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Islam for non-Muslims
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Shasta'sAunt
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Quote Shasta'sAunt Replybullet Posted: 02 June 2008 at 12:50am
Waqf in Islam
 
Although the waqf was not recognized before Islam, after its appearance, the Prophet Mohamed has encouraged it as a kind of a sustainable giving or 'sadaqa jariya' that benefits the poor and the needy in a sustainable way.4 One of the Prophet Mohamed's says that encourages 'sadaqa jariya', the waqf included, is "If the son of Adam dies, his work stops except for three; a sadaqa jareya, a useful science, and a good son who prays for him".5 The religious origin of waqf in Islam started with a story of the second caliph Omar Ibn el Khattab when he was granted gardens after opening Khaiber and came to the prophet asking him about the best way to make the poor benefit from this land. The prophet Mohamed advised him to eternally withhold the land and spend its revenue on the poor without being subject to be sent, nor donated nor inherited to anybody.6 Since this incident, waqf has been spread among Muslims at the time of the prophet and continued after him for long centuries.7 It is allowed in Islam to provide the benefit from waqf to non-Muslims like Christians as Safeya, one of the Prophet's wives made a waqf for her Jew brother.8

Kinds of Waqf
There are three main kinds of waqfs. The first kind is the Khairy Waqf or charitable waqf, which means withholding one's property and directing its revenues towards different philanthropic goals. The second kind of waqf is the Ahli Waqf or the family waqf. It means withholding the property to the benefit of the members of the family like the wife, the children, and the relatives.9 Finally, there is the Moshtarak Waqf, or the joint waqf, which is targeting part of the withheld property towards philanthropy and the other part to the family.10

The Difference between Waqf and Sadaqa
There are differences between the waqf and the sadaqa that should be highlighted:
  1. Sadaqa should go only to the poor and the needy whereas waqf can be directed to both the poor and the rich although the poor has the first priority.
  2. Sadaqa could be owned, sent, or granted while the waqf has to be eternally kept without any intervention in its ownership.
  3. Sadaqa could be on any useful thing like food or clothes, but waqf is only confined to properties that have revenues and could be sustained and withheld.11


The Role of Waqf in Development
The waqf system had played a vital role in achieving development at the educational, social and economic levels. The educational role of waqf started from the mosque, which was not only a place of praying and worshipping, but was also a source of education where students used to come to learn from instructors specialized in the different branches. Therefore, at the beginning of the Islamic civilization, the mosque used to play the role of the school. However, the form of the educational waqf has evolved to the 'kottab', which was similar to a small school where children are taught reading, writing, Quran, and mathematics. Despite the continuance of the kottab, the educational waqf had developed to normal schools, which had widely increased allover the Islamic society. Meanwhile, schools had direct relations with libraries which people started to put them as waqfs since they were aware of the importance of the book and its role in education.12

As for the social development, the social services provided by the waqf system were various. A big number of Muslims withheld their properties to build medical centers and hospitals, some of which were built to cure animals. In fact, many of the waqf documents revealed the successful management of the endowed hospitals.13 Besides the medical services, there were several kinds of social services provided by the waqf, including helping the poor do their pilgrimage, helping poor girls get married, building homes for the orphans, the elderly, and the blind.14

In addition, the waqf system had a significant role in the economic development for several reasons. Firstly, the waqf facilitated renting shops with low prices in the markets that had waqfs, which led to the decrease of prices and, in turn, activated the commercial movement in these markets. Besides, the markets that had no waqfs had to decrease their prices in order to be able to compete with the waqf markets to maintain their businesses. Secondly, the waqf helped the decrease of the unemployment rate and the creation of job opportunities. Besides, the waqf helped the poor to own money which increased the demand rate on numerous products and services that were going to be confined only to the wealthy segments in the society if the waqf did not exist. On the other hand, the sabeel or the water fountain that was built on the important commercial roads had significant roles in activating the trade and in facilitating the movement of the commercial caravans traveling between the cities and the villages.
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Shasta'sAunt
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Quote Shasta'sAunt Replybullet Posted: 02 June 2008 at 1:04am
The very idea of Waqf itself consists of creating and developing a third sector distinct from the profit-motivated private sector and the authority-based public sector, and charging this third sector with the responsibility of performing a group of tasks whose nature make them better achieved if they are made outside the profit motives and the practice of authority. This kind of tasks falls in the arena of righteousness, goodness, kindness, mercy and benevolence. The idea of Waqf indicates that the Islamic system recognizes the importance of the non-profit sector in social and economic development and provides the necessary legal and institutional protection for this sector to function away from the self-interest motives and the power of the government. It also provides this sector with resources that make it a major player in the social and economic life of Muslims and charges it with functions that are desired to be put outside the traditional private and public sectors of the economy.

