Example of the Sahaba
We will not take the example of the Sahaba blindly, noting that their interpretations may or may not be appropriate for all ages. We also note that many decisions were made on the basis of pragmatism and political expediency. More controversially, noting that the Sahaba disagreed with each other on points as to the nature of the state.
Quran & Hadith
We must be clear that our major principles must derive from the Quran and the examples of those principles must derive from the sahih hadith. We should only draw our examples and ancillary principles from the hadith. We must not make the mistake of taking our major principles from anything other than the Quran.
Reason over Blind Faith
We must be able and willing to take up the intellectual challenge of creating an Islamic state and not be afraid of fatwa's and opinions of the traditional ulema.
Open Over Closed Society
We must accept that the state in Medina was not an authoritarian regime. Rather, it was an open society where differing opinions were tolerated, people where not arrested without charges and people where not forced to pray. Many people from the Quraish and Mekkah accepted Islam when they saw the model state of Medina and how it was governed, with peace, justice and respect for all citizens, Muslim, non-Muslim and even the hypocritical.
Mechanism to Agree & Understanding Devolution
What is most important is not whether everyone agrees, but rather, it is finding a mechanism by which people can compromise. This has to be understood not only at the highest level but also at lower levels – at the level of the state, a province, a district, a city or village.The importance is of finding a mechanism by which each community can galvanize the collective will and intellectand implement them effectively. Thus, a community in X location may agree to certain policies and implement them, but one in Y location may think differently and implement their own interpretations and thoughts. We must be willing to accept that flexibility without being at each other’s throats. The extent of devolution will be part of the debate but the recognition that devolution is an issue must be universally accepted.
The practical expediency is figuring out what the mechanism is for agreeing (i.e. voting) and how the decision making levels are to be rationed.
We must agree that fate does not call us to inaction but presupposes our actions. Fatalism needs to be addressed for it can and is used by the Muslim clergy to create paralysis and inactivity amongst the Muslim people. The concept of Fate and what is foretold does not call us to inaction. It presupposes our actions not necessarily because we believe in the prophecies but because as good Muslims witnessing now and openly before us, Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Philippines, Thailand and many more places, we need to act if we are to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet (PBUH) never believed in fate in such a way as to sit back and relax but rather the opposite: he actively and in great earnest went about fighting against all the problems and issues that he came across. We must follow that example.
Japan versus Turkey
Japan and Turkey provide two contrasting and diametric models of how to react to the rapid advancement of the Western civilization. Historically both Japan and Turkey faced the West and had to make a number of hard decisions as to how they can react, what to take and what to reject. They provide a classic case of comparison; ancient empires, facing a stark choice of change in a similar period in history, and yet made completely different choices.
Japan combined its tradition and progress in a way that reinvented its culture while Ataturk’s Turkey threw out their culture and belief system to transplant a Western imitation instead.
Our discussion and dialogue concerning the Islamic state will be set within finding the Japan Route for the Muslim world rather than the Turkey Route.
Dialogue with Civility
This dialogue must be held with the utmost civility. We do not want to be dishonorable in our conduct nor do we want to put a sword to the neck of those who disagree.
Free Market over Planned Economy
While the free market will be restricted by Islamic laws and regulations and with welfare obligations that are ordained, the essential nature of the economic system must be that of a free market, as was the case with Medina-tun-Nabi.
Non-Muslims Not Part of this Dialogue
No matter how well intentioned we would rather keep this discussion, so close to our hearts and so close to our religion, exclusively a Muslim affair. We thank all non-Muslims for their interest, but respectfully decline your contribution. Please allow us this space as a sign of mutual respect. As someone once memorably said, talking to a non-Muslim about an Islamic state would be like trying to convince someone that chocolate pudding is better than chocolate cake, when they dislike chocolate to begin with.
