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Friday, February 1, 2013

Western Economics and the Islamic Industry

This blog entry will be about my observations on the Islamic Industry and how the Casino Industry in the State of Nevada can be compared and contrasted with the Mosque System.

When I write Mosque System, I do not focus on whether it is Shia, or Sunni, or even Muslim. Christian Churches and Jewish Synagogues and Hindu Temples are also included. When I write Casino Industry, I am referring to the Casino buildings as opposed to any particular Gaming Establishment, which would include the Hotels where people sleep, the Shops where people buy gifts, and the Restaurants where people eat. I am also including the Dance Clubs and Bars; which would seem unrelated to places of worship.

The first thing thing to do is to understand the comparison. In the Mosque System, people come from many places as individuals. Upon entering the Mosque, there is a declaration made verbally or in the heart and mind turning the individual into one out of many visitors. In the Casino Industry, people also come from many places as individuals. When entering the Casino, the individual becomes one out of many visitors. When creating a budget, both the Casino and the Mosque have to take into account the number of people in the building during specified times of the day and specified days of the week. From an abstract perspective, the Mosque and the Casino are the same type of business. The key to understand is not what they provide, but, the availability of their provisions throughout the day.

The purpose of this blog entry is to create a better managed Mosque System. The biggest flaw I have noticed, as a Muslim in this system, has been the ownership of the Mosque. Let us look at a verse of the Qur'an:

Animals that Create Food Chapter 2 (The Cow) Verse 188- And do not consume each other's wealth in vain, nor offer it to men in authority with intent of usurping unlawfully and knowingly a part of the wealth of others.

Western Capitalism has been criticized by the Mujaheddin, using the verse above. But I want them to understand the precise meaning of this verse. The Ulema would rightly be considered " of authority...", however, the process of giving money to the Mosques is not the same as giving money to the men of authority. I am not here to fight against the Mujahideen, but to assist in creating a better Mosque System, incha'Allah!

There has been a tendency to create large Mosques in order to provide a place for the community to worship the Almighty. This tendency is also flawed. Western Capitalism has provided two solutions that should be viewed together when considering an upgrade to the System. The first is the concept of the small business and the other is the diversity of products within these businesses. Let us look at another verse from the Qur'an:

Religious Representatives Chapter 62 (The Congregation) Verses 9 through 11- O you who believe, when the call to prayer is made on the day of congregation, hasten to remember God, putting aside your business. This is better for you if you can understand.

And when the service of prayer is over spread out in the land, and look for the bounty of God, and remember God a great deal that you may prosper.

Yet when they see some buying and selling, or some sport, they go for it, leaving you standing. Tell them: "What is with God is better than your sport and commerce. And God is the best of providers."

Having a few large Mosques located within a large city would create logistics problems for all involved. A better System would be to treat Mosques as businesses and create many small ones located at high volume areas. Within every market place should be a few Mosques, so those who pray can go a short distance, and then return. The verses above have "...remember God..." enclosing "...the bounty of God..." for a reason. This reason is to provide a blueprint for the Mosque System! With sport and commerce put together in the same verse, also provides the view that a serious worker or a relaxed spectator are both found at any market.

Let us look at another verse:

Knowledge Chapter 38 (Sod) Verse 28 Should We equate those who do right with those who spread corruption in the land? Should We make those who are morally integrated equal to those who seek disintegration?

This is a question asked by Americans regarding Casinos and Mosques! The issues involving a nation from a Federal or National perspective will always involve raising money. The history of the State of Nevada can provide an answer on the purpose of Casinos. There were two main reasons; the building of a roadway connecting southern California to the mid-west and the other was for the Military (including Area 51). Both of these required huge amounts of money. If we look at the two reasons in regards to the Mosque System, we can say that the result of receiving money should go to re-investing in the Government and in the People. Let's look at some verses from the Qur'an from Chapter 28:

Art Chapter 28 (The History) Verses 3 through 6- We narrate to you from the history of Moses and Pharaoh in all verity, for those who believe.

The Pharaoh had become high and mighty in the land, and divided the people into different classes, and impoverished one class, slaying its males and sparing its women, for he was indeed a tyrant.

We wished to favor those who were weak in the land and make them leaders and heirs,

And establish them in the country; and to make the Pharaoh, Haman and their hordes beware of what they feared from them.

The section, "...favor those who were weak in the land and make them leaders..." can be thought of as re-investing in the people. The section, "...beware of what they feared..." can be thought of as re-investing in the government.

