A Muslim mother is expected to take responsibility for:
• Food for the hungry
• Refuge for the weary
• Hospitality for the guest
• Comfort for the distressed
• Peace for the troubled
• Hope for the insecure
• Encouragement for the weak.
The father is expected to provide the means whereby all this can actually be achieved, to protect the home, and generally to make the mother's role possible. The father is responsible for bringing in money, and therefore it is his duty, as far as possible, to be strong, respected and honourable. Just as the mother's role involves far more than just cooking and cleaning, the father's involves leadership, responsibility and duty, and an involvement in the world of economics, business, trade and commerce. The economic principles of Islam aim at building up a just society in which people behave responsibly and honestly, and are not just out to grab all they can for themselves. Muslims bear in mind that whatever they do, it is known to God, and they will be held to account for it on the Day of Judgement.
Therefore they may not make earnings from:
• Falsehood, deceit or fraud
• Robbery or burglary
• Hoarding of foodstuffs and basic necessities in order to take advantage of hardship situations
• Exploitation or artificial creation of shortages
• Immoral practices
• Production, sale and distribution of alcohol
• Gambling or lotteries.
(See Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:90-92, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:275, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:188, Surah An-Nisa’, 4:2, Surah Al-An’am, 6:152, Surah Al-A’raf, 7:85, Surah Al-‘Imran, 3:180, Surah At-Tawbah, 9:34-35.)
Muslims should be honest, decent, truthful, trustworthy and responsible. They should not waste money irresponsibly, or use it for any dishonest purpose. Extravagance and waste are strongly discouraged. Employed people have a duty to their employers, and also to the families they are supporting.
'Little but sufficient
Is better than the abundant and alluring.'
'It is not poverty which I fear for you, but that you might begin to desire the world as others before you desired it, and it might destroy you as it destroyed them!'
'Riches are sweet, and a source of blessing for him who acquires them by the way; but they are not blessed for him who seeks them out of greed. He is like one who eats but is not filled.'
'No-one has eaten better food than what he earns with the toil of his own hands.' (Hadiths)
Making interest on loaned money and in banking is the basis of modern capitalism, but it is totally forbidden by the Qur'an,
(See Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:278-9, Surah Ar-Rum, 30:39, Surah Al-‘Imran, 3:130, etc.)
Apart from these basic principles, Islam lays down other guidelines.
• All productive resources should be brought into use as far as possible, including unemployed people, unused land, water resources and mineral resources.
• Corrupt and harmful pursuits should be rooted out, even if they are highly profitable.
• Individual freedom may have to be sacrificed if it interferes with the good of the community, which must come first.
'The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of God is that of a grain of corn; it grows seven ears, and each year has 100 grains. God gives enormous increase to whom He will; He cares for all and He knows all.' (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:261)
'If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him time until it is easy for him to repay. If only you knew it, your repayment would actually be greater if you cancelled the debt!' (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:280)
Women are not subservient to men in Muslim societies. It is basic in Muslim society that the man is responsible for the family's welfare and business outside the home, but the woman has virtually absolute rights within it so long as her behaviour does not shame her provider. No institution works well without a clear leader, and therefore there should be one in every family unit. Most Muslim women are quite happy for this leader to be the man they love. If the man is not worth respecting, divorce is a straightforward matter, and the woman may look for a better one. Sometimes the woman in a household is more intelligent or organized or practical than the man, so he will quite sensibly leave most matters to her- but in Islam he is still responsible for her.
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