(Surat al-Baqara: 275)
that is because they say, 'Trade is like usury': God has permitted trade, and forbidden usury.
Rasulullah’s SA Shari’at is not simply about prayer and fasting, it is an all-encompassing holistic way of life. His Shari’at is Samhaa’ – liberal, accommodating and flexible —it recognizes and accommodates conditions that may arise in life. It prescribes prayer but allows one who is ill to pray whilst sitting. It prescribes fasting but allows one who is ill to compensate the fasts later. These are but a few examples.
Similarly, Shari’at is liberal, accommodating, and flexible in the context of worldly affairs. The Quran Majeed says “…they say, “trade is like usury’ [but] Allah has made trade lawful (halaal) and has made usury (riba – interest) unlawful (haraam)” (Surat al-Baqara: 275). If one is in a situation where he has to take a loan from someone but the lender is not willing to give the loan without charging interest, what should he do? Imam Ja’farus Sadiq AS says that in such a case, for the portion that he has to pay as interest, he should enter into a purchase and sale contract. Some argued that this was simply a loophole. The Imam answered that on the contrary, “how good is fleeing from haraam to halaal” (ne’mash-shay’ul firaaru minal haraame ilal halaal).
Our Imams and Du’aat – including Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA – have entered into such transactions. They have received loans with such contracts and even given loans with such contracts. Syedna Taher Saifuddin referred to this in his testimony in the Gulla case, even giving examples of his predecessors in office who have also done so.
As his predecessors did, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin forbade interest and encouraged business. His zamaan was one of sa’aadat and prosperity in which he encouraged qarzan hasana. He did not forbid the application of the contract shown by Imam Ja’farus Sadiq. He never would forbid it as it was prescribed by the Imam. The Dai is the protector of the Imam’s Shari’at and it is his responsibility to guide Mumineen towards it and show how to abide by it in an ever changing world.
During Syedna Burhanuddin’s time there were those who stopped Mumineen from escaping to halaal from haraam. The identity and agenda of these people became clear after Syedna Burhanuddin’s wafaat.
Syedna Qadi al-Nu’man refers to this ayat in Da’aimul Islam: “they take their priests and their ruhbaan to be their lords and not Allah” (Surat al-Tawba: 31). Then on the authority of Imam Ja’farus Sadiq he says, “they did not pray to these “priests” nor fast for them. But these “priests” made what was haraam into halaal, and the people following them acted as if it was halaal. And these “priests” made what was halaal into haram, and the people following them acted as if it was haraam.”
While these “priests” change halaal into haraam, the true guardian of the Shari’at, the Dai of the Imam, shows Mumineen how to escape from haraam into halaal.
We are pleased to present this week a series of questions and answers based on the research undertaken by Shehzada Dr Abdeali Bhaisaheb Qutbuddin for his PhD thesis on the Principles of Fatimid Tayyibi Finance. In 2003, his research and thesis was undertaken with the raza and doa mubarak of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. As the title implies, in his thesis he has outlined the principles of Fatimid Tayyibi finance and has shown how they apply to present day financial institutions and instruments.
Several easy to understand articles and documents, distilled from this thesis, will be prepared and published so they are accessible to Mumineen and that they may use them to avail of the financial facilities available in today’s world while remaining within the realm of halaal.
Syedna Taher Fakhruddin TUS referred to this thesis in his bayaan on the Mab’as day in the context of Shari’at being samhaa’ and accommodating. As the guardian of Rasulullah’s Shari’at and as the Dai of the Imam who is entrusted with the duty to guide Mumineen, Syedna Fakhruddin has instructed that this thesis is published in a manner that is easily accessible to Mumineen and which they can refer to if the need arises.
We offer praise and thanks to Allah Ta’ala for the guidance of his Rasul, his Imams and their Du’aat, especially Daiz-zamaan. Through him 1400 years after its revelation, we abide by Shari’at in our lives – in our prayers, in our fasting and in our trade. May Allah Ta’ala give Mumineen the tawfeeq and strength to live by the prescriptions of Shari’at and garner divine grace. May Allah Ta’ala give longest life to our guide, Dai of our Imam, Syedna Taher Fakhruddin.