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Econ-Service of Society

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Justice in Islam

There is no room in Islam for any individual or group to invent their own concept of justice for society. It is only the Divine Prerogative of ALLAH TAA’LA to dictate His Will to His servants, which the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and His companions followed in both letter and spirit. Beyond the Divine Law, there is no restriction on anyone expressing their views. Islam guarantees people’s fundamental human rights, and in an Islamic polity, there is no room for a despot or self-willed dictator.

Parameters of Personal Freedom

ALLAH TAA’LA has Himself defined the limits of one’s freedom in Islam. A Muslim is expected to know and abide by the parameters clearly determined by the Shari’ah, in terms of what he can and cannot indulge in and what his rights, obligations, and restrictions are. All of these have been permanently codified in the sacrosanct constitution of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which none can abrogate or amend. According to the law of personal freedom, which is guaranteed by this Constitution, no one has the right to transgress the limits set for his freedom, and neither is anybody permitted to deny a person the freedom guaranteed to him by Law. Everyone is duty-bound to abide by the rules and contribute the best he can for society’s moral and economic uplift. Nobody is authorized to force another into doing more than his duty unless he is willing to do it voluntarily. The same is true for society and the state. It is as binding on them to discharge their obligations towards individuals and give them their due as it is obligatory on individuals to observe the rights of the society and the state. If this Constitution is enforced in its true spirit, it is bound to lead to the establishment of just social order and a model welfare state.

Preconditions for the Transfer of Wealth

Islam has approved only three ways for the transfer of wealth to an individual.

  • Wirāthah or inheritance
  • Hibah, or gift
  • Kasb, or earning.

Islam permits earning through Halāl means only, and even a penny earned through unlawful means is Harām. No individual or institution is authorized to impose any restriction on income, either to increase it through fair means or foul or to curtail it forcibly if the volume is huge. The source of any dubious income, however, will have to be scrutinized by the Law, and, if it has been earned through unlawful means, the Islamic government has the right to confiscate it in the national interest.

Restrictions on the Use of Wealth

No individual has been given unlicensed freedom, even to spend the money he has earned lawfully. Some legal restrictions have been imposed by the Shari’ah to ensure that nobody misuses his wealth for the detriment of society or spends it in a way that is unhealthy for own self morally or economically. Islam similarly puts strict curbs on overspending, living beyond one’s means, and extravaganza. It allows individuals to use their surplus money to generate more, provided that he follows fair means for this and does not exceed the limits imposed by the Shari’ah.

Islam has made Zakāh mandatory so that those with surplus money in excess of the prescribed limit (Nisāb) use this in the service of society. The benevolent system of Zakāh is so revolutionary that, if it were to be introduced anywhere in the world and the funds generated were spent judiciously in the light of the Qur’anic injunctions, no person could remain deprived of the basic necessities of life there.

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