Changing the World Through Imaan

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Guest writer Jawwad Ahmed sums up what he gleaned from Hamza Tzortzis’ eye-opening workshop ‘Changing the World through Imaan’ at PC Hotel Rawalpindi.

In 2003, poverty claimed the lives of a good part of 10.6 million children under the age of 5 [1]. That is more than the children populations of France, Germany and Italy, combined. The figures have somewhat improved in the last decade, but the statistics are still staggering. 7.6 million children below the age of 5 died in 2010. This is around 21,000 per day, 870 per hour, or 14 children dying every minute [2]. Numbers simply fail to convey emotion.

No wonder, then, at what we are told about there being too many needs, and not enough resources. This is lesson number one in all economics textbooks. God, it appears, is pretty cruel.

And yet, the poorest 40% of the world’s population account for just 5% of the world’s income; the richest 20% for 75% [3]. The problem of resources, it appears, is not that of insufficient production, but of unequal distribution. The fundamental premise of contemporary economics is nothing more than the delusion of capitalism.

It was an eye-opening experience listening to Hamza Tzortzis on the topic ‘Changing the world through Imaan’ at PC hotel Islamabad. Faith is as relevant to modern socio-economics, as five sets of daily prayers. When Allah repeatedly says,

“We provide sustenance for you and for them (your children)”,

He means it [4] [5]. The world already produces more than 1½ times enough food to feed everyone on the planet [6].

Step number 1 of the solution is to realize that this is indeed the great delusion of capitalism. One amongst many that convinces us that we are free, whereas in reality, as individuals, nothing of our own context is our choosing – a vivid example being how the media, and those in power, dictate the social norm, which in turn dictates our preferences. What is required is to emancipate ourselves by servitude to the One whose enforced context upon us – our DNA, the social class we are born into, etc – we can never possibly elude.

In our creation – that of the universe – has Allah left a big question for us to ponder over:

“Or were they created by nothing, or were they the creators [of themselves]? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they are not certain” [7].

There can be four possibilities on how the universe came about:

i) The universe was created by nothing.

ii) The universe created itself.

iii) The universe was created by something which was itself created.

iv) The universe was created by something uncreated.

Hamza Tzortzis addressed each possibility – and the impossibility of each save that of the last case. There are serious logical issues in accepting in any of these contentions: the inability of nothing to create nothing for the first case, the inability of nothing to create itself while it doesn’t exist in the first place for the second case, and the problem of infinite regress for the third case. The only remaining possibility is that uncreated God created everything else. The idea is to convince ourselves that if this is the Creator, He also made the operation manual for the creation to work. When He tells you something, He is telling based on prior knowledge what will work. In comparison, human idea of what is good for humans continues to change as human thought evolves.

So, how does this solve the global economic crisis?

1400 years ago, Allah implemented through His Messenger the solution of the problem of distribution: keep the wealth in continuous circulation – by encouraging spending and charity, paying Zakaat and chastising interest (which stops wealth circulation by enhancing savings) and hoarding. This is just one example of how the gears are set in motion. Allah provides detailed guidelines for all aspects of life, but the central argument here is to know that Allah knows what really works. When you know Him to be THE ONLY God by irrefutable rationale, you know also that you have got to do what He tells you to do.

References:

[1] – Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” Global Issues. 07 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats>.

[2] – 2011 UNICEF Report. Levels & Trends in Child Mortality. UNICEF, 2011, p.8.

[3] – 2007 Human Development Report (HDR), United Nations Development Program, November 27, 2007, p.25.

[4] – Surah An’am 6:151

[5] – Surah Isra 17:31

[6] – Gimenez, Eric. H., “We Already Grow Enough Food For 10 Billion People — and Still Can’t End Hunger”. Huffington Post. 05 Feb 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-holt-gimenez/world-hunger_b_1463429.html>.

[7] – Surah Toor 52:35-36

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