Chapter-8 Protection of Property

1. Protection of property.

a) To eat up 'one another's property' unlawfully is a crime: (2:188) "Do not eat up your property among yourselves unlawfully" has been ordained by Allah.

b) As regards the property of orphans, it has been said emphatically not to eat it up in a wrong way: (4:6) (Also 17:34 ; 6:153) "And provide proper nurturing to the orphans and keep monitoring as to how far their potentialities are developing, until they reach the age of marriage (or maturity) (6:153; 17:34; 40:67); if then you find maturity or intellect in them, release their property to them but, if they are not yet mature, do not consume it wastefully, nor in a haste against their growing up. As far as the protection of their property and the compensation for their upbringing is concerned, if the guardian is well off, let him claim no remuneration. But if he is indigent, let him take what is just and reasonable. When you release their property to them, take witnesses to the transfer. And while accounting for it, keep it in mind that you are presenting the account to Allah Who knows what is hidden as well as manifest."

c) The way the religious leaders eat up the property of the people is also a crime: (9:34) "O you who believe! There are indeed many among the priests and monks who, in falsehood, devour the substance of men and hinder them from the way of Allah (because if people started following the Divine Laws, their leadership would come to an end)."

As a matter of fact those (except the disabled) who eat up other's property without putting in labour, eat it up wrongly. The priests and monks are on the top of such list. They do not earn their livelihood by putting in labour but lead their life on what others earn. Next to the priestly class, on the list, are the Capitalists who on the basis of their wealth usurp the outcome of others' labour. Thus in the first part of verse (9:34) the priestly class is mentioned and in the later part the capitalists are mentioned . If you ponder over it deeply the priest-craft is the worst form of capitalism, because a capitalist, after all, spends something in order to increase his capital, but the priests eat up others' property without spending a penny, and thus the Holy Quran has ordained that it is an unlawful method of earning livelihood.

d) Do not obtain decision in your favour by means of bribery. The first part of the verse (2:188) has been described earlier, the complete verse is as follows: (2:188) "And do not eat up your property among yourselves wrongfully, nor use it as a bait for the judges (if the case lies with the court), with intent that you may eat up wrongfully a part of what rightfully belongs to others. You know what results it would produce."

e) Keep your measures and weights proper and just. Thus it has been said as a matter of principle: (6:152) also (17:35); (7:85) "Give measures and weights with full justice."

This has been explained further by saying: (83:1-3) "The result of wrongful business-mindedness and capitalist mentality can be nothing but destruction. People of such attitude, when they are on the receiving end, take by full measure, but when they have to give to others, they give short of weight. They take full work from the workers, but pay them less and themselves earn more. They not only deal with the property in this manner; their mentality remains the same even in evaluating humans in order to keep their potentialities suppressed so that their full growth is restrained and only allowed to develop so far as it is beneficial for the capitalist's interests, they do not permit them any more freedom."

f) Easy Money (maisir):

The term is commonly used for gambling, but it is a comprehensive term which includes all means of earning easy money. According to the Holy Quran, the loss inherent in such earning is more than the gain: (2:219) "O Rasool! They ask thee about khamr (psycho-active substances which put them in an altered state of mind) and maisir (acquiring easy money), tell them that the long-term adverse effects of both are far more than their temporary and short-term benefits." (5:90-91) "O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, dedication to stones and (divination by) arrows which have been described in (2:219) and (5:3) are abominations of Satan's handiwork, which suppress human faculties of intellect and vision; eschew such (abominations) so that they do not become an obstacle in the way of your success. If you become accustomed to such habits as wine and gambling, in order to satisfy your baser passions, (in addition to its bringing about your personal debility), it shall cause enmity and hatred amongst you and hinder you from the establishment of the system of 'Salaat' Will you not, then, abstain (after such a lucid explanation)."

