Debt, Interest and Unity

Friday sermon (jum'ah khutba) - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - 2nd March 2012 - 23mins 59secs

"And (moreover) He hath put affection between their hearts: not if thou hadst spent all that is in the earth, couldst thou have produced that affection, but Allah hath done it: for He is Exalted in might, Wise."

The Sheikh began this searing khutba with a passage from Surah al-Anfal, describing Quraysh's efforts to regroup and unify after the defeat at Badr through the taking out of loans to pay tribes to march under their banner.  The temptation amongst the numerically inferior Muslims was to do the same, but in the verse Allah clearly commands the believers to trust in Him alone, and not in the manipulation of the financial market.

Fast-forward 1400 years to what the Sheikh termed the 'European Autumn' and it is not difficult to see the far reaching wisdom of those Words. The European 'Union' that was to be the triumph of the financial vision of the continent is now splintering with catastrophic scenarios being played out in the poorer countries, Greece being the most potent example. In the khutba the Sheikh lucidly outlined the origins of Eurozone crisis, as well as that of the sub-prime mortgage fiasco in the US, to show how the endless borrowing has led to a situation where the future of an entire generation has been imperiled by the bankers who pass off these problems to those poorer than them with a nonchalant shrug of their shoulders. University students now will live half of their life under the burden of debt. Freedom needs autonomy, and autonomy cannot be exercised when ones dignity as a human being - the very thing that Islam champions - is chained by the shackles of interest-based debt.

Sheikh Abdal Hakim noted that the sharia is there principally to protect the poor, as it is the poor who always suffer first, as they now do in Greece, as they did in 1882 when the British invaded Egypt; just another shameful episode in the long history of Empire's corrupt profit-related ventures that brought misery to millions worldwide. Ultimately Empire collapsed as will America's rule, and as Muslims we should give nasiha that stability and harmony will never co-exist with this blind desire for profit, but rather with something else.

This something is what the Sheikh began the khutba with, and ended it with. One of the greatest legacies of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him is the unification of the peoples of Arabia, a stark contrast to the contemporary unraveling of the EU. This unity was threatened with his death, but the Ummah was saved. Not with pieces of silver or gold but through Allah moving destiny through the pure, free hearts of those men of dignity, Hadrat Abu Bakr, Umar, and Abu 'Ubayda, may Allah be pleased with them all, and may He guide us to follow in their footsteps, ameen

Image from freefoto.com

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