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A New Economic Framework
Economic Issues
Dr. Shehzad Saleem


...At the dawn of Islam, fourteen centuries ago, mankind was facing one of the greatest ordeals of its history: the institution of slavery. Man had become the master of man. He was subjected to inhuman treatment at the hands of his master. Islam launched an extensive campaign to eradicate this evil from the society and it was not long before mankind heaved a sigh of relief when the institution of human bondage was condemned and stood abolished. Today, fourteen centuries later, with the advent of the institution of Banking, the institution of slavery has emerged once again, though in a different garb. This time its effects are even more devastating: nation after nation has become slave to a few nations. Once again, Islam has the solution to mankind’s grievances...


Since the past many years, Muslim scholars have been endeavouring to establish the economy of Pakistan on interest-free lines. Many solutions have been suggested in this regard as well. However, all these attempts have proceeded by first accepting and acknowledging certain premises of a capitalistic economy. Since these premises are in direct contradiction with those laid down by Islam, the result of this cross-breeding is a species malformed beyond perception. Regrettably, our scholars insist on branding it as the ‘golden economic model of Islam’.

One of the main limbs of this bizarre species is ‘Interest-free Banking’, which actually amounts to a contradiction in terms. It must be appreciated that Banking owes its existence to the creation of a large amount of capital with a fair amount of ease, and to an almost total elimination of the element of risk in the mode of its operation. These two factors, in fact, define the very nature of Banking. It must be borne in mind, that Banks primarily operate on the interest they receive upon the loans they advance against collateral securities. Interest and Security ensure a guaranteed return well over the money lent. Without the two, a Bank can neither readily draw in a huge amount of money nor continue to be an institution with a ‘certain-future’---the two causes of its creation. ‘Interest-free Banking’ is something which disregards both these causes and, therefore, is in contradiction with the very nature of Banking. Trying to operate a bank on interest-free lines, we are afraid, is like trying to keep a person alive after cutting his life-vein.

A cursory look at the formation of Banks reveals that individuals who establish and run a Bank have very little at stake in the accumulated money. In fact, the lesser their own investment in the total sum, the more a Bank is considered successful. Without entering into any sort of a business venture and by simply manipulating the accumulated money in a certain manner, they are able to earn unimaginable amounts of ‘easy’ money. As ‘Interest-free Bankers’ why at all should they set up enterprises and business ventures, risk their future by entering in a profit and loss agreement with investors, trouble themselves with all the affairs of such concerns and face the next to impossible task of dealing simultaneously with thousands of investors when, as ‘Interest-based Bankers’, they can earn much much more without taking all these pains and risks, simply by lending the secured money at a higher interest rate and returning the depositers a relatively low one? From the depositers’ point of view of the also, if one is not given surety of a fixed return, why at all should one deposit money with an institution having a ‘vague-future’ and face the chances of totally loosing ones money? Should they not opt for a more safer investment like land or gold or perhaps even directly enter in a business and take the risk? ‘Interest-free Banking’, in short, is a fantastic production of man’s romance with economic concepts. This romance might be enthralling, but, we are afraid, it can find no place in the world of reality.

Perhaps, the solution lies in rethinking the whole set-up which emanates from the laws and principles Islam sets forth in this matter. I take this opportunity to introduce a humble effort undertaken in this regard by a meritorious scholar of our country, Mr Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. His innovative approach to the whole problem has placed it in an entirely new perspective. He has proposed an alternative which can best be described as a new economic order, considering its staggering implications.

Mr Ghamidi asserts that by prohibiting both Interest and Security1, Islam has once and for all put an end to all institutions which are established and run on these bases. It has prohibited the two because both of them promote economic injustice and inequity---the very antithesis of an economy envisaged by Islam. Also, at the outset, it condemns those who live beyond their means and rely on loans for their livelihood. Banking, on the contrary, institutionalizes what Islam condemns and in fact goes even further: it induces a country to live beyond its means. It creates a debt-based economy in which a country plans its annual expenditures well beyond its income and covers the deficit mostly through loans acquired on interest. Each year this deficit increases and a country is forced to beg for more and more money. The net result is that this institution becomes the centre of many economic evils. Mr Ghamidi, therefore, stresses that an Islamic economic framework is not just ‘Interest-free’, it is ‘Banking-free’ as well. This may be a startling premise, but can perhaps be better appreciated if some moments are spared to view the havoc caused by Banks in the economy a country.