The Holy Quran has not ordained the punishment for intoxicants and gambling, but it has been left for the Islamic State to determine them according to its own circumstance.

g) Raffle and lottery:

This is also included in easy money. The word divination by arrows in (5:90) and (5:3) means lottery.

2. Theft.

The punishment for stealing is amputation of hands whether the thief is a man or a woman: (5:38) "Thief, may it be a male or a female, are both equally guilty; there is no discrimination in their punishment. However, a way should be devised in which the thieves themselves abstain from stealing, and which also becomes an obstacle in the way of violating the Divine Law; it means that it serves as a curative for the offender and as a preventive for others. But if you find that the matter has reached the extreme and the thefts have become rampant, the extreme punishment can be to cut off the thief's hand. Anyhow the aim is to check the crime, either by force or by planning; these are both included in the words.

But the following has also been said along with the above: (5:39) (As the objective is to check the crime, thus) "if the thief is repents after his crime and assures to mend his conduct, a provision has been made in the Divine Law, to protect such a person from punishment and deprivation from the common privileges of life".

This words not only mean amputation of hands, it also means (i) to inflict wounds on the hands (as you find in the story of Joseph in (13:31), or (ii) to cause obstruction in some working as for example (cutting the tongue) means to check from unnecessary talk. Even in (5:38) it has been called i.e. an obstruction caused by Allah Himself.

Note: The last note under the heading 'Murder' also applies to cases of theft, i.e. it shall be the responsibility of the Government to make good the loss by theft.

3. Loan.

The dealings of giving or taking loan ought to be reduced to writing. The Holy Quran has provided guidance about the nature of writing and the way it should be written. [However, it is not required to put hand to hand transactions (over the counter transactions) into writing]:


o It should be written by a scribe;

o Loanee or his guardian should dictate;

o There should be two male witnesses. If two males are not available, then one male and two females;

o The scribe or witnesses should not be harmed in any way.

All these details are given in (2:282) which has been explained earlier.

(In our view these details come under 'directives' rather than under 'laws').

B. The loanee ought to be provided facility for the payment of loan; and if he is so poor that he is unable to pay back the loan, he ought to be excused for it. The relevant verse (2:280) shall appear under the heading 'Usury'.

4. Mortgage (Pledge).

In case the loan transaction is made during a journey and no scribe is available for writing, a pledge with possession (of some article that belongs to the loanee) is allowed. But in case the loanee is a reliable person, writing is not necessary. Thus it is said: (2:283) "If you are on a journey and cannot find a scribe, a pledge with possession may serve the purpose, but if trust exists between the parties, pledge is not necessary. (In case when neither the transaction has been reduced to writing, nor a pledge has been taken, then) the loanee should honestly and faithfully return the loan and thus exhibit his submission to the Divine Law."

5. Riba (Interest on loan).

As it shall be described under the heading 'economic system', according to the Holy Quran a return is only due on one's labour, not on capital. The return on capital is usury, be it in any form. The capital alone can only be paid back in place of capital and not any interest on it. In view of the importance of this issue, the verses pertaining to it shall be described in a sequence. To begin with look at the effects and the dangerous results of usury: (2:275) "On one side are the people who by cutting down their own needs to the minimum, fulfil the necessities of others (59:9), and on the other side are those who give loans to others but taking advantage of their indigence, take back more than what they had loaned.

The state of such people who have this mentality, is like the one who has been stung by a snake and is violently running about hither and thither (i.e. the greed for money sets fire in their chest which keeps them uneasy all the time). The reason, they produce for this act of theirs, is that usury (taking more than what they had spent) is like trade; there is no difference between the two. As in trade, a shopkeeper takes from the purchaser more than he had spent, similarly in usury the one who uses his capital for loaning, receives more than his principal amount. This is a lame excuse. In trade a man spends his capital and in addition to it he puts in labour. Thus anything surplus that he takes is not a profit on the capital, rather it is a return for his labour, and this is exactly the right way. On the contrary in usury where no labour is put in, it is only a surplus gain on money loaned by him, this is unlawful. (Remember the principle in this respect, that it is only the return of labour that is right (53:39) but to gain profit on other people's labour simply by investing capital alone, is unlawful. This is what is called 'Riba' (or interest).

