The Birth of Predatory Capitalism: How the Free World Took Four Giant Leaps to Self-Destruction

by umair haque
-Ranked #35 on the Thinkers50 list of most influential management leaders (2013)
-Short-listed for “Breakthrough Idea” award at Thinkers50 (2011)
-Short-listed for “Future Thinker” award at Thinkers50 (2011)

A (successful) American politician who cries: “God is a white supremacist!” Neo-nazis in the Bundestag. The extreme right rising in Italy. Poland’s authoritarians purging its Supreme Court .

How did we get here? To a world where the forces of intolerance and indecency are on the rise, and those of decency, wisdom, and civilization are waning? Is something like a new Dark Age falling?

I think it has everything to do with predatory capitalism, and so I want to tell you a story. Of how it came to be born, in four steps, which span three decades.

During the 2000s, the economy of the rich world underwent something like a phase transition. It became “financialized”, as the jargon goes?—?which simply means that finance came to make up a greater and greater share of the economy. Hedge funds and investment banks and shady financial vehicles of all kinds went from a modest portion of the economy, to making up a huge chunk of it?—?around half, in some countries.

Now, what was “financialization” for? What were all these bankers, hedge fund managers, investors, and so on, doing? The answer is: nothing. Nothing of value, anyways. They were simply placing bets…with each other. Bets on bets on bets, meta-bets. Economists, who have something like an inferiority complex, envious of swashbuckling bankers, bought their marketing pitch hog, line, and sinker: “we’re going to reduce risk! Everyone will benefit!” But no such thing was happening?—?and anyone could see it. Risk was being massively amplified, in fact, because every time a speculator made a billion dollar bet with another, they were both betting with the same pool of money, essentially. Whose money? It wasn’t theirs?—?it was everyone’s. Pensions, savings, bank accounts, earnings, retirement funds. All that being bet on bets on bets on bets…which amounted to nothing. But what if all the bets went south at once?

First, I want you to really understand that what was happening was a zero-sum game, where one had to lose for another to win. Imagine there are three of us, in a little stone age tribe, with a hundred pebbles each. We spend all day every day finding new ways to lend pebbles to each other, to bet them on who’ll blink first, or even bets on those bets, and so on. In our little economy, does anyone ever end up better off? Does anyone, for example, discover antibiotics, or even invent the wheel? Nope. We’re just fools, who’ll never accomplish, learn, or create anything, sitting around playing a zero-sum game, in which no real value is ever created. The pebbles never become anything more valuable, like, for example, books, symphonies, knowledge, or medicine. All that is exactly what was happening during the phase of financialization.

But financialization didn’t just have a direct cost?—?no value being created, just men in shiny suits betting pebbles on who’d blink first. It also had an opportunity cost. As finance grew to be a larger and larger share of the economy, so the wind got sucked out of the sails of the “real economy”, as American economists put it, which simply means people doing the work that actually does create value?—?teachers, nurses, engineers, artisans, bakers, small-town factories, and so on. Think about it simply: the more money that was burned up in speculating, the less that was available for making things of genuine value. So the incomes of all these people?—?those in the “real economy”?—?began to stagnate. New schools and hospitals and energy grids and so on weren’t built?—?all the money was going towards speculating on the backs the old ones, sometimes, often, on their failures. A black hole was growing at the heart of the economy?—?but according to pundits, it was the sun itself. Everything was upside down. The bets were indeed about to all go south at once?—?only no one knew understood how or why yet.

How was the real economy to survive, then? Another hidden effect of financialization was super-concentration?—?the second force in the rise of predatory capitalism. Mom-and-pop capitalism is a healthy and beautiful thing, an economy of a million little shops, bakeries, artisans?—?but it takes only a modest attachment to a profit motive. But thanks to the rise of massive, global speculation, only aggressive quarterly profit-maximization was allowed. CEO earnings were hitched to share prices, and your share price only went up if your earnings did, relentlessly, illogicaly, crazily, every single quarter, instead of stabilizing at a happy, gentle amount?—?and so the only way left, in the end, to achieve it, was to build titanic monopolies, which could squeeze people for every dime. Once the economy had Macy’s, JC Penney, K-Mart, Toys-R-Us and Sears. Now it has Walmart. The story was repeated across every single industry. Amazon, Google, Apple. A new age of monopoly arose.

