract of murabaha. Murabaha is a sale in Islamic Law, it is not a financial agreement. In practice Islamic bankers have transformed murabaha into a forbidden practice known as “two sales in one” (read in Al-Muwatta). Without murabaha there will be no Islamic banking.
When you say this to Islamic bankers, you have two answers:
- the majority, who after you show them the model of Muamalat and the meaning of fractional reserve banking and fiat currency, say: “yes you are right Islamic banking is not perfect but we are moving in the right direction”. They admit their mistakes but defend their good intentions. This people can be helped and often they come back to the way of Muamalat.
- the hard line minority who are entrenched into Islamic banking. They are difficult to cure.
10. How concretely do you promote Islamic currency. How to use it in our daily trading. How to pay Zakat with it. How to create markets.
Follow us. We speak with our example. If you want to learn the practical side of the Dinar and Dirham use them. If you want to learn about Muamalat do it. You will learn by yourself. The return of the Dinar will trigger the return of Muamalat.