An objective analysis reveals some glaring evils in Banking, an institution which actually developed from the guiles of the goldsmith a few hundred years ago.

The greatest evil in it, which can rightly be termed as the source of all the other evils, is the concentration of wealth in few hands. The result is economic disparity and perpetual widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. Through the courtesy of Interest and Collateral Security, the two pillars of Banking, an extremely large amount of money is rendered at the disposal of few individuals, who, consequently, decisively influence the economy of a country. They become the beneficiaries of a major portion of the country’s wealth, and with this ‘deadly weapon’ virtually control the destiny of their nation. They are at liberty to direct the flow of wealth at any project they like, as long as they can obtain an interest rate well over the one they have to pay back to the depositors. The fact that a lucrative project might be harmful for the country’s well-being finds little consideration in their ‘feasibilities’. Similarly, other projects which may not promise a high rate of return, yet are essential for a country’s welfare may be of no significance to them.

Secondly, the rate of interest a Bank sets has a direct bearing on the cost of living as well as on the price levels of various commodities of general use. House rents are fixed keeping in view the interest the money invested would fetch if it had been placed in a Bank. Similarly, a typical factory owner, who inevitably, sets up his concern from a Bank loan, adds the interest margin in the price of the goods he is manufacturing. Frequently, there are two, three or even more such interest margins because the loans acquired are multiple as well. This high debt margin also accounts for the pathetic state of the factory labour which is employed on meagre wages. The ultimate result is that the whole country is caught in a perpetually increasing price-gradient. What adds to this misery is that economists admit that in an interest-based economy all measures which can cure this price hike are those that cause unemployment and vice versa.

Thirdly, since most of the wealth of the general masses nourishes few people, the sale of goods in local markets experience a pronounced decrease. Quite often, this leads to a severe slump in the country’s economy. Factories are forced to close down creating mass-scale unemployment. Also the manufacturers are inflicted with severe losses. The government, if possible, tries to compensate such businessmen by buying their goods. As a preventive measure, it also tries to keep the production below a certain level. In the process, a lot of money is spent2. Moreover, to lessen the burden so caused on the national exchequer, the government is induced to plan a budget whose deficit runs in billions. To reduce this deficit, it frequently resorts to a number of activities which further cripple the national economy. Every year millions of currency notes are published. This false money is one of the immediate if not the main cause of inflation. Further taxes are imposed and foreign aid and loans are procured to increase the national income and reduce the budget deficit. Again, foreign agencies provide loan and aid on their own conditions and virtually dictate the future development (ie, the lack of it) of a country3. Needless to say that with economic slavery comes mental servitude, which totally destroys the moral fibre of a country. Furthermore, once a country starts relying on foreign loans, the need to repay them on interest starts an unending sequence of their procurement. Every year a considerable amount of the annual budget is spent in servicing these debts4.

Fourthly, a large quantity of money is retained in banks as reserves to meet sudden increases in the withdrawl of money. These ‘fits’ continue to occur every now and then as part of trade-cycles of an interest-based economy. Also, the quantity of money floated for loan advancement is not allowed to exceed a certain level so that the interest rate should not fall. As a result, a very large amount of money is left untouched, whilst the government may be busy procuring foreign loans!

Fifthly, foreign agencies which directly invest in a developing country are preferred as borrowers by the Banks of such a country because of their ‘sound’ credibility. This results in a virtual restriction on the availability of credit to the domestic borrowers. Also, among these domestic borrowers loans are advanced to only the few who are in a position to pledge the usually high-valued Securities against them5. Many capable and competent yet not-so-rich young men, from whose skills the country could benefit, are, inspite of all their own wishes, unable to play a role in the country’s development. As a consequence, a lot of this indigenous talent is bought by foreign agencies, who reap all the benefit.