But anybody who, after receiving this Divine Commandment, puts an end to his earlier ways, then that which he has received earlier belongs to him and according to the Divine Law he shall not be called to account. But those who do not desist from their previous practice and persist in such dealings, these are the people whose deeds shall meet destruction; they will find no way out of the chastisement."

After the above description let us take up the comparison between usury and deeds of charity: (2:276) "Remember! that what a man thinks, increases his capital, in fact, it deprives him of all blessings, and it causes destruction not only to himself but also to his nation. On the contrary whatever he spends for the nourishment of others and which appears to decrease his wealth, in fact, not only provides nourishment to himself but also provides means of nourishment to his nation.

In usury it becomes a common mentality to keep the necessaries of sustenance hidden from others, so that the people always remain needy and compelled to take loans and those who extend loans, on the other hand keep enjoying the benefits on the produce of those who put in actual labour and hard work.

This paralyses man's productive energies and he becomes incapacitated to keep progressing further in life. Hence a capitalist society is doomed to destruction."

At another place it is stated: (30:39) "That which you lend out to others so that you can recover something over and above your principal amount, you may, as per your trading norms, receive some profit, but according to the Divine Law it is not an increase. This appears to be an increase in your assets because you make the calculations on the basis of your personal gains, but if you think over it, keeping in view the benefit of humanity, you shall find that it is indeed no increase. On the contrary whatever you spend for the nourishment of others, without an intent for your personal gain or compensation, but with the intent of bringing your life in consonance with the Divine Laws, then you shall really make an increase in your wealth. (2:275-276; 3:129; 74:6)."

After declaring usury unlawful, previous transactions of the kind are explained: (2:278) "O you who believe! Stay conscious of the Divine Laws and guard them and what remains due against the loans, write them off, if you are indeed Mu'mineen (believers)."

Here writing off' the outstanding balances due against loanees has been laid down as a prerequisite to one's Eemaan (belief). Following this it has been stated that those who do not do this: (2:279) "If you are not prepared to do it, consider it an ultimatum (of war) from the Divine System (Allah and His Rasool) and be prepared for it (because the Divine System is an open enemy of capitalism and there can be no compromise between the two on this issue). But if you retract from this practice of yours, you will be allowed to recover your principle sums, so that you neither commit an excess on the loanees, nor are you dealt with unjustly."

From above the severity of this crime (usury) can be perceived. Here the usury has been declared as a rebellion against the Islamic order and the two are declared incompatibilities that cannot exist together. After this it is said: (2:280) "If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if you forgive it completely it would be an act of benevolence on your part if you comprehend with farsightedness what great collective benefits it contains."

A verse of Surah 'al-e-Imraan' (3rd Chapter of the Quran) deserves particular attention where it has been said that: (3:129-130) In this verse as stated above the usual translation of the words is taken as doubled and multiplied and from this compound interest is inferred. This inference is against the basic teachings of the Holy Quran. As a matter of fact, it means that an increase on the capital alone is unlawful, be it in any form. One who provides loan can only take back his principal sum and nothing more than that. Thus the verse (3:129-130) actually means:

"O you who believe! Usury plays the main role in causing collapse of a social system (i.e., to gain profit on the capital alone). People think that it increases wealth. Individually it seems so, but in reality it weakens the economic system and reduces national wealth. Thus O believers! Never adopt this capitalistic system of usury; always keep in mind the Divine Laws, that is the only way to success. If you, instead of increasing the wealth by putting in hard labour, take to exploitation of the produce of the worker, you will be doomed to the fire of destruction like those who reject the Divine System."