         Historically, the Islamic society assigned education, health, social welfare and environmental welfare to this third sector. Furthermore, the third sector provided defense services and public utilities in many instances.

         Consequently, we have seen the Muslim society depending essentially on Awqaf for the provision of education at all levels, cultural services, such as libraries and lecturing, etc., scientific research in all material and religious sciences and health care including the provision of physicians’ services, hospital services and medicines. For instance, it is reported that the Island of Sicily, under the Islamic rule had 300 elementary schools. All of them are built by Awqaf; and all of them are provided with Waqf revenues for payment of teachers and school supplies.[3]  The number of high schools and universities in each of the major Islamic cities, such as Al Quds, Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and Nisapur was in the tense and hundreds. There were universities specialized in different areas of sciences, such as medicine, chemistry and Islamic studies. These included universities like Al Qurawiyin in Fez, Al Azhar in Cairo, Al Nizamiyah in Al Mustansiriya in Baghdad.[4] The Awqaf estates used to provide these universities with building in addition to teaching materials, scientific books, salaries for teachers and stipends for students. Some universities even have students dormitories for both single and married students.[5]

         Scientific libraries were also built by Awqaf and supplied with tense and hundreds of thousands of volumes. Payment for libraries’ employees, supervisors and script writers were provided from the huge revenues of orchards and rentable buildings made Awqaf for the benefit of these libraries.[6] The importance of libraries and books reached a level that forced many Fuqaha who usually do not consider Waqf applicable to mobile assets to make an exception with regard to copies of the Qur’an and scientific books, so there is no disagreement among Fuqaha on the permissibility of making these two kinds of mobile assets into Waqf.[7] In order to facilitate lending books to scholars and researchers, they ruled that it is not permissible to ask book borrowers to provide a collateral even if the Waqf founder made such a provision in the Waqf document. It is thus ruled that such a condition by the founder is invalid.[8] The Islamic history also witnessed specialized Awqaf for scientific research in medicine, pharmacology and other sciences.[9]

         The provision of Awqaf for education is probably responsible for the usually common independence mentality we notice in scholars that kept them away from Rulers. The thing which turned Muslim scholars into popular leaders and outspoken representatives of the society in any confrontation with the authority. It also contributed to reducing the socioeconomic differences by offering education to those who can take it on merit basis rather than on ability to pay for educational services. Hence, the economically poor classes had always equal educational opportunities that allow them to climb faster on the socioeconomic ladder.[10]

         Health services were also provided by Awqaf  throughout the Muslim lands. Hospitals and their equipment, salaries to physicians and their subordinates, schools of medicines and pharmacy and stipends to students were all provided on regular basis by the Awqaf. Special Awqaf were established for specialized medical schools for research in chemistry and for payment for food and medicine for hospital patients.[11] There was even some Awqaf for patients entertainment including people, especially hired for hinting to patients that their illness is mild and curable in a short time.[12]

         Obviously, the Awqaf also provided mosque for worshippers in addition to monasteries for those who devote themselves to worship, graveyards and funeral facilities.

         The area of socio welfare, environment protection and animal care was an area in which the Awqaf had tremendous contributions. The first Waqf on which the Fuqaha established most of their rulings is the Waqf of ‘Umar in Khaibar and it was a Waqf for social assistance to the poor and needy and wayfarers. Supporting the poor has always been a priority among the Awqaf objective to the extent that it has become known in Shari’ah that if a founder did not mention an objective for her/his Waqf, supporting the poor and needy must be considered the de facto objective. In the support of poor and needy, the history of Awqaf went into specific areas. We find, for instance,  several Awqaf for orphans, for widows, for helping poor men and woman with the cost and requirements of marriage, special Awqaf for home furnishing for the poor and needy, for nursing mothers, for battered wives and for people traveling on the roads.[13]

         Additionally, the Awqaf provided for helping in liberating slaves, in caring for young children and in providing drinking water for villages. It also provided for animal and bird care, for repairing river banks and for establishment of frontiers fortification.[14]  (Waqaf Financing)

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 02 June 2008 at 7:04pm
Originally posted by Shasta'sAunt

"There have been times in the Islamic states when people did not steal. There was no need for it, because of the affluence, and the law and order - shata's aunt stated this in her post.
 