But monopolies had an effect, too. The third force in the rise of predatory capitalism was the implosion of the institution formerly known as the job. Now, just before peak financialization, beginning in the 1990s, many jobs were “offshored.” That’s a polite way to say that the speculators above discovered that companies were more profitable when they evaded as much of human civilization as possible. Find a country with no labour laws, no protections, no standards, no rule of law at all, in fact?—?and send jobs there. That way, you wouldn’t have to pay for pensions, healthcare, childcare, insurance, and so on. Cost savings! Efficiency! Synergies, even?—?you could make everything in that one sweatshop.

We’re used to thinking that offshoring “took” jobs in rich countries. But the truth is subtler?—?and more ruinous. They blew apart the idea of a job as we used to know it. As jobs went to countries without good governance, decent labour laws, a boomerang effect happened. The machine discovered that it could do in rich countries what it had done in poor ones?—?and so it began stripping away everything that made a job “a job.” Because the economy was increasingly composed of monopolies, giant companies, banks, and investors had the power to do so with impunity. Speculators began raiding pension funds. Managers began stripping away benefits of every kind, from childcare, to vacations, to healthcare. Until, at last, in a final triumph, the “at-will job” and the “zero-hours contract” were created?—?social contracts that were only “jobs” in name, but offered less than no stability, security, mobility, or opportunity. People who didn’t have benefits could now be fired on a whim?—?and so now they bore all the risk. But the risk of what, precisely?

Remember those speculators? Taking huge risks, betting billions with each other, on exactly nothing of real value? Risk had come full circle. Now it was the average person in the real economy who bore all the risks of these bets going bad. If the bets with south, who’d take the hit? All those people with zero benefits, no protection, no safety, all those people for whom “a job” now meant something more like “a temporary soul-crushing way to avoid destitution.” They’re the ones who’d be fired, instantly, lose what little savings they had, have their already dwindling incomes slashed, be ruined.

And then the bets went bad. As bets tend to do, when you make too many of them, on foolish things. What had the speculators been betting with each other on? As it turns out, largely on property prices. But people without the stable jobs that had kept such a huge property bubble going didn’t have growing incomes anymore. Property prices couldn’t keep rising. Bang! The financial system fell like a row of dominoes. It turned out that everyone had bet property prices would go on rising?—?and on the other side of that bet was…everyone else. All of them had been betting on the same thing?—?“we all bet prices will keep rising forever!” The losses were so vast, and so widespread, that the whole global financial system buckled. The banks didn’t have the money to pay each other for these foolish bets?—?how could they have? Each one had bet the whole house on the same thing, and they all would have gone bankrupt to each other. LOL?—?do you see the fatal stupidity of it all yet?

So in had to step governments. They bailed out the banks?—?but didn’t “restructure” them, which is to say, fire their managers, wash out their shareholders, and sell off the bad loans and bets. They just threw money at them?—?and took those bad bets onto the nation’s books, instead. It was the most foolish decision since the Great Depression. Why?

Well, now governments had trillions in?—?pow!?—?sudden debt. What were they to do? How would they pay it off? Now, you might think that Presidents are very intelligent people, but unfortunately, they are just politicians. And so instead of doing what they should have done?—?printing money, simply cancelling each others’ debts to each other, which were for fictional speculation anyways?—?they decided that they were “broke”. Bankrupt, even?—?even though a country can’t go bankrupt, anymore than you could if you could print your own currency at home, and spend it everywhere.

What does a bankrupt have to do? Liquidate. So governments began to slash investment in social systems of all kinds. Healthcare systems, pension systems, insurance systems, media and energy systems. This was the fourth step in the birth of predatory capitalism: austerity.

But people’s incomes were already dwindling, thanks to the first three steps?—?as jobs not just disappeared in quantity, but also imploded in quality, as monopolies grew in power, and as pointless, destructive, zero-sum speculation sucked the life out of the real economy. The only thing keeping the real economy going at this point was investment by the government?—?after all, the speculators were speculating, not investing for the long run. It was governments that were effectively keeping economies afloat, by providing a floor for income, by anchoring economies with a vast pool of stable, safe, real, secure jobs, and investinging dollars back in societies short of them. And yet, at the precise moment that governments needed to create more of precisely that, they did just the opposite.

