|Kitab-ul-Taqdeer (Book of Destiny)|
DOES ALLAH CONTROL WEALTH?
The idea that Allah directly controls the distribution of wealth is the most damaging, of all generated by the concept of Compulsion. It is believed that : Allah makes individuals (as well as peoples) rich or poor at His own sweet will. The poor must not feel jealous of the rich. To desire to acquire somebody else’s wealth tantamounts to complaining against Allah’s decision. That is dissent.
In Praise of Poverty
One must be content with whatever state Allah keeps
one in. To unflinchingly accept Allah’s will is the way of His chosen people. Contentment is an invaluable asset. Allah likes penury. The worldly wealth is like dead meat and only dogs desire it. It may be possible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle but not for the wealthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Messengers of Allah, saints, exalted men, were all poor. The Messenger of Allah (Mohammed) says: " Poverty is my pride “. Elsewhere, he says: “Islam originally flourished among the poor and so it shall in the end “. Baba Fareed Ganjshakar (a saintly figure of yesteryears’ sub-continent), when complained to, of poverty, by one of his followers, took him to a pond of water. Lambs who had sated themselves with water were having a deep snoring sleep, whereas the thirsty ones were desperately trying to get water. The saint told the follower: “Do you see, son, the difference of wealth and poverty? The wealthy become careless of Allah but the poor keep in constant touch with Him."
Such are the anecdotes popularized by the religious to lull the poor to sleep so that they remain oblivious of all the exploitation committed against them by the rich. The entire concept is anti-Quranic, but it is said to be supported by the Quran! Let us see what Quran really says in this regard.
The Arabic word rizq (رزق) refers to means of livelihood (necessities of life). In addition to rizq, the Quran has used terms like fadl and ma’ash.
The position of rizq is the same as that of guidance, treated in detail in the previous chapter. That is, Allah has said that: “We have sent you (men) on Earth which is well supplied by the means of your livelihood. Heat, light, air, water and food were all here even before your arrival (“We give your sustenance”). But just like our guidance, you need to work to obtain the necessities of your life. We have formulated certain laws about that, too. Whoever strives accordingly, shall get wealth. Birth of a human child is simultaneous to production of milk in the mother’ breasts, but, if the mother abandons the child, it will die of hunger – We do NOT feed him even a single drop! Just look at Our system. Initially, mother’s milk is more watery than fatty to suit the infant’s digestive capabilities. Gradually, however, mother’s milk becomes more fatty until the time comes when the child has teeth and is able to digest other food. Mother’s breasts go dry. Now, parents have to work to get food for the child.
So much for ’rizq given by Allah’ on the individual level. On the group-level, the situation is not very different. Our planet, Earth, contains wealth in
Distribution of Wealth
raw form. Man has to find and retrieve it. This takes
place under natural laws (formulated by Allah). In the first instance, personal work is required. Later, the question arises of distributing the wealth so obtained in a social context. This is where the situation gets complicated. It is here that Man needs Allah’s guidance. If rizq is distributed in the light of Allah’s guidance (the System of Providence), every individual gets sustenance peacefully and with self-respect. Otherwise (if rizq is distributed under a man-made system), society becomes a living Hell (as is the current situation of the globe). Let us see what the Quran says about it all.
x - x - x - x - x - x - x - x - x –
1. ’Allah Gives you Sustenance’ والله يرزقكم
Allah says in the Quran: “There is none among the living on Earth whose sustenance is not upon Allah --- “ (11/6); elsewhere, Man and other creatures
Responsibility of Providing Sustenance
are mentioned separately (29/60);
Sura Rome: “Allah is the one who creates you all and then provides you sustenance -- “ (30/40); Sura An’aam: “We sustain you and your off-springs -- “ (6/152, 17/31).
