A Group of ‘Ulama – at the 4th Muslim Lawyers’ Conference
A Gathering of ‘Ulama
Discuss the Zakat, the Dinar of Islam, markets and the Awqaf
“There is no disagreement about what you say…”
At the 4th Muslim Lawyers’ Conference in Potsdam 29th June – 1st July 2001, a group of ‘ulama and imams assembled to discuss the zakat and related matters. The names of those present are appended below the statement issued after the gathering.
To open the meeting, Hajj Asadullah Yate, Imam of the Muslim community of Potsdam, presented an outline of matters of great urgency.
First, he spoke of the disaster inherent in the fact that the Muslims are using paper money for their transactions, since it is:
- not small change in the classical sense of flous minted from copper or nickel for transactions under the value of silver and gold,
- originally a debt, transacting with which is completely forbidden in the fiqh,
- and is at present a ‘fiat’ money of no worth at all.
Second, it is even more distressing that the Muslims pay their zakat in paper money and as a personal charity, when the correct form is that zakat must be collected by zakat collectors appointed by an amir, and that it must be collected in gold and silver.
Third, he drew attention to the obligation upon amirs to establish markets in which no one may reserve a place, but in which anyone who shows up there after the dawn prayer may take any place that is free for the day. No one may charge rent on such a market place nor impose a tax on the trade done there.
Fourth, that we have forgotten the awqaf-endowments of Islam, one of whose essential pre-conditions is that they are properties dedicated to a purpose ‘forever’. These endowments were responsible for a great deal of social welfare within the Muslim community.
In response to this, Muhammad ‘Amrawi spoke and said that there is no disagreement on these matters at all, and that they are all too well known in the fiqh. However, he added that this was the first time that he or any of the other assembled ‘ulama have heard someone saying such things in this time. He added that all that is lacking is a practical way to implement them.
Imam Abu Sayf and Muhammad ‘Amrawi both cautioned against putting the Muslims in the difficult position of telling them that the transactions they make using paper money are incorrect or that the mode in which they pay their zakat is incorrect, without first creating ways for them to transact properly, e.g. by bringing about such markets for the Muslims to trade in, and minting dinars and dirhams with which they can pay their zakat.
In terms of practical implementations, Imam Hajj Asadullah mentioned the long history of Murabitun communities minting coins in Germany, South Africa, Spain, England and Scotland. Another participant drew everyone’s attention to the recent market in Dubai, which, with the support of the state of Dubai, issued gold dinars that people purchased at the door for use in the market.
Muhammad al-‘Amrawi said that the fatwa of Shaykh ‘Illish concerning the impermissibility of paying zakat upon or with paper money is well known in this respect. He again cautioned against disheartening the Muslims, and advised that as soon as possible practical steps need to be taken to make gold dinars and silver dirhams available to the Muslims to pay zakat, and concomitantly the need for the creation of Islamic markets, as described above, in which the Muslims may use their dinars and dirhams, since there is little use in giving a poor and needy person a gold coin which he cannot spend. Again he stressed that there is no disagreement on these matters in the fiqh, but that all that is lacking is a practical programme of their implementation.
Given the unanimity of the ‘ulama, imams and fuqaha assembled, it was agreed to draw up a statement to this effect, to be signed by everyone present, which would draw the Muslims’ attention to the seriousness of the situation pertaining to the ordinary transactions of Islam in the market place, and the dormant pillar of zakat.
Explanation and Clarification by ‘Ulama of the European Muslims
Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace be upon our master the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and upon all his family and Companions.
We here assembled in Potsdam on 30/6/2001, after our studying together the following subjects:
- The danger of usury for Muslims in their deen and for the world economy.
- The importance of the awqaf in the Islamic shari’ah according to the fact that they are means for making good projects; both in knowledge and in action; continuous.
- The compelling and urgent need there is to return the role of zakat with respect to the fact that it as one of the fundamental acts of worship of Islam and because of its importance from both the social and the economic points of view, and the compelling and urgent need there is to pay it according to the detailed injunctions of the shari’ah, a part of which is taking care to pay it in the currency of the shari’ah [gold dinars and silver dirhams].
- The compelling and urgent need there is to return to the use of the money of the shari’ah as represented by gold and silver.
- The obligation there is to teach the judgements concerning the marketplace considering the fact that eating the halal depends upon that.
- The importance of returning respect to shari’ah authority [the amir] in its description as the one responsible for: taking the zakat, distributing it, the organisation of the hisbah [supervision of market processes to see that they are free of usury and other haram transactions], and structuring the awqaf and other affairs which are its function.
- The encouragement of the teaching of these matters in our gatherings of knowledge, our schools for learning the deen, our Islamic centres, and our shari’ah institutes.
- Warning the Muslims of the urgent need there is to be concerned about these matters.
- Calling on Muslim ‘ulama and traders to join in and embark upon returning respect for the shari’ah currency [the gold dinar and silver dirham] according to their capacities and their possibilities for doing that.
And Allah is the One who grants success in doing the right thing and He is the One Who guides on the way.
- Muhammad al-‘Amraawi, member of the Association of Moroccan Ulama, Rissaani, Tafilet, Morocco
- Al-Khammar al-Baqqaali, Imam, The Hague, Holland
- Ahmad Saabir, Imam, Holland
- Al-Hussayn ibn Haashim, Imam
- Abu Sayf Kharkhaash, founder of the World Association of Fuqaha, director of the Cultural Centre for Islamic Research, Berlin
- Mubarak Sa’doun al-Mutawwa’, Human Rights Lawyer, Kuwait
- Malik Abu Hamza Sezgin, Turk-European conference co-ordinator, Maliki scholar.
- Abdassamad Clarke, Imam and Maliki scholar.
- Asadullah Yate, Imam, Potsdam Academy, Germany