Art Chapter 28 (The History) Verses 14 through 22- When he had grown up to full maturity, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. Thus do We recompense the doers of good.

He came to the city when the people were in a care-free mood, and saw two men quarreling, one belonging to his community, the other to his enemies. The man who belonged to his community appealed for help against the one who belonged to the enemies. Moses struck him a blow with his fist and finished him off. "This is of Satan's doing," he said. "He is certainly an enemy and a corrupter."

"O Lord," he prayed, "I have done wrong, forgive me." And God forgave him. Verily He is forgiving and kind.

(Moses) said: "O Lord, as You have been gracious to me I will never aid the guilty."

In the morning he came to the city, fearful and hesitant. Just then he who had asked him for help the day before called out for help (again). "You are indeed a meddlesome fellow," Moses said to him.

Then as he was about to lay hands on the one who was their common enemy, he cried out: "O Moses, do you want to kill me as you killed that person yesterday? You only want to be a tyrant in the land and no peacemaker."

There came a man running from the other part of the city. "O Moses," he said, "the chiefs are deliberating to kill you. Go away from the city. I wish you well."

So he left the city, fearful and hesitant, (and) prayed: "O Lord, deliver me from these wicked people."

Then as he turned his face to Midian, he said: "Maybe my Lord will show me the right way."

These verses are very good at understanding the conflicts between religious groups, which starts at the center of these communities. If we look at these verses from Moses's view, we see how important it is to practice non-violence in solving cultural conflicts.

Let's look at a section from those verses Verse 18;

In the morning he came to the city, fearful and hesitant. Just then he who had asked him for help the day before called out for help (again). "You are indeed a meddlesome fellow," Moses said to him.

In this verse, Moses is telling someone about being meddlesome; as in getting involved with people that he shouldn't be getting involved with. As an American-Muslim, I give this argument to many non-Muslim Americans about their supposed interest in Afghanistan and Iraq. I always ask them if their interest is purely for trouble making. Unfortunately it usually is. Another way to look at this verse is from the perspective of the Mujahideen. Yes there is a conflict between the American Zionist Regime and the Mujahideen, however, is it beneficial to just go and pick fights with every random convoy of American soldiers? According to this verse, that action would not be a good approach. By drawing the Mujahideen into conflict with American soldiers, there is a loss of time and a potential that the Mujaideen will have lost important territory. Look at the verse above; "You are indeed a meddlesome fellow,". Moses ended up having to leave town because of the actions of a small-minded person. Let us continue Verse 19

Then as he was about to lay hands on the one who was their common enemy, he cried out: "O Moses, do you want to kill me as you killed that person yesterday? You only want to be a tyrant in the land and no peacemaker."

 My perspective on this, towards US Policy Makers is very simple; stop kidnapping and killing innocent people and calling yourself a peacemaker! 

For the Mujahideen, there is a very important lesson we can draw from our Historical Islam. This is the story of Osama ibn Zaid who had killed a Roman convert in battle. Even our Prophet Muhammad had to leave Yathrib and go to Medina (The City) in order to build his/our Ummah! The Prophets were successful and, if we want to be successful as well, then we should follow their example!

Let's look at those two methods again; that the United States of America has provided the world with. The first was the small business. The Prophets have provided us examples of how important it is to not meddle in other people's affairs. Why? The reason is that when the followers have done so, and examples are being proven right now in Mali, Syria, Kurdistan, and Afghanistan, the community has had to leave with a loss of innocent life and loss of territory. Yes, there is a conflict, but no, we should not be ignorant on how to fight back. The second method is the diversity of products. What is the main product of Islam? I believe it is the path towards making peace with Allah and learning to use the baraka He has given us. If we blow ourselves up, we destroy His baraka. If we kill innocent people, we have proven that we do not deserve His baraka.

The second method is best provided with this verse:

Political Science Chapter 42 (Consultation) Verses 7 through 9- We have, therefore, revealed to you the eloquent Qur'an that you may warn the people of the Metropolis, and those who live around it, of the Day of Gathering, of which there is no doubt, (when mankind would be assembled) some in Heaven, some in Hell.

If God had pleased He would have made them one community belief; but He admits whom He please to His grace; yet the sinners have neither friend nor helper.

Have they taken others beside Him as protectors? It is God who protects; it is He who gives life to the dead, for He has power over every thing.

We have much work to do brothers and sisters. We do not have time for petty squabbles. If one nation seems too powerful, and you don't like it, don't waste your time fighting back alone. Build your community Mosque by mosque and have faith in Allah! Incha'Allah ar-Rabil al-Amin things will get better!

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