Corruption has appeared in land and sea caused by the hands of people so that they may taste the consequences of their actions and turn back
Qur’an, The Romans (Ar Rum) – 30:41
The root of the matter
If you have browsed your way through this web site you will have got a sense that this is broadly speaking an educational tool. This part of the site is nothing more than that as we are driven to discover the root causes that are bringing the planet to its knees. Even talking about faith, religion and the deeper motives that drive us is of no avail if we cannot fundamentally change the conditions we now live in, which are described in cataclysmic terms by academics downward. What can we discover in Islam that will bring new insights into what needs to change? What can we discover that will give us fresh hope? What can we discover that will enable us to leave a legacy worth inheriting for future generations?
It has been said that coveting money is at the root of all evil. This may be so but money as we know it today has control over everything we do. It is almost as elemental as air and water in our lives today to the extent that it doesn’t occur to us to question its existence leave alone its origins. The global financial crisis we are experiencing today has brought these questions to the fore and in this section we will attempt to solve the riddle of how the money system that is seen as having created our so called advanced civilisation is also going to be the cause of its downfall. Could it be that the human race has over extended itself as civilisational collapse is being predicted by some impeccable sources?
One increasingly comes across interesting appraisals of money like the following for example:
In spite of all its fervid activity,
money remains a naked symbol with no intrinsic value of its own
and no direct linkage to anything specific.
(See – Kurtzman, J., The Death of Money, Little, Brown & Co, Boston, USA, 1993)
Money has come to be recognised as mere tokens and
…there is something quite magical about the way money is created.
No other commodity works quite the same way.
The money supply grows through use;
it expands through debt.
The more we lend, the more we have.
The more debt there is, the more there is.
(Kurtzman, J., The Death of Money, Little, Brown & Co, Boston, USA, 1993)
These tokens of value that we create from nothing and use every day grow exponentially. But we know that the natural world, which is subject to drastic resource depletion does not grow. It has limits and is finite. This equation is lopsided and it demonstrates the impossibility of maintaining a growth agenda which is now at the core of development policy which we all take for granted. It is clear to us that we cannot continue to create an infinite amount of token finance to exploit the real and tangible resources of a finite world if we desire to maintain a liveable planet. Looked at from this perspective, money, as the modern world has conceived it, assumes the characteristics of a virus that eats into the fabric of the planet. The consequences of this become visible as global environmental degradation.
(In Resources – Papers & Essays: Fazlun Khalid, Sustainable Development and Environmental Collapse an Islamic Perspective. This is extract from a paper was delivered at the World Summit on Sustainable Development parallel event at the Muslim Convention on Sustainable Development, National Awqaf Foundation, South Africa, 1 September 2002.)
In attempting to uncover connections in the labyrinth of the conditions that exist today we have divided our paths of enquiry to three matrices as follows: