Concerning our condition as Muslims in the world, you have to admit we are on our knees here and considering that Allah swt sometimes starts with those he gives the trust to should we not then consider the following verses from the Quran and question whether they are also applicable to us.

Al-Baqarah Surah 2.
275. Those who devour usury will not stand except as stand one whom the Evil one by his touch Hath driven to madness. That is because they say: "Trade is like usury," but Allah hath permitted trade and forbidden usury. Those who after receiving direction from their Lord, desist, shall be pardoned for the past; their case is for Allah (to judge); but those who repeat (The offense) are companions of the Fire: They will abide therein (for ever).

276. Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: For He loveth not creatures ungrateful and wicked.

277. Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

278. O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers.

279. If ye do it not, Take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger. But if ye turn back, ye shall have your capital sums: Deal not unjustly, and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly.

280. If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time Till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.

281. And fear the Day when ye shall be brought back to Allah. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned, and none shall be dealt with unjustly.

Now after reading those verses, one is surely forced to admit that we have a huge problem for even if you wished to free yourself from this situation where in the world could you operate free from riba.

You know there was a time when I would hear a particular group of Muslims speak endlessly about the need for an Islamic State and ashamedly I like most thought it important but not at the top of the to do list. But when I look at the economic, let alone the political situation of the Muslim world, it seems as if the way we are progressing or more accurately drifting, offers more questions than provides solutions. I fail to see how the true religion, the last great institution left on this earth to stand for honest money and good governance can possibly operate unprotected when its very honesty will be seen as a threat to those that compete with it. On the contrary, it would be naive to imagine that those that oppose would just sit idly by and watch whilst their own world deteriorates. I once thought that our biggest concern was the issue in Palestine but failed to recognize the direct link and importance between the lack of Islamic protection and the eventual situation in that country, surrounded as it is, by Muslim lands. I knew western politics was the enemy to a solution but never stopped to think where an Islamic solution would come from. I now revise my view and see the need for anything we can do to bring that umbrella of protection into being, as quickly as possible for the political, economical and physical safety of all Muslims around the world and those that would seek our protection.

My journey towards the world of Islam flew in the face of everything and everyone I had known up to that point, I had no physical guide to lead the way, yet the journey still had to be made and in the face of fears of the hardships I might experience along the way, from both outside the religion and inside, of which most proved to be true. But I have learned to trust my own judgement. My confidence in my choice came from the fact that I had read the Quran more than once before accepting Islam as a way of life and I believe that gave me good judgement at that particular time.

My judgement of the facts in front of me bring me to a depressing conclusion. As Muslims we carry an enormous responsibility that some of us fear ever so much. I think we secretly know the fear of this responsibility down to the deepest, darkest core of our very existence because we know what it represents and what it asks of us, it haunts us to the very point of distraction - "O Lordy, please let this cup pass us by, not by our will but by yours!". If the whole world salvation, whether they knew it or not, relied on us getting it right as the vicegerent, as the Khalifah here on earth, then only God can help us. And there's the rub. How can we be helped.
When we as Muslims, and I stand up here to be counted, progressively abandon our purpose and draw closer to the hollow success of the unbelievers, how can we then be the ones to be helped? Helped to do what? Are we not the ones to bear the burden of responsibility? If we are not the ones to be relied on due to our trust in Allah - then who is?
If non believers openly declare their spiritual ignorance and deny any clue as to their true purpose in life, how can they be relied on. From whom do they seek guidance and help and what can they be helped with and to what purpose?

I found myself asking this question recently - 'has our weakness and dependency on non believers just been exposed again? when the 'credit crunch' became the mainstream news issue the impact filtered belatedly onto the Muslim radar. The issues and the failures of an insatiable capitalistic appetite was raised by us as an example as to why we were experiencing such problems but our radar failed to pick up one point, the question as to our response to the test we faced at that moment. I think our weakness became apparent when we prematurely breathed a sigh of relief, when according to the media, the problem of recession had passed by with little or almost minimal damage, saved by these modern times of financial alchemy. Its as if subconsciously we believed in the dribble spouted from personalities such as Greenspan, Bernanke, Darling or Brown in their proclaimed ability to pull off the impossible. This was our mistake and I fear we may be about to pay a miserable price for it. Have you noticed how quiet we have become on the subject. How is it possible that we do not trust our own judgement but instead choose to defer and leave our welfare to crooks and criminals. How many failed banks have collapsed in the U.S alone since the first financial crisis happened in 2008 - 202 and still counting and how many other failures exist around the world that we have failed to keep track of. Who will be the next Dubai or the next Iceland. How close is the UK or Greece, Ireland or Spain or indeed the mighty U.S of A to a financial Armageddon. Surely we are the ones being tested. Surely the wheat is being separated from the chaff, the ones who desire to live by the truth and those who could not care less about truth. The stupidity of people faced with a crisis of such magnitude is similar to that of the news anchors who present such dismal information beaming from ear to ear as if somehow their particular bubble has immunity from bursting. They fail to imagine what this holds for them individually. When the great event overtakes us and when we call upon Allah swt to help us we better be sure we know what we are asking for and what part we played in the crisis. For if a bird were to sit up in the tree on that lazy branch beaming down on a fat juicy worm and simply believed that when starvation eventually threatened to overtake him all he had to do was to pray to Allah and somehow that worm would float right on up there into his mouth and satisfy his hunger, well I got news for him, sure it could happen anything is possible but I wouldn't count on it, would you? He has to put in the work to qualify for Allah's swt assistance in the same way as all other creatures put in work especially in preparation for a harsh winter. And indeed, without question, I believe that this is what we potentially may be facing in the near term, an extremely harsh and devastating financial winter, the like of which the world has never known before. Events as they have unfolded have proved themselves to be predictable, have they not? Then how is it that we still fail to trust our own judgement and see the game for what it really is? How many more countries and financial institutions must collapse before we finally concern ourselves?

This crisis came as no accident, the mistakes being made by politicians, economists and intellectual think tanks are not made because they are uneducated or clumsy it is brought on by design. Notice how they continuously invent ways of pouring fuel on the fire when anyone in their right mind faced with financial embarrassment would get some control over their spending. Suffice to say we are now between a rock and a hard place.

We are told all manner of reasons as to the causes but it boils down to two basic principles, sound and unsound money.

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