Proof of Riba and Money in Islam
This section provides the proof discussed in the chapter on the Economic Model. This is taken from Sheikh Imran Hosein’s book The Prohibition of Riba in the Qur’an and Sunnah:
Ubada bin al-Samit reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: Gold is to be paid for by gold, silver by silver, wheat by wheat, barley by barley, dates by dates, and salt by salt, like for like and equal for equal, payment being made on the spot. If these classes differ (i.e. if it is not like for like) sell as you wish if payment is made on the spot. (Muslim)
Abu Said al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: Gold is to be paid for by gold, silver by silver, wheat by wheat, barley by barley, dates by dates and salt by salt, like for like, payment being made on the spot. If anyone gives more or asks more he has dealt in riba. The receiver and the giver are equally guilty. (Muslim)
Abu Said and Abu Huraira told that Allah’s Messenger appointed someone as a governor over Khaibar. When the man came to Madina he brought him dates of a very fine quality called janib. The Prophet asked him: Are all the dates of Khaibar of this kind? The man replied: No! Oh messenger of Allah we exchange two s’as of bad dates for one s’a of this kind of dates (i.e. janib), or exchange three s’as for two. On that, the Prophet said: Do not do so, as it is a kind of riba. But sell the dates of inferior quality for money, and then buy janib with the money. The Prophet said the same thing about dates sold by weight. (Bukhari)
Abu Said al-Khudri said: Once Bilal brought barni (i.e. a kind of dates) to the Prophet and the Prophet asked im: From where have you brought these? Bilal replied: I had some inferior type of dates and exchanged two s’as of it for one s’a of barni dates in order to give it to the Prophet to eat. Thereupon the Prophet said: Beware! Beware! This is definitely riba! This is definitely riba! Don’t do so, but if you want to buy (a superior kind of dates) sell the inferior dates for money and then buy the superior kind of dates with that money. (Bukhari)
Abu Saeed said that Bilal brought the Prophet some barni dates, and when he asked him where he had gotten them he replied: I had some inferior dates so I sold two sa’s of them for one sa (of this). He said: Ah! The very essence of riba, the very essence of riba. Do not do so, but when you wish to buy, sell all the dates in a separate transaction, then buy with what you get. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Yahya bin Sa’id reported that Allah’s Messenger ordered the two Sa’ads to sell off all gold and silver plates obtained in booty (enemy property seized in warfare). They sold three plates for four (or four for three). The Prophet said: You have taken riba. Annul the sales. (Muwatta, Imam Malik)
Malik reported that it reached him from Qasim bin Muhammad that Umar bin al-Khattab said: A dinar for a dinar and a dirham for a dirham and a sa for a sa. Do not sell cash for credit. (Muwatta, Imam Malik)
Malik bin Aus Hadthan al-Nasri reported: I had need for changing one hundred dinars into dirhams. He said Talha bin Ubaidullah sent for me. We agreed on it (barter of gold and silver for gold and silver). He took gold from me and turned it over in his hands and said: Wait until my cashier arrives from Ghabah. Umar bin Khattab heard of this and declared: By Lord, do not leave him until you take money from him. He then said, the Prophet had said that the exchange of gold for silver is riba except when it is a cash transaction, the selling of wheat for what is riba except when it is a cash transaction, and the selling of dates for dates is riba except if it is a cash transaction, the selling of barley for barley is riba except when it is a cash transaction, and the selling of salt for salt is riba except when it is a cash transaction. (Muwatta, Imam Malik)
Ibn Shihab reported that Malik bin Aus said: I was in need of change for one hundred dinars. Talha bin Ubaidullah called me and we discussed the matter, and he agreed to change my dinars. He took the gold pieces in his hands and fidgeted with them, and then said: Wait until my store-keeper comes from the forest. Umar ibn al-Khattab was listening to that and said: By Allah you should not separate from Talha until you get the money from him, for the Prophet said: The selling of gold for gold is riba, except if the exchange is from hand-to-hand and equal in amount, and similarly, the selling of wheat for wheat is riba unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and dates for dates is riba unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and barley for barley is riba unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount. (Bukhari)
Abu Salih al-Zaiyat said: I heard Abu Sai al-Khudri saying: The selling of a dinar for a dinar, and a dirham for a dirham (is permissible). I said to him: Ibn Abbas does not say the same. Abu Said replied: I asked Ibn Abbas whether he had heard it from the Prophet or had seen it in the holy book. Ibn Abbas replied: I do not claim that, and you know Allah’s Messenger better than I do. But Usama informed me that the Prophet had said: There is no riba (in money exchange) except when it is not done hand to hand (i.e. when there is delay in payment). (Bukhari)