Sixthly, the outflow of secured loans towards ‘rich’ domestic borrowers only brings into existence a particular class in a country, the industrialists, who, like their progenitors, the Bankers, are provided with the opportunity to play with the whole country’s wealth. The economic welfare of a country rests at their mercy. They can disrupt its economic stability and equilibrium by creating a shortage of goods at one place and producing them in abundance at another. They can cause unemployment by replacing the hand-labour with mechanized techniques wherever and whenever they like because providing the relieved labour with alternative opportunities is not their headache. By establishing business ventures and commercial projects in certain industrial centres only, they are responsible for the creation of large cities, which receive development and service at the expense of the rest of the population. This naturally promotes an atmosphere of rivalry between the beneficiaries and the deprived. Since these industrialists are the main buyers also, they determine the demand pattern in a country, which has no relationship between the actual requirements of a country. The country may be needing investments in the agricultural sector whilst, quite inevitably, these people may be insisting on high-tech goods. Moreover, their money brings the whole leadership of their country at their doors. It is they who reign supreme in the institutions of science and technology, art and literature and learning and education. The mass media is their obedient servant as indeed is a country’s bureaucracy. At the international level their influence is even more potent. They can start a war and initiate peace. At their orders, governments are brought to power, and at their bidding, they are deposed. Above all, these money-barons and their masters the ‘old’ wall-street capitalists have once and for all determined MONEY as the ultimate value in a society. Honour, integrity, piety, competence and hard work are forced to salute and serve its cause. Greed and selfishness, fraud and deception reign supreme. Evil rules the world. Only strangers now tread the path of truth...

Satan and his disciples, it looks, have yet again led the believers away from Divine Guidance. Fourteen hundred years ago a small Qur’anic verse had warned them of the dire consequences of wealth being confined in a few hands. It still has the same message for us, if we could only care to pay heed!


Despite the above mentioned evils of Banking which are apparent to every observant eye, there has remained a group of intellectuals in our society that insists that Islam has not prohibited ‘Commercial Interest’ ie, the interest given by Banks for commercial purposes; it has only forbidden interest acquired for personal use because this often becomes a means of severe exploitation of the borrowers. The argument they give in support of their view is that in Arabia, at the dawn of Islam, commercial interest was non-existent; cruel money-lenders used to lend money at exorbitant rates to the needy who, as a result, had to suffer at their hands.

Though this view has been challenged by many scholars on various grounds, we are afraid that the strongest verdict in this regard---the verdict of the Qur’an has been ignored. If one studies the Qur’anic verses related to interest, it becomes obvious that the historical picture of economic activity un that period is entirely different from the one imagined by most of our ‘intellectuals’ as well as ‘scholars’ who believe that commercial interest did not exist in those times. The fact is that Arabs seldom borrowed for their personal needs; it was mainly for their business and commercial requirements that they borrowed money.

The Qur’an says:

That which ye give in riba in order that it may increase on other people’s wealth has no increase with Allah; but that which you give as zakah, seeking Allah’s countenance, it is these people who will get manifold [in the Hereafter] of what they gave. (30:39)

It is clear that the words ‘that it may increase on other people’s wealth’ are inappropriate for interest taken for personal purposes, and imply that in those times loans were usually acquired for commercial and business use. Interest taken for personal purposes, it is more than obvious, does not ‘increase on other people’s wealth’.

Historically also, it is known that the Arabs were a tribal nation. In the Arabian tribal system in particualr, a person’s tribe was like his family. His needs and requirements were considered as the needs and requirements of the tribe. If a person was in any sort of distress, the members of his tribe considered it their duty to help him and he himself felt proud in asking for their assistance. It was a matter of shame for the tribe if any of its member had to go to a ‘professional’ money-lender for his personal needs.

Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that whether a loan is acquired for personal use or for business and welfare purposes, the real meaning of riba cannot not be ascertained on these bases. It is an indisputable fact that in the Arabic language the word riba, irrespective of the aim of the lender and the condition of the borrower, just implies the fixed increase acquired on a loan6. The Qur’an itself has clarified this in the following verse:

"If the debtor is in difficulty grant him respite until it is easy for him to repay and if you write off [the debt], it is better for you, if you only knew." (2:280)

Imaam Amin Ahsan Islahi comments on this verse in the following words:

"Today some naive people claim that the type of interest which prevailed in Arabia before the advent of Islam was usury. The poor and the destitute had to borrow money from a few rich money-lenders to fulfil their personal needs. These money-lenders exploited the poor and used to lend them money at high interest rates. It is only this type of interest which the Qur’an has termed as ribaa and forbidden. As far as commercial interest is concerned, it neither existed at that time nor did the Qur’an prohibit it.

