A DREAM OF THE PHARAOH

In preparing the national budget an Islamic State must always refer to the story in the Holy Quran, about the dream of the pharaoh during the time of Joseph (as);
 
“The pharaoh said:”O Joseph, the man of truth! Explain to us (the dream) of seven fat cows whom seven lean ones were devouring, and of seven green ears of corn, and (seven) others dry, that I may return to the people, and that they may know.”  Joseph (as) said: “For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that (the harvest) which you reap you shall leave in ears, (all) – except a little of it which you may eat. Then will come after that seven hard (years), which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, (all) except a little of that which you have guarded (stored). Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press (wine and oil).” (Quran 12: 43-49)
 
In an Islamic State the national treasury is the Baitulmal (the house of currency); where all taxes are kept. The money from this Baitulmal is used to fund the state, its endeavors and to support the poor and must be managed and spent wisely, prudently and sincerely as the Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Any ruler who is responsible for the affairs of Muslims but does not strive sincerely for their well-being will not enter Paradise with them’ (Muslim).
 
The development of the Islamic State also involves private enterprises thus in controlling the treasury, the Islamic State must strike a balance and maintain economic freedom by securing the individual’s right to private property (wealth ownership), thus Islam categories properties into three; the state, public and private properties.
 
Islam seeks to create a system where justice, not profit reigns supreme. Islamic economics has two primary goals; to combat poverty and provide for a just and equitable distribution of wealth.The Islamic monetary policy forbids interests and emphasizes on keeping inflation towards a theoretical zero percent. The state is required to provide each citizen with a minimum standard of livingand make sure that no one is hungry.
 
 The treasury is the most important organ of the Shariah having the status of a lively beating heart giving the pulse to the economy and the sustenance of the state. This worldly wealth is as necessary as the gains in the hereafter as mentioned in the Holy Quran:
 
“And of them (also) is he who says: ‘Our Lord! Give unto us in the world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and guard us from the doom of Fire'” (Quran 2:201).
 
In spending for the development of the nation, the Islamic State must ensure that there are enough funds. This is the most common sense thing to do. This will ensure the system runs smoothly and avoid borrowing which in the end would be detrimental to the existence of the state itself.
 
 Then make sure there is enough savings for unseen circumstances as was stipulated in the first paragraph of this article. The pharaoh saved for seven years in preparing to face the next seven years of hardship. Refrain from borrowing as much as possible but unfortunately or national debt in 2010 was at RM407 billion!
 
It is narrated by Abu Musa Ashari that the Prophet said: After the major sins which must be avoided, the greatest sin is that someone dies in a state of debt and leaves behind no asset to pay it and one who records it, and the two witnesses; and he said: They are all equal (Muslim).
 
Then spend on what is necessary for the public, provide all the infrastructure, amnesties, public facilities, schools and universities, hospitals, research, science and technology, defense capabilities but spend the minimum for the state.
 
Unfortunately Muslim leaders today live in palaces as kings, separate from their people and there is a clear distinction between the privileged and the ordinary. The masses are constantly at odds with the elites which might inevitably lead to conflict.
 
During the time of the Umar’s (r.a) caliphate with all the money that was pouring into the treasury during that time, one would expect that it would be used to build magnificent and ornate buildings. Yet the caliph was very careful to maintain the simplicity of government buildings showy and extravagant displays were avoided. Umar (r.a) did not want to waste money on unnecessary luxuries. He believed that the money would be better spent if it went towards the welfare of the people rather than towards lifeless bricks.
 
All those entrusted to undertake the development both on the part of the government and the private sector should not be involved in any wrong doing and bribery.
 
“And eat not up your property among yourselves in vanity, nor seek by it to gain the hearing of the judges that you may knowingly devour a portion of the property of others wrongfully” (Quran 2:188).
 
Jabir related that the Prophet said: May Allah shows mercy to a man who is kind when he sells, when he buys, and when he makes a claim. (Bukhari)
 
In the spirit of balance though, to make sure that these government services weren’t taken advantage of, begging and laziness shall not tolerated. Those who received government benefits are expected to be contributing members in the community.
 
Furthermore, the Islamic state will not go so far as to advocate absolute equality, for such a notion is clearly at odds with the different capabilities and talents that God blessed us with. And, absolute equality could only come about at the expense of the individual economic freedom that God has granted us. The Quran acknowledges the inevitable existence of inequality; “God has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others”. (Quran 16:71)

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