"Eradicating absolute poverty and fulfilling the basic needs for all individuals in the society are among the economic goals in the Islamic social order".
This is an excerpt from the article 'An Approach To An Islamic Economic System' sent to Bernama here recently by the Malaysian Institute of Islamic Understanding (Ikim) Deputy Director-General Nik Mustapha Nik Hassan.
According to Nik Mustapha, poverty is not only an economic disease but also affects individual spirituality.
He said Islam gives priority towards combating poverty and the Islamic approach to fighting poverty is to motivate and help every able-bodied individual to actively participate actively in economic activities.
Everyone should succeed through his own initiative and only after all opportunities have been explored by the individuals concerned, will the society and public authorities come to the rescue, said Nik Mustapha.
Nik Mustapha said Islam does not encourage solving the problem through short-term measures like transfer of money or value in kind.
Instead Islam urges self-reliance through active participation in economic opportunities.
"Short-term measures are relevant only for disabled individuals and despite that, they (the disabled) are still encouraged to work as Islam regards work as part of life and a religious obligation," he said in the article.
Nik Mustapha said the society and authorities in the Islamic economic system have the responsibility to guarantee that all individual basic needs and requirements are fulfilled.
Economic productivity and efficiency will not be attained if these requirements are not met.
He said fulfilment of basic needs for the entire population is a pre-requisite for the achievement of continuous economic stability and growth
Nik Mustapha said Islam regards the economic position of man as not static in order to maintain economic stability and growth, and upgrade economic well-being.
The idea of improvement of the economic well-being of man is religious proposition.
Since there is a synthesis of spiritual and material aspects in the Islamic scheme of human endeavour, the economic advancement aspired to by Islam development will also contribute towards human spiritual betterment, he said.
Economic stability in the Islamic framework refers to the achievements of full employment and price stability of goods and services.
This will contribute significantly towards economic growth and ultimately will improve economic well-being, said Nik Mustapha.
According to Nik Mustapha, individual participation in economic activities is a religious responsibility.
Islam also requires the individual to provide and support at least his own livelihood and the need of his dependants.
Nik Mustapha said the individual should be creative and self-motivated and at the same time a Muslim is required to discharge his responsibility in the most excellent way possible as to be efficient and productive are acts of virtue.
Nik Mustapha said since all creations are for man and man alone, the ability to utilize the natural resources in the light of religious responsibility is strongly required of Muslims.
Nik Mustapha said at the collective level, the system should be able to generate and provide ample and equal opportunities for every individual to participate.
He said the spirit of participation must be harmonious and cooperative.
All kinds of ill-practices must be minimised and ultimately eliminated and Islam believes economic cooperation is the key to success.
Efficiency and economic development can be achieved and sustained in an environment where every individual operates harmoniously, he added.
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