She did state that, but she didn't elaborate or offer any evidence of it so I pretty much ignored it.  Would anyone care to tell me about?"
 
... For six centuries, the Ottomans tried and largely succeeded to eradicate poverty through this institution...
 
Even if I believe that Prof. Cizakca, an Muslim economist from Turkey, is an unbiased authority, how does his article show that people did not steal?
 
 
 
As it happens, I am presently reading "Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah", by Sir Richard Francis Burton.  Burton was a European in the mid-nineteenth century who disguised himself as a pilgrim from Afghanistan and joined a Hajj to Mecca.  I know that at some point his own caravan was attacked by robbers.  I haven't got to that part yet, but I've already read several passages where he describes whole clans as thieves, roads where travellers are especially prone to attack, and so on.
 
He writes that thieves will even slip unnoticed into a caravan travelling at night, untie one camel from the line, rejoin the fore and aft camels so the line continues unbroken, and lead the one camel away into the desert with the hapless rider still asleep on it!  Once they are far enough away from the caravan, they awaken the occupant and either kill him on the spot or send him back, naked and on foot, to try to catch up with the group.
 
I'm not sure where I read it (Burton or elsewhere), but I understand there was even a Guild of Thieves in Cairo during the Ottoman Empire.  Apparently if you were robbed, you could appeal to the authorities, who would approach the Guild and negotiate for the return of your property.
Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.
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Shasta'sAunt
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Quote Shasta'sAunt Replybullet Posted: 03 June 2008 at 12:36am
Originally posted by Ron Webb

Originally posted by Shasta'sAunt

"There have been times in the Islamic states when people did not steal. There was no need for it, because of the affluence, and the law and order - shata's aunt stated this in her post.
 
She did state that, but she didn't elaborate or offer any evidence of it so I pretty much ignored it.  Would anyone care to tell me about?"
 
... For six centuries, the Ottomans tried and largely succeeded to eradicate poverty through this institution...
 
Even if I believe that Prof. Cizakca, an Muslim economist from Turkey, is an unbiased authority, how does his article show that people did not steal?
 
 
 
As it happens, I am presently reading "Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah", by Sir Richard Francis Burton.  Burton was a European in the mid-nineteenth century who disguised himself as a pilgrim from Afghanistan and joined a Hajj to Mecca.  I know that at some point his own caravan was attacked by robbers.  I haven't got to that part yet, but I've already read several passages where he describes whole clans as thieves, roads where travellers are especially prone to attack, and so on.
 
He writes that thieves will even slip unnoticed into a caravan travelling at night, untie one camel from the line, rejoin the fore and aft camels so the line continues unbroken, and lead the one camel away into the desert with the hapless rider still asleep on it!  Once they are far enough away from the caravan, they awaken the occupant and either kill him on the spot or send him back, naked and on foot, to try to catch up with the group.
 
I'm not sure where I read it (Burton or elsewhere), but I understand there was even a Guild of Thieves in Cairo during the Ottoman Empire.  Apparently if you were robbed, you could appeal to the authorities, who would approach the Guild and negotiate for the return of your property.
 
I did not state that people did not steal. I was not there, I do not know. I stated that there was a time when Islamic states had virtually wiped out poverty.
 
You don't have to believe the author any more than you have to believe any expert in any field who has credentials, is widely recognised, and has authored several books on the subject. With this mentality I can dismiss basically any part of history I so choose by merely not believing it.  I think I'll choose not to believe that Frederick Banting invented insulin. I wasn't there, most of the people repeating this are Canadian and therefore probably biased. Therefore this is just dismissed from history.
 
My point was that there was no need to steal from hunger or want because the state took care of all necessities. So the person stealing was doing so from avarice or simply because they were criminally minded, therefore fully deserving the swift amputation of a hand.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
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Quote Nausheen Replybullet Posted: 03 June 2008 at 2:14am
Auzubillahi minash shaitan ir Rajeem,
Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim,
 
Originally posted by Ron Webb

Originally posted by Shasta'sAunt

Just as a society that hangs, gases, and electrocutes individuals can stoop to heinous acts.  
 
I agree to some extent, and I am not an enthusiastic supporter of capital punishment.  However, once again, you are attacking a straw man.  I am not denying that harsh punishments may sometimes be necessary -- an eye for an eye, a life for a life, capital punishment for capital crimes.  What I am saying (and maybe the fact that I have to keep repeating this is why Nausheen thinks I'm going in circles) is that harsh punishments should not be imposed for trivial crimes.  (And here we go again -- I can already anticipate people returning to Straw Man #2, replying to me that theft is not always trivial...)
 
