Prayer Time

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Allah has blessed our country, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia with many favors, among the best of these favors is the adherence of our government in authority(may Allah guide them) to apply Shariah, and to judge and prosecute it in all affairs of life.

The basic law of governance has come to testify to this fact, and the rulers still emphasize at different occasions that the book of Allah(Al-Qur'an) and Sunnah are the basic source of legislation and governance, and that they are the two guardiancies over all the state systems and institutions.

And in response to Allah's command in His saying:

" وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوى  

 ..." And help one another in goodness and piety .. "  

And in standing with the duty of sincere advice that was laid in the Hadith while the prophet(peace be upon him) said:  “The religion is naseehah (sincere advice).” We said, “To whom?” He (peace be upon him) said, “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” i wrote this short paper about a problem that still continues to haunt the people of this blessed country, and gain mastery over many of them in their concern and discussion. It is a problem of usury, which is still taking in a number of our financial institutions in both the public and private sectors.

This brief paper contains a reminder  of the seriousness of usury, and the need to accelerate the completion of the refining and purification of the Saudi economy from usury, and the proposed means to achieve the worthy goal through the following points;

A . Critical harm of interest: It is not hidden to a Muslim that Riba(interest) is forbidden, and that it is one of the great grave and destructive sins. Due to its danger and its great harm on the individual and society, all the heavenly laws have agreed on its prohibition, and warning against it, and criminalizing its perpetrator, and promising him of severe punishment in this world and the hereafter. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَذَرُوا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ *فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُوا فَأْذَنُوا بِحَرْبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَإِن تُبْتُمْ فَلَكُمْ رُءُوسُ أَمْوَالِكُمْ لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ "

" O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and relinquish what remains (due) from usury, if you are believers.* But if you do (it) not, then be apprised of war from Allah and His Apostle; and if you repent, then you shall have your capital; neither shall you make (the debtor) suffer loss, nor shall you be made to suffer loss."

It is sufficient with these verses for a person who has a heart and or he gives ear and earnestly witnesses (the truth)!. And who can stand to fight Allah and His prophet, while he knows that he is inevitably defeated?.

And the Almighty explained in another verse that interest brings punishments and deprives blessings. Allah says:

  يَمْحَقُ اللَّهُ الرِّبَا وَيُرْبِي الصَّدَقَاتِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ"

" Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity and Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner." Interest does not come in contact with a money unless it goes with its blessings, and presents it to the deficiency and the pests, as it deprives its Usurer's blessings, and destroys his health, and increases him in sins.

But if interest is spread in the society, and the people dared to speak out and declare it publicly, and the good people keep silent from disowning and fighting against it, this is apprise of various punishment From Allah, and the heavenly pests, and loss of property, lives and fruits.

This is the situation of the usurers in this world. And as for their situation in the hereafter, Allah, the Almighty has explained it in His saying:

 " الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا فَمَن جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ فَانتَهَى فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ"

" Those who swallow down usury cannot arise except as one whom Shaitan has prostrated by (his) touch does rise. That is because they say, trading is only like usury; and Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury. To whomsoever then the admonition has come from his Lord, then he desists, he shall have what has already passed, and his affair is in the hands of Allah; and whoever returns (to it)-- these are the inmates of the fire; they shall abide in it."

In the Hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Riba has seventy three doors. The least one (in sin) is as that of a man who sleeps with his mother. Reported by Ibn Majah, Tabaraani, Al-Hakim, and Al-Bayhaqi, and Al-Banni said it is Sahih. Ibn Mas'ood said: if fornication and interest in a village, Allah has authorized its destruction. And Abu Ya'la narrated from him(Ibn Mas'ood) with good chain of narration that the prophet(peace be upon him) said: "fornication and interest will not appear in a people, unless they have exposed themselves to the punishment of Allah.

This is said, and we see interest transactions multiplying in many Islamic countries, among of which is what we see from the practices of interest phenomenon in the country of Haramain, the place of revelation, and the focus of Muslims everywhere.

Among the most prominent of these practices is loans and interest deposits whether in the public sector or private sector, or in both. Among of which is the loans that many of our local banks provide to individuals and companies with interest rate agreed upon in the contract, as well as interests that these banks give on future deposits. In addition to that, loan bonds that are issued with known interest rate, whether issued by the state and sold to the private sector, or vice-versa.

Many of our joint stock companies have been afflicted interest whether by giving, or taking when they need money, they borrow loans with large amount from conventional banks(interest banks) that represent high proportions of their assets with explicit interest rates. If it has a financial surplus, it deposits it in these banks with interest rates.

This kind of interest is known as loan interest(Riba Al-Kuruud), and it is the most great and  most famous type of interest. It is the known interest in the period of ignorance before Islam that the Qur'an was revealed to forbid it, and to harden the refutation on its taker(the one who consumes riba) and its payer (the one who pays riba), and all who participated and satisfied with it. It is narrated in the Sahih of Imam Muslim that Jabir(may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the one who consumes riba and the one who pays it, the one who writes it down and the two who witness it, and he said: they are all the same.