The Holy Quran says that one of the causes which brought about the destruction of the Jews was the system of usury. Thus it has been said in Surah An-Nisa (4th Chapter of the Quran): (4:160-161) "It was the result of such of their excesses and insurrection that the pleasantries which were lawful for them, were ordained as unlawful as a punishment (6:147). The list of their crimes is very long but briefly stating these people always put hindrances in the way of enforcement of Divine Order which is a path of bringing beneficence to humanity; they, instead of helping the indigent, exploited their needs; while giving loans to them they took back more than what they had spent (charged interest on their capital) although they were prohibited to do so, and thus they used these tactics and others in order to eat up other people's property by foul means; they do the same even now. These are the crimes which are the cause of their miserable suffering."

According to the above definition of usury, sleeping partnership in business known as mudarabat, or giving land on sharing contract known as are all included in usury.

6. Trade (Selling).

a) Usury is unlawful and trade is lawful as has already been explained under the verse (2:275). At yet another place it is said: (4:29-30) "O you who believe! Eat not up your assets amongst yourselves unlawfully. In social living there is exchange of necessities (called trading). This should be conducted through mutual agreement. Under this principle everybody shall get the return of his labour (54:39), not that one exploits the other by virtue of his capital (2:275). If you do so, you are destined to face destruction. Allah wants everyone of you to get his part of the nourishment, as such an economic system wherein this objective is lost, cannot be a just system.

After such a clear emphasis, any nation that conducts its dealings in a manner that every individual aims at causing reduction in other people's rights and as such transgresses his limits, is doomed to a speedy destruction. Any system established against the universal beneficence, contains inherent means of its destruction."

b) Hand to hand trading transactions need not be reduced to writing (2:282)

Note: We have seen above under the heading 'Usury' that the return is only justified against labour and not against capital. As such the profit in trade should not exceed the labour put in by the trader. It is for the Islamic Order to enforce the requisite guidelines.)

7. Breach of Trust.

a) Render back the trusts to whom they are due: (4:58)

b) Betray not the trusts; it also includes the trusts of the government which include all the responsibilities entrusted to you by the state, or the secret affairs which you have known on account of your being the members of the state organisation. Thus it is said: (8:27) "O you who believe! Betray not either the Divine Order (Allah and His Rasool) or the trusts reposed in you. You know what shall be the result of such betrayal (4:58)."

c) Do not plead the cause of the cheats (those who betray the trusts). It has been described in detail as under: (4:105-109) "(O Rasool)! We have sent down to you the Book (code of laws) so that you may judge the disputed affairs of men according to the knowledge with which Allah has provided you. And be not one advocating the cause of the dishonest.

The matter of 'awarding judgements' between people is the grave responsibility of government and justice is a very sensitive affair; (human inclinations do tend to affect these decisions). One can escape this situation only if one remains conscious of the Divine Law and keeps seeking its protection. The Divine Law is fully equipped with means to provide such protection and nurture.

Again take note of it that you must not become an advocate on behalf of those people who betray each other or their own selves; one who betrays the trust, thinks that one has gained something but, on the other hand, it creates such a debility in his personal character that his human capabilities become infirm. (That is what it means, when we say that he betrays himself). How can the Divine Law approve of such people?

These people think that they can hide their crimes from others, but how can these remain hidden from Allah, Who watches over them even when they secretly counsel by night in matters that He will not approve. Allah's Law of Requital encompasses all human actions (40:19).

Remember! Allah's Law of Requital is not such as it concerns only this world and if one arranges to get himself acquitted from the grip of law by foul means, he is still not acquitted of its accountability. Every human action leaves its imprint on the human 'Self' (17:14); and his 'Self' does not end with physical death _ it goes on to the life Hereafter. As such the results of human action also appear after death. Therefore if you contend on behalf of such persons or even get them acquitted from the grip of law by telling lies, say who will contend with Allah on their behalf on the Day of Judgment and who will be able to become their advocate"

d) The believers pay special attention to their trusts and covenants: (23:8) and (70:8)


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