Snap! Economies broke like twigs. The people formerly known as the middle class had been caught in between the pincers of these four forces?—?financialization, monopoly, the implosion of the job, and austerity. Together, they shattered what was left of rich economies?—?to the point that today, incomes are stagnant across the rich world, even in much vaunted Scandinavia, while living standards are falling in many rich countries, like the US and UK.

What do people do as hardship begins to bite?—?especially those who expected comfortable, easy lives? They become reactionary, lashing out violently. They seek safety in the arms of demagogues. That doesn’t mean, as American pundits naively think, that “poor people become authoritarians!” Quite the opposite.

It’s the once prosperous but now imploded middle which turns on the classes, ethnicities, groups, below it. The people who expected and felt entitled to lives of safety and security and stability?—?who anticipated being at the top of a tidy little hierarchy, the boss of this or that, the chieftain of that or this, but now find themselves adrift and unmoored in a collapsing society, powerless. That gap between expectation and reality is what ruinous. They retain a desperate need to be atop a hierarchy, to be above someone, the entitled imploded middles?—?and what has happened in history, time and again, is that they turn to those who promise them just that superiority, by turning on those below them. Even if, especially if, it is in the extreme, irrational, yet perfectly logical form of supremacy and dominion over the weak, the despised, and the impure.

And that is what all today’s reactionary, extremist movements?—?which I call the Faction?— ?really are. Predatory capitalism imploding into strange, new forms of old diseases of the body politic —ultrauthoritarianism, theosupremacism, kleptofascism, neofeudalism, biodominionism, hatriarchy, technotalitarianism, novel and lethal forms of ruin for a new dark age.

And so here we are, you and I. On the cusp of that age. A time where the shadows in human hearts shine as black and blinding as midnight. And once again, it is the folly and hubris of wise men that led us here.

Share Button

Formulating a Vision for the Mimbar: The Goals of the Masjid

By Dr. Sibtain Panjwani (Leicester, United Kingdom)

This vision paper intends to situate the institution of the mimbar (pulpit) within a wider, holistic context. This context is the masjid (mosque) itself which has key goals for a society. It is only by appreciating why Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) conceived of a masjid in a polytheistic society that we can appreciate the variety of tools within the masjid itself such as the mimbar, sermon, congregational prayer etc… By only focusing on the tool and/or institution of the mimbar, we are narrowing its purpose.1
Therefore, I have found a reliable hadith from Imam Ali (a.s) to demonstrate the goals of the masjid. The narration talks about what should be spoken about in a masjid and reflects the importance the Qur’an gives to the masjid as a sanctified place where only Allah (s.w.t) is invoked.2 The analysis of the hadith is also supported by numerous surveys and data collected since February 2011 – some of which are presented in the appendix and others are available on the Awakening Project website: http://awakeningproject.page.tl/Resources.htm Although the data was collected within the Khoja Shi’a Ithna Asheri Community (KSIMC), the vision expressed here may be applicable to all Shi’a and wider Muslim communities, inshallah.

