Moral Teachings of Islam 20 – Prohibition To Safeguard Property
Channel: Jamal Badawi
File Size: 7.08MB
The name of God the benevolent the Merciful, the creator, the Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there was no God worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God. I greet you the viewers of Islam and focus program with the universal greetings of peace.
The greetings that have been used by all of the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you. I'm your host Hamad Rashid. Today we have our 20th program in our series on the moral teachings of Islam. More specifically, today we'll be talking about the safeguarding of property. I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal, betta. We have St. Mary's University. Hello, Jamal. Assalamu aleikum. Mani,
I'm wondering if perhaps you could explain the connection between today's topics a new topic that we're going to be discussing the safeguarding of property, and the previous programs that we've been doing in this series on moral teachings of Islam.
And this chapter has that we used before, might be helpful.
In the several programs that we had, in the last few weeks,
we were talking about the main criteria for the lawful and unlawful. And we try to organize this along the five basic purposes of Islamic law, that is to safeguard faith, life, mind, honor, and property. So on each of these items, we've spent several programs and programs discussing the various measures that are suggested in authentic law to safeguard each of these. So today really is the last in that particular segment
of criteria for lawful and unlawful. That's the safeguarding of property. This is only one aspect. Of course, the other aspect of modern law is not just the legal part, but the appeal to the spiritual quality to the other individual.
I see that you brought along Another useful chart, I think these charts are very good, and that they allow us to sort of follow the the topic through, I wonder if perhaps you could just
quickly highlight the chart that you have there is the special provided good outline for today's program. Certainly, this is simply taking this aspect of safeguarding of property and giving a little bit more details, or what specific measures are provided in Islam or Islamic law to safeguard property, mainly, and this is not necessarily an all inclusive list, but I think it covers the major elements, prohibitions of theft, similar acts, a prohibition of usury, gambling,
monopoly, and waste.
Could you perhaps give us an idea of what the what approach is used by Islam to prevent theft? One, I would say there are at least four points to remember when we deal with an issue like this. The first and most important approach that Islam suggests is the spiritual and moral appeal. That is the appeal to the individual himself to be God conscious, and his actions and his or her actions, to inculcate in the individual the quality of having a living, conscious which makes thefts, repulsive to his moral and spiritual sense. This is first thing that this man tried to work on, not only in the matter of theft, but in all other areas as well.
Secondly, Islam also tried to inculcate in the individual, the quality of the work as a virtue, the virtue of earning something only after one exerts some effort, do some work before he can earn something.
This is not only provided by suggesting to the individual but also providing a responsibility on the community or society in general to three
The individual in a way that would be useful for him to earn an honorable living.
A third measure is that Islam doesn't only approach one side of the equation and live the other. It works on the individual, but it works also on society. It makes it incumbent on society to provide an atmosphere where people can honorably, live a dignified life. Indeed, and standard law, the minimum requirements that the state or society in general is responsible for is to provide sufficient food, clothing, housing, and even means of transportation for an individual, to encourage him to do work. If the person can't find work, then society should carry the responsibility, if the person sincerely is looking for work, but can find if a person becomes sick or
incapacity incapacitated, because of some accident or whatever, then society also be responsible to look after him or her. And finally, the fourth.
After all these measures are taken, working on both the individual and society. And the individual continues, or insists on disregarding the rights of others in terms of their property, then the penal law would come into picture, but even the Penal Law, or penal code and Islam, whether it is with theft or others, other offenses is not really intended as a punitive thing, but rather something that would be resorted to as a last resort, and would not be applied even whenever there is any doubt with or according to Islamic law. It's called Chabad.
Could you explain it for the benefit of people who may not be familiar with this concept? shoba? Sure, shopper sebatu. My Arabic is a little bit shaky. But could you perhaps explain what this means a little more? All right, the concept of this book? Okay. I think this is perhaps a very well taken point, because the term shop has translated in English usually, that was
the English word does not convey the full meaning of that, because this is a special legal term that's used in Islamic law. It may partly mean doubt, that is to say, in any crime before penalty could be applied. One has to make sure that absolutely, there is no doubt. Not only There is no doubt that the offense has taken place. That is if there is some kind of dubious evidence, you cannot apply the maximum penalty in any offense. But it means something even more than that. chabahar also could mean
some situation or circumstances which push the individual in committing some offense, that if these circumstances were not there, he would have not done it. An example of this to be more direct to your question, especially as it relates to, to theft.
If, for example, a person committed assists, which is only a petty theft, or stole a loaf of bread or some food, even though the crime would be proven, but being so trivial, and related to food, it may raise this chip, however that would that may be, he committed that out of hunger. For example, I'll give you an example of this during the reign of Americana, atop the second case after Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And number of boys were caught. Because they stole one of his cannons, they were working for him and they stole one of his cannons.