The verse categorically refutes this ‘allegation’. When the Qur’an says that if a debtor who is in difficulty should be given respite until he is able to pay back his debt, it clearly points out that in those times even the rich used to acquire loans. In fact, if the style of the verse is appreciated and its stress correctly appreciated, it becomes clear that it was mostly the rich who used to procure loans. Indeed, there was a strong chance that the debtor would find himself in difficulty even to pay the original amount. The money-lender, therefore, is directed to give him more time and if he forgoes the original amount it would be better for him. The words of this verse strongly indicate this meaning. The actual Arabic words of the verse are: wa in kaana zoo ‘usratin fa naziratun ilaa maisarah. The particle of condition in (if) is not used for general, but, in fact, is used for rare and unusual circumstances. For general circumstances, the particle izaa is used. In the light of this, it is clear that the debtors in those times generally belonged to the affluent class (zoo maisarah); in some cases, however, they were poor or had become poor after acquiring the loan and in such case, the Qur’an has directed the money-lenders to give them a time rebate." ("Tadabbur-i-Qur’an", Vol 1, Pgs 638-639)

He has concluded this discussion by saying:

Obviously, the affluent would have turned to the money-lenders to fulfil not their personal, but business needs. So what is the difference between these loans and the commercial loans of today? ("Tadabbur-i-Qur’an", Vol I, Pg 639)

It is a matter of great appreciation that our men of learning and erudition have been greatly touched by the exploitation of a few people at the hands of cruel money-lenders, but it seems rather strange that the large-scale exploitation of a whole country at the hands of this institution has failed to stir any emotions of sympathy in their hearts!


To appreciate the economic framework proposed by Mr Ghamidi, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the true concept of zakah. Unfortunately, this concept has, over the years, altogether vanished from our religion-political scenario. Without its correct delineation the economic framework envisaged by Islam is totally incomplete.

According to the Qur’an, zakah is the only tax an Islamic government can impose upon its Muslim citizens. It is not merely a charity fund but can be spent on the collective needs of the people as well: The zakah money can be used to pay the salaries of all government officials including that of the head of state, to build all works of public interest, to cater for defence requirements and to establish an Islamic system of Insurance. In short, the system of zakah envisaged by the Qur’an and Sunnah totally meets the requirements of running a welfare state.

History bears witness that the right of a state to impose taxes on its public has created an unending rift between the rulers and the ruled. An institution which apparently began as a voluntary contribution by the people to relieve a few individuals of their financial responsibilities and entrust them with the development and progress of their collectivity gradually became the most effective means of their own exploitation and persecution. Islam, therefore, has actually taken away the right to impose taxes and divinely ordained the statutes of this institution because they are, in fact, beyond the reach of human intellect.

The Islamic concept of zakah shall be discussed under the following three topics:

(1) The Nature of Zakah

(2) The Rates of Zakah

(3) The Heads of Zakah

We now take up these in order:

(1) The Nature of Zakah

According to the Qur’an, zakah has a dual nature: (a) intrinsic and (b) extrinsic.

(a) The Intrinsic Nature: Viewed thus, zakah is an act of worship. This is evident from a number of Qur’anic verses in which it is mentioned adjacent to salat (prayers), the most important form of worship. The word ‘zakah’ means both ‘to purify’ and ‘to grow’: paying zakah purifys one’s wealth and soul, and it actually increases ones wealth in his afterlife. The Qur’an stresses both these aspects of zakah:

"[O Prophet!] Take zakah out of their wealth---thou would cleanse them and purify them thereby." (9:103)


"That which ye give in riba in order that it may increase on [other] people’s wealth has no increase with Allah; but that which you give as zakah, seeking Allah’s countenance, it is these people who will get manifold [in the Hereafter] of what they gave." (30:39)

