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From Markets to Islamic Society

  1. L6: Drivers of Social Change 6th Lecture of A New Approach to Islamic Economics Dr. Asad Zaman
  2. Important Links: These Slides: Weekly Mailing List for Islamic Economics: Website for Complete Course Materials: Free Online Course on Al-Nafi Platform:
  3. Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].
  4. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.
  5. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. Our thoughts often conflict with what the Quran says. Standard Method for dealing with conflict: Re-interpret the Quran. Correct and Difficult Method: Re-adjust your ways of thinking.
  6. The Quran: Complete and Perfect Guidance! Revelation starts with command to “Read” and goes on to say that Allah T’aala will give knowledge to mankind which they did not have! For the revolutionary impact of this knowledge upon the world, see: Rise & Decline of Muslims, and its Impact on the World: New knowledge, given by God to mankind, transformed ignorant and backward Bedouin into world leaders. This knowledge created a civilization which dazzled with world with the light of knowledge for more than a thousand years.
  7. Critical Questions • What was this knowledge that Quran gave to the early Muslims? • Do we still have this knowledge? • Does this knowledge have the same revolutionary power today? Apparently NOT. Those with this knowledge are backward and ignorant. When message of Quran conflicts with our views and observations – change our observations and view to align with the Quran. Conclusion: We do not have this knowledge today. If we did, this knowledge would teach us HOW to change the world.
  8. ‫ي‬ِ‫ن‬َ‫ث‬َّ‫د‬َ‫ح‬ ُ ُ‫د‬ْ‫ي‬ َ‫و‬ُ‫س‬ ُُ‫ْن‬‫ب‬ ،ٍ‫د‬‫ي‬ِ‫ع‬َ‫س‬ ‫َا‬‫ن‬َ‫ث‬َّ‫د‬َ‫ح‬ ُُ‫ص‬ْ‫ف‬َ‫ح‬ ُُ‫ْن‬‫ب‬ ،َ‫ة‬َ‫ر‬َ‫س‬ْ‫ي‬َ‫م‬ ‫ي‬ِ‫ن‬َ‫ث‬َّ‫د‬َ‫ح‬ َُ‫ز‬ ُ ُ‫د‬ْ‫ي‬ ُُ‫ْن‬‫ب‬ ،َ‫م‬َ‫ل‬ْ‫س‬َ‫أ‬ ُْ‫ن‬َ‫ع‬ ،ِ‫اء‬َ‫ط‬َ‫ع‬ ُِ‫ْن‬‫ب‬ ٍُ ‫ار‬َ‫س‬َ‫ي‬ ُْ‫ن‬َ‫ع‬ ‫ي‬ِ‫ب‬َ‫أ‬ ُ َ‫س‬ ُ ٍ‫د‬‫ي‬ِ‫ع‬ ،ِ‫ي‬ ِ‫ر‬ْ‫د‬ُ‫خ‬ْ‫ال‬ َُ‫ل‬‫ا‬َ‫ق‬ َُ‫ل‬‫ا‬َ‫ق‬ ُ ُ‫ل‬‫و‬ُ‫س‬ َ‫ر‬ ُ ِ َّ ‫ّللا‬ ‫صلى‬ ‫هللا‬ ‫عليه‬ ‫وسلم‬ " َُّ‫ن‬ُ‫ع‬ِ‫ب‬َّ‫ت‬َ‫ت‬َ‫ل‬ َُ‫َن‬‫ن‬َ‫س‬ َُ‫ِين‬‫ذ‬َّ‫ال‬ ُْ‫ن‬ِ‫م‬ ُ ْ‫م‬ُ‫ك‬ِ‫ل‬ْ‫ب‬َ‫ق‬ ُ ِ‫ش‬ ‫ا‬ً‫ْر‬‫ب‬ ٍُ ‫ْر‬‫ب‬ِ‫ش‬ِ‫ب‬ ‫ا‬ً‫ع‬‫ا‬َ‫ِر‬‫ذ‬ َ‫و‬ ُ ٍ‫اع‬َ‫ِر‬‫ذ‬ِ‫ب‬ ‫ى‬َّ‫ت‬َ‫ح‬ ُْ‫و‬َ‫ل‬ ‫و‬ُ‫ل‬َ‫خ‬َ‫د‬ ‫ا‬ ‫ي‬ِ‫ف‬ ُِ ‫ر‬ْ‫ح‬ُ‫ج‬ ُ ٍ‫ب‬َ‫ض‬ ُ ْ‫م‬ُ‫ه‬‫و‬ُ‫م‬ُ‫ت‬ْ‫ع‬َ‫ب‬َّ‫ت‬َ‫ال‬ " . ‫َا‬‫ن‬ْ‫ل‬ُ‫ق‬ ‫ا‬َ‫ي‬ َُ‫ل‬‫و‬ُ‫س‬ َ‫ر‬ ُ ِ َّ ‫ّللا‬ ُ َ‫د‬‫و‬ُ‫ه‬َ‫ي‬ْ‫آل‬ ‫ى‬ َ‫ار‬َ‫ص‬َّ‫ن‬‫ال‬ َ‫و‬ َُ‫ل‬‫ا‬َ‫ق‬ " ُْ‫ن‬َ‫م‬َ‫ف‬ " . Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported Allah's Messenger ( ‫ﷺ‬ ) as saying: You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also. We said: Allah's Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians (by your words)" those before you"? He said: Who else (than those two religious groups)? Root Cause: The Modern Mu’tazila have accepted Western Knowledge as being on par with, or superior to, the Quran, Hadeeth, and the entire intellectual tradition of Islam. This is a natural and necessary consequence of a Western education. The goal of the Ghazali Project is to create an alternative to Western Education.