Nausheen, I will try to reply more directly to you tomorrow, but it's time for Sleepy.
 
Ron, theft is theft, either you took away a cup of coffee, a wallet, a visa card or a dimond ring ... this is not my opinion, rather how Quran looks at theft.
I am not shy to acknowledge that this is how quran sees theft. Your or my opinion about it does not matter. If Allah has decided a thing, then that is it.  You can call muslims stubborn or whatever ... but this is how things are. Again if you read Shasta's Aunt, she is asking a rehtoric which you are avoiding. If I am in an islamic state, and I know that stealing a cup of coffee will earn a prize I will have to live with all my life, am I not crazy to be tempted to steal ??  Think about it and respond - You think it is barbaric is not the point in her Q, and the point is too, too plain. Is it not?
 
As for your other concern ... let me again point out, crimes are not punished by common people, or not even by organizations that call themselves by any name. They have to be punished by a govt. Suicide bombing is not sanctioned in the Quran or sharia. "common people"  or "organizations" have no basis for  executing these crimes in the name of Islam.
 
I am from India, and can tell you that bride burning for dowrey is very common among Hindus there - it has nothing to do with religion. It is a crime according to the state, yet it is practise almost everywhere. Another common crime is abortion of female foetus, amongst the hindus ... and their religion is practically very peaceful. There is just an ignorant mentallity that has to be blamed for it, nothing else.
 
The same can be said about followers of any religious code, who have gone wrong. Trying to find faults in the scriptures for such behaviours is a futile hunt, or rather a negative effort. These ppl have gone wrong, and there is no one reason for it. We can discuss endlessly, to no avail. Contemporary reknowned Muslim scholars have spoken tirelessly against the non-islamic practices taken-on by some - quoting evidences from the same Quran and Hadith which you think are barbaric.  But I dont think I can explain or you can understand on your own unless you try to understand the spirit of Islam, spirit of the Quran and spirit of the sharia.
 
 
 
Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 03 June 2008 at 7:12pm
(No time for a proper reply tonight, but I'll definitely come back to this.  I think I may start a new topic, because some of the comments above suggest a whole different way of looking at this.  Stay tuned...)
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Quote Israfil Replybullet Posted: 04 June 2008 at 6:24pm
Originally posted by Shasta'sAunt

Originally posted by Israfil

Shasta's Aunt
 
If you know anything about law you know there are 3 branches of government right, each having their respective laws in acocrdance to what actions transgress them. You should be aware that State laws vary from state to state each giving its own account of the severity of crimes that are committed. I never said the system is flawless or perfect, but its better than laws I've personally read from other countries. For instance I find it ridiculous that if you speak out against the Egyptian president openly you risk serving time (I believe minimum is 6 months in jail).  I highly doubt you are a multi-cultural social complainer because most of your post are generated towards the "west" but that is another story. I also thinky uo have little knowledge about law.
 
What you find on the internet and what you see on news does not always count as reality. Of course there are politics in the system such as light sentences, revolving doors etc, but the reality is you cannot change a lot of it. Politics just like systems of government are like pendelums. Looking at pieces of history does not make you right (e.g. looking at William Clinton's marital transgression).  My point is, is that laws look at trivbial crimes based on country, demographic etc.
 
 
 
I do know a little bit about the law. It is rather off-putting to have you continually telling people what they do and do not know. You actually have no idea what profession I call my own nor my level of education. For all you know I might be a retired attorney with a second Master's in Religion and Theology.  
 
Contrary to some who post here, I actually read books, newspapers, and take part in civic and social activities. My sole source of info is not the internet, although it can be a useful tool if you know what you are looking for.
 
Yes, most of my comments are directed towards the ills in this country because this is my country and I live here. I want it to be a better place than it currently is. In this country you can be sentenced indefinitely to Gitmo merely because you are a Muslim. I think 6 months in jail for speaking out against Egypt's president doesn't seem too harsh in comparison.  
 
And if you don't look at history how can you learn from it? Our history is what defines us and hopefully what causes us to correct the paths we choose that are wrong.
 
