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Miftah-ul-Janna (Booklet for way to Paradise)

“Gold and silver are

“Gold and silver are absolute themens (prices). They were created as themens. They are not used themselves for the purpose of satisfying people’s needs. They are means for buying their vital needs. Other things, on the other hand, have been created both as themens and as things to be used themselves.” Here we end our translation from Bedâyi’. Things that man needs so that he may live comfortably and in a manner agreeable with Islam are termed vital needs. Please scan the tenth chapter of the book entitled Ethics of Islam! Vital needs change, depending on states, situations, and times wherein people live. Superfluous things that are not needed for a comfortable life and which are used for pleasure or as ornaments or to arouse admiration are called ornamental things (zînat, or zînet). Gold and silver are not among vital needs; they are ornamental things. Using ornamental things that are mubâh (permitted) is permissible for men both at home and outdoors, and for women only when they are at home. As is seen, fulûs that is current is always commercial property. When its value reaches the amount of nisâb on the basis of the least valuable one of the gold coins being used at the market, it becomes farz to pay zakât for them. For, the nisâb amount of commercial property is calculated, according to the Imâmeyn (Imâm Abû Yûsuf and Imâm Muhammad ‘rahima-humallâhu ta’âlâ’, two most eminent disciples of Imâm A’zam Abû Hanîfa ‘rahima-hullâhu ta’âlâ’), with gold or silver, preferably with the one that is more widely used in commercial transactions. And zakât for that property is either paid with the money, (i.e. gold or silver,) on the basis of which its value has been calculated or onefortieth of the property is given. The poor person uses it for their vital needs. Fulûs means money other than gold and silver. It consists of metal coins minted from copper or bronze or other mixtures, or paper bills. That means to say that paper bills are fulûs. Zakât must be paid for them. However, their value, unlike the values of gold and silver, is not real value. It is nominal value. It is value attached by governments. They may undo their own making. When the nominal value (of fulûs) is gone, it can no longer be themen (price). It has lost its function as property of zakât. Ibni ’Âbidîn states: “Value of commercial property is calculated with gold or silver coins that have been minted as monetary units and which are oft-used for commercial purposes. Supposing the value of certain property is equal to two hundred and forty dirhams of silver when it is calculated with silver and – 196 –

twenty mithqal of gold when it is calculated with gold, its value is the amount of nisâb in both cases; however, that property should be evaluated on the basis of silver. For, the owner of the property will have to give six dirhams of silver or half a mithqal of gold, which is equivalent to the value of five dirhams of silver, and which in turn will be less advantageous to the poor person (to be paid zakât). [For, since twenty mithqals of gold and two hundred dirhams of silver indicate the same (amount of) nisâb, they are the same in value.] A gold coin that weighs one mithqal is called a dinâr. [All Turkish gold liras weigh one and a half mithqals, that is, 7.2 grams, each.] It is wâjib to pay zakât for the currency called fulûs [in gold or silver] which has been used to calculate its amount of nisâb.” That means to say that nisâb for paper bills must be calculated with the one with the lowest value of the gold liras being used for commercial purposes and their zakât must be paid in gold. For, silver is no longer being used as currency now. Zakât for paper bills is paid in the metal, i.e. gold, which is being used in calculating their (amount of) nisâb. One-fortieth of their value cannot be paid in paper bills. For, paper bills themselves cannot be used for vital needs. It would be prodigality to use paper bills in lieu of scrap paper which is available. And prodigality, in turn, is harâm. Nor is it permissible to pay paper bills as zakât of paper bills so that they can be used as currency. For, there is the gold, the ever-valuable and genuine currency, which should always be preferred in the payment of zakât. Gold can be paid, not only in coinage but also in any other form. It is available, always and everywhere. Supposing a Muslim cannot find gold in the city where he lives; then he sends paper bills to a friend of his living in a city where gold articles are being sold and writes to him to buy gold with the money and pay zakât on his behalf. It is permissible for him to pay his debt in paper bills afterwards. With this facilitated practicability in paying zakât for paper bills, it is not something justifiable to refuse to pay gold for the sake of paying paper bills with nominal and provisory face values, afortiori when the so-called preference is displayed at the cost of disobeying the commandment declared in Islam’s books of Fiqh. [1] People who are reluctant to adapt themselves to the Islamic teachings supplied in books of Fiqh and who attempt to practise [1] Please be sure to see the thirty-third chapter of the second fascicle of Endless Bliss for detailed information on the branch of Islamic teachings termed ‘Fiqh’. – 197 –

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