Gains and Profits, Welcome Ramadan, Power With
Issue 1048 » April 26, 2019 - Shaban 21, 1440
Gains and Profits
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verses 275-276
Those who devour usury shall not rise but as one who blunders through being affected by Satan, for they say, "Buying and selling is like usury," while God had made buying and selling lawful and prohibited usury. Hence, whosoever receives [positively] his[/her] Lord's admonition and gives over, he may keep his past gains, and it will be for God to judge him[/her], but whosoever returns to it, they are destined for the fire, therein to abide. God blots out usury, whereas He augments charitable offerings with fruitfulness [from various angles], and God loves not any ingrate and persisting evil-doer.
Riba or usury is forbidden because it is merely an exploitation of the haves for the have-nots. It presents a constant and increasing profit that is effortless and risk-free on the side of the usury gainer, while the prayer of usury is forced, from the beginning, to accept paying it on time and in addition to the principal, regardless of his/her circumstances, because of his/her need. In general, however, Islam is not against earning money and acquiring profit from fair dealings in which every party gives and takes in a fair way, and thus the rights and obligations of the involved parties are parallel and balanced.
The supporters of exploitation argue that making money and gaining profit any way is the same, and ought to be legitimized. This selfish and greedy attitude contradicts the socio-economic justice of Islam, which encourages gains and profits that are earned through a balanced and fair deal of "give and take" from all the parties involved, and the consent and free will of all are secured without any physical or moral pressure. The principle of Sharia in this respect is the parallel balance of the gain and loss (or taking and giving) on the side of every party involved in the deal. If this is observed, various infinite forms of deals may be initiated and developed.
Surpassing justice, which has to be observed by all, and reaching individual generosity and charity, is, furthermore, encouraged and rewarded. Public security is materially and morally benefitted from giving to individuals who are in need, as well as to the needs of the society as a whole. The material needs of the society as a whole will be met, and social solidarity and cooperation would bring out material and moral benefits to the receivers, the givers, and the society as a whole. In this way, God augments charitable offering with manifold gains from various angles, while gains of exploitation and usury are blotted out through contradictions of greed and bitterness which restrict total productivity in the long run, especially when they escalate to explosions within the society.
"Concepts of the Quran" - Fathi Osman, p. 789
Ramadan is undoubtedly great and blessed, but not everyone who happens to live it is automatically entitled to get the blessings it brings. What is going to be your share from the treasures of Ramadan? Like the fertile soil, you may become soft-hearted and moist-eyed, sow the seed of belief and determination inside yourself, and add to your capabilities. Thus, a seed will grow into a sapling, and a sapling into a tree. The tree will be laden with the fruits of good deeds, and you will reap the fruit — the fruit of eternal bliss. Just like the farmer, as you sow so shall you reap; and the more you toil, the more you shall get. But if you remain hard-hearted, like the farmer who slept when it was time to wake up and work, then the blessings and goodness of Ramadan and Tarawih (night prayers during the holy month) will pass without benefiting you, just like the downpour that does not benefit the rock.
Nothing is gained without Allah's Will. But Allah's Will favours only those who strive hard in the way of Allah. Listen to what Allah says. He says that if you walk to Him a foot, He will walk to you two feet; if you move towards Him walking, He will come to you running [Bayhaqi]. But if you stand still, impervious and oblivious, then Allah's Will cannot be in your favour.
So, be careful lest the whole blessed month of Ramadan passes, with its downpour of blessings and goodness, and you remain empty-handed.
Make a resolve to get your share of Ramadhan's blessings by keeping in view quite a stern warning of the Holy Prophet: "There are many who observe fast, but they get nothing except hunger and thirst. There are many who pray in the night, but they gain nothing except sleepless nights" [Bukhari].
It all depends on you! Get yourself ready to welcome Ramadan most befittingly, and try to make most of it. Before the advent of Ramadan, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) used to tell his Companions about its greatness and exhort that they should spare no efforts to get the maximum benefit from it. This is what I intend to do here, i.e. discover the secret of the greatness of Ramadan, understand the importance of preparations and resolve to welcome it, use the opportunity it provides to get optimum benefit, appreciate the points that merit our attention and focus, recommend ways and means that make the journey to the destination easy and more rewarding, and avoid the path and approach that may frustrate the whole purpose and lead to failure and destruction.
"Making The Most of Ramadan" - Khurram Murad, p. 6
The power paradigm wedded with the moral bankruptcy of gross individualism in the form of greed and desire that results from the madness of consumerism is a term that is most often used to reflect "power over," the will and action to exert control over others as utilities to achieve one's aims. Valantasis juxtaposed that understanding to consideration of the "power to." When gender activists and theorists assert the need for women's empowerment, those most accustomed to the term "power" in its "power over" dimension do not wish to have women's power asserted over them, reducing them to a utility for the benefits of others and dismissing their moral agency. Oddly enough, this is exactly what has been done with women's agency, the utilization of them and their empowerment or agency only as a utility to fulfill human care without recognition and more than mere lip service to the virtues of such an application. These discussions do disempower men, although they, as a class, have exerted their power over and dominated and destroyed the ecological environment and global economics for their own selfish utility, in the name of "civilization."
To empower women, or rather to fully acknowledge women's empowerment, whether in care work, public service, political authority, or spiritual leadership, as well as any number of acts of agency, is to acknowledge not only their "power to," but also how it is integral to a third level of power discourse emphasized in feminist ethics, that of "power with." There is a reciprocal relationship between acknowledging women's power and the enhancement of the social-cultural roles they have contributed to benefit humanity. A lesson that can be learned by any who seek to fully apply the Quranic mandate of agency would result from accepting that women's power has made an essential contribution to human well-being which is not limited to biology. As such, power with others is a universal goal certainly commensurate with the dominion Allah has given to humans over the rest of creation (22:65) and to fulfilling the ontology of agency Allah has assigned as intrinsic to all humankind.
"Inside The Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam" - Amina Wadud, pp. 53, 54