Usury and the Decline of Human Potential

“But seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which Allah has given you, and do not neglect your portion of the worldly life, and be kind even as Allah has been kind to you, and seek not corruption in the earth. Verily, Allah likes not the Mufsidun (those who are mischief-makers, corrupted).” TMQ 28:77

Allah has created the pleasures and luxuries of this life so that people may enjoy their share, and work towards obtaining them. Thus, human life is set on the way to progress based on its concepts about man, life and the universe. The believers fountainhead for these concepts is Islam and they seek to fulfil the  task Allah has assigned them. The only condition is that in such enjoyment and pleasures they should seek the reward of the hereafter.

Therefore the wealthy neither deviate from the road leading them to paradise, nor neglect their duties as a result of their riches. These acts of submission elevate man into a perfect marriage of the spiritual and the material. The same act of submission frees mankind from the servitude of others. No where is this more apparent than Allah’s prohibition against usury.

Let us retrace our steps to what some historians refer to as the “Golden Age of Islam”. By the 10th century CE, Cordoba (Spain) had 700 mosques, 60,000 palaces, and 70 libraries, the largest of which had 600,000 books. In the whole al-Andalus, 60,000 treatises, poems, polemics and compilations were published each year. The library of Cairo had two million books, while the library of Tripoli is said to have had as many as three million books before it was destroyed by the Crusaders. During the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, sugar production was refined and transformed into a large-scale industry. Muslims introduced cash cropping and the modern crop rotation system where land was cropped four or more times in a two-year period. Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber) introduced the experimental method to chemistry. Muslim engineers in the Islamic world made a number of innovative industrial uses of hydropower, and early industrial uses of tidal power, wind power, steam power, fossil fuels such as petroleum, and early large factory complexes (tiraz in Arabic).

Modern schoolbooks generally portray the Middle Ages as a time of poverty, backwardness, and economic slavery, from which people were only freed by the Industrial Revolution; but reliable early historians painted a quite different picture. Thorold Rogers, nineteenth century Oxford historian, wrote that in the Middle Ages, “ A laborer could provide all the necessities for his family for a year by working 14 weeks.” Fourteen weeks is only a quarter of a year! The rest of the time, some men worked for themselves; some studied; some fished; Some helped build the Cathedrals that appeared all over Germany, France, and England during the period massive works of art were built mainly with volunteer labor.

Fast forward to the present where we have both spouses working to support a household.  President John Adams is quoted as saying, “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”

Sheldon Emry, expanding on this concept two centuries later, observed that conquest by the sword has the disadvantage that the conquered are likely to rebel. Continual force is required to keep them at bay. Conquest by debt can occur so silently and insidiously that the conquered don’t even realize they have new masters.

American chattel slavery was viewed as inefficient by the British because you had to feed the slaves. Under economic slavery you make the slaves responsible for feeding themselves.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.    Upton Sinclair.”

The shiny car in the driveway has blinded Americans to their new masters. If the house that’s attached to the driveway has a mortgage of around $250,000 at approximately 10% over a period of 25 years. They will pay for the house about three times. That means, in the time it took them to earn half a million dollars, someone was living off of their sweat. Every payroll check he receives is reduced by approximately 20% for the payment of federal  income tax. The federal income tax was instituted specifically to coerce taxpayers to pay the interest due to the banks on the federal debt. If the money supply had been created by the government rather than borrowed from banks that created it, the income tax would have been unnecessary. Of course, credit card interest needs no introduction when you see the bankruptcies going through the roof as a result. Minimum payments can prolong credit card payments over a lifetime.

Professor Henry C. K. Liu is an economist who graduated from Harvard and chaired a graduate department at UCLA before becoming an investment advisor for developing countries. He calls the current monetary scheme a “cruel hoax”. When we wake up to that fact, he says , our entire economic world view will need to be reordered, “just as physics was subject to reordering when man’s world view changed with the realization that the earth is not stationary or is it the center of the universe.”  The hoax is that there is no real money in the system, only debts. Except for coins, which are issued by the government and make up only one-thousandth  of the money supply, the entire U.S. money supply now consist of debt to private banks. This is a result of money they created with accounting entries on their books.

Robert H. Hemphill, Credit Manager of the Federal Reserve of Atlanta, wrote in 1934:
“We are completely dependent on the commercial Banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible, but there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon.”

It should be apparent at this point something unnatural is being heaped upon humanity. Hopefully Muslims can explore this conversation further in more detail with the objective of creating an environment exclusive of these shell games.

“Do not spread corruption on the earth after it has been so well ordered. Call on Him with fear and hope. Truly, Allah’s grace is ever near to the righteous.” TMQ 7:56

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