A hadith from Al? b. Ab? ??lib about the concept of the masjid

“The Commander of the Faithful used to say: one who frequently visits mosques acquires one of eight things – a beneficial brother who is near to God, the Mighty and Exalted, rare knowledge, an unambiguous verse [of the Qur’an], an expectant mercy, words that ward off ruin, hearing words which guide him towards that which is right or to abandon a sin out of fear [of God] or shame.”3
1 The word mimbar comes from the root of n-b-r meaning to raise, elevate, to project one’s voice with emphasis and stress, shout and scream. The noun mimbar means a pulpit or platform. Masjid comes from the root of s-j-d meaning to bow down; prostrate in worship. The noun masjid means a place of prostration.
2 See: 2: 187; 7:29, 31; 9:17-18; 107-108; 17:1; 18:21; 22:40 and 72:18.
3 Al-?ad?q, Shaykh., Man L? Ya??uruh al-Faq?h, vol.1, p.237, hadith no. 713 (Qum: Mu’assasa al-Nashr al-Isl?m?, 1413). Also found in:
Al-?ad?q, Shaykh, Am?l? al-?ad?q, p. 389, hadith no. 16 (Qum: Maktabat al-Islamiyyah, 1404); Al-?ad?q, Shaykh, Al-Khi??l, vol. 2, p. 409, hadith no. 10 (Qum: Mu’assasa al-Nashr al-Isl?m?, 1403); Al-Tusi, Shaykh., Tahdh?b al-Ahk?m, vol. 3, p. 248, hadith no.1 (Tehran: D?r al-Kutub al-Isl?miyyah, 1365); Al-Tusi, Shaykh., Am?l? al-T?s?, p. 432, hadith no. 969 (Qum: D?r al-Thiq?fat lil-Nashr, 1414); Al-Harr?ni, ?asan ibn Shu’bah, Tu?af al-‘Uq?l, p. 235 (Qum: Mu’assasa al-Nashr al-Isl?m?, 1404); N?r?, Mirz? ?usayn. Mustadrak al-Was?’il wa Mustanba? al-Mas?’il, vol. 3, p.359, no. 3778 (Qum: Mu’assasa ?l al-Bayt, 1408); Al-Amil?, al-?urr, Was?il al-Shi’a, vol. 5, p. 197, hadith no. 6320 (Qum: Mu’assasa Aal al-Bayt, 1409); Al-Majlis?, Mu?ammad B?qir. Bi??r al-Anw?r, vol. 80, p.351, no. 4 (Tehran: D?r al-Kutub al-Isl?m?yyah, 1404). In al-Khi??l, Shaykh

The above hadith, mentioned in our earliest and major hadith compilations, shows Al? b. Ab? ??lib’s conception of the masjid. The hadith can be traced back to Prophet Mu?ammad (s.a.w) and is attributed to al-?asan ibn ‘Al? (a.s). In formulating a vision of for the mimbar, it is necessary to examine the Aimmah’s principles and goals of what a masjid and its institutions should be. Whilst we can contextualize narrations since they are dependent on the historical circumstances of the Prophets and Imams, the above hadith appears to be general and universal in its literary construction. Therefore, when discussing the role of the mimbar today, it is important to first of all see what the goals of the masjid should be because the mimbar functions as one tool or institution within it. We can then see how the mimbar can serve these very goals.

Analysis of hadith

The eight things that a person obtains when one frequently visits a masjid (the last two things appearing to be combined as one) demonstrates the following:
? The masjid is a social place encouraging relationships between human beings who are united in their regard for God. Moreover, the relationships one forms are meant to be beneficial, helpful and enduring.
? The masjid is a place where rare or precious knowledge should be promoted and hence distinguishes itself from other intellectual institutions by giving original information that no other institution can give. It is, in sum, a place that opens the mind to new thoughts and fresh ideas.
? The teachings of the Qur’an are central to the functioning of the masjid. Specifically, those verses that are unambiguous should, at the least, be communicated to the people so that they clearly understand the Qur’an.
? Blessings and mercy, in all their forms, are present in the masjid – whether they are in this world or the hereafter. For example, a place where a poor person or traveler can be looked after, a place to ask forgiveness for one’s sins and building hope in God Himself etc… Hence the overall principle of a masjid is one of promoting mercy, not hate or hopelessness.
? Speeches and words heard in the mosque, whether by one giving a sermon or simply in what one hears in words of others (or in the recitation of the Qur’an), are there to drive away ruin and destruction in our lives. Simply put, any speech in the mosque is to help us build a constructive, positive and hopeful life, not one that brings about ruin (in all its forms) in our lives.
? Speeches and words should also guide us to that which is right and good. This is in order for us better human beings and servants of God.
? Finally, we are encouraged to abandon our sins either out of fear of God or the shame of committing the sin itself. This demonstrates the mosque is a place of moral and spiritual purification.
al-?ad?q states that‘Al? b. Ab? ??lib (a.s) directly heard the narration from Prophet Mu?ammad (s.a.w). In Tu?af al-‘Uq?l, the narration is also attributed to al-?asan ibn ‘Al? (a.s). In Mustadrak al-Was?’il wa Mustanba? al-Mas?’il, Mirz? ?usayn N?r? mentions that al-?asan ibn ‘Al? (a.s) directly heard the saying from Prophet Mu?ammad (s.a.w). There may be slight variations in the chain in some of the above and other hadith compilations.

