Private Property in Islamic Economics
22 Dec 2011 05:54 GMT
Islam is not a religion that demands that its followers live in austerity with promises of better things in the afterlife. The concept of acquiring goods through hard work is a basic part of Islam and the Qur'an directs Muslims to take advantage of all the great things that God has placed on Earth for humanity. The concept of private property is well established in the Qur'an, although it is still governed by considerations that are specific to Islam and Muslims.

The first thing Muslims must recognize is that God has created the Universe and everything in it to benefit humanity. That everything that is essential for life, such as water and food, is abundant in quantities sufficient for every human being and that all Muslims must do everything in their power to make sure that no one is left without the means to live in dignity. The Qur'an is also quite clear in the fact that the only valid means to achieving ownership is by hard work and labor. All men are equal under God and there can be no discrimination due to the place of one's birth, ethnicity, race, or social standing. Each man is judged worthy or unworthy according to his deeds and labor.

The Qur'an is also quite clear in the fact that acquiring and hoarding material things is not the aim of ownership and work. The money and the products should not be the goal in themselves, they should be a path to achieving stability, prosperity, and benefits for oneself and for one's community. It is important to remember that violent acts should not be a way to achieving ownership and that man is free to own anything that is permitted under Islamic law, that is that is not considered Haram.

It is important to note that there are certain considerations that must be taken into account regarding ownership of a specific good or property. The Qur'an clearly prohibits the hoarding of goods and the monopoly of certain products, especially when this directly or indirectly harms other human beings or the community in general. It is also important to note that ultimately, everything belongs to God and that men are in a sense stewards on Earth. The first consideration of any Muslim is to make sure that people in need have what they need to live in dignity, before the amassing of wealth or owning large amounts of property. This is achieved through various taxes that must be payed on the property one owns, either to the government in an Islamic country or directly to those in need. The principles of justice (specifically that of Ihsan) clearly state that those at a disadvantage (like the poor, the orphans, those that live on the edges of society, the elderly, the crippled, etc.) must be given more in comparison to others that may be relatively better off.

-- Al Arabiya Digital