This provision of sustenance by Allah is not done directly by Him because not only other creatures but also men die by the million in a famine. The current distribution and availability of food to Mankind on this planet is a living contradiction of the view that Allah carries out this responsibility directly. It really means that He has created the means of wealth -- “We put you in place on the
Natural System of Food Production
Earth and for you made in it means of
sustenance “ (7/10; 15/20). Earth has been given the potential of producing food. He sends down rain which helps to produce food -- “Allah is the one who created the skies and the Earth, and sends down from the sky rain and so brings out from it a variety of sustenance for you -- “ (14/32); “He provides sustenance for you from the sky and the Earth -- “ (35/3); also: (2/22, 10/31, 27/64, 34/36, 40/13, 45/5, 50/11, 51/22, 80/25-32); “Who can provide you food if Allah turns these sources of sustenance off? “ (67/21, 63/30, 56/63-73); “The Earth has an infinite potential of yielding food, but at a given time, only a finite amount may be obtained -- “And We have stores of every thing but We don’t send those down (bring out of the Earth) except according to known measure -- “ (15/21). The term ’known measure’ (قدر معلوم) clearly refers to established ways and means (natural laws) open to Man’s discovery and application. Elsewhere in the Quran, it is referred to as of His plan (ما يشاء); “the reason for restricted yield of food is to check greedy oppressors among men” (42/27).
Having seen the ’known measure’, let us move one step further
= = = = = = = = = = = = = =
2. Conditions for Obtaining Sustenance
The equation of natural resources and human effort to obtain sustenance has very eloquently been presented in Sura Waaqea:
“Consider your contribution against Our laws in agriculture. You plow a field and sow seeds. Who produces crops from seeds, you or We?
Who looks after crops? A calamity may fall and destroy a crop, leaving you shocked and sympathizing with your fellows and agonizing over the comprehensive loss of not only crops but also of seeds and hard work!
Consider water which is essential not only for crops but also for your own existence. Do you bring it down from clouds or do We? Clouds are formed from salty sea-water which is unusable for either farming or your own consumption. What could you do if rain-water was as salty? Why can’t you arrive at the right conclusion in such a clear and simple matter? Why can’t you appreciate Allah’s systems?
Consider fire which you use in so many ways. Who has caged heat (in firewood) in that manner? You or We?
We have created all this (you only provide work). We state these facts to remind you of that forgotten truth that We have put all this, in place so that the needy get sustenance. “
(56/63-73) - from MafhoomulQuran
In the early part of mankind’s life, food comprised mainly of the hunted animals and general natural produce of the earth. Then came the era of human handiwork. But, manufacture depends on raw material obtained from the earth. Therefore, the earth is the primary source of all sustenance (wealth).
The early period of human civilization saw the Barter System as the established way of trading. Later, coins were invented whereby precious metals (gold, sliver) were used to buy necessities of life. Thus wealth (money) acquired purchasing power which started a series of complications of ever-increasing complicity. From then on ’Obtaining Sustenance’ was taken to mean money /
Wealth included in rizq
wealth as well as ‘obtaining food’. So much so
that in the present age, obtaining sustenance from the earth has become secondary to earning wealth. Money is the measure of richness and poverty as well as the reward of labor. The ’potential of earning’ (making money) means human intelligence, knowledge, experience, ability to understand and use the economic and monetary system, and least of all, work. Work is not always a factor!
The Quran declares desire and work as fundamental to obtaining rizq. It is termed as "ابتغاء فضل الله” : the search for divinely-gifted sustenance. The Quran cites the revolutionary movement of Earth to create day and night as one of His signs; they
Search for Sustenance
have been made bright “ so that you can search your
Preserver’s bounty (rizq) “. (17/12) Incidentally, the expression - ابتغاء - refers to search as well as intention (plan), effort and achievement. With regards to search for sustenance, a special mention is made of boats which were the best means of transportation at the time. Sea-vessels are quite important even today. “You see the boats sailing briskly in sea so that you can search His bounty --- “ (16.14); also: (30/46; 35/12; 45/12). This search for sustenance is necessary for the convinced and the dissenters alike. Hence, one of the characteristics of the Messenger and his group is that “They search Allah’s bounty (and His approval) “ --- (48/29; 73/20). It even becomes obligatory for the convinced: “When you have finished as-Sala, spread in the earth and search Allah’s bounty -- “ (62/10).