(b) The Extrinsic Nature: Viewed thus, it is the only tax an Islamic State can impose on its Muslim subjects7. While declaring the conditions for citizenship of an Islamic State, the Qur’an says:

"And if they repent [from all un-Islamic beliefs], establish salat and pay zakah, leave them alone." (9:5)

The above mentioned verse clearly points out that salat and zakah are the only two things which an Islamic government can positively demand from its Muslim citizens. As far as zakah is concerned, after a Muslim has paid it to the government, not a single penny can be further exacted from him8. This is furher illustrated by the following two Ahadith9:

"There is no [legal] share [for the society] in the wealth [of people] except zakah." (Ibni Maajah: Kitab-uz-Zakah)


"After you have paid the zakah of your wealth you have paid [all] that was [legally] required of you." (Ibni Maajah: Kitab-uz-Zakah)

In this regard, the severe warning sounded by the Prophet (sws) to those who impose taxes other than those ordained by the Almighty must also be kept in mind:

"No tax-imposer shall enter paradise." (Abu-Daud: Kitab-ul-Kharaaj)

(2) Rates of Zakah

Before we mention the rates of zakah, a mention seems necessary of the items which are exempt from zakah. Nothing except the following three are exempt:

(i) Means of production: eg. tools, machinery etc.

(ii) Personal items of daily use: eg. personal belongings as house, car etc.

(iii) A statutory exemption called nisaab.

However, an Islamic government can give relaxation on any item in the interest of the public or because of any constraint in the collection of zakah on a particular item10.

As far as the various rates of zakah are concerned, three distinct categories can be classified:

1. Wealth: After deducting the nisaab and taking into consideration other exemptions mentioned above, the wealth of a person shall be taxed annually at the rate of 2%. Tax on trade capital shall also be levied at the same rate by considering this capital to be the sum of cash in hand and cash in trade.

2. Produce: Zakah on produce is deducted at the time of produce and depending upon the various items has three rates: 5%; 10%; 20%

i) 5%: On items which are produced by the interaction of both labour and capital: eg. produce from irrigated lands and industrial produce from factorie.

ii) 10%: On items which are produced such that the major factor in producing them is either labour or capital, but not both. Examples of the former include an artist’s creation as paintings and the works of scholars and intellectuals, while examples of the latter include rented houses, and produce from rainy lands.

iii) 20%: On items which are produced neither as a result of labour nor capital but are actually a gift of God, eg treasures that are discovered etc.

3. Animals: Only those animals which are bred and reared for the purpose of trade and business are subject to zakah. The details of the rates of zakah on animals can be consulted from any book of fiqh.

(3) Heads of Zakah

The following Qur’anic verse spells out the heads under which the zakah fund can be expended:

"Zakah is only for the poor and the needy, and for those who are ‘aamils over it, and for those whose hearts are to be reconciled [to the truth], and for the emancipation of the slaves and for those who have been inflicted with losses and for the way of Allah and for the wayfarers." (9:60)

We take up these heads in order:

1) The Poor and Needy (Fuqaraa and Masaaqeen): The poor and the needy are the foremost recipients of zakah because they are the primary responsibility of the state. It must cater for their basic needs as food, clothing, shelter, health and education. In this regard, the Prophet (sws) is said to have said:

"It [ie zakah] should be taken from their rich and returned to their poor." (Bukhari, Kitab-uz-Zakah)

2) The ‘Aamils over Zakah (‘aamileen-a-’alaihaa): Under this head, the salaries of all employees of the government including the head of the state can be paid.

3) Those whose hearts are to be reconciled (Muallafatul Quloob): Under this head come all forms of political expenditure in the interest of Islam. There may be many instances, when the affiliation of certain influential people must be obtained, particularly in border areas where their role can be decisive in the safety of a country. During the time of the Prophet (sws) many tribes were given money under this head to deter them from harming the newly founded Islamic State.

4) Slaves (Riqaab): The institution of slavery was eliminated by Islam fourteen centuries ago. From this particular head money was given to free slaves. Today, by analogy, this head can be extended to include other recipients. For example, prisoners of war and other prisoners who are unable to pay the fine imposed by the courts can be freed by giving money through this head.

