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A Small Step for a Struggling Nation;
A Giant Step for Mankind

The Supreme court of Pakistan in 1999 gave a verdict that all usurious transactions (interest based transactions) are against the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Government was ordered to abolish these practices summarily.

This judgment declaring the norm of interest as repugnant to the Qur'ânic percepts will have far reaching implications for the socioeconomic and political system of Pakistan and perhaps of other Muslim and non-Muslim entities. It will change the way “haves” have treated the “have-nots” since this nefarious usury system became the norm of commerce. A renewed interest in Islamic banking, its theoretical foundations as well as its practical implication is a natural consequence of the Supreme Court judgment.

Under tremendous and courageous pressure from certain Islamic groups in Pakistan the present regime seems to have taken the initial step to implement the decision of the Supreme court. The Pakistani minister of Religious affairs while announcing the government’s intent to abolish the usurious banking system by July 1, 2001, said that more than 200 international institutions are already operating on usury free system. Sudan and Malaysia have already implement totally or partially interest free monetary systems. So this action is quite overdue for Pakistan.

Implementation of this decision will not be as easy as the announcement. The operational difficulties would be the least of the problems. Those within and outside Pakistan, who have no faith in Divine existence will call such action out right stupid, and do every thing in their might to derail it. Many others who will perceive monetary loss, no matter how short lived that loss is, will oppose it vehemently. Foreign investment in Pakistani economy will become hard to attract. International institutions like IMF and World Bank will have a tongue in cheek response. Openly they will not oppose or excessively criticize this action, because after all they should not interfere in the internal matters of a sovereign nation even if it is under tremendous debt. But Pakistan will become discredited. Other nation under the influence of these organizations will be discouraged to do business with Pakistan. There may be unspoken “sanctions” against Pakistan.

The anti-Islamic media is already in full gear to discourage the Pakistani rulers. The Voice of Germany, for example, called this action totally against the advice of national and international experts who are working hard to alleviate the “financial problem” of Pakistan at this very critical time.

If  the Pakistani rulers don’t retract their actions, denouncements would follow. There may even be renewed calls to declare Pakistan a “Terrorist Nation”.

The people of Pakistan should know, that the establishment of interest “free banking” is not the total answer to the myriad of difficulties facing their nation. The answer is in fulfilling the covenant that was made with Allah at the time partition of India was demanded on the basis of two nation, one Muslim and one secular. All aspects of life have to be governed according to the Sharî'ah and this submission has to be a willing submission. May Allah give you the strength and stamina to fulfill your destined role in the affairs of Muslim all over the world.

For those of us who claim a role in establishing the word of Allah as the supreme and uppermost, and especially those who claim their decent from the subcontinent the test is near. If Pakistan stands firm on its course to become a solidly and totally Islamic state and it needs our help and we withhold it, then we would have done a great disservice to our own cause to spread and establish Islam in this land that we have chosen to be our abode. In fact let no one misunderstand that when Muslims in the affluent West help any struggling Muslim population anywhere to establish itself as a Muslim entity, we help no one else but ourselves. May Allah give us the taufeeq to discharge our obligations when the need arises. Ameen.

If, and it is a big if,  the Pakistani rulers and the people can withstand the hardship, internal and external pressure and coercion that will follow the establishment of a truly interest free economic system, they will have succeeded in reversing a decaying process in the Muslim ummah that began with the colonial domination of Islamic lands several hundred years ago.

And what an honor for a people whose forefathers fifty years ago struggled and secured a country that claims its very existence on the basis of its identity as a group of “Indians” determined to establish the law of Allah in the territory under their control.

We print elsewhere an article on this topic that shows how over due such an action is for the Muslims to save not only themselves but all people of faith from the cruelty and injustice of the pound for pound flesh demanding system of economics that has become the “norm”.

Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor due and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And Allah's is the sequel of events. [Qur'ân 22:41]


Published: January 2001


Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756