As a result of this effort, sustenance will come according to natural laws, which make no distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim. Whoever farms under the right agricultural laws shall reap a good harvest. The Quran explains it
all: “Whoever wants to have short term benefits gets them
according to Our plan established by Our will; and whoever desires and strives for long-term benefits as well, and is also convinced of Our message, gets his efforts produce results; We bestow from your Preserver’s bounty, according to everyone’s effort; your Preserver’s bounty is not forbidden (or restricted) to anyone -- “ (17/18-20). Sura Shora reiterates this fact thus: “Whoever wishes benefits of future gets his crop yield more by Us; and We give, according to one’s effort, short-term benefits to the one who so desires, but they don’t get anything in future (42/20). That, then, is the Divine Law (Plan - مشيئة) governing the distribution of rizq: “Whoever (individual or group) ignores Our laws shall have
Ignoring Natural Laws Results in Food Shortages
(or its) sustenance restricted -- “ (20/124), and then goes on to say: “and We will have him (or
them) raise blind on the Day of Judgment“. It is clear, therefore, that rizq gets available to anyone who works according to natural laws. This is the principle sent to mankind through each and very messenger of Allah. The Quran says about the Jews and the Christians of the time that: “If they had kept to the Tora and the Bible, and whatever Allah has sent down, they would have had plenty of rizq (from ’up and down’) -- “ (5/66; 7/96) Such abundance of rizq is termed as Allah’s favor and bounty. It was said about the tribe Quresh that they should accept & follow the system of the Preserver of Kaaba who ’gave them food to satisfy hunger and protected them from fear“ (106/4). Contrary to this, hunger and fear have been called Allah’s punishment.
Hunger is Allah’s Punishment
Sura Nahal says:
“Allah explains it with the example of a township. It was in peace and contentment. ’Rizq’ came to them in plenty from all four directions. They denied and rejected these bounties of Allah. So, Allah had them taste the calamities of hunger and fear. It was all due to their own deeds! (16/112).
Similarly, it talks about the people of Saba. They were prosperous but ignored to take proper care of their crops and orchids. So, they were all destroyed (34/15-16).
Then the Quran goes on to say that when men face shortage of sustenance, they blame Allah for afflicting them without cause. It is said, “Tell them that Allah doesn’t degrade anyone without due reason. It is all because of Man’s own wrong system and errors of deeds. You did not accord due respect to the lonely of society; you did not arrange to feed the hungry and were greedy. That is why you were destroyed-- “89/16-20). Since hunger and degradation are Allah’s punishment, one characteristic of the convinced (مؤمنين) is that they get respect-
able sustenance (as well as Protection) – (8/74);
also: 8/4; 22/50; 33/31; 34/4. This respectable sustenance was desired even by Allah’s messengers. The founder of Kaaba – The first-ever House of Allah – wished, after having just completed the task of erecting the sacred cubicle:
“O Allah of Universe! I have settled my progeny in this barren land so that they look after Your House. Please see that they keep getting sustenance and never remain hungry --- “ (14/37; 28/57;2/126)
That is the ’The food from the sky’ requested for his followers by Christ (5/114).
We have seen that rizq is available to anyone who strives for it. But, the fact is that we observe someone who struggles very hard but remains poor and his family go hungry. On the contrary, someone doesn’t do any work but lives in prosperity and comfort. Why is that? Let us see.
3. Distribution of rizq (The Economic System)
We shall now look at the intriguing question raised above:
Why do some remain destitute despite bone-shaking hard work and others
Riches and Poverty
enjoy affluence without doing any at all?
Hindu mythology finds the answer in reincarnation: One’s present financial state depends on the kind of life one has had in the previous one. This state of affairs is unchangeable since it is deemed by Eshwar Paramatma, the Supreme God.
The Muslim preacher explains it through pre-destiny. Richness and penury are directly ordained by Allah. Destiny is unchangeable no matter how hard one
The Quran’s answer
tries. But the Quran says: It is all because of their
deeds! It is all because of the unfair economic set-up human have adopted. Armed robbers pick-pockets and thieves, for instance, deprive people of their
Unfair Economic System
hard earned wealth. On the group level, the
thievery & robbery are less visible --- a feudal land-owner or an industrialist exploiting the hard-work of the farm-workers and factory-workers, respectively. There are some intriguing questions, regarding the economic system we currently have, nobody bothers to think about, let alone try to answer – Who fixes the rate of payment for a farmer, laborer etc.? How it is done and on what basis? Who controls prices, and on what basis is it done?