By the way, our country was originally based upon the principal of  "government of the people, by the people, for the people", but somewhere along the way this has gotten lost.  We control the government, not the other way around.
I saw an interview with a French newsman who was saying that in France the politicians could never get away with covering up and lying like they do in the U.S. because the media would never allow it. He said that in France the politicians are afraid of the people, not the other way around, like it is in the U.S. Because in France if the people get fed up they get rid of the politicians.  Our country USED to be that way, and hopefully it will be that way again.
 
 
 
The reason I do this S.A. because in my experience on this forum a lot of people make comments with little knowledge. I've read whole posts on false accusations, plagerism, and other ill-advised posts her. When I read a post and know for a fact that it is wrong and misguided I will let the individual know. Do I repeat this? Yes I do and I'll admit it. But I too, am at fault for this myself in the real world too and have been corrected for it as well.
 
as a citizen you have every right to criticize your country but comparing Gitmo to 6 months in jail in Egypt is ridiculous. If you were an attorney then I'd have to criticize how you passed the bar exam because any person of the law knows that is comparing apples to oranges. You don't get sent to Gitmo because you're Muslim and you know it. I've bustend young Muslims in L.A. committing various crimes and their faith has been recorded as procedure and never had we even had to consider them "terrorist" or otherwise nor would they be sent to Gitmo.
 
as far as the comment you made about the Frech govermne tI'm not so sure on how their lawmakers are afraid of the people. I believe in every major country that is in power there is corruption, period. If I were to generate a hypothetical counterargument I would say they are not afriad of the people they are afraid of getting exposed. America will never be like what it was in the 1500-1600's and I hope it never turns that way. Our country is evolving and hopefully for the better.
 
As for the people, sometimes there needs to be a shift in power. the people are not always educated in making powerful decisions. If laws were generated by the people then we would have a ban on gay marriages, more security in Muslim neighborhoods, etc. come on, people in this country don't even know what a superdelegate is and you want to put power in the hands of these people? I want a balance I don't want power. Do I want individual rights? Yes, but I believe that if the pendelum swings in favor of people then people can abuse power just like their elected officials.
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Quote Shasta'sAunt Replybullet Posted: 05 June 2008 at 3:14am
"If you were an attorney then I'd have to criticize how you passed the bar exam"
 
I did not pooh pooh your claims of having a PhD in neuroscience, even though you spelled neuroscience incorrectly: "Me being a black man with an IQ of 125 with a PH.D. in nueroscience and M.S. in Clinical Psychology I'm sure makes me the 1% in his mind concerning the intelligence of blacks." 
 
As for Gitmo and the legality of those held there, the detainees legal status remains unresolved and they have yet to receive due process. In the meantime over 400 have been released after years of detention with no explanation and no formal charges brought against them. Their only crime was being Muslim. The remaining detainees are held in a legal limbo in which our government considers them "non-persons" with absolutely no rights regarding proper representation, legal status, or pending charges. They are not even afforded the basic rights of prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. The U.S. is breaking both domestic and International laws in its treatment of these prisoners.
 
Perhaps not every person in this country is well educated regarding decision making, but our very Constitution affords the right of every person in this country to have a say in how it is run. People are supposed to hold the power, no government entity should ever control more power than the people it serves.
 
Democracy is based on a system of checks and balances in which the three branches of government theoretically keep each other in check. However, since the advent of the Bush regime the executive branch has taken power and bullied it's way into an almost totalitarian regime in which the other branches, and our individual rights as citizens, have come under increasing pressure to follow the lead or be labeled a traitor, a terrorist, or have your life ruined. "You are either with us or against us.".  Even the rulings of the judicial branch regarding the treatment of afore mentioned Gitmo detainees have been ignored by the Bush regime. Who has given this branch of government the authority to ignore the Constitution?
 
I am not saying Billy Bob should be in control of the country, but I am saying that no branch of government should become so powerful that any citizen should fear speaking against it. And if you do not believe there are American citizens living in fear, ask an Arab American how comfortable they would feel protesting against the Bush government. Have you heard of the "October Plan" and the over 200 detained? Have you forgotten the raids after Sept 11th in which over 5000 Muslims were rounded up and over 1000 detained in this country with no charges levied against them, and no contact with attorneys or their families. What about the mandatory registration of Muslim males, during which many were detained? 
At least in Egypt the person arrested for speaking out against the president knows why he is in jail and the length of his sentence. There are still Muslim men being held by this country who have had no charges brought against them and who have been denied the right of any type of legal council.
 
 
 


Edited by Shasta'sAunt - 05 June 2008 at 3:17am
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
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