It has been ten years now since the world witnessed a series of human induced crises in 2008. Financial crisis, oil price crisis, food price crisis and ever-unfolding environmental crisis.
Researchers struggle a lot in analyzing causes and remedies of these crises. Each -biased by his/her background- tend to discuss partial problems and solutions.
Amidst this high-tide of research work in the eve of 10-year anniversary, only few remember to turn to the Quran for a holistic approach dealing with this crisis. Here is my modest attempt.
The problems and crises human societies face need to be broadly categorized into two layers. There are physical layers that we can achieve great success in discovering cause-and-effect relations in our labs using our technologies and surveys. In this physical layer we can discuss environmental issues relating to global warming and the role of industrialization and fossil fuel in carbon emission. We can also discuss the effects of globalization, free trade and corporate monopoly that favor the rich and keep the poor poorer. There is no short of research works in this physical world analysis. Often we can explain sensibly many cause-effect chains within this physical layer, for example increased consumption of meat products can cause deforestation by big cattle companies which drains huge water supply to feed corn fields that those cattle get their energy from and get fatter.
However, the beauty of the Quran is that it completes the picture for you with the meta-physical layer that is very crucial in understanding the problem and postulating solutions. This same hidden layer can be reached by a historian if he/she has enough detailed day-to-day data from thousands of years of past societies. However, this undertaking is often very daunting due to lack of data and lack of god-like intelligence to link-up non-physical societal behavioral causes with physical environmental effects. Here, Quranic gifts comes very handy for those who respects the Quran and eagerly seeks its guidance.
Enough introduction, let us get to work.
Crises has appeared throughout land and sea by what the hands of people have earned so He (i.e., Allah) may let them taste part of what they have done that perhaps they will return
The key statement is ..by what the hands of people have earned.
This verse talks about the very human induced crises we witnessed in 2008. Due to globalization, their effect reached all the globe and the hardest affected population were everyone except the very top rich class.
In short, the Quran links clearly human traits of greediness, oppression and social discrimination with financial and environmental crises.
The Arabic word used by Allah for crisis in this verse is “Fasad (فساد)” which can not be translated with just one word in English like “Crisis” or “Mischief”. In order to have a better understanding of which human behaviors directly cause environmental and physical damages to human population, we need to see the usage of this Arabic word in other places in the Quran.
- Believing that there are gods other than Allah who control the universe and deserve to be worshiped is fasad (see verse 21:22)
- The acts of oppression by kings, dictators and authoritarian regimes on their societies are acts of fasad (see verse 27:34)
- hoarding money and leading luxury life with a capitalist mindset is an act of fasad (see verse 28:77)
- conspiring against the righteous people who enjoin good and prevent evil in society is an act of fasad (see verses like 2:11, 27:48)
- Killing of kids and enslaving women is a fasad (think of al-Asad of Syria, and Aung Kyi of Myanmar) (see verse 28:4)
- Capitalism and ill distribution of money is fasad (see stories of prophet Shuaib for example in 11:85)
This word root was used around 50 times in the Quran, but above were some major acts of fasad for each of which you can see contemporary examples. However, the big ticket for fasad today would be oppression of the men of authority (political leaders and corporate rich owners) on the rest of society in terms of tyranny and concentration of wealth to the upper class. Even the bigger fasad in our time -as in all times- is governing the society with man-made systems instead of the system which Allah wanted (i.e., system of the Quran). Neoliberalism under market economy today is a secular system in the heart of which lies the principle of plundering the wealth of nations to fill the coffers of the super rich.
The culprits who are responsible for 2008 and other crises of our times will never acknowledge this kind of analysis whereby cause-and-effect of the problem transcends physical layer to meta-physical layer related to their very ill human moral, behavior and spirituality. Even in the physical layer they purchase few hypocrite scientists and pay them generously to come-up with researches denying -for example- effect of burning fossil fuel on environment and climate change.
These corrupted class who promote fasad on earth try to shut the mouth of anyone who raises voice and attempt to create awareness of the danger of this corrupted class. Prisons of such regimes today are full of such intellectuals who committed no crime except to create awareness in society.
This measurement tool which I described above is very powerful and helpful if elders of today’s society want to use. For instance it has the ability to link the forest fires and droughts in California to the Hollywood industry which cultivates immorality in the minds of billions worldwide.
I found it very awesome shortcut to reach such a big conclusions on causes of collapse of societies and civilizations by just reading 50 verses of the Quran, whereas someone else might need to read -for example- six big volumes of Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to reach to a small set of these conclusion, perhaps mixed with a bigger set of wrong conclusions.