When armor inquired as to why they did this, he found out that this man did not really take good care of them, he did not feed them, or clothe them properly. So instead of applying the penalty on this voice, he actually find that men
twice the cost or the price of the cabinet. In other words, even though they are the ones who stole but because of this shophouse doubt that he is unjust and unfair to them, he find him twice the price of the cameras which was stolen, which gives a very good indication that the purpose really of penal law in Islam, incest or otherwise, is not just punitive origin
punishing people but rather providing it just social system where there would be no reason whatsoever to commit theft, and then the penalty would remain there as a strong and frightful type of deterrent. In case the person no disregard the sanctity of property of all people. Now what about the situation where a person
perhaps buy something that is stolen? With the individual be responsible for that? Is that a crime or would that be punishable with individual by something that's run by
As the person knows that this thing that's sold to him is stolen, then he shares in that responsibility. I'll give you a documentation from that. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, was quoted to say, in the collection of by happy that whoever bought something which is stolen, knowing that's the condition knowing that this is stolen, then he is a participant in its sin. And it's shame. Like sometimes you walk in the street in big cities or something and you find a very expensive gold watch or something. So tell, hey, buy that for three bucks or something? Well, even though you don't know for sure it is stolen. If you have the strong doubt that the item is stolen,
then the best way is to boycott it. And if everybody does that, I personally would be discouraged to commit that. So if you know you shouldn't.
Now, the next area on your chart relates to usury.
I'm almost tempted to make a comment in these days of exceedingly high interest rates. But
could you perhaps just explain to us what usury is and how it relates to our topic of safeguarding property. I could do that with the one qualification Abraham because the topic of usury, of course, is a very broad topic. And perhaps we can get into that when we discuss the economic system of Islam and so on. So with that qualification, I'm not pretending to make any comprehensive coverage of that, but at least as it relates to the topic, usually is to get anything in excess of your loan or capital, without participating fully in the profit and loss. In other words, when it whenever you are guaranteed certain income without having to participate in the risk also, in case there is no
profit, or when there is loss, for example, and without participating fully in the profit, whether it's little or much, which of course in modern term, we use them interest, you put your money and you're guaranteed certain interest rates, regardless of whether the project or the enterprise is making profit or loss, more or less.
That's forbidden in Islam.
Indeed, it is related to the topic in terms of moral teaching of Islam, because to get interest without participating fairly, in profit and loss is regarded as offensive morally in Islam.
Because you are gaining something without participating neither by efforts nor at least, by risk, sharing the risk fully.
There's no wonder then that we find that Islam is not the only face that considered usury as immoral offensively to refer, for example, to the book of Deuteronomy chapter 23. There's mentioned there also of usually, when Jesus peace be upon him enter the temple, he also was reported to have dismissed those money changes we used to make that much interest.
On the other hand, it is related also to the specific area of safeguarding of property in Islam. Because interest rates is unjust system, it results in many problems, and more than ills in society. availability, already availability of borrowing without need encourage people who are not necessarily in dire need to borrow
to over buy, just enough to have, you know, charge cards or whatever. All right, I don't have to pay now. So this kind of inducement of people to buy more than they actually need. It may even induce some people to involve themselves in gambling, or very risky, unreasonably risky type of enterprises, because they can simply borrow the money, they don't feel the pinch as much as when they it is there on money. This does not say, however, that Islam does not accept investment. investment, which equally shares and profit and loss is permissible in Islam. There's no problem with that the only thing that Islam object to him is having a fixed interest. Other problems, of
course, everybody's familiar with and really talk about mortgage rates today, reaching What about close to 20% at 20%. Right? And the kinds of fluctuations that takes place that drive many people out of their homes even having sent their homes out of this there are lots of model as well as economic and social ends resulting from this
interest business again, that's a very, it's a very broad subject. Maybe we can come back to it later point in, in our programs. Looking at the next area on your chart here I see gambling.
What is the moral basis for the for prohibiting gambling, one, there's one verse in the Quran that
answer that question I quoted that verse when we are talking about
drinking wine or other intoxicants.
That's in chapter five and verse 90, which translation documentation is this? Oh, you who believe in toxicants, gambling. And then it mentioned a few other things are dirt or uncleanliness, of the Satan's handiwork. So avoided in order that you may prosper. And then it continues, Satan once only to throw the scourge and enmity between you and prevent you, or divert you from remembrance of God. And some prayers are you then going to listen, or to heat?
