Civil Servant, Compassion, Musharakah

Issue 475 » May 2, 2008 - Rabi-al-Thani 26, 1429

Living The Quran

Yusuf (Joseph)
Chapter 12: Verse 55

Civil Servant
(Joseph) said, "Give me charge of the treasures of the realm; I am trustworthy and competent."

It is important to note here that Joseph, peace be upon him, had pointed out both moral as well as the corporeal qualities that were necessary to qualify him for the post he had agreed to accept. In other words, he was not merely a virtuous and trustworthy man, but was also competent and capable of assuming fully his responsibilities over the state's resources. Moreover Joseph was able to propose himself for a role in public office because there was no other person in Egypt at the time as suitable and qualified for the post as he was. The public interest could only be best served by appointing a strong and honest person to take up the responsibilities that the position demanded.

Seeking leadership or public office is a grave matter if undertaken for reasons of self-aggrandizement and greed for power, privilege or domination. History is replete with the examples of many great nations that have been led to ruin and humiliation by despotic and power-hungry individuals.

"A Thematic Commentary on the Quran" - Muhammad al-Ghazali, pp. 244-245

Understanding The Prophet's Life


Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) stated, "He is not of us who does not have compassion for his fellow beings".

It is interesting to note that when it comes to Hadith like this dealing with human behaviour, we never stop to think that our children and family members are also our fellow human beings and that these golden rules must also be applied to them.

Compassion is only one component of the concept of mercy (Rahmat) — the others being kindness, respect, and of course love. Remember the displeasure of Prophet Muhammad when a Bedouin told him how he had never kissed any of his ten children.

The Positive & Negative C's of Islamic Parenting” – Shahina Siddiqui

Cool Concepts


'Musharakah' is a word of Arabic origin which literally means sharing. In the context of business and trade it means a joint enterprise in which all the partners share the profit or loss of the joint venture. It is an ideal alternative for the interest-based financing with far reaching effects on both production and distribution.

'Interest' predetermines a fixed rate of return on a loan advanced by the financier irrespective of the profit earned or loss suffered by the debtor, while Musharakah does not envisage a fixed rate of return. Rather, the return in Musharakah is based on the actual profit earned by the joint venture. The financier in an interest-bearing loan cannot suffer loss while the financier in Musharakah can suffer loss, if the joint venture fails to produce fruits. Islam has termed interest as an unjust instrument of financing because it results in injustice either to the creditor or to the debtor. If the debtor suffers a loss, it is unjust on the part of the creditor to claim a fixed rate of return; and if the debtor earns a very high rate of profit, it is injustice to the creditor to give him only a small proportion of the profit leaving the rest for the debtor.

In the modern economic system, it is the banks, which advance depositors' money as loans to industrialists and traders. If industrialists having only ten million of their own, acquire 90 million from the banks and embark on a huge profitable project, it means that 90% of the project has been created by the money of the depositors while only 10% has been created by their own capital. If this huge project brings enormous profits, only a small proportion i.e. 14 or 15% will go to the depositors through the bank, while the industrialists whose real contribution to the project is not more than 10% will gain all the rest. The industrialists take even this small proportion of 14 or 15% back, because they include this proportion in the cost of their production. The net result is that all the profit of the enterprise is earned by the persons whose own capital does not exceed 10% of the total investment, while the people owning 90% of the investment get no more than the fixed rate of interest which is often repaid by them through the increased prices of the products. On the contrary, if in an extreme situation, the industrialists go insolvent, their own loss is no more than 10%, while the rest of 90% is totally borne by the bank, and in some cases, by the depositors. In this way, the rate of interest is the main cause for imbalances in the system of distribution, which has a constant tendency in favour of the rich and against the interests of the poor.

Conversely, Islam has a clear-cut principle for the financier. According to Islamic principles, a financier must determine whether he is advancing a loan to assist the debtor on humanitarian grounds or he desires to share his profits. If he wants to assist the debtor, he should resist from claiming any excess on the principal of his loan, because his aim is to assist him. However, if he wants to have a share in the profits of his debtor, it is necessary that he should also share him in his losses. Thus the returns of the financier in Musharakah have been tied up with the actual profits accrued through the enterprise. The greater the profit achieved by the enterprise, the higher the rate of return to the financier. If the enterprise earns enormous profits, all of it cannot be secured by the industrialist exclusively, but they will be shared by the common people as depositors in the bank. In this way, Musharakah has a tendency to favour the common people rather than the rich only.

“Musharakah & Mudarabah” - Taqi Usmani