The purpose of the mimbar
In light of the above, we may argue that the purpose of the mimbar is the following:
? To encourage brotherhood, unity and friendship – not enmity and disunity
? To impart original, rare knowledge that cannot be found anywhere else
? To promote a clear understanding of the Qur’an
? To promote mercy and hope in God
? To educate us on those things that will harm us
? To educate us on those things that will benefit us
? To help stop us from sinning
If the mimbar does not fulfil these functions, then the nature and atmosphere of the masjid becomes one of disunity, ignorance, hopelessness and sinning. This is why it is so crucial to situate the mimbar in the wider context of what the masjid is trying to achieve.

Conclusion
In conclusion, the above hadith demonstrates the masjid is a socially, intellectually vibrant, Qur’anic, life-affirming place where mercy is shown to all who enter it. People are meant to leave the masjid in a better intellectual, moral and spiritual state than before. The mimbar therefore should support these principles and be a tool of promoting social cohesion, knowledge in all its forms and mercy to all – regardless of religion, race, language, class or gender.
It is possible to argue that one could easily come up with a vision for the mimbar from purely rational principles, particularly if we agree our intellect evolves, as does our understanding of the broader spirit of the Qur’an. Hence reference to narrations is not so important. However, when we find narrations (like the above) which give us concrete thoughts of how an Imam thought about the masjid, then we should use them as a foundational starting point to formulate a vison for the mimbar – especially in our fast-changing society. By also focusing on such narrations, we reduce our bias and selectivity in the way we conceive of the mimbar.
We may now be in a position to reflect whether our mosques and specifically our manabir (pulpits) promote the aforementioned principles or what needs to be done to re-envision their functions, inshallah.

Share Button

DOCTRINAL CAPITALISM IN ITS MAIN FRAME-WORKS

Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr (excerpt from the book ‘Iqtisaduna – Our Economics’)

The capitalistic doctrine is based on three main elements which constitute its peculiar organic entity which distinguishes it from other doctrinal entities. These elements are: Firstly, adherence to the principle of private ownership in an unlimited form. Thus, while the general rule in Marxist doctrine was the collective ownership, not to be forsaken except in an exceptional case, the question is entirely reverse in the Capitalist doctrine. Thus private ownership, under this doctrine, constitutes the general rule extending to all the fields and different fields of wealth, which could not be violated except under exceptional circumstances, obliging, at times, nationalization of this project or that and making it a property of the State. Therefore so long as the collective experiment did not prove the necessity of nationalization of any project, private ownership remained the general rule in force.

On this basis, capitalism believes in the freedom of ownership (possession) and lets private ownership raid all elements of production such as land, tools, buildings, mines and other forms of wealth and the law in the capitalist society guarantees safety of private ownership and preservation thereof by the proprietor. Secondly, opening the way for every individual to exploit his ownership and possibilities as he likes and to allow him to develop his wealth with different means and methods he can. If he owned, for instance, an agricultural land, he was entitled to exploit it himself in any way of exploitation. He had also the right to hire it out to another person and make such conditions to him as he might deem important. He had similarly the right of having it unexploited.

This capitalist freedom which the doctrinal capitalism grants to the owner aims at making the individual the only worker in the economic movement as no one was better aware of his real benefits than he himself, nor was anyone else more competent to gain them. And nobody could be in such a position unless he was provided freedom in the field of exploitation and the preparation thereof and as long as interference from any side, Government or otherwise, was not removed from his way. In this way, therefore, everyone had a sufficient opportunity to choose the method of exploiting his wealth, the profession he should adopt and the methods which he might adopt for realizing greatest possible amount of wealth. Thirdly, guaranteeing freedom of consumption in the same way as freedom of exploitation is guaranteed. Thus every individual enjoyed the freedom to spend his money and wealth as he liked, to satisfy his desires and meet his needs. He was free to choose whatever the goods he liked for consumption and he could not be prevented therefrom by the Government banning, at times, the consumption of certain commodities for considerations relating to public interests, such as the consumption of an anaesthetic.