  9. Prophecies Hadeeth: Islam began as a something strange and it will return to being strange, so blessed are the strangers. Hadeeth: You will follow the ways of the Jews and Christians, to the extent of crawling into lizard holes after them. Today, we seek guidance from the Jews and Christians to learn how to develop, instead of seeking guidance from the Quran. The meaning of “development” we understand from Jews and Christians theories, and not from the Quran.
  10. Who was the wiser man? Einstein’s Greatest Blunder - Goldsmith Muhammad Ould Fahfu al-Massumi (Sheikh Murabitt al-Hajj), born in 1913, passed away on Tuesday 20th July 2018
  11. The Most Important Questions: • Why was the universe created? • Why were we (mankind) created? • What is the purpose of MY life? • How can I fulfill this purpose? • What kind of knowledge do I need to lead the best possible life? WHO had this knowledge, Einstein or Shaykh Murabit Al-Hajj? Who was the wiser man?
  12. Answers to the Critical Questions Islam The Universe was created as a testing ground, a temporary home The purpose of our lives is to do the best of deeds (ahsan o ‘amala) The Shari’a is the PATH to success. It defines how to lead a successful life. Western Education The Universe was created in a cosmic accident Our lives are meaningless. We will perish and become dust. Man is an animal, living in a jungle of cut-throat competition, governed solely by survival-of-the- fittest.
  13. What is USEFUL knowledge? Islam How to succeed on the day of Judgement? How to do the BEST deeds? How to differentiate between good and bad deeds. Knowledge which enables us to do the best deeds and succeed on the day of Judgment is useful. West How to succeed in this world? Success is power, pleasure, profits – all the benefits of this world. Survival of the fittest is the only moral law. Global Colonization and Conquest is the best way to maximize wealth and power. Knowledge which enables this is useful.
  14. Dilemma: If we pursue success of Akhira, will we also (automatically) pursue failure in Dunya? ُ ِ‫ن‬ِ‫م‬ْ‫ؤ‬ُّ‫م‬ُ‫م‬ُ‫ت‬‫ن‬ُ‫ك‬ُ‫ن‬ِ‫إ‬َُ‫ن‬ ْ‫و‬َ‫ل‬ْ‫ع‬َ ْ ‫ُٱْل‬ُ‫م‬ُ‫ت‬‫ن‬َ‫أ‬ َ‫ُو‬۟‫وا‬ُ‫ن‬ َ‫ز‬ْ‫ح‬َ‫ت‬ُ َ ‫ال‬ َ‫ُو‬۟‫وا‬ُ‫ن‬ِ‫ه‬َ‫ت‬ُ َ ‫ال‬ َ‫و‬ َُ‫ين‬ So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers. Worldly success is promised to us, if we fulfill our promise to God. The rise of Islam is a perfect example – The early Muslims were given victory over two advanced civilizations, with massive resources – Persia and Rome – which had existed for centuries, prior to Islam.
  15. The Quranic Message • Corruption appears on land and sea because of our evil deeds. • Allah T’aala will not change our condition until we change ourselves. The key to changing society is to change ourselves. The vast majority of efforts for change are trying to change the EXTERNAL world. But the key to change is to change our INTERNAL world.
