In the Name of Allah the most merciful, the most Compassionate
The total essence of the maqasid Ashariah (objectives of the shariah) is to bring ease in the lives of humankind.
At least there are over 56 verses of the Quran that talks about charity as an invaluable deed.
Umm Aisha the wife of the prophet, may Allah be pleased with her was asked about the character of the prophet of God (SAW), she replied “his character is Quran”.
The Prophet (SAW) is also reported to have said in a saheeh Muslim hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah, “Charity does not decrease wealth.”
This goes to prove that in Islam, being charitable is highly encouraged and highly regarded. In addition to these, several ahadeeth (traditions) of the prophet (SAW) buttress the importance of charity or good deeds.
A hadeeth in saheeh Bukhari 1138 narrates that the messenger of Allah (SAW) said “a woman entered the hell fire because of a cat, which she tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth”.
A Daraqutni hassan hadeeth also reported that the messenger of Allah (SAW) said “the best amongst the people are those that bring most benefits to the rest of mankind”.
Abu Y’a la also reported that the messenger of Allah (SAW) said “the best of people is those who feed others and reciprocate greetings”.
Further, umm Aisha, the wife of the prophet may Allah be pleased with her had said “the messenger of Allah is the most generous person amongst the people and his generosity becomes intense during the month of Ramadan, and further becomes extreme during the last ten days of ramadan”.
Moreover, A Muslim is also encouraged to bequeath not more than one third of his estate to non-legal hires at death as a charity. This is based on the authentic hadeeth of the prophet (SAW), reported by ibn Majah 2709 which states “Allah made a charity upon you at death by (allowing you to give) one third of your wealth as a charity to increase your good deeds”.
Now, making my deduction from the premise above from the Quran and traditions of the prophet (SAW), I can confidently and unequivocally say that the following schools of thought must be jettisoned by every Muslim: Sayings such as “there is no free lunch”, “each for himself God for us all” “survival of the fittest” etc, are all unislamic and are nothing but cutthroat capitalist systems of believe and must be strongly eschewed.
In fact, on the contrary reciprocal help, solidarity and joint compensation of losses and harm are prominent norms of the Islamic economic framework compared to the conventional economic structure, where unbridled competition causes a number of unethical practices like fraud and forgery. Islam cherishes that a person helps others in times of need and prohibits any such action that may cause any loss or harm or fasad (destruction) to others. The Holy Qur’an says: “Assist one another in the doing of good and righteousness. Assist not one another in sin and transgression, and keep your duty to Allah” 5: 2.
The holy Prophet has further encouraged mutual assistance by saying: “The Believers, in their affection, mercy and sympathy towards each other are like one human body, if one of its organs suffers and complains, the entire body responds with insomnia and fever” (Sahih Muslim). Accordingly, a number of practices or schemes of mutual help like ‘Aqilah, Dhaman Khatr al-Tariq, etc. that were prevalent in the pre-Islam period were validated by Islam.
Aqilah (kin or paternal persons of relationship) was a custom in some tribes at the time of the holy Prophet (SAW) that worked on the principle of shared responsibility and mutual help. In case of natural calamity, everybody used to contribute something until the disaster was relieved. Similarly, this principle was used in respect of a blood money payment, which was made by the whole tribe.
In this way, the burden and the losses were distributed. Under Dhaman Khatr al-Tariq, losses suffered by traders during journeys due to hazards on trade routes were indemnified from jointly created funds. Islam accepted this principle of reciprocal compensation and joint responsibility.
This spirit of self-help supported and exhibited by the prophet (SAW) and his companions, may Allah be please with them has culminated into what is known as Takaful in modern times, an alternative to conventional insurance in Islam.
Today, the asset of takaful worldwide is estimated to be at USD 30.5 billion in 2022. It is anticipated that it will rise to USD 54.9 billion at a growth rate of 10.2% between 2023 and 2028, in sha Allah.
May Allah increase us in knowledge and wisdom and make this beneficial to Ghanaians and beyond. Ameen! And Allah knows best.
YAHAYA ILIASU MUSTAPHA
The writer is an Islamic Banking and Finance patron and advocate in Ghana
Facebook account: facebook.om/Yahaya.iliasu.94
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