THE VISION OF AN IDEAL FAITH-BASED JUDEO-CHRISTIAN-ISLAMIC SOCIETY
We need to remember that the road to this RF vision is full of challenges, and we need to prepare to overcome them:
■ We need to learn from the success stories and achievements of others in the conventional riba-based banking services in order to analyze those services' success and faults.
■ We need to expand within our means and focus on human resources, including well-trained RF bankers and administrators and financial strength enhanced by voluntarism. We need to think of ways of growing the RF banking alternative by expanding the market for our RF services by attracting all people of all faiths to the RF banking services industry.
■ We need to work hard to make sure that the RF banking industry is perceived by the citizens at large and business leaders as the preferred banking system in the marketplace.
■ We need to stress the requirement of building true partnerships between the customer and community member, the families in the community, the RF bankers and administrators, and the community at large.
■ We need to motivate as many youths in the community to study to be accountants, financial analysts, and business managers and to train them to live an RF lifestyle and to qualify themselves as future RF bankers.
■ We need to sign onto a vision of building a standardized nationwide RF banking system that is as good as, and hopefully better than, the conventional riba-based banking system.
NEW TRENDS THAT CAPTURED THE IMAGINATION OF THE PAGANS OF THE ARADIAN PENINSULA — LESSONS TO LfARNfflOM
When Prophet Muhammad (pp) was commissioned to assume the responsibility of expanding on and documenting the teachings of all of God's prophets, in particular Abraham (pp), Moses (pp), and Jesus (pp), and subsequently he was commanded to start building the model community of civilization in the city of Yathrib (a small settlement located north of the city of Makkah and the site of the prophet Muhammad's mosque where he is buried). Prophet Muhammad (pp) and his companions started, with the local citizens, to build the new community complete with its constitution and civic laws. The settlement's name was changed to Madinah, which means “the model city of civilization.” The following is a summary of the way this pioneering Judeo- Christian-Islamic set of values promoted by Prophet Muhammad (pp) has captured people's imagination and changed the history of the world:
■ Protection of property rights and title of ownership.
■ Abolishment of discrimination and tribalism.
■ Enforcement of a new set of equal rights and opportunities regardless of tribal connections, race, national origin, gender, power, wealth, or poverty.
■ Recognition of women as equal to men and made both genders complementary in a united community, and viewing women as important contributors to society who are entitled to inherit and own property (for the first time in history).
■ Enforcing of the free market system, which was later popularized in the West and the world by Adam Smith.
■ Origination of the concept of insurance (takaful, which means “mutual benefit and protection”).
■ Origination of labor rights stipulating fairness to labor and that labor should be paid before the worker's sweat dries from his brow (as pronounced by Prophet Muhammad [pp]).
■ Prohibition of hoarding (ibtikar), deception, misrepresentation of facts about products and services (gbarar, which means “trading in risk, fraud, speculation, gambling, cheating, deception, and forgery”), and promotion of transparency.
■ Promotion of the concept of living and transacting in an RF way which considers money not as a commodity that can be bought, sold, or rented at a price called interest rate, but instead viewing it as a measuring device (this concept also states that money does not reproduce if left in a safe vault; it only grows when invested in a true and productive economic activity).
■ Promotion of the concept that wealth should be circulated and reinvested within the community to help develop that community by creating jobs, economic growth, and prosperity.
■ Establishment of the RF Judeo-Christian-Islamic system of economics, finance, and monetary theory, based on four important pillars (described in detail in Chapter 2):
■ Wealth and property (assets) are owned by God; humanity (male and female) is appointed by God in His mysterious and wise ways to serve as trustees and custodians.
The system of RF banking and finance.
The system of zakah, which means alms giving.
The system of miraath, which means inheritance laws.
Establishment of a standard for behavior and for an RF lifestyle, calling for followers and adherents:
■ To live below or within one's means.
■ Not to waste, not to live an extravagant lifestyle, and not to overspend, as overspending is defined by the Judeo-Christian-Islamic value system as the work of Satan.
■ To minimize debt obligations and to assume debt only if it is absolutely necessary and it should be done using the RF discipline.