  16. Recognize Our Colonized Minds: Colonization of the World was justified by a philosophy which prizes power and wealth – pleasures of this world – over everything else. This is the goal of our lives – maximizing pleasure in this world. USEFUL knowledge helps us to achieve this goal. This is knowledge of weapons and technology, as well as manufacture of luxury goods. There is no concept of spiritual progress, or working on our inner selves, because man is just another kind of animal, created by evolution.
  17. whoever saves one (life) – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely In the eyes of God, one life is just as precious as all of mankind! Saving one life – bring one (self) to guidance – is like saving all of mankind. Hadeeth: Do not consider any good deed as small, even smiling on the face of your brother.
  18. Key to Revolution: Big Change in the World: Small Changes Within Ourselves Paradoxical Dual Process: No Monasticism in Islam Work on creating change in external world, with the intention to change your inner world. Isometric Exercise: Push Against the Wall Intention is all important – You intend to move the wall, even though it is impossible to do so. Jogging – Intention is NOT to get rapidly from one place to another, but to create internal change.
  19. How to Create Islamic Society? 3-D Approach Descriptive: What kind of a society do we live in today? A Market Society, created by, and required for, a capitalist economic system. Prescriptive: What is the ideal society, envisioned in Islam, and exemplified by our history, theorized by our Fuqaha? Transformative: How can we transform a market society to an Islamic Society.
  20. First Step: Description Where we stand currently
  21. What is a Society? "A society is a group of people who live in a defined geographic area, who interact with one another, and who share a common culture. The members of a society collectively create and maintain social norms, which are the shared expectations and rules that guide behavior. These norms include roles, responsibilities, and duties assigned to individuals based on their status and position within the society" (Schaefer, 2017, p. 5). "Sociology: A Brief Introduction" by Richard T. Schaefer
  22. Central Characteristics of a Market Society Key: Massive Overproduction – far above what is needed. Divide goods into two categories: N and W – needs and wants. Define N broadly: Includes, needs, comforts, decorative – W – is wasteful, excess, classified as Israf and Tabzeer In a market society W-type production and consumption far exceeds N- type.
  23. O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess. Say, "Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?“ Eat, Drink, Enjoy Comforts, Beautify your life, but do not spend in excess or on the prohibited. (Israf and Tabzeer).
  24. Ghazali: Four Categories of Consumption "Know that the things which people desire and seek are of four types: (1) necessities, (2) comforts, (3) embellishments, and (4) excess. Necessities are those things without which human beings cannot exist, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Comforts are things that make life easier and more pleasant, such as a means of transportation or a comfortable home. Embellishments are things that add beauty and elegance to life, such as fine clothing, jewelry, and perfumes. As for excess, it is that which is beyond what is needed for life or its embellishment, such as hoarding money, collecting superfluous things, and indulging in excessive eating, drinking, or sexual activity." (Ihya Ulum al-Din, Book 38, Chapter 1)
  25. Prohibition to Follow Idle Desires: Opposed to W-production & W-consumption 1."And do not follow the lusts of your hearts, lest they lead you astray from the path of God." (Quran 38:26) 2."And whoever follows his own desires without guidance from God - for him there is no guide or helper." (Quran 28:50) 3.Then, as for him who rebelled And preferred the life of this world (by following his evil desires and lusts), Then indeed, Hellfire will be [his] dwelling. However, those who had feared their Lord and restrained their souls from acting according to its desires. Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] dwelling. Quran 79:37-41
  26. Capitalist Dilemma & Solution Labor is needed to produce W-goods, which no one wants. Solution: Marketing: Convert Wants into Needs. Social Status. Labor works for wages to produce W. Uses wages to buy W. Say’s Law: Supply produces its own demand. Wages spent on producing W-goods provide income to consumers to enable them to purchase W-goods. Key Insight: Capitalists must manufacture W AND desire for W.
  27. Key Battleground: The Desire for W-goods Economic Theory: The Goal of Life is to maximize pleasure obtained from consumption of goods and services (Religion, taught as fact) Consumer Sovereignty: Economists must not question the origins of the wants & desires. Consumer is free to desire anything. Lerner (1971) writes that “as an economist I must be concerned with the mechanisms for getting people what they want, no matter how these wants were acquired”. Samuelson and Nordhaus (1989, p. 2) write that economists “must reckon with consumer wants and needs whether they are genuine or contrived.”