Obviously, it is all done by men. Destiny, reincarnation etc. have absolutely nothing to do with it. Allah does not distribute wealth directly. He has provided Man with rizq. But, the fair distribution of it is to be done by Man not by Allah! If it is done according to the system suggested by Allah, no man will go without sustenance. On the other hand, if it is done according to man-made systems, human society will turn into a den of beasts!
It is not the right place to go into the details of the Quranic Economic System. I
Quran’s Economic System
have treated this very important subject in detail
in my works like Nazaam-e-Rubobiyat (The System of Providence), Khuda aur Sarmayadar (God and the Capitalist), etc. Here, I shall confine myself to a few fundamental points.
(i) The Earth, the basic source of sustenance, is to provide necessities of life to all men. The question of private ownership of land, therefore, does not simply arise. The Quran calls it Allah’s earth (11/54); “Everything in it has been created for you all “ (2/29); “We have produced in it for you all means of life -- “ (7/10; 15/20; it is “sustenance for people “ – (50/11); therefore, it should remain accessible to all the needy (41/10).
The ’owners’ of land today have simply inherited it from past men and their unfair system. In the Quranic system, land belongs to on one. It is in the custody of society (government or state) which organizes a system which yields optimum produce which is distributed fairly on the basis of need.
(ii) Money was invented to replace the barter system to make life easier. People began to hoard money and use it to exploit their fellow men. In economic terms, capital replaced work as the basis of return. This is the capitalistic system of economy in which money generates money. In Quranic terms, this is usury (interest) which is ’declaration of war’ against the Quranic economic system (2/275-279).
In very clear terms, the Quran has dubbed hoarding of wealth as gathering fuel for the hellfire in which humanity is burned to ashes (9/34-35); (70/15-18). Money should circulate in society, not among just the upper strata but like blood circulates in the body - (59/7). Thus, in the Quranic society, no one ever possesses money (wealth) more than what is needed (2/219).
(iii) The capacity of producing sustenance (wealth), i.e., work varies from person to person. This difference should be used to have various social functions performed conveniently and usefully. This is called ’division of labor’ (43/32). Individuals should work according to their various capacities and the produce should be distributed on the basis of need (16/76; 16/53). It is inhuman capitalism (represented in the Quran by the ancient Egyptian capitalist Qaroon in the Pharoanic court) in which the concept of keeping one’s earning to oneself thrives (28/78). This mentality is the cause of all problems and chaos (39/49).
(iv) The Quranic economic system is put in place by a government which is committed to implement Allah’s laws. It is called ’The Islamic State’, in which men fulfill Allah’s promise of ’giving rizq to you as well as your progeny’. In this state no individual goes without the necessities of life nor anyone possesses wealth more than what is needed.
(v) Such a state is established by men who ’sell their selves and wealth in return for a promise of paradise (9/111). Here (in this physical life) this ’paradise’ is materialized by the Islamic State and in the hereafter it is done according to Allah’s plan (مشيئة).
That, then, is the system in which no one is complainant of their ’destiny’ for want of unfulfilled needs. No individual is dependent upon, or in bondage to another individual --- everyone gets ‘rizq’ with respect. Sustenance is no doubt provided by wrong (anti-Quranic) systems, but in these, the prosperous ‘haves’ become intoxicated with power resulting from affluence achieved without having to work for it. That destroys the society (28/58); the low-income groups fall natural prey to ills of poverty ---- the ills which ’restrict sustenance and they are raised on the Day of Judgment blind (20/124; 17/72). Contrary to this, the Rizq obtained according to Allah’s laws is ‘good and lasting’ (20/131). Individuals get more than they work for, i. e., all their needs are met. Such a society is established so that “Allah gives them the return of their deeds in a better way, and even more from His bounty” --; thus Allah gives, according to His plan, without estimates (more than you can think of in your terms!) (24/38). That is why Allah calls Himself ‘the best of all sustenance providers’ (23/72; 62/11).
