Occupy Together – Abdassamad Clarke

Abdassamad Clarke
Abdassamad Clarke

The poet W. B. Yeats strove to make a unity of his life. “Hammer your thoughts into unity,” was his expression of that. Few things are more important for us today, as things and causes are automatically shunted into categorical boxes where they are rendered impotent like a freshly slaughtered Egyptian chicken tossed into a large can, there to thrash about until finally dead. “Kettling” anyone?

Thus, deeply moved by the Occupy Wall Street movement and its spread far and wide, and alarmed at the attempts of the media to ignore it or trivialise it, and the attempts of the various alternative ideologues to categorise it according to their predilections, I want to bring this event up against another theme, that of hidden idolatry. This theme, Uthman Ibrahim-Morrison and I touched upon before in The Age of Freedom although it seemed to us much more obvious that Freedom as exemplified by the Statue of Liberty had become an openly worshipped idol rather than an example of concealed idolatry.

Finally we have woken up to the power realities of the age: forget the governments; go for the bankers. Governments have been exposed as powerless before their creditors to whom they humbly submit with a sycophancy that is repellent. At the core of the process there is yet another idol. We might characterise an idol as some thing that is feared or hoped for with unrealistic expectations. To the outsider, the worship of the idol can seem strange and self-evidently dysfunctional. As the votary prostrates and pleads before some stone figurine and supplicates it, the observer is repelled by the oddness of the whole experience, unless afflicted by a misplaced dose of anthropologist’s empathy. “It is only a stone,” one wants to cry out, “it can neither hear you, nor answer your prayers!”

However, most of us are just as guilty as the most primitive animist or polytheist; we hourly attribute wealth to bits of paper with numbers printed on them, for around 4% of the time, and, for the rest of the time, to electronic impulses whizzing through circuitry. And because of this primitive delusion, we are prey to those who print this dwindling portion of what they laughingly call ‘the money supply’ and who indeed are increasingly resorting to printing gazillions of it at the slightest urge, and prey even more to those who simply create money by entering some figures in a spreadsheet.

Now, the most terrible threat facing the ‘Occupy Together’ movement is not suppression or police brutality, but to settle for reform, and this dreadful possibility is already implicit in the way that the movement’s goals have been framed. The slogans read “X% of the population control Y% of the wealth”, which suggests that if we can rebalance those figures in some arbitrary way, we can all go home. But. As long as we are in thrall to money that is invented at will by disreputable people – and be under no illusion about this; these are some of the most sordid human beings you will ever meet, except that they have simply no intention of meeting the likes of you and me – the percentages are irrelevant. Why? Because if there is an even playing field and one player can invent money out of nothing and charge even a minuscule rate of interest, he must in the end take the entire game. It is a rigged game. The rules are inexorable.

The answer? Return to a money that cannot be invented at will. It does not really matter what that is. People throughout history have put gold and silver at the top of the list. Then? Put a stop to those percentages because even with gold and silver if someone can charge others even a minuscule 1% interest, he is going to end up with it all again, and we are back where we started. Is that all? No. There is more, but that is a good start. Some of it is in Banking, the root cause of the injustices of our time. Buy it here.

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Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics, and in Cairo in Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s imam khatib of the Norwich Mosque, where he is currently an imam and teacher. He has translated the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (jointly with Muhammad Abdarrahman), which was published by Turath Publishing at the end of July 2004 and a number of other works from Arabic: al-Qawl al-mu'tamad fi mashru'iyyat adh-dhikr bi'l-ism al-mufrad by Shaykh al-Alawi on the standing in Shari’ah of using the divine name in dhikr, which was published by Diwan Press as first part of The Two Invocations and since republished by Madinah Press, The History of the Khalifahs (the chapters on the Khulafa ar-Rashidun from as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa), the Complete Forty Hadith (translation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith along with the Imam’s explanation of their fiqh and linquistic usages) and Kitab al-Jami’ by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (published as A Madinan View), Rijal – narrators of the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, all published by Ta-Ha Publishers of London, Kitab al-athar by Imam Abu Hanifah and transmitted by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (Turath Publishing 2006), The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (a translation of Jami' al-'ulum wa'l-hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, published by Turath Publishing 2007). In addition he has edited Aisha Bewley's translation of Ibn Hajar's abridgement of at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Ibn Taymiyyah's al-Kalim at-Tayyib both published by the UK Islamic Academy, Dr Asadullah Yate's translation of al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, published by Ta-Ha Publishing and a number of other works. He is currently engaged with Suád Østergaard on a translation of the Qur’an into Danish, the first volume of which translated in collaboration with Jakob Werdelin, comprising Surat al-Fatihah, Surat al-Baqarah and Surah Ali ‘Imran, was recently published as Den gavmilde Qur’an: en fremlægning of de tre første suraer by Havens Forlag of Copenhagen. Translations yet to be published include Traditions of the Sunnah (Athar as-sunan) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali an-Nimawi (jointly with Mawlana In'amuddin), to be published by Turath Publishing Ltd. Among his unpublished translations are the Sciences of Tafsir comprising portions of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Qur’anic commentary at-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil, in particular his introductory sections on the essential elements of the sciences necessary for tafsir. He is author of a number of children’s books, The Year of the Elephant, The Great Victory and The Last Battle all of which are on the sirah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as The Story of Stories about the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, in which he drew a great deal on the commentary of Ibn Juzayy, may Allah be merciful to him. He has also a poem God is Dead published in the Minaret journal of Stockholm, Sweden, and an as-yet unpublished collection of short stories called Tales Are Like That, and a novel called The Wings of the Butterfly. Abdassamad is a teacher of both adults and children in Qur’an recitation (tajwid) and meanings, Arabic language and the deen in general, most recently having organised and taken part in a conference under the auspices of Islamic Events of London on the History of the Islamic Khalifate, and having given discourses in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Jena, Weimar, Copenhagen and the Midlands. 18 April, 2007 0:03

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1 Comment

  1. If Gold and Silver do become currency how would new supplies of gold and silver be released into society? Gold and silver miners for instance may not spend their money because they may not want or need anything. Zakat? What would we do if there was a shortage of gold and silver coins relative to societies needs? Would we just use other forms of money?

    Would the government play a role in building roads for example, would it do so through taxing gold and silver?

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