The whole world is feeling the impact of the global financial crisis. In Britain it was first felt by the shareholders of Northern Rock, the bank that heavily, greedily and (ultimately) foolishly invested in US sub prime mortgage markets.
Now its impacts are being felt by the average motorist at the petrol pump who on average is paying almost £1-20 per litre (with 70% of this being oppressive government taxes).
In the Muslim world (and other developing countries) the impact of this crisis is unfolding into something truly horrific. Inhabitants of the world’s poorest countries are feeling the pain much more, with places as varied as Egypt and Haiti witnessing riots. The price of basic foodstuffs such as rice and flour has soared and in Pakistan, people have killed themselves in hunger and desperation. Fuel prices continue to escalate, whilst governments in Bangladesh, (and soon Pakistan) are discussing ending subsidies on petrol and diesel.
The paradox is that people are suffering despite the fact that 70% of the world’s oil lies in the Muslim world. Allah (swt) has blessed this Ummah with so many resources. People may wonder that if oil prices are at a record high the profits flowing into the Bait al-Maal (Treasury) of the Muslim world should also be at a record high. But the fact is that everyone, except the elite, live in worsening hardship; and this is evidence of the betrayal and neglect by the corrupt regimes, who have usurped authority to serve their western masters and their own greedy interests.
On top of this neglect, these selfish and incompetent rulers have allowed themselves – and by default the whole Muslim oil producing world – to be blamed by western politicians for the current rise in oil prices, in as far as they do not pump enough oil to keep the market price down. The Saudi tyrant Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and other rulers have agreed to this cosmetic request, even though the cause of the high price of crude oil is not low levels of production. They have also done more to bail out western banks in crisis than to feed the starving and dying in the Muslim world. It is no more than stealing from the poor to give to the super rich.
The truth is that oil and food prices have risen because the US has been printing an increased amount of paper money, thereby dramatically devaluing the dollar over a short period of time (over 40% against a broad index over 5 years). This has been their solution to their decades old fiscal deficit, but since the sub prime mortgage crisis they have escalated their printing of dollars, to save the greedy corporates who created the problem. The result is poor countries suffer intolerably whilst others are even painfully starving to death – especially countries whose governments have linked their currency to the dollar.
Brothers and Sisters!
Our lands are blessed with oil wealth, human resources, and rich agricultural lands. There is the potential for our countries to take the lead in the fight against poverty in the world. But there is no political will or leadership in the regimes of the Muslim world to protect or help the ordinary people, never mind lead such a global struggle. The rulers allow our economies – like everything else – to become subservient to the interests of colonial powers. People are starving because these rulers have tied us to the global capitalist system. They make the ordinary people pay this cruel price so that they can fatten themselves and multinational banks and oil companies. They allow state utilities such as power and water providers to be sold into private hands. At worst they use the wealth purely for themselves and at best they squander the Ummah’s wealth on short term projects building luxury hotels in the Gulf. They have done nothing to increase the ability of our countries to refine the oil we produce. We produce 43% of the world’s oil yet refine a mere 11%, meaning that we continue to depend on importing petroleum products refined outside our lands at an inflated price.
This cycle of tragedy will continue and people will continue to starve and suffer as long as the economies and politics of the Muslim world are chained to the West’s capitalist system that serves only a tiny number of corrupt people. Now, more than ever, it is a vital issue for us to free ourselves from this grip by removing these rulers, ending this dependency, subjugation and establishing our own political and economic system through the Islamic Khilafah governance.
Neglecting to rule and run our economies by what Allah (swt) has revealed has led us to this situation and it is only by returning to the Islamic obligations that we can end this calamity. When we understand how Islam prevents and treats such problems, we can see the truly comprehensive nature of the system Allah (swt) has given.
1. The Khilafah State is the manifestation of political unity in this Ummah, so the resources of the Ummah can be harnessed in a united way. The Gulf States have oil, financial wealth but few people. Countries like Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh have huge human resource, manpower and skills but are poor. Under one sincere leadership the strengths in one area can provide solutions to the deficiencies in other areas.
2. The Prophet (SAW) said in a hadith narrated by Abu Dawud “The people are partners in three things: water, green pastures and fire (energy)”. Oil belongs to the people. It is forbidden by Islam that these three public property commodities (and any other assets that are essential for the collective good) remain in the hands of a few sheikhs, businessmen or “princes”. Hence, the Khilafah State will ensure oil revenues are invested into developing our countries rather than benefiting individual families.
3. It is an Islamic obligation that the currency be fully underpinned by assets of gold and silver. Our currency would be freed from being tied to the dollar and stop the US and her agencies from playing havoc with our economies.
4. The Khilafah State will immediately redistribute the wealth in the society according to Islamic principles such that basic levels of food, clothing and shelter are available for all citizens.
Let no one say that the Muslim Ummah lacks wealth. Allah (SWT) has blessed the Ummah with hard working, resilient people and abundant energy resources and rich agricultural lands. Yet people in our countries die on the streets due to starvation. This is due to rabid corruption of the rulers in our countries and the utter incompetence in managing our affairs. Thus the way to restructure our economies and alleviate the economic crisis is to remove these ruling classes and establish a political system based on Islam i.e. the Khilafah system. Only when we see this Khilafah system applied to deal with our problems can we liberate ourselves from the cycle of oppression, exploitation and emerge as a just and leading Ummah.
“Thus, have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves” (Translated meaning Quran 2:143)