Let us now try to see who among men are likely to establish such a state and how.
4. He Gives Sustenance Beyond Estimate
We have just seen that:
i) Allah created Man and provided him the sources and means of sustenance.
ii) but sustenance can be obtained only by working to Allah’s (natural) laws,
iii) the distribution of sustenance thus obtained is quite an important matter; it can be dealt with neither through natural laws nor human intellect; it requires Revelation, i. e., divine guidance,
iv) Laws of Nature and Laws of Revelation are both termed as - مشيئة الله- (Allah’s Plan), i. e., laws which Allah has formulated and established, through His own exclusive discretion, for human society,
v) In regards to rizq, whenever the Quran uses the phrase - من يشاء - the context will decide the subject (Allah or Man) of the sentence. When the subject is Allah, it means sustenance is made available according to Allah’s Plan. When The subject is Man it means whoever follows Allah’s laws shall thrive; whoever chooses to go against His laws, shall fall into destruction and degrading poverty.
Sura Zumr talks about the mentality represented by Qaroon (Korah of the Bible) and says that Man is a strange creature. When he is in a problem, he calls out
What من يشاء really means
to Allah for help, but when he is prosperous
he becomes arrogant and credits his own self exclusively for his gains. This mentality is the root of all evils in human societies. Unfortunately, most men are not aware of it. This mentality is by no means restricted in numbers or time. This is the capitalistic mentality. History provides testimony to the sad truth that this is a destructive mentality -- ’calamities came to them because of their own deeds; and whoever among these (your people O Messenger) transgress, shall bring upon themselves calamities because of their own deeds! (39/51).
The Quran goes on to say: “Don’t they know that Allah increases sustenance or scales it down for whoever so desires? This contains signs of truth for people who are convinced (of Allah’s laws) -- “ (39/49-52). If the subject of phrase - من يشاء - is taken to be Man (which is my preferred view), it means whoever strives according to natural laws, gets a corresponding amount of sustenance. If the subject is taken to be Allah, it means that increase and decrease in sustenance occur under Allah’s Plan (مشيئة ).
Sura Qasas illustrates this reality by the example of Korah (Qaroon in the Quran). When people, who used to feel envious of Korah’s riches, witnessed his plight,
said: “Certainly, the increase in sustenance for His
people is done by Him according to scale for whoever so wishes – (28/82).
Sura Rome: “When We (give a) taste of bounty to men, they are very pleased by it, but when calamity comes to them due to their own deeds, they are frustrated. Don’t they see that Allah increases or scales down sustenance for whoever so wishes? Surely, in this are signs for the Convinced” – (30/36-37).
Sura Ra’ad talks about men who violate the contract they have had with Allah by dividing up mankind in groups, are destined for destruction -- “Allah increases or decreases rizq according to His Plan -- “ (13/26).
Sura Beni Israel talks about good social behavior and says: “Certainly, your Provider increases or decreases sustenance according to His Plan (مشيئة) “ (17/30-33).
A Society established on Quranic principles has its economy based upon
What is Anfaaq ?
anfaaqq (proper spending for greater good of society).
This Quranic term is quite meaningful. Its basic root is n-f-q (ن ف ق ). In the older days, money was usually stored in string purses (with only one opening). Naifaq was a purse with two openings. This should explain anfaaq, i. e., an economic system in which money keeps flowing and is available to all the needy,. This availability must be ‘in Allah’s way’ (سبيل الله), i. e., keep one’s earnings available for the needy entirely free of any charge. Therefore, Sura Baqara says: “They ask you how much they should keep available. Tell them: all which is over and above your needs! (2/219). Such an economic system has been compared to a good crop which yields hundred-fold from just one seed. Verses 261-267 of Sura Baqara sing praises of anfaaq in Allah’s way. Elsewhere, it is referred to as ‘giving a loan to Allah’ which is repaid with huge returns (2/245). Sura Saba says: “Tell them that increase in, and scaling down of sustenance is done by my Preserver for His People according to His Plan. Whatever you spend properly, will come back (many-fold); and Allah is the best of sustenance providers” – (34/39).