5) Those inflicted with losses (Ghaarimeen): Under this head, an Islamic system of Insurance can be established and all those who are inflicted with economic losses can be compensated. Whether rich or poor the real criterion is that their means of living and its role in the national economy have been destroyed. People who have acquired a loan and are unable to pay it back may also be helped from this head so that they may start afresh and the society can benefit from their abilities.

6) In the Way of Allah (Fee Sabeelillaah): Under this head defence expenditures of a state can be met and institutions for religious propagation as well as all works of public interest as mosques, hospitals, educational institutions and libraries can be built.

7) The Wayfarer (Ibnussabeel): This implies the welfare of the wayfarer. Highways, roads, bridges and lodgings can be built under this head.

This is the concept of zakah envisaged by the Qur’an and Sunnah. From the above details it is clear that zakah is the only tax which an Islamic government can impose on its Muslim subjects11 and that it is not merely a fund for the destitute. Moreover, since there is no basis for necessarily giving it in the possession of an individual (tamleek12), it can be spent on the collective needs of the people as well.


With this concept of zakah in the background, Mr Ghamidi, has proposed the following three faceted scheme.

(1) All institutions which provide capital on loan should be completely abolished, and all Banks should be converted into various branches of the Public Treasury (the Bait-ul-Maal) where people can deposit their savings. These branches shall provide protection, exchange and other similar facilities. In return for this service, the deposited money will be invested by the government only in the public sector on industrial, commercial, agricultural and welfare projects with the pre-condition that without being given any profit on the original amount, the depositors would be returned their money whenever they demand it. This broad-based public sector shall be planned by the government keeping in view the collective requirement and welfare of all the people. It shall finance all projects which need huge investments as part of its basic obligation towards the public.

(2) The public sector so created shall not be run by the government. Leaving it in state ownership, its running and management shall be entrusted to the private sector by adopting either or both of the following two modes, depending upon the circumstances: (i) selling a certain quantity of shares to the private sector, (ii) imposing kharaaj (tribute) on the party of the private sector which is entrusted with the job of management13. However, the government can keep certain ventures of public interest, as the ordinance factories or the mass media under its own management.

(3) Individuals in the private sector who intend to set up their own business shall be freely allowed to do so. They can pool their money to form a joint venture and employ other means to procure funds. Joint stock companies can also play their role in the set up. However, no financial institution shall be allowed to mediate and advance loans to them. Also the only form of absentee partnership permitted would be one in which people can directly become shareholders in various projects of the private and public sector.

The resulting economy, a blend of a broad-based public sector and a naturally developed private sector would, perhaps, rightly depict the moderate set-up of an Islamic Economic System in contrast with the two extremes of capitalist and socialist economies.

It must be realized that the economic system of a country cannot be isolated from its political, social, educational and penal systems. Therefore, a complete overhauling of the above systems must also take place14. However, the government must take the following measures in particular to reciprocate and facilitate the implementation of this framework:

(1) Efforts should be made to merge the whole Muslim Ummah from Morocco in the West to Indonesia in the East in a single geographical unit---The United Islamic States---so that all Muslims can benefit from the resources they have been blessed with.

(2) Those in authority, including the head of the state, must necessarily have the same standard of living so that the non-developmental expenditures of a country are cut down to a minimum.

(3) To run the machinery of the state, the government should rely only on the income obtained from its lands, industries, mineral reserves, trade and zakah15.


This framework is by no means the ultimate solution in this regard: it is merely the first rung of the ladder which has the potential to scale the hitherto unsurmountable fort of one of the greatest challenges of current times---Capitalism.

It is quite likely that what has been presented above shall be rejected on grounds of ‘high treason’ against the thoughts and ideas people are so used to. It is extremely difficult to rise above traditional views, conventional ideas, and existing frameworks, yet, gentle reader, the truth, sometimes, may not be very orthodox.

It must be clarified, however, that no claim is being made. Only an earnest request to weigh every new idea in the scales of ‘Reason and Revelation’.




1. If one reflects on verses 282-3 of Surah Baqarah, it becomes evident that pledging a security against advanced loans is only permitted in a journey, because, while travelling, it is not possible to write down a legal document for a transaction. For further details see "Tadabbur-i-Qur’an", Amin Ahsan Islahi, Vol 1, Pgs 642-4.