If you really look at these two verses, you find at least three reasons given for gambling as well as other things. But first of all,
is that it is regarded as rich or unclean things. And that's a reference to again, Islamic philosophy and earning that you when you gamble, and you happen, just you know, the chips are in your favor, and you get all of a sudden $5,000. For example, this is earning which is not totally moral, it is perhaps not moral at all, even because you earned that much money, just in a split of a second, not in return of any effort that you have done or exertion or participation in legitimate, legitimate business risk.
On the other hand, the money that you're taking from the person is also unclean, because he lost that money also,
in return for nothing, really, it's not the kind of legitimate exchange that you sell him something and you take his money. So that's again regarded as eating or taking away of his money in an unjust unfair way. That's one, when you reflect also,
on a consequence of this, in legitimate exchange of money, then you can understand why the verse is referring to enmity, that it creates discord and hatred, mutual hatred. Of course, when you lose $5,000, to me, God forbid, of course, you wouldn't be my brother, you wouldn't feel like I'm your brother, or you didn't feel that feeling of compassion and mutual love that you have to feel towards your other
believers. So that creates a kind of hateful type of feeling, which is justified, even if people pretend Oh, yeah, I took the risk, they might say that, but in their heart, there is kind of grudge against the others. A third reason is that, as a result of this,
you find that there is a kind of addiction to gambling, if you're when
your appetite becomes greater, and then you want to win more. So you continue gambling, if you lose, you say, all right, well, you know, maybe I try again, to cover
recover my loss. So if you always keep trying, you never really feel satisfied with whatever amount of gambling you're always looking for something it creates in the psychology of the individual, the sense of greed, and addiction. And that's why again, the verse continues, mentioning that this keeps people away from remembrance of God and from prayers. And in Islam, the members of God does not mean just acts of worship, pure worship, but also other useful activities and pursuits in life. That's why it's regarded as a moral offense in Islam. Now, what about the question of government lotteries and sweepstakes and so on? Would this be included? Under the definition of gambling? What the
question of lottery is more clear, because it has all the elements of gambling, you buy a ticket for so much, and then you may not win anything, or you may win whatever, half a million or 1 million? I think.
So it has the exact elements of, of gambling at the fact that the government, whether it's provincial or federal, undertakes this effort does not make it necessarily moral or correct. In fact, the government should give a good example in trying to stop this moral evil by not doing that themselves. So it is absolutely
unbelievable in Islam. The question of sweepstakes is a hazy area, because in sweepstakes, one of the elements of gambling is not present. Because you don't buy anything, you're not required to buy anything, you just write your name and send it, you know, to the whoever is conducting this. So that raises some doubt as to whether it's pure gambling. On the other hand, it may in some sense, resemble the free sample that producers might present as a gift and gift taking in Islam is not forbidden. But the only that I have in mind about this whole issue of sweepstakes is that again, if it's a small gift or a small sample of my
Okay, but $50,000? You know, that's my trace some question again about the legality
of the this amount of money obtained and earned not not only on the basis of exertion of effort, but has to be reserved, I have no conclusive evidence to say that it is clearly an absolutely not permissible. But personally, I would keep away from it at least it's one of the hazy areas that one should try to keep away from.
Now, on your chart, you've included the cheating is one of the
prohibited acts, how he could explain how cheating is related to today's topic. From the standpoint of Islamic law? Yes. Well, there are a number of mentions of the question of cheating in different ways in the Quran, the Word of God as well as the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. one form of which is common, or used to be common
of cheating, is to cheat the person when you sell him something by giving less than the proper measure or weight, if you're wearing something or measuring you just try to, you know, not to give him fully his weight. Some people also like to play with the scales, not less than some other places, whenever it's possible to try to do that.
This we find has been forbidden and condemned very strongly in the Quran. And just for schottenstein, I give you the references in case anybody wishes to explore them further, in chapter six, verse 52, and chapter 17, verse 35, in chapter 26, verses 181 through 183. And also in chapter of the Quran code and matassa T, and I think it's number is 38. There's also discussion of this. So this is one aspect. Another aspect that relate to buying and selling, cheating, is that Islam requires whenever a person is selling something, is to make the person or the buyer aware of any defects or deficiencies that might be in that product that is selling.
To quote again, the prophet peace be upon him, as narrated in Bukhari, and by hockey and that hackings three different collections of sayings, that he says that the buyer and seller
should follow whatever they agree to mutually among themselves,
and that if they are truthful, and clear, or give all information, disclose all information about the things they are buying or selling, God will bless that transaction. But if they hide or conceal information or lie, then the blessing of their transaction will be taken away.
