Sound money is a medium of exchange and a store of value. Without these two basic principles anything else is a pale imitation, fake, counterfeit, fraudulent. Question: what would your action be if you sold an extremely valuable item to me and after the trade had been completed you realized that I had paid you with fake money. No need to answer, your reaction would be obvious. But hold onto the mindset of that reaction and use it on what comes next. If we go back to the philosophy of determining the best things in life, then it is easy to assume that gold and silver happen to be the best examples of money used throughout history, a store of value and a medium of exchange. Each metal is not valueless until someone prints an external value on it, the value is intrinsic to the metal. You cannot flood them into existence at little or no cost, it is extremely costly in both labor and finance to dig the metal out of the ground and then fabricate it. The supply is finite and difficult to attain which is another characteristic of real money i.e. everyone wants it but can never get enough of it. If at any time, there is not enough gold and silver in the market then alternative goods are used to exchange in trade. This was acceptable to our beloved Prophet pbuh. Now to the controversial part. How is it that we now accept as money worthless paper one indistinguishable from another save for a small difference in size and print and each costing a few pennies at most to produce. Paper money came into existence as an alternative to carrying around the goods that the receipt represent. That's what they were, a receipt, testimony that the original owner did in fact hold the amount of gold shown on the paper within the secure premises of the Goldsmiths. A lazy but convenient method of passing on the receipt to another to settle a trade developed but the new holder of the receipt would go and redeem the gold as payment and thus, the transaction would be complete. This worked for a while until the receipts became passed around so much so that very few were ever redeemed. The Goldsmiths, later to be known as Banks became rich especially as they would then loan the unclaimed money out at interest. Now I hope you did not merely let out all that pent up reaction at the first occurrence of the word interest.
We have been brainwashed into thinking that so long as we refuse interest on our bank accounts we have completed our duty and avoided Riba or Usury but who told us this?. Consider the money in your purse or wallet, it is irredeemable, does not hold its value, its so called value is not intrinsic but printed on its exterior and without the brainwashing holds little real value other than that of a few pennies worth. Our currencies today are nothing more than I.O.U's that are at present irredeemable so basically have little or no value. What s worse is that each bill tells you that it is an I.O.U and this is written on top of every note, it is a message from the Bank of England, a promise to pay you the bearer the sum of £5,10,20 or 50 on presentation of that note, but exactly what would be the purpose in presenting £5 to the bank in order to receive the same £5 back in return, that would be completely insane. But you have carried this message around with you for most of your adult life and have you not reflected on its true meaning? Of course they are supposed to pay you back with REAL MONEY, gold or silver!!!. I challenge anyone to try and prize what they are owed from a bankers hands, getting blood from a stone might be easier. But a question arises, can one pay ones Zakat with an I.O.U.? I think not but of course since we do not have an Islamic State, Zakat is not wajib or so I've been told. So what am I doing here, am I actually paying my Zakat or not? This is how mixed up and crazy things have become. When I once tried to pay my Zakat with real money in the form of precious metal at the mosque (the name of which [mosque] shall remain nameless to protect the innocent and confused) they tracked me down within the mosque and told me to take it back and pay with real money instead! My fault I guess for being so provocative.
So we now have a personal Islamic existence devoid of a home, devoid of an Islamic structured framework in which to correctly practice our deen, using fake money all over the place and yet we say things are perfect, God give me strength. We are in so much trouble and don't see, to know it. Look at the Muslim world. We are in trouble. I hope we can now look around the Muslim world and specifically at those who hold power and examine the type of currency which they provide and force their people to use under the terms of 'Legal Tender'. How bad does it have to get before we realize the situation. Let me backtrack for a moment here, in case some of us have not guessed it yet, as a result of the money we happily use without a second thought one can only come to the conclusion that we are seriously playing with usury and just in case some of us are still scratching our heads, let me state it plainly, we are up to our necks in Riba. I think at this point we should remind ourselves of the advice of our Messenger pbuh.
Abu Sa"id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) had said:
"Whoever amongst you sees anything objectionable, let him change it with his hand, if he is not able, then with his tongue and if he is not even able to do so, then with his heart and the latter is the weakest form of faith"
Now lets be honest here and with regards to our money, one would have to ask as to when have we ever taken the statement above into consideration?
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