If we are to contribute toward the development and betterment of arab societies, we must raise the issue how the Muslim world can regain its purpose & vitality, and how it can respond successfully to the challenges that it is now faced with?
One, the strength of government does not materialize except through implementation of justice, equality among all citizens, protection of private property, and freedom for all.
Two, government cannot gain strength except through its people.
Three, people cannot be sustained except by wealth.
Four, wealth cannot be acquired except through development.
Five, development cannot be attained except through justice.
Six, justice is the criterion by which God will evaluate mankind.
Seventh, government is charged with the responsibility of actualizing justice.
The human being must be at the centre of any development because the rise and fall of civilizations is closely dependent on the well-being or misery of the people.
If human beings are the focus, then development and justice become the most crucial links in the chain of causation. Development is essential because unless there is a perceptible improvement in the well-being of the people, they will not be motivated to do their best . Moreover, in the absence of development, the inflow of scholars, artisans, labour and capital that need to take place from other societies to boost development further may not take place . This may make it difficult to sustain development and may lead ultimately to a decline .
Development does not refer to merely economic growth. It encompasses all-round human development . Economic development cannot be brought about by economic forces alone in isolation of non-economic sectors of the society.
It needs moral, social, political and demographic support. If this support does not become available, economic development may not get triggered, and if it does, it may not be sustainable. Development is, however, not possible without justice. However, justice, like development, is also not conceived in a narrow economic sense but rather in the more comprehensive sense of justice in all spheres of human life.
Anyone who confiscates the property of someone or forces him to work for him, or presses an unjustified claim against him, or imposes on him a duty not required by law has committed injustice. Collection of unjustified taxes is also injustice; transgression on another’s property or taking it away by force or theft constitutes injustice; denying other people their rights is also injustice . One of the greatest injustices and the most destructive of development is the unjustified imposition of tasks on people and subjecting them to forced labour.
The extent to which property rights are infringed determines the extent to which the incentive to earn and acquire it goes. If the incentive is gone, they refrain from earning. This adversely affects their efficiency, innovativeness, entrepreneurship, drive and other qualities, ultimately leading to the society’s disintegration and decline.
Justice, however, necessitates certain rules of behaviour which include economics and moral values in religious worldviews. They are the standards by which people interact with, and fulfill their obligations towards each other.
Divine Laws command the doing of good and prohibit the doing of what is evil and destructive.
The Divine laws can only give rules of behaviour, it cannot itself enforce them. It is the responsibility of the political authority to ensure compliance through incentives and deterrents . The political authority has the same relationship to a civilization as form has to matter .It is not possible to conceive of political authority without civilization and of civilization without political authority . Good rulership is equivalent to gentleness and if the ruler is tyrannical and harsh in punishments . . . the people become fearful and depressed and seek to protect themselves by means of lies, ruses and deception. This becomes their character trait. Their perceptions and character become corrupted . . .. They may conspire to kill him.
Recognition of private property and respect for individual freedom within the constraints of moral values .The job of the state is, in addition to defense and maintenance of law and order, to ensure justice, fulfillment of contracts, removal of grievances, fulfillment of needs and compliance with the rules of behaviour.8 In other words, the state must do things that help people carry on their lawful businesses more effectively and prevent them from committing excesses and injustices against each other.
It is undesirable for the government authority to get directly involved in economic activity. Doing so will not only hurt the people by reducing their opportunities and
profits (now termed as crowding out of the private sector) but also reduce the state’s tax revenue. Thus, the state must neither be a laissez faire state nor a totalitarian state. It is rather a state which ensures the prevalence justice, protection of private property and
serves as an instrument for accelerating human development and well-being .
Wealth provides the resources that are needed for ensuring justice and development, the effective performance of its role by the government , and the well-being of all people.
Wealth does not depend on the stars , or the existence of gold and silver mines . It depends rather on economic activities and, the largeness of the market, incentives and facilities provided by the government and tools , which in turn depend on saving or the surplus left after satisfying the needs of the people. The greater the activity, the greater will be the income. Higher income will contribute to larger savings and greater investment in tools which will in turn contribute to greater development and wealth . we must emphasize the role of investment further by saying: wealth does not grow when hoarded and amassed in safes. It rather grows and expands when it is spent for the well-being of the people, for giving them their rights, and for removing their hardships. This makes the people better off, strengthens the government , makes the times prosperous, and enhances its prestige . Factors that act as catalysts are low rates of taxes , security of life and property , and a healthy physical environment amply provided with trees and water and other essential amenities of life .
Wealth also depends on division of labour and specialization, the greater the specialization the higher will be the growth of wealth. Individual human beings cannot by themselves satisfy all their needs. They must cooperate for this purpose in their civilization. The needs that can be satisfied by the cooperation of a group exceed many times what they can produce individually .
The surplus is spent to provide the goods of luxury and to satisfy the needs of inhabitants
of other cities. They import other goods in exchange for these. They will then have more wealth .Greater prosperity enables them to have luxury and the things that go with it, such as elegant houses, clothes and utensils, and the use of servants and carriages . . . Consequently, industry and crafts thrive . Human beings do not allow their labour to be used free. Therefore, division of labour will take place only when exchange is possible.
This requires well-regulated markets which enable people to exchange and fulfill their needs .
A rise in incomes and wealth contributes to a rise in tax revenues and enables the government to spend more on the people’s well-being. This leads to an expansion in economic opportunities and greater development, which, in turn, induces a natural rise in population and also the immigration of skilled and unskilled labour and scholars from other places , thus further strengthening the human and intellectual capital of that society. Such a rise in population boosts the demand for goods and services, and thereby promotes industries), raises incomes, promotes sciences and education , and further accelerates development . In the beginning, prices tend to decline with the rise in development and production. However, if demand keeps on rising and the supply is unable to keep pace with it, scarcities develop, leading to a rise in the prices of goods and services. The prices of necessities tend to rise faster than those of luxuries, and prices in urban areas rise faster than those in rural areas.
The cost of labour also rises and so do taxes. These lead to a further rise in prices, which creates hardship for people and leads to a reversal in the flow of population. Development declines and along with it prosperity and civilization .
The strength or weakness of civilization depends on the strength or weakness
of the political authority which it embodies. The survival of the political authority depends ultimately on the well-being of the people which it must try to ensure by providing a proper environment for actualizing development as well as justice . If the political authority is corrupt and incompetent and not accountable before the people, it will not perform its functions conscientiously. Consequently, the resources at its disposal will not get effectively utilized and the services that need to be provided to facilitate development will not become available. Development as well as well-being will then suffer. Unless there is development, the resources needed to enable the society as well as the government to meet the challenges that they face and to actualize their socio-economic goals will not expand.