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Home arrow Business & Finance arrow The art of RF (riba-free) Islamic banking and finance

The Concept of God Owning Everything

In Islam, it is believed that every asset in this world is owned by God. We read in the Qur'aan:

31:26 To God belong all things in heaven and earth: verily God is He (that is) free of all wants, worthy of all praise.

In other words, we, as the servants of God, do not own anything in this world. We are chosen by God in His infinite wisdom to act as His responsible trustees on the assets with which He entrusts us. We are expected to be responsible before God and the public for protecting, preserving, and investing these assets. The individual as a custodian is also expected to invest these assets prudently and successfully back into the community. This type of investment will help to achieve economic prosperity, job opportunities, and peaceful coexistence within the community, in a fair, just, productive, and equitable way. We, in other words, are called upon by our Creator to act as the trustees of these assets on behalf of their real owner — God — and we, as believers, will be accountable before Him for any and all breaches, abuses, or misuses of this trust.

Islam, in its effort to strengthen, deepen, and remind all people of the teachings of God through all His prophets through its revelations and the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (pp) encourages the rich to spend in the way of God to help the poor and needy and not to take advantage of them. The Qur'aan in its revelations covers many of these aspects:

Help the poor. The Qur'aan reinforces the original teachings of Moses (pp) in the Torah and Jesus (pp) in the Bible about caring for the poor and needy and not taking advantage of them.

God knows all things:

2:270 and if you spend or promise to spend in the way of God, He knows all and those who transgress and practice injustice by not fulfilling their promises have no one to support them.

Charity to help the poor can be done in public, but it is better to be done in secret:

2:271 If you give charity and declare it in public, that is acceptable, but if you give it in secrecy and give it to the poor, it is better for you, and He almighty will forgive you your misdeeds in return, and He Almighty is the one who knows what you do.

30:38 and give your kin their rights, the poor and wayfarer.

This is a better way of living for those who seek God's acceptance, and those are the real winners, and

Riba (ribit/interest/usury) cannot be charged when you lend to the poor:

30:39 that which you lay out for increase through the property of (other) people will have no increase with God. But that which ye lay out for charity, seeking the Countenance of God, [will increase]: it is these who will get a recompense multiplied.

A Muslim should help the poor, regardless of whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims:

2:272 you are not expected to influence them to be guided to the righteous path [addressing the Prophet Muhammad[, but indeed the Almighty guides whomsoever He will and chooses to, and whatever you spend in goodness will be for your own sake and benefit and will be rewarded back to you, and you will never be treated unjustly.

The poor and needy must be treated with respect and dignity. Those who give should not judge the needs by appearance. It is their duty to search

for those who are poor and needy but do not show it. God knows all things, and God will reward those who help the poor and needy:

2:273 for the poor who were trapped by their poverty and those who know can recognize them by their sincere attitude. They are not able to work and contribute because they are poor, but they continue to keep their dignity. Those who do not know and the ignorant would expect them to be rich and capable, because they do not extend their hands and beg and ask people to help persistently in a repulsive way, and whatever you spend in goodness is well known by Almighty God.

2:274 Those who spend their money in public and in secrecy will bank their rewards with God, and no one should fear for their future well-being; and they will never grieve or be saddened.

God's judgment is on those who charge rib at'ribit/interest/usury on loans to the poor and the needy:

2:276 Almighty God obliterates and destroys riba and He grows the charities paid in the way of God; and God does not like those who disobey His orders and who transgress.

2:278 Oh ye who believe, heed Almighty God and stop all what is left in the practice of riba if you are really believers.

2:279 and if you disobey and continue to charge riba, then expect the permission by God to the believers to stand to fight you by all means representing God and His Prophet; but if you repent, then you can get your original capital with you being treated unjustly or you treating others without justice.

Debt forgiveness for those who cannot pay back:

2:280 And if the debtor who owes the money cannot pay back the principal capital because of his financial condition, then be considerate and work with them with mercy, ease, and compassion; and if you treat those who owe you money with kindness, charitable posture and ease is in fact better for you if you only know.

2:281 And be heedful of the day when you return back to the Creator and each soul will be given what it has earned while on earth and each will be treated with justice and equity.

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