The most modern countries have enjoyed eating and dealing with interest and have established their economic institution on it, and have tried to convince others that there is no economy without banks, and there are banks without interest. And unfortunately, this unjust and wrong theory that clashes with the law of Allah, and His traditions has spread in the Islamic countries, and many of the Muslims were convinced by it, till we saw who claims that interest is a necessity that is indispensable, until interest spread in Muslim countries and the conventional banks stated declare interest openly without shame and fear of Allah. As well as many shareholder companies whose taproot of its activities is Halal(lawful) get attracted with interest.  They missed lawful with unlawful by borrowing money at exorbitant rates of interest , or investing their surplus liquidity with interests, or combining the two offences while what in Islamic products is sufficient from dealing with interest whether in finance or investment.

When this appeared to the majority of the people, and they are shareholders in these companies, or wish to trade in its shares, they fell in great discomfiture, and constant confusion. And the majority of the people of this country recognize the severe danger of interest, and fear it, and they want halal provision that Allah has permitted for them, but many of these companies have afflicted with taking and giving interest, including the practice of loan and investment interest.

So by this, people were in a great disturbance, and they fall into a great grief and sorrow. Some of them fled their money outside this country to invest it in some other gulf countries, or Islamic countries, while some others were deprived from earning and contributing in these companies whether by subscription or trading.

And these people ask with wonder that what takes these companies whose taproot of its activities is Halal(lawful) to interest transaction? With the existence of legitimate alternatives for all what these companies want in funds and investments in Islamic products that its benefits are not less than that of benefits that these companies generate through interest loans and investments. Even the success of these Islamic products, and its great profits, and the intensity demand of it in the Islamic countries and others carry a lot of western banks to open Islamic windows for marketing these Islamic products, because they are more profitable for them than that of interest products, and as it attracts a lot of Muslim clients from among the westerners and others. Do these westerners know more of the wishes of Muslim investors, and keen to attract them and gain their confidence, and gain profits from their transactions by providing these products to them than that of our companies and banks that still insist on interest transactions and neglect to benefit from these Islamic products, and then lose the worldly gain and hereafter.

Yes, one may wonder by these banks and companies! How they do not comply with the Islamic law and existing regulations with the people overwhelming desire? Especially as this concordance will bring them more confidence and credibility, and the people's demand on them and investment in them, with what they will earn in rewards and recompenses and Allah's blessings and opening of His provisions for them.

B . Important of completely Islamization of Saudi economy: Some Saudi banks and companies have made good record in Islamization and marketing of Islamic products. It is very rejoicing to note that all our banks have Islamic legitimate bodies, or at least have Islamic legal consultant, even there are Islamic windows and Islamic products  in the branches of Western banks opened in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and this gives good news, and will encourage on the expectation of completely islamize the Saudi economy, and to replace interest transaction and products with Islamic transactions because it is purest and most powerful. And this is what the people of the good land wish and all the jealous people in all the Muslim worlds.

The important of  quickly Islamization of Saudi economy and abstaining from interest shows up in the following;

1 . Distinctive position of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in terms of its constitution which is the book of Allah(Al-Qur'an) and the Sunnah, and it is proud of its application of Islamic law. So, it became the trust of Muslims and the focus of their eyes in all parts of the earth.

2 . To maintain the credibility of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia which its basic system of governance abides to the book of Allah and the Sunnah in all its systems and the various aspects of its life.

And this is more important with the presence of the great competition from many Islamic countries and others in dealing with Islamic products and its development. And at a time where our blessed country is expected to be a pioneer of good, and a role model for others, and the source of Islamic legitimate products and transactions, becomes unfortunately the importer of these products, and lagging behind from many neighboring countries and others which preceded it with many stages in this field.

3 . Gaining people love and their trust, and fulfilment of their desire and their need in investing their money by Islamic means, and to remove the severe difficulty that will happen to them by the presence of interest in the business firms that attach to their benefits and needs, particularly in banks and joint stock companies. If they deal with it, or buy shares in it with their knowledge that it involves interest, they will still be in anxiety and a sense of sin and guilt, and if they abstain from dealing with it, they feel deprivation and inequity.

4 . Settling of local investments, and getting migratory funds as it is notice that a great amount of money is getting out from this country to other gulf or Islamic or western country that the Islamic products is being advance in the field of investment, or finance. And this is opposite of what this country want in strengthening local investments, and encouraging the return of migratory capital.

It is more important at this opening time and globalization of economy, and joining of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the world trade organization as it opened the way for gulf and international banks to establish branches in our country. And it is not hidden that there are many multiple Islamic banks in some Muslim  countries, particularly in united Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Sudan that what are in our country, and this will attract a lot of our money and our investments into these Islamic banks which may cause serious harm to our local conventional banks, and our national economy.

5 . Earning foreign investments as the promotion of lucrative Islamic products in this blessed country which is the focus of Muslim trust will lead to attract investments from Islamic countries and others. The contracts that were held by our Islamic banks like Alrajhi, or Al-Bilad banks or others with the great international banks based on the Islamic principles and regulations which are require by our Islamic banks are only a living evidence to that, as these agreements and contracts prohibit taking or payment of interest, and that must be prosecute under Islamic law, or at least abrogate what is contrary to Islamic law from among the rules releases by an un-islamic court.

