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Imran Khan's Economic Team Leader & Neo-Classical Economics

i'm so excited! i heard Imran Khan, Chairman of Justice Movement Pakistan, in an interview said they have an economic expert in their party, a professor in Cambridge University, who has critiqued neoclassical economic theory. Neoclassical economics or capitalism is anti-poor, it professes theories with sophisticated mathematical foundations which ultimately argue against welfare economics in which "people are means and ends of development", where growth and progress is not pursued with promotion of selfishness. I cannot explain neoclassical economics and its flaws, i'd recommend exploring this site by another Pakistani economist Dr Asad Zaman: Critiques of Economic Theory.

[update coming]

Commons Land Case: Western vs Islamic Perspective

Dr Asad Zaman in his lectures discussed privatization by comparing an Islamic and Western judgement on an historical issue of commons land. I'm going to describe it in my words:

In England there was commons' land, and as the word common modifies the land it means land for the common people. Common people depended on this land for their livelihood and shelter. They were mostly people with no luxuries or even modest income levels, who're only surviving on what they could find in the forests, lakes, etc., for themselves and/or for their cattle. Similarly, it provided them housing and stuff. They were poor people but the land made life liveable and gave a sense of security against economic upheavals and complete bankruptcy of basic necessities.

The rich people had their eyes on it for long. In 1066, after the Normans Conquest, things changed drastically. Rich and powerful lords approached for 'privatization' of the land, in a sense. All the poor people were banished from the commons land, which became not so common by then. Their houses were destroyed and what not. Survival became difficult, if not impossible. Previously, they could graze their sheep and drink its milk or eat fresh fish from flowing lakes or rivers and survive, but now the conditions became worse.

The same situation took place back in the times of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Their was a commons land under his rule on which poor people used to graze their cattle. Rich and powerful people approached him (PBUH) to allow their cattle to enter it for grazing. Prophet (PBUH) forbade their entrance and instructed them to find some other pasture or land for their big flocks, lest they might overgraze the rightful share of poor people's pasture.

The judgement given by Prophet (PBUH) is totally opposite to the one given by the kuffar and shows the basis of Islamic economics to be welfare of the people and especially the poor. - Quran Navigator is Quran navigator that i use on daily bases. It has over 100 translation texts. It has multiple Arabic typefonts, if you will. The main thing which other Quran projects - like Online Quran Project, etc - lack, despite their brilliance, is recitation along with translation text with Arabic, but also English translation. I hope they expand and include other voice translations. Moreover, i find it very user friendly in terms of finding ayahs, etc.

The project teams introduces as following:

"Tanzil is a Quranic project launched in early 2007 to produce a highly verified Unicode Quran text to be used in Quranic websites and applications." [Italics mine.]

The fact that it can be incorporated into other apps and sites is very useful. The developer of the project is Mr Hamid Zarrabi-Zadeh, who also teaches computer science in Iran, may Allah preserve him and his team.

Tension b/w National & Islamic Identity

I'm talking about those Muslim countries which became national countries only recently and which had muslims residing there for centuries.

It is one of the tragedies that have befallen this ummah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that after their encounter with West and its subsequent disintegration Muslims have started to invoke same old jahili (ignorant) slogans of their nationalism - being Iranian, Pharaohic Egyptian, Ottoman Turkish, etc - as sort of replacement with their everlasting Islamic identity. So this is a new phenomenon. Seyyed Hossein Nasr in this talk talks about this tension in Iran where some modernist Iranians, most of them miles away from Iran living in San Fransisco, etc., are maligning Islam and are making these false claims that Islam was thrust upon them. He argues that how can 50k Arab Nomads convert millions of Iranians, and rest of people from China to Iraq. In fact, it is a disgrace, a slap on the face of the ancestors in these countries who although took some time to integrate completely with Islam, so no clash with their multiple identities. Talking of identities, Amartya Sen argues in his Identity and Violence, that people have multiple identities. Conflict arises when a person has an irreducible identity.

This invoking of slogans of days of ignorance is accompanied by the belief that Qur'an has nothing to offer to Muslims and their problems (better to be called diseases in Islamic context); hence we'll look towards West and progress. I do not see any other source of impetus for these attitudes in many Muslim countries than Western thought paradigm, channeled through its educational systems. Modernist people try their best to rip off any Islamic sentiment or idea that may be encompassing, or partially part of, movements, institutions, in Muslim countries, of past or present, to prove absence of Islam in the lives of people or duality in Islam between worldly and heavenly. They think they're "unreasonable folks" who can think independently but they're perhaps worst slaves of every notion or theory issuing from West, because they're destroying one identity they can possibly belong to.

(To be continued....)

Audacity of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

Such is the brutality of militant, fundamentalist nationalism: It can destroy careers and defame people for respecting its man-made rituals that make no sense to those who think. Rituals that truly divide people on basis of descent or merely subscribing to the notion of a nation that has no link with the heaven nor any greater purpose than recognition among diversity of other nations. In the absence of a link with the Creator and Sustainer of the world, artificial notions of belonging and binding forces are conjured up to divide people into factions. Americans do tawaf (circling) of some their historic monuments just like Muslims do tawaf of Ka'aaba, built by Hazrat Ibraheem (a.s.). To them their flag is sacred, and desecrating their national anthem or such symbols is greater a sin than desecrating God's Prophets or God himself.

Islam instructs us not to vilify gods of polytheists. Under no condition is a Muslim allowed to burn American flags or vilify its artificial sacred symbols. However, no Muslim can be forced either to surrender and pay respect to such man-made idols. When NBA star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, out of no sudden urge or outrage, but through inner reflection modeled himself not to stand up during the national anthem, whole American nation struck back as if its idols have been destroyed or desecrated. He was instantly fired from NBA some indefinite period, until he agreed to stand-up and that 'he would be permitted to do so with hands cupped together and held prominently in front of his face; he would pray during the song'. What surprised Abdul-Rauf was the attention he got; he said he didn't even think of media noticing it. Because to him it wasn't a matter of enraging American nation, but to do what's in his mind.
"Abdul-Rauf tells me he isn't sure when or why he made the decision to join his team for the anthem, why he decided to come out of that tunnel early. He did not and does not, he says, see it as any special moment of defiance. He doesn't even mention the '93 Trade Center attack; in his mind's eye there's simply no connection. Nor does Abudul-Rauf view himself as a Cassius Clay, who changed his name to Muhammad Ali and lost his heavyweight title when he refused to enter the draft for the Vietnam War. Nor does he invoke the historic moment from the 1968 Olympics when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised fists for black power. As far as Abdul-Rauf is concerned, he was just him being him, true to his faith."

"It was slap in the face. Do what everyone else is doing." "It's honor." The list of humiliation, condemnation, vilification, insults, etc., is endless... He has a white trash can in which he keeps the stock of hate-letters from all over the USA, it was little space for more. Nonetheless, in this public opinion, many did respect his convictions and freedom of speech (that's inspiring):

Is this ritual not like blind following? Is it not from the worst kind of mental slavery? Deification of something that has no deity? The fault of Abdul-Rauf lied in his reasoning, reflection and committment to the truth.