We have seen that there are two aspects of increase / decrease in sustenance (rizq), i. e., to obtain it from the earth according to natural laws, and to distribute
Sustenance ‘without estimates’
It according to permanent values
established by Allah. This will ensure rizq ‘beyond calculations’ (بغير حساب ). We have also seen that ’without estimate’ does not mean without regulation. It simply means that the result is beyond your (men’s ) expectations and estimates. It has been experienced in Pakistan. Until a few years ago, the old methods of farming yielded an average of 20-25 ’maunds’ (1 manud = 80 kg. Approximately) of wheat per acre of land. When the country adopted modern methods of agriculture (farm machines, special seed, fertilizer, proper irrigation etc.), the yield multiplied 4 to 5 times! But then the vices of the capitalistic system began to show. Price of wheat fell and that of other consumer goods rose. Less wheat sold and it started to be smuggled out of the country. Consequently, prosperity vanished and poverty came in. If the country had distributed this ’without estimate’ rizq according to Allah’s guidance (as it had been produced), the society would have had ’rivers of milk and honey’. The Quran has quite comprehensively presented this fact. It says that when a society is administered by people who are not taken in by individual interest, they uphold Allah’s law by taking on the responsibility of providing sustenance (necessities of life) to people and are always mindful of the destructive consequence of a wrong economic system, the society is rewarded by Allah in a nice way due to their own deeds, and their wealth is increased by His bounty, and Allah gives limitless rizq to whoever so desires --- (24/38).
The group of Muslims in the first era of Islam were economically not very well-off. Their opponents (Chiefs of the Quraish tribe) used to make fun of them that the
The Convinced of the First Era
destitute were hoping to overcome the
Roman and Persian empires. Allah said in the Quran that they (the Quraish) simply did not know the reality. The group of Muslims had committed themselves to Allah’s Plan. As a rule, this plan initially requires a lot of hard work – hunger, destitution, loss of life and property, destruction of corps etc. have to be faced (2/155). But, eventually, Allah gives limitless rizq according to His Plan –(2/212). History stands witness to this in the case of the Muslims rising as a nation. They were able to say us: “Verily, You give limitless rizq according to Your Plan!” – (3/26).
By now, the Quranic concept of phrases - من تشاء ، من يشاء - should be quite clear. Nonetheless, I wish to cite two verses to further clarify their meanings. (1) Sura Shora: “Allah is kind and generous to His people. He gives sustenance according to His Plan --- whoever desires benefits of future (long-term), We increase his yield for him; whoever wishes to have immediate (short-term) gains, We give him that yield accordingly and he has nothing coming in future (because the distribution of rizq is not done according to Allah’s permanent values) – (42/19-20).
(2) Sura Yaseen: “When they (the Dissenters) are told to spend for greater good from whatever rizq Allah has given them, they say to the Convinced: Should we feed those who would have been fed by Allah if He so wanted? The response was: “Surely, you are obviously not on the right track! “ (36/47) meaning thereby that “Allah gives sustenance according to His Plan“ means that men have to arrange for sustenance of men.
“Allah has made some of you better than others in rizq“ – (16/71)
Before moving on, I must explain two verses which, if seen superficially, appear to support the concept of Compulsion. One of the two is 16/71, given in part above. Apparently, it means to say that we observe that certain individuals and groups (nations) are more prosperous than others; therefore, the idea of Compulsion must be right. First of all, the true meaning of (الله فضل ) (Allah has blessed should
Meaning of Bounty (فضل)
should be seen. This particular phrase like some
others we have already seen, e.g., “Allah seals their hearts shut “—simply means that His blessing with His bounty happens as a result of Man’s deed and according to His established laws (the reader may recall verses 17-21 of Sura Beni Israel, which eventually says: “See how We better some than others”
It Results from Man’s Own Deeds
(17/21) the emphasis is on the how of it.
It all happens as a result of men’s actions.