Example of this was the agreement and contract that was held by Al-Bilad bank with many famous international banks like (Citibank, or HSBC bank, or UBS bank, and others). Even some of these western banks have completely Islamic branches in some gulf, or Muslim, and western countries. And it is not go far from our mind the establishment of Islamic bank of great Britain which was adopted by the British government almost a year ago, and was included under the umbrella of the central bank of great Britain similar to other banks in order to serve Muslim community there, and to attract Islamic investment to Britain. Even it tried to make London a center for Islamic economy, and a focus for Islamic banks and financial institutions.

They are doing this just for the purpose of earning worldly gain, and we are overindulgence and slowing in doing that, then we lose this worldly life and the hereafter, and we deprive from the satisfaction of Allah and the satisfaction of the people.

6 . Provision of job opportunity, and solving of many unemployment problem when Islamic legal alternatives are available which improve foreign investments flow.

C . Suggested means of the completely Islamization of the Saudi economy:

1 . Setting of a practical plan to stop all types of interest transaction whether in the public sector, or in the private sector, and following-up of the concerned authorities to implement it step by step.

2 . Creating a special law for Islamic banks under Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority in coping of many Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and others that preceded us in this field, and succeeded in strengthening the Islamic banks, and solving its problems, especially the issue of supervision of these banks, and how its adherence to Islamic transactions and Islamic products, and the issue of solving banking disputes in accordance with Islamic law.

3 . Working to activate the handling of tools and products authorized by Shariah law, and they are many and various, and many of them have been applied in many of our local banks and companies, and as  applied in many countries of Islamic world, even in some western countries. Among the most important of these products is as follows:

1 . Installment sales with its Islamic principles.

2 . Sales of Murabaha to the purchase orderer.

3 . Sales of Islamic legal tawarruq.

4 . Leasing ended with ownership.

5 . Investment funds in metals, commodities, stocks, real estates, and others.

6 . Engagement of customers in the bank's profits through the opening of investment accounts that have characteristics of the current account in terms of deposit, withdrawal, transfer, and others.

7 . Issuing of Islamic Sukkuk based on Ijara contracts, or Istisna'a, or participation, or other Islamic legitimate contracts through which many of the existing problems are solved, such as the problem of rented buildings, and the problem of projects and large companies that force the state to finance it through interest loans and bonds. And this Sukkuk are lucrative Islamic alternatives for these un-Islamic bonds.

4 . Purification of joint stock companies from interest transactions either by giving or taking interest as there is no need to insist on Haram with the presence of many Islamic alternatives that do not in need of interest either in finance or investment.

5 . Correction of the track of insurance regulations and its applications, so that these regulations and applications become comply with Islamic insurance cooperative and get abstain from interest, gambling, and eating up properties for vanities. This is what is stated in the fatawa of the permanent committee of the grand scholars in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Maj'ma Al-Fiqhiyyah, insurance system issued by the council of ministers and Shariah bodies in the Islamic banks where it approved cooperative insurance and disapproved commercial insurance, and by this there is no contrary between the fatwa and the application which contributes significantly to the success of the insurance industry, and as Islamic cooperative insurance covers important areas not covered by commercial insurance like life insurance, or debt insurance, and others. And as the state could also participate in Islamic cooperative insurance and disseminate its benefits to all citizens, especially in the field of health insurance due its importance and overall usefulness.

On the other hand, the participation of the state in cooperative insurance company would be of great benefit which is the confinement from draining large sum of money to the great insurance companies through the so-called global insurance policy which is needed by the commercial insurance companies.

6 . The people in charge of Saudi Arabian monetary Authority and the capital market authority should have full contentment for the need to Islamize Saudi economy, and get rid of interest in all our public and private institutions, because if they have this contentment, they will find solutions and lucrative Islamic alternative which benefit them from the persistence upon interest, and they will find the specialists in Islamic law, Islamic economy, and the experts in this field from among the Saudians and others who will assist them in reaching this goal, and this urgent requirement.

7 . Formation of a committee that contains a number of specialists in Islamic law, economics, and technical specialist who concern with the incarceration of existing interest transactions, and the suggestion of Islamic alternative solutions in order to be a practical step in the right way. It is possible for such a committee to hold panel discussions, seminars and others, and to benefit from the experiences of Islamic countries that preceded us in achieving this goal.

8 . Directing of specialized financial, started by Saudi Arabian monetary authority, the capital market authority, and the supervisory administration to use Islamic techniques of finance, and to attract outstanding capabilities and competencies which combine between shariah devotion and national loyalty, and outstanding capabilities in this field.

9 . Formation of Shariah board in all of the Saudi Arabian money authority, the capital market authority, and the specialized insurance management in order to contribute actively to the achievement of previous steps.

Finally, we ask Allah to guide us to the right path, and inspire us of our guidance, and save us from the evils of ourselves and the evils of our action, and not make the world our greatest concern, nor the limit of our knowledge; and not make the hellfire our final abode, and guide our government and all the Muslim governments to work in accordance with the book of Allah, and the implementation of His law that was sent as a mercy to the world.           




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