This site is solely dedicated to publish my writing, mostly on the topic of Islamic finance. Some of the articles were written as partial fulfillment for completing the Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP) certifications and for the Ph.D in Islamic Finance that I am currently undertake. Interested parties, including reporter/press or students, may reproduce or quote materials published provided that the credit has to be given to my blog (arzim.blogspot.com). Comments must be accompanied by names or pseudonyms. Anonymous postings and those containing profanities and obscenities will be rejected.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

All Wealth belongs to God and man is only a trustee. Base on this statement explain the rights of various groups to wealth from the Islamic perspective?

Wealth in Islam is divided into two categories: First the public wealth (public utilities and natural resources) that is not owned by individuals, but rather they are the property of the entire nation. In general, anything which does not involve much human effort or cost to make it useful can be concluded, should be belong to society at large. 

The second kind is the wealth owned by individuals or groups, as a result of their work or inheritance. Where private ownership rights have been conferred to a man, nobody can deprive his rights except from the sanction from Shariah (Islamic law). From the Islamic point of view, even though man can have private ownership rights to the wealth, however, Allah has clearly laid down the terms of trust. This is because, in Islam, all wealth belongs to Allah and human beings are only trustees to the wealth. On this point, Islam prescribes ways to carry out the trust so that a person has no right to use it to satisfy his whims. He has to observe the Divine commandments. If the violation is serious, hence, his inability to use his wealth properly provides the basis for the forfeiture of his right to his wealth. For those whom Allah has blessed with wealth, it is a test; and Muslims should strive to pass this test by not becoming worshipers of hoarded wealth. One of the obligations to be followed is the act of giving alms and zakat because a portion of one’s wealth belongs to other people in the societies.

In Islam, other various groups also conditionally entitled to the wealth of a person. Quran has clearly stated eight groups who entitled to one’s wealth include the poor, needy, alms collector, converts, wayfarers, people who fight in the way of Allah, people who suffered indebtedness and so on. The poor and needy are mentioned first because they have more need than the other categories of people who cannot afford even the basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Alms and zakat collector also entitled to it as they are doing the job for collecting as compensation. People who suffered from indebtedness also entitled to share of wealth. There are several types of indebtedness persons. They include people who are suffered financial loss at the hands of debtors, people who guarantee a loan that became due and causing financial strains to them and to those who incur expenses in solving disputes between people. Wayfarer is a term used for needy traveller, who also entitled a share of the wealth in order for them to be able to continue the journey. Quran also mentioned other group of people who also entitled for share of wealth such as the beggar and the outcast, apart from the eight categories mentioned above.

In Islam, the act of giving alms is highly encouraged. There are two types of alms, the compulsory and recommended. The act of giving becomes obligatory to all Muslims who are capable of paying it. The compulsory alms is known as zakat. Islam considers wealth as the life-blood of the community which must be constantly in circulation and must be invested within the community to improve its economic well-being through the acts of giving alms and zakat for the eight categories of people who entitled to one’s wealth as mentioned above. Muslims should rather use the wealth only in ways Allah has permitted and realize that the amount of zakat to be given is not really their money but, rather, it belongs to those who have less than they do.

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