The way the Qur’ān eradicated evils as
intoxication and slavery is an ample proof of the fact that in case of an evil
that has pervaded the society to the extent that immediate abolition carries the
risk of causing further evil at individual or collective levels, gradual process
of reform is in consonance with the spirit of Islam provided that this allowance
is not misused (2:173; 6:140 & 16:115).
For some suggested strategies in this regard see Appendices
1&2. These strategies are suggestions at best, and any better strategy, so long
as there is no conflict in it with the principles of Islam, may be adopted.
It must be stressed again that upholding moral values
entails some material sacrifice. This sacrifice is rarely, if ever, detrimental
to the interests of a nation. In fact, when the affluent in the society make
sacrifice to ensure that moral values prevail, the whole society benefits.
It is only when these men, who are in authority and who
have the power, are men of God that progress can be made in society without the
exploitation of man by man. Although no claims are made in relation to the
suggestions given in Appendices 1&2, it is indeed stressed that perhaps what the
nation needs more than mere systems for elimination of Ribā is a team of men of
God and men of sagacity at the helm of affairs. Men who are not only pious but
also aware of the fact that the ability of a nation to produce wealth depends
not on the self-interest of a few individuals, but on a culture conducive to the
production of wealth.
Among the required productive forces for the production of
wealth are a variety of natural resources, science and technology, appropriate
laws, law and order, a congenial environment for industry, commerce and
services, a sense of proportion, and, above all, moral values. Setting up
high-tech industries on borrowed funds, which industries benefit few at the cost
of the interests of the majority can never be conducive to the progress of a
nation, and no educated person should be fooled into believing that ensuring the
nation the required assortment of resources at the cost of the interests of the
selected few would be detrimental to the interest of the nation as a whole.
Blocking resources through the requirement of collateral security and
restricting them through interest rates not only kill true and indigenous
entrepreneurship but also destroy the more elementary cultural and material
advances that must pervade the economy to make good use of available facilities.
As George Soule has put it:
Again and again, it has been discovered that a nation
cannot much benefit by attracting large foreign loans and putting up highly
mechanical factories, unless more elementary and cultural advances have created
the readiness to make good use of these facilities. Education, health, desire
for improvement, reasonably honest and orderly government, a harmonious
interrelationship among agriculture, manufacture, commerce, and good
transportation, are all found to be necessary….
In relation to these general principles, the suggestions
presented may be of some use even if they do not serve as a panacea for all