Another form of cheating also is to give the impression that something is good, which is not, or to give it a flowery type of appearance, which does not reflect its nature. In this collection of the saying of the Prophet and Muslim, for example, he passed by a person
who had who was selling grains. So the Prophet peace be upon him stuck his hand inside the grain, then he found it wet. He said, What's that? He said, Well, you know, it was raining and part of that grain got wet. So I covered it with dry. He said, No, you should also put the wet green so that people know what they're buying absolute honesty, in terms of what you're selling.
Also, in another incident, as narrated in the Prophet peace be upon him passed by a person who was selling some food, but He mixed good food was less quality. And he said, No, you should sell that separately. And that's sufficient, you don't just mix it so that people might get the erroneous impression that it has all of the same quality. There's something also related to cheating in buying and selling. It's called an Islamic law by Alcaraz. There is no one word translation, that's English, but it means simply selling something that's not clear. That's not at least easy to determine example of that, by somebody say, Okay, I'm going to sell you some of the fish in the
waters that are going to throw my net, for example, and then sell you whatever comes, it may be nothing may be much liability. It has an element also, again, this is not supposed to be done. Or somebody say I'm going to send you the birds and then I try to hunt if I can catch them. Even in the selling of agriculture products, one is not supposed to sell the produce of his farm until it is clear that the produce has escaped
worms and other you know, problems and that it's probably coming up. The only exception from that of course is selling things like potatoes, which might be hidden under the ground, but normally it's known that if the plant is okay, the
The product is there. So the idea is to disclose and to give as much information as possible before a person. But finally, there is a similar aspect also that cheating. It's called in Arabic also and measures, which the Prophet peace be upon him also forbid, in Bukhari Muslim. That's when you go, for example, to an auction, and somebody who does not wish to buy the car or the product, and he makes an offer, and keeps increasing the offer to trap you. I think this is a normal practice in medicine, to trap you to buy that thing that again, is regarded as a form of cheating, because you're offering or bidding on something that you don't want to buy, you just want to trap somebody
to pay a high price. Some people work even with people who are doing this in some cases.
Finally, there's another aspect also that's regarded partly as cheating. For example, if somebody is bringing his products to sell in the market, so you catch him before he reaches the market and find what is the demand so that he might sell at a better price and say, Well, why don't you send me for that much? That's again, forbidden, he should come to the market, find out and then you can buy from him. So you don't really trap him before he reaches the market.
Moving on to the question of Monopoly. What does this refer to in Islamic law? What is the question of Monopoly refers to a number of things, including manipulation of prices to create artificial
shortages in order to benefit from that, I think the example of that most people would remember in the early 70s, when the price of sugar reached, I think, over $5, I think it was even five or six or even $7 for the two kilos or five pounds. And it was found later on. And many companies were implicated by courts in the us that there was no shortage they were simply hoarding and creating an impression of shortage to push the price and make a fast buck out of that. This is also regarded as one aspect of monopolies especially when it deals with this step, what's the main steps that people need in their day to day life, similarly, to withhold some basic staples, and store them, so that
you wait and create shortages, and when the price is high, then you start selling? That's forbidden. We're not saying that storing in itself is forbidden. But if for example, you have an excess produce that with rats, if you don't sell it, and you want to store it and spend some money on it, and then sell it, to regulate the consumption over the year, that's there's no problem with that. But the idea when you withdraw items from the market that people need, storage for the purpose of creating that shortage is regarded also as a monopoly. And the Prophet peace be upon him said that any person, person who does that is really cursed.
In fact, especially in food in one hand is narrated, inanimate, and how can you say whoever monopolized the basic food items for 40 days, then God really is very angry with him got to disassociate himself from him.
We have a very limited amount of time left on the program, we have one other area that we haven't touched on, we only have a very limited amount of time, I want to perhaps quickly we could just go to this question of, of waste. Could you throw some light on the question of waste and how it relates to the topic today? One, as a basic rule in Islam, property is not absolute property of us, we are only trustees, the ultimate and absolute ownership belongs to God alone. And we are interested to use this property, which means that we have no right, even though like on property to squander it or burn it unduly and hurt ourselves and society as well. An example of this as much as
time allows us is what is mentioned in the Quran in chapter four verse four, by allowing an Islamic Society or semi community to put under guardianship, people who lack the power of reasoning, even though they might own something. And who might be squandering once because they have some kind of sickness or they might be crazier for some reason, and appoint a guardian so that their property can be safeguarded, for their benefit and for the benefit of society at large.
Well, we've pretty well exhausted our time for today. In fact, I'm getting a signal from UCLA. We have no other time left. We want to thank you for watching our program. invite you back next week when we'll have our 21st two programming series of moral teachings of Islam. We'll be talking about moral virtues. That's our program Assalamu alaikum peace