2. Perhaps, the most glaring example in this regard is the American Agricultural Policy. Every year the government borrows five billion dollars to reduce the agricultural production. For details see "Man and Money", Sheikh Mahmood Ahmad, Chapter 6.

3. To quote Sheikh Mahmood Ahmad: ‘The strategy adopted by foreign financial interests is no different from the one adopted by drug pushers. The first few doses of any drug can be had free. Foreign aid begins as a grant. The need for drugs and foreign finance, after one is hooked, proceeds at an identical pace. As we need more doses of both, the price starts escalating. The grant becomes a concessional loan, and then the concessional portion starts dwindling and the commercial one starts rising, and finally the level of interest of both categories keeps creeping upward, while maturities keep contracting. Again exactly like drugs, the greater the frequency of the need for a drug, the higher the price that can be extracted for providing satisfaction...’ ("Man and Money" Pgs 885-6)

4. It would be worthwhile to note that 31.3% of the entire annual budget and 43% of the revenue budget for the fiscal year 1991-92 has been allocated to debt servicing. Out of the 80.7 billion rupees debt servicing payments, interest payments are 62.4 billion while 15.5 billion rupees have been repaid as principle of foreign loans. (Figures taken from "The Pakistan and Gulf Economist", September 28th-October 4th 1991, Pg 9)

5. Everett E. Hagen, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while commenting on the role of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in developing countries admits: ‘The charge that the MNC subsidiary in the country, by borrowing capital within the country reduces the amount available to the domestic entrepreneurs has more substance. On the average, foreign subsidiaries of American corporations raise more than twice as much capital within the country in which they operate as the amount contributed by the parents. Some of the capital raised domestically is offered only because the securities of the foreign corporations are regarded as entirely safe; the capital would not have been offered to domestic borrowers. The total amount of capital raised for industrial projects or other use in economic development may therefore be greater because of the MNC loans, but on balance the MNC borrowing must considerably reduce the amount available to the domestic borrowers.’ ("The Economics Of Development" 4th ed, Pg 25)

6. Ribaa or interest is s sometimes defined as ‘the money paid for the use of money borrowed’. This definition confuses some people and they mix up ribaa with rent, whereas the two are quite different from each other.

7. On non-Muslims, however, who have become citizens of an Islamic state after being subdued in a war, Jizya and other taxes can be imposed.

8. Consequently, Hadhrat Abu Bakr, when he waged war against those who were desisting to pay zakah stated unequivocally: ‘The Almighty has said: Hence if they repent, establish salat and pay zakah, leave them alone. By God! I shall neither ask for more nor less.’ ("Ahkaam-ul-Qur’an", Jassaas, Vol 3, Pg 82)

9. It must be borne in mind that the hadith ‘Indeed in the wealth [of people] there is a share [for the society]’, (Tirmazee: Kitab-uz-zakah) often quoted in favour of taxes other than zakah actually implies a different meaning: it urges a Muslim to spend as much as possible in the way of Allah after paying the mandatory amount ie zakah.

10. Exactly on these grounds, to encourage the rearing and breeding of horses in Arabia, where camels were mostly used, the Prophet (sws) exempted horses from zakah. Similarly, vegetables were exempted from zakah because at that time there existed no arrangement for their storage for long periods of time.

11. It should be clear that the kharaaj imposed on land by Hadhrat Umar was not a tax but actually a form of rental income on state owned lands. Similarly, fai, khums and other similar sources of the Bait-ul-Maal are forms of state income and have nothing to do with taxation.

12. For details see "Taudheehaat", ‘Masala-i-Tamleek’, Amin Ahsan Islahi.

13. This would be analogous with how Hadhrat Umar had dealt with the conquered lands of Syria and Iraq. He had kept them in state ownership, but had left them with their original owners, imposing a fixed tribute on them according to their produce.

14. For details see in the coming issue of "Renaissance" (Feb 1994): "The Islamic Manifesto".

15. Though, in emergency situations, if needed, the government can make an appeal for money from its public. Obviously, this shall be effective only if the government has established its credibility in their eyes by serving them.

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