So these are the main signposts of the Capitalist doctrine, which could be summed up in three freedoms: Freedom of ownership, freedom of exploitation and freedom of consumption.

At the very first sight there appears the glaring inconsistency between the capitalist doctrine and the Marxist doctrine, which lays down collective ownership at the principle instead of the individual ownership and ends the Capitalist freedoms based on private ownership and replaces them with the State’s control over all the utilities of the economic life. It is generally said that the variance between the two doctrines, the Capitalist and the Marxist, in their signposts, reflects the difference existing in the nature of the view with which they look at the individual and the society because the Capitalist doctrine is an individual doctrine, which sanctifies personal impulses and regards the individual as the pivot for whose interest it is incumbent on the doctrine to work and whose interests it must guarantee. But the Marxist doctrine is a collective one which rejects personal impulses and the ego, extirpates individual into the society and adopts the society as a pivot for him. For this purpose it does not recognise individual freedoms but ignores them for the sake of the fundamental issue, that is the issue of the society as a whole.

As a matter of fact both the doctrines rest on individual view and depends on personal impulses and ego. Thus Capitalism respects fortunate individual’s ego by ensuring him freedom of exploitation and activity in different fields unmindful of the injustice and the evading that might result from the freedom let loose for that individual so long as others enjoyed the freedom in principle, as did the exploiting individual and while Capitalism provides fully for the satisfaction of the personal impulses of the fortunate ones and promotes their propensity, Marxists turns to other individuals who are not fortunate enough to have those opportunities. Its doctrinal call, therefore, centres round inciting personal impulses and their ago and the satisfaction thereof. It tries to promote these impulses with different methods, regarding it the power used by history for its development, until it is able to exploit them in a revolutionary way. It explains to those with whom it comes into contact that the others steal their efforts and wealth and therefore it was not possible for them to confirm (accept) this theft in any case as it constituted a blatant aggression on their peculiar (private) entity.

Thus we find that the fuel on which the Marxist doctrine depends is but these personal and individual impulses which Capitalism adopts. Thus both the doctrines adopt (adhere to) satisfaction of personal impulses and promote them. They only differ in the matter of the kind of the individuals whose personal impulses and ago respond to this doctrine or that. As for the doctrine which deserves to be described as being a collective doctrine, it is one which depends on a fuel of another kind, that is, on powers other than the ago and personel impulses.

The collective doctrine is that which cultivates in every individual a deep consciousness about the responsibility towards the society and its interests and which makes it incumbent on him to forego something of the fruit (benefits) of his work and efforts and his private wealth for -the sake of the society and others, not because he had stolen others’ property and consequently they had risen against him to regain their own rights but because he feels that this was a part of his duty and on expression of the values he believes in. Indeed the collective doctrine is that which safeguards rights of others and their welfare not by raising their personal impulses by collective impulses in all and by letting springs of good come forth in their minds. In the future discussions would see what that doctrine is.

Share Button

Masked realities

by Mohamedarif Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

Whereas Islam absolutely forbids deceit and trickery, contemporary life with its multiple challenges and adversities compels many to adopt the path of lies and pretense, to secure social recognition, professional acclaim or an an uneven advantage over perceived rivals.

Self-promotion is attempting to present yourself to others as an accomplished, capable, smart and skilled person. Self-promotion can be done through face-to-face conversation, on blogs or social media platforms, in public speeches, or even through our mannerisms, posture, speech or dress. Self-promotion is a natural tendency as we like for others to perceive us as having wonderful qualities, such as intelligence and talent – study.com


If we look around today, we may as well spot visible features within the Muslim society that literally con their way through life making others believe what they are, in reality, not. While some self promotion is both necessary and tolerable, the practice of building an entire CV on concoctions, can potentially be dangerous as well as harmful. People who self-promote tend to believe that others will respond to their self-promotion in a favorable manner. Yet, research studies have found the opposite to be true.