  28. Change Actions to Change Thoughts Labor => produce W-goods and wage-income This provides profits to capitalists. Profits => manufacture demand for W-goods. Use wage-income to purchase W-goods. Self-sustaining system. Breaking out of the cycle: REDUCE purchase of W-goods. Move to LOWER standard of living. Contentment, Gratitude and Trust.
  29. Key: Reduce the Desire for W-goods Strategy: Spend on needs of others, instead of our own wants. O ye who believe! Spend of the good things which ye have earned, and of that which We bring forth from the earth for you, and seek not the bad (with intent) to spend thereof (in charity) when ye would not take it for yourselves save with disdain; and know that Allah is Absolute, Owner of Praise. You shall never attain righteousness until you spend out of what you love (in the way of Allah). And Allah knows whatever you spend. Hadeeth: Spend Time with the Poor. Our natural inborn compassion will make us realize their needs take precedence over our wants.
  30. Effects of This Strategy • Lower Standard of Living. Simpler Lives. Doing leads to belief. • Lower Income, Lower Savings. TRUST in God for your needs. • When you try to break out of capitalist system of thought, by abandoning pursuit of wealth, Shaytan will threaten you with the fear of poverty. • BUT Allah T’aala promises you His forgiveness and bounty!
  31. What to do with saved time, effort, energy? • Lower engagement with social networks of capitalist society – laborer, consumer, producer, boss, employee • Re-Create the social networks of an Islamic Society • Build yourself – excellence in conduct. • Build a strong family. Invest in relationships. Service. • Build a neighborhood community. • Change lives within this community.
  32. Self-Transformation: • Every individual life is as precious as ALL of humanity. • That is, every one of us has the POTENTIAL to influence the lives of all of humanity • Like every seed has the potential to develop into a tree, and therefore, into thousands and millions of trees. • How do we develop this potential? NOT by retiring to a cave. • But by STRUGGLING with the external world to create positive change – just like an ISOMETRIC exercise.
  33. What is the CORE struggle? Khilafat, Jihad, Tableegh, Government, Return to Salaf, Islamization of Knowledge, Sufic Methodology, and others. There are 72 branches of faith – all of them are important. The question is one of prioritization? Which battle is most important? Again the answer can be different for different people. We need to have all branches in place for an Islamic Revival. Since the message starts with KNOWLEDGE, Knowledge is at the root of revival. But WHAT Kind of Knowledge?
  34. The Struggle to Build Community is CORE Communities are drivers of social change. Individuals create social change by creating communities. (8:63) (Allah T’aala) united their hearts; had you spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah united them; surely He is Mighty, Wise. The critical change in Madina was the creation of the community of believers.
  35. Creating Community based on Love By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love one another other. Shall I tell you of something that, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread the greeting of peace among yourselves. You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it."
  36. Service is key to community (76:8) And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive, The Prophet (peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah's Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day." [Sahih Al- Bukhari] Volume 7, Book 64, Number 265 All God's creatures are His family; and he is the most beloved of God, who does most good to God's creatures A believer loves, and is loved. There is no khayr (good) in one who is not loved.
  37. The One Sajdah You Find So Heavy, Protects you from a Thousand Others. Focus your energies. Curtains of Darkness: Stop fighting false battles – worldly pursuits, encouraged by capitalism. Curtains of Light: Stop fighting false Islamic battles – No un-Islamic means to an Islamic goal. Promise to use everything you have – life, energy, wealth – for the sake of Allah, and ask Allah for guidance on the best use you can make of the finite resources you have been given.
  38. Practical Strategy for Creating Change • Choose ONE battle which YOU can win – this will depend on who you are, your social connections, your capabilities, your opportunities. • Put ALL your energies into winning this one battle. • LOSE all the other thousand battles – that is, stop giving time and energy to these other battles. TRUST in Allah to take care of other fronts – where your help is of negligible importance. • Divide up the path of a thousand miles into DAY-SIZE subgoals. Accomplish ONE subgoal in one day. Give thanks to Allah for allowing you to complete the one goal.
  39. How to Build A Community? Difficult Task! Neighborhood Community. Work Community. Virtual Community. Work on paths of least resistance. But challenge your Nafs. Growth depends on tackling problems at the appropriate level. Too hard => discouragement and abandonment of efforts. Too easy => no growth Medium Level => requires work, which creates growth and change.
