I am not a mufti or a financial expert. I am an ordinary Muslim who is deeply concerned about the combined ideological onslaught of secularism and capitalism on Muslim societies. We are passing through 9th ZilHajj (Arafat Day), but I may be excused for saying that Hajj nowadays has become a sequence of rituals in which you are taken around in packaged tours by commercial companies. Much like if you buy a package from some vacation tour company with all the comforts of life. The spirit is mostly gone. Hajj means effort, please look at the pictures of Arafat below and tell me where the effort is? Does it convey any idea that on the Day of Judgment this place will be the place where all of us will be collected and it will be intense hot on that day ( no Pepsi) ?
No wonder that three million Muslims, who are expected to perform Hajj this year, will have almost no effect on their countries of origin when they return back. Look at the picture below and honestly tell your heart which looks more impressive the
clock tower or Kaaba? Can you even make out Kaaba?
Ziauddin Sardar has written a very good piece in NY Times on how this soul killing process is being implemented by government of Saudi Arabia. I particularly like this line of his “Mecca is a microcosm of the Muslim world. What happens to and in the city has a profound effect on Muslims everywhere. The spiritual heart of Islam is an ultramodern, monolithic enclave, where difference is not tolerated, history has no meaning, and consumerism is paramount”. I am well aware of dangers of “shirk” and support efforts to curtail it, but what about the capitalistic “shirk”?
I fully agree with his assertion that “What happens to and in the city has a profound effect on Muslims everywhere”. The blatant display of capitalism’s trapping in Mecca is not limited to architecture only. Take for example Islamic banking, it is not just as an isolated activity, but as another movement of the global capitalism, to penetrate societies which were still out of its mortal stranglehold. The aims and objectives of capitalism are 180 degree opposed to what Islam wants its followers to aim for. The objective of capitalism is accumulation of wealth while Quran tells us that wealth should circulate and not stay in few hands.
Islam promotes brotherhood and a free spirit, but capitalism wants an atomized individual who is full of desires and at the same time always chained in fear, afraid, afraid of becoming old, afraid of becoming poor, afraid of getting sick, so on and so forth. Capitalism, with the help of secularism, first promotes these desires and fears in a society and then offers solutions from its bag of tricks. If you are afraid as to who will take care of you, when you get old, capitalism offers old people’s homes. If you are afraid of getting sick capitalism offers health insurance. If you are afraid of someone stealing your car, capitalism offers car insurance. If you desire a certain look, capitalism offers plastic surgery. So basically for every desire & fear it promotes, it has setup a shop for us to purchase capitalistic solution. At the end of the day, these shops kill our soul and transfer wealth from us into the pockets of global capitalists.
The global capitalists have realized that there is a huge untapped market for these shops in the Islamic world. The challenge for capitalists is that even in its down trodden situation, some in the Muslim Ummah, look at haram and hallal aspect of things. So the global capitalists put a “hari chaddar (green sheet)” on all of its shops and declared them to be hallal and Islamic. So now we have halal Islamic banking, halal Islamic insurance, Muslim beauty pageant ( held in Jakarta September 2014) and so on and so forth.
As I said earlier our ideology is 180 degree opposed to that of capitalism. We are told to fear and trust only Allah and nothing else, like prophet Ibraheem (PBUH) when he sacrificed his son. Until and unless we create a society, in which all aspects of the society are based upon the principle of Tauheed, we are doomed not only in this world but more importantly in the next one also. Creating these green colored capitalists shops gives the illusion that we are moving in some direction, the problem is that this movement is totally in the wrong direction. It will create a society which has an external green body but its soul will be red hot capitalistic. May Allah guide us all on the true path, ameen. Happy Eid to you and your family.