Although self-promotion may make the braggart appear more competent, skillful, intelligent and successful, it usually makes them less likable. Self-promotion can make people come across as conceited and annoying to others. In fact, the more people try to make others like them through methods of self-promotion, the more likely others will dislike them – study.com

In the age of knowledge and technology, the currency for social acceptance does seem to be the declaration of one’s voluminous qualifications. And as long as an unlettered society holds one to a high pedestal, one may enjoy the accrued benefits. Yet, for the discerning, and mostly quieter population, it is common knowledge that qualifications are literally on sale with so many online merchants of hope promising academic bliss, that the line between a true qualification and a ‘cowboy qualification’ is getting increasingly blurred.

The most common platform for self promotion is the social media, where likes and followings are harvested in carefully crafted campaigns, that often twist reality in favour of the self promoters. It could be a young boy with no life experience, giving advice in, say, marriage, or an adult masquerading as a highly qualified sage, using self praise and self adoration as their only tools to collect attention. Or those craving for attention who show off their new car or phone, to win an identity war.

In all these cases, the one common factor that unites them is a profound craving for social attention and acceptance. These individuals are probably trying to undo a disturbed childhood or to avenge society for their past miseries.

The forty-fourth sin which will be punished by damnation in Hell is intrigue, deception and failure to observe covenants etc. In the book al-K?fi, Book of Im?n and Kufr, six traditions are mentioned under the chapter, ‘Intrigue, Deception and Breaking covenants.’ Wasa’il ul-Shia records a prophetic tradition saying that we must never cheat or deceive Muslims.

Share Button

Amazing Appeal of Good Morals

by Maulana Sayyid Zafar Hasan Amrohi from the book Akhlaq al-A?imma, Morals & Manners of the Holy Imams

The aim of sending the Holy Prophet (S) was to perfect the morals. That is, the mission that did not reach the peak of perfection even after the arrival of 124000 messengers, it was done in theory and practice to such a level of perfection that now there was no more any need of a new prophet or messenger. This required extraordinary capability. That too in the land of Arabs, which was the cradle of ill manners. As if, shameless traits had hammered the ?nal nail in the cof?n of humanity. This severe necessity could neither be ful?lled by wealth and money nor by a military system or by the edge of the sword. This needed another type of power.

The verse: “Certainly you are upon the best morals,” has revealed this secret and announced to the world that the aspect of Prophet’s behavior is such that it transformed the Arab society completely. It displayed such a miracle of human intercourse that the world was spellbound. What actually happened may be understood in the words of Quran: People entered the fold of Islam in hordes.

The good moral behavior of the Prophet of Islam had the most important role in this magni?cent victory. Though Khadija’s wealth served a great deal in helping the poor and deprived ones among the Muslims and the awe of Abu Talib afforded some security but the thing that struck the hearts and minds of the polytheist and disbelieving Arabs was the good moral behavior of the Messenger of Islam. It was this that left an indelible mark on the hearts of ignorant Arabs and attracted the wild Arabs to the Prophet like a magnet pulls a needle.

At that time Prophethood was veiled due to hidden wisdom when the Prophet started secret propagation and obtained confessions of his truthfulness from those who were dead enemies of good morals, becoming well known as “The Truthful” and “The Trustworthy” among the Arabs. The blood of human perfections had started running in this body known as Muhammad from the day it breathed its ?rst in the atmosphere of water and clay.

The teachings of Islamic morals to the people did not consist of mere oral admonitions, but it was accompanied by practical feats for every aspect. When those lacking any type of moral embellishments saw the ?awless character of the Holy Prophet (S) they realized the degraded and shameful position of their own humanity.

And on every occasion their created nature was shook with a deep yearning. The moral teachings that the Prophet imparted were the nourishment of the face of Islam and the life of its body. When these teachings was recorded on the pages of history and reached the different corners of the earth, and when with the Muslim travelers those teachings reached the people of other nations they were awakened abruptly from their slumber like a slow horse is spurred by the crack of the whip. It was it was an opportunity for the religions to compare that they make Islamic morals the criterion of comparing their differences. Those who did this realized very soon what is the difference between genuine and arti?cial pearls.

Share Button