  40. Work Community: Re-imagine Relationships The Goal of the firm is to provide services (not to maximize profits). All members of firm are equal partners in provision of services. Hierarchies are just organizational arrangements, not tokens of superiority. All members of the firm are like a family – socially connected. Take SMALL steps towards revolutionary goals. Build ONE non-market relationship. Start talking about service as a goal. Introduce one egalitarian idea.
  41. Avoid Two-Step Thinking First let us work at nation-state level, THEN we will work on Ummah. First let us reform ourselves, THEN we will give Da’wah to others. First let us build a community. THEN we will use community to solve problems. Entanglement: Do BOTH levels together. Build Community BY creating common goals to work on.
  42. Identifying Common Goals Identify the needs, interests, and capabilities of the community by: • Talk to people with share interests • Discover strengths and capabilities of members • Try to create consensus on common issues, challenges, facing the community. • Try to identify opportunities created by collective actions. Key element in transition to secular society in West: sense of collective purpose was lost, leading to rise of individualism.
  43. Motivate People to Build Community • MOTIVATE using Ahadeeth on the virtues of serving the creations of God, for the sake of the love of God. • Muntakhab Hadees is available in many languages – look at section on Ikram-e-Muslim Virtues of Service to Fellow Muslims and Humans. • • Fazail-e-Amal Virtues of Deeds •
  44. Building Social Relationships with Members How to make friends? (Ya Ayyuhal Mudatthir, Qum Fa Anzir) 1. Start small, and work on soft grounds. AbuBakr first. 2. Look for people with common interests. BOLDER, change your interests to match, and create common interests 3. Active Listening: Identify Free Information – important source to learn about interests of others. Heya Asaya Ahasho Beha Ghanamy 4. Learn to spot and admire small good deeds. Tell people that you love them for Allah. Encourage and Praise.
  45. Social Events To Create Connection • Create A Study + Discussion Group. • Have weekly meetings with Tea. • Keep Half Time for Presentation and Half for Discussion. • Choose topics/speaker/videos of common interest. • Create Virtual Group AFTER real social group exists on the ground. And don’t let virtual group create obstacles to genuine social networking. • Listen to Feedback, Communicate your goals, Assess progress
  46. Working Together for Common Goals • Find Projects of common interest, within reach of capabilities, and of service to community. • Create Ikhlas – sincerity of intentions, to work for the pleasure of Allah. • Use Mashwera and Istikhara to build community. Tableegh: Gusht, Jawla -- internal and external • Two stage process: Make a small and focused invitation, spelling out the purpose and the benefits, to a large number of people. • Next Stage: choose the few who respond positively to work on more intensively.
  47. The Gender Question • Females are MUCH better at building community. Naturally better at social skills. • Males and Females have worked together from the earliest times for the cause of Islam. • Communities must include both men and women. • Mixed Gatherings – men and women sitting together, inter-mingling, must be avoided. • Go one step better than prevailing social norms. Different between Modern University and KPK.
  48. Unique Strengths of Islam • Diversity and Tolerance • Difference of Opinion is a MERCY, in presence of tolerance. • Think of the “Islamicate” – all the diverse cultures are equally Islamic. • Think of the Hajj – celebration of diversity and tolerance of the Ummah • There are strong boundaries which define Islam. No room for compromise on Fundamentals (roots) • Wide diversity on the branches acceptable and desirable, it allows for wide variety of temperaments. Four Mazahib, More Sufi Traditions.
  49. Linking Communities • Daily Prayers at local Masjid. Jum’aa at a bigger Masjid which gathers multiple communities. Send Representatives and have them meet. • Eid-ul-Fitr: Much Larger Gathering & Eid-ul-Adha • Hajj: connects the entire Ummah. • SHARE EXPERIENCES across communities. • Many pre-existing models – no conflict! Use cooperative strategies. • Emphasize de-linking from market society relationships and building and Islamic society, based on community.
  50. Concluding Remarks A Society is a network of social relationships. Market societies are defined by laborers, consumers, producers, advertisers, ideologues. Natural social communities create obstacles to capitalism, preventing the conversion of human beings – defined by their social networks – to anonymous interchangeable human resources. To create change, we must drop out of the capitalist social networks – to the extent possible, and gradually. We must replace market-based relationships by Islam-based relationships. We must work to create and strengthen these connections: Kin, Neighbors, as recommended in Islamic teachings.
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