“O people, I have been appointed over you, though I am not the best among you. If I do well, then help me; and if I act wrongly, then correct me. Truthfulness is trust, and lying is treachery. The weak among you is deemed strong by me, until I return to them that which is rightfully theirs, insha Allah. And the strong among you is deemed weak by me, until I take from them what is rightfully (someone else’s), insha Allah. No group of people abandons military/armed struggle in the path of Allah (i.e., Jihad), except that Allah makes them suffer humiliation. And evil / mischief (e.g., spread of illegal sexual activities, sodomy, etc.) does not become widespread among a people, except that Allah inflicts them with widespread calamity. Obey me so long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. And if I disobey Allah and His Messenger, then I have no right to your obedience. Stand up now to pray, may Allah have mercy on you”.
Thus said Caliph Abu Bakr after the death of Prophet Muhammad in the year 632 AD (11 Hijra year) when he assumed the role of leading the Islamic state.
This less-than-a-minute speech prescribed how to run a government. It solved the problems that we are suffering from today.
Each sentence is a heading that deserves an entire chapter. Here, however, I would like to skip to the middle of the speech where he talked about the solution of today’s inequality and lack of social inclusiveness.
The weak among you is deemed strong by me, until I return to them that which is rightfully theirs, insha Allah. And the strong among you is deemed weak by me, until I take from them what is rightfully (someone else’s), insha Allah.
Today, the biggest problem under capitalism is that money and power is concentrated in the hand of the privileged few. who made sure to perpetuate their privileges by manufacturing mechanisms for that. As always, the victims are the majority of the population. This has been the eternal problem of humankind since day one. The only solution to this problem is the existence of true leaders -like Abu Bakr- who follow the guidance of Allah in front of Whom everyone will be held accountable in the day of judgment.
weak among you which Abu Bakr mentioned is the 99% of the population today. They are the subject of systematic exploitation of the 1% who Abu Bakr referred to as
the strong among you. Let me qualify this statement with few examples.
Think about student loans and the huge amount of tuition fees of universities in the United States. The capitalist elders among this 1% have created a setup that made it impossible for poor families to send their kids to reputable universities. So, students are forced to take loans from these capitalists institutions and remain indebted for decades after graduation. The tragedy never ends after graduating from these four-year university programs. If these students did not opt for higher studies, then they would not find decent jobs. The corporates would not take inexperienced fresh graduates. They are then forced to do a voluntary internship or with meager pay. Their counterpart -sons, and daughters of the upper class- get into big corporations easily due to the powerful network of their parents. In this manner, the poor and middle class remain in perpetual social inequality trap.
Similarly, take another vulnerable group: women. Recent years has revealed some aspects of the ugly face of western civilization under market capitalism. Just yesterday, thousands of women marched across western cities protesting against sexual abuse and inequality in the workplace. Key solutions are there already in the Quran if they care to listen. Anyway, those celebrities are discovering some of these solutions from their own experiences. For example, listen to what the actress Natalie Portman said:
”I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually, I would feel unsafe,” she said. “And that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body to my great discomfort. So I quickly adjusted my behavior. I rejected any role that even had a kissing scene and talked about that choice deliberately in interviews. I emphasized how bookish I was and how serious I was. And I cultivated an elegant way of dressing. I built a reputation for basically being prudish, conservative, nerdy, serious, in an attempt to feel that my body was safe and that my voice would be listened to.”
The entire 2008 financial crises circles around the exploitation of the
strong against the
weak. These Wall Street wolves have designed sophisticated derivatives to deceive these innocent poor with misinformation and promise to turn junk into a heap of gold. Read, for example, the end of alchemy by Mervyn King or the great divide by Joseph Stiglitz for more on this.
And here is the funny part. After sucking the money of poor and abusing the women, the only remaining vulnerable group to suck money from were the children. But children have no money. Here came a very innovative solution by elders of capitalism: the
nag factor. Now kids start to see all kinds of TV ads and other media promotions of toys and junk foods and start to nag their parents to buy them.
In a nutshell, today the world is in dire need of leaders like Abu Bakr to deem the strong weak until inequality is eradicated.