The second of the two verses is 43/32 which appears (conventionally) to say: “In this world’s life, We allocate people’s means of living; and We upgrade some over
others -- “ 43/23). In principle, this verse should also be
interpreted on the lines of - فضل - in the previous verse. After ‘allocation’, the use of the term ’upgrading’ is made clear by the verse 6/133 which says: “All grading is done according to deeds” -- . This is supported by other verses like Sura Nisa (The active have higher grades than the passive – 4/95); and 9/19: “Migrants and Strivers have high grades than water-suppliers to pilgrims or decoraters of the Holy Mosque.
The reader may be reminded of the two constituent factors of obtaining sustenance from the earth:
Two Basic Factors of
(i) The natural sources of Earth (light, heat, air,
water, and land etc. ) which are available to Man
absolutely free (Allah’s bounties). The Earth has a variety of climatic and geographical conditions affecting the production of rizq. Man has little or no control over these various conditions.
(ii) Man’s input --- it depends entirely on Man’s will and effort.
The ‘allocation’ of rizq is dependent upon a combination of the two above
Difference in People’s
factors. Regarding individuals, we commonly observe
Capacities & Abilities
differences of capacity and ability, which are caused
by the factors like the following:
(i) Certain mental disorders inherited genetically.
(ii) Certain physiological disorders developed during pregnancy.
As pointed out earlier, these disorders and deficiencies are natural Medical sciences are gradually progressing in their prevention and treatment. It is difficult to foresee a time when all individuals will have equal potential. However, the fact is that such medical conditions are in no way unchangeable destiny of individuals.
(iii) The formative years (early childhood training, education and environment).
(d) The conditions available for children’s development, i.e., schools, syllabi, healthcare, psychology, etc.
(e) The questions of supply and demand, and facilities available and their use, etc.
Obviously, the factors mentioned above pertain to society where an individual cannot control all of them. They are under compulsion by social restraint created and controlled by other men, not Allah! Since the establishment of a fair society has also been termed ’Allah’s bounty’ by the Quran, individuals getting benefits and advantageous position in such a society is also a ’bounty of Allah’. Therefore, earning of sustenance comprises of the following two factors:
(1) Human input, and
(2) Allah’s bounty (either natural sources or social benefits)
The question, then is: who is responsible for an individual or a group falling behind others in life as result of a shortage of ’Allah’s bounties’ ? The Quran
Society is responsible
holds human society responsible for it. In a Quranic
society, the variance in status, or conditions in general, are too small to matter. The Quran proposes a global united fraternity of men. In a divided world, every group tries to get ahead of others, by hook or crook (16/92). In a globally one society, people who may have better ‘bounties’ than others do not oppress other men: “He is the one who gave you succession of the Earth, and what you’ve been given!” (6/166). In a fair system, Allah’s bounties are used for universal good: “Whatever is good for (all) mankind, shall survive and stay on Earth “ --- (13/17).
Regarding individuals, the Quran proposed a system in which they are not affected by the difference in capacity and ability. These differences shall be used for division of labor alone -- “So that people can work for one another” – (43/32). The economic disparity is to be taken care of thus:
“ It is true that people vary in potential to earn the sustenance. But bad individuals take advantage of the unfair social system and keep to themselves, as their personal possession, whatever bounty they get and do not return it to their sub-ordinates who stand in need of it. How can they misuse Allah’s bounty ?” – (16/17).
They should know that they on their own could never have obtained that wealth --- a combination of natural resources, social setup and other working men, have all contributed to it. “ Allah’s bounty is not your possession” -- (16/53). It is to be used for the poor and the needy as a matter of right – (70/23-24).
As to the question of social respect, the Quran founds it not on wealth, but,
Criteria for Respect
according to ‘ the permanent value system’ :
1. Each and every human being deserves respect just because of being human. --- (17/20).
2. Status in society depends upon one’s input and personal character and qualities --- (6/133).
3. The one who upholds and follows Allah’s laws the best of all is the most respected one --- (49/13).
Therefore, the differences of capacity and ability do not affect individuals in the Quranic social system. It all happens because of unfair societies human beings create for themselves and erroneously blame it on Compulsion.