The situation that has appeared in the markets as a result of the recent economic crisis in America especially and the developed countries of Europe, has been seen as “Darwinism finance, literally the survival of the fittest for the banks,” by some sections of the foreign press. Some press organs have even claimed that “Darwinism rules the market” in the countries in question.
This description stems from the concept of the “strong overcoming the weak” that lies at the root of Darwinian thinking. The fact is, however, that the concept of the strong overcoming the weak is not one that came into being just when Darwin said it. It is not Darwinism that brought the concept into being. Therefore, an imaginary Darwinist concept is not justified by the survival of the strongest banks in the market, and the situation does not constitute an example of Darwinism.
In a technical sense, it is true that the strong defeat the weak. Bulldozers are not the same thing as axes. There is no doubt that a strong machine will crush a weak one. But this is true only technically. What is wrong is to make a moral principle out of it and act out of the logic of “the strongest must survive, and must be right.” It is a grave error, and the herald of terrible tragedy, to act in the light of the idea that “the strong must defeat and eliminate the weak.”
The idea of the strong crushing the weak is actually turned into a moral principle in Darwinism. That is why societies under the influence of a Darwinist mindset are constantly dominated by mass slaughter, murder, terror and disorder, insecurity and tension. Under the effect of Darwinism, eliminating the weak has been seen as essential in order to maintain the equilibrium in nature, which is why communist and fascist societies have had no qualms about mass murder. Social Darwinism constituted the greatest intellectual groundwork for communists such as Marx, Lenin and Mao, and for fascists such as Hitler.
However, in societies with a sense of conscience and that fear Allah, the strong always help the weak, strive to protect them and mobilize their resources to strengthen them. That, under normal condition, is what is best fitted to human nature. The moral characteristic required by fear of Allah, faith, reason and conscience is to look after the weak. Only then can societies progress, grow stronger and live in peace and security.
In one verse our Lord reveals:
What reason could you have for not fighting in the Way of Allah –” for those men, women and children who, being weak, are oppressed and say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper from You!”? — (Surat an-Nisa’, 75)
The Causes of the Financial Crisis:
The first cause of the financial crisis that has hit the entire world is the interest system. This, made unlawful by our Lord, has been shamelessly implemented as it has been depicted as attractive in societies based on self-interest only, and people thought they would never come to harm from it but would always make profits. Under the attractive-seeming appearance of the interest system, people were encouraged to invest their money in banks rather than in the direction of production or investment. Since there is no production or flow of capital in a system in which people hide their money in banks, in safes or under the mattress, financial troubles such as high costs of living, inflation or economic collapse are the inevitable result. That is what happened in the global financial crisis in question; the halt in production, the absence of a money flow and money being kept in banks to earn interest caused the economy to collapse.
In His verses, however, Almighty Allah advises us to avoid interest and tells His servants of the scourges it brings with it:
You who believe! Do not feed on usury, multiplied and then remultiplied. Have fear of Allah so that hopefully you will be successful. — (Surah Al ‘Imran, 130)
Those who practice usury will not rise from the grave except as someone driven mad by satan’s touch. That is because they say, “Trade is the same as usury.” But Allah has permitted trade and He has forbidden usury. Whoever is given a warning by his Lord and then desists, can keep what he received in the past and his affair is Allah’s concern. But all who return to it will be the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. Allah obliterates usury but makes charity grow in value! Allah does not love any persistently ungrateful wrongdoer. — (Surat al-Baqara, 275-276)
2. Lack of Trust in Allah
The second major cause of the financial crisis is lack of trust in Allah; in other words, people forgetting that money and property will come from Allah, the Lord of all things, panicking about the future and never thinking that Allah will give them the best of things so long as they seek shelter in Him. Allah, our Lord, has promised that He will answer society’s prayers so long as it trusts in Him, that He will protect them and enrich them direct from Him if He so chooses.
Some people, however, believe that the money and goods they possess are a superior force and imagine that they will be able to protect and guarantee their futures with them. Therefore, they are always troubled, worried and concerned for the sake of protecting these possessions. As a result of that worry they hide their possessions away, and imagine that this money tucked away will protect them in the future. But they forget that true help comes from Allah. They never think that they will absolutely come by abundance and well-being so long as they put their trust in Allah. However, since that money that had been squirreled away was never put in action but was tucked away uselessly out of a concern for the future, the financial crisis eventually raises its head.
The fact is that all possessions actually belong to our Lord. All help comes from Him. Money hidden away can help nobody without our Lord’s permission. What will protect people now and in the future is not the money they have squirreled away, but only the help of our Lord. He reveals this in another verse:
If Allah helps you, no one can vanquish you. If He forsakes you, who can help you after that? So the believers should put their trust in Allah. — (Surah Al ‘Imran, 160)
One of the main reasons why people greedily accumulate assets is a “fear of poverty” inculcated by satan, or a concern for tomorrow, to put it another way. Those who fail to believe truly live in a constant state of fear that something unpleasant will happen to them, of having no money, of getting old with nobody beside, of being needy, of being made bankrupt, and the like. They therefore spend just about every moment of their lives making plans and personal investments for the future.
These people, with their concerns and plans for this world, make almost no preparations for the Day of Judgment, which is in fact an inescapable reality. They think of this world every day, but hardly even once of the Day of Reckoning. Allah reveals in the Qur’an how those who do not believe in the real sense are made to worry about the future by satan:
Satan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice. Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. — (Surat al-Baqara, 268)
3. Greed and Parsimony
Some people, greedy to accumulate goods and money out of concern for the future and a love of material things, are unwilling to spend the money they possess, and are parsimonious with it. These people’s policies are generally built on the increasing weakening and elimination of the weak while they save and become increasingly strong and rich. For that reason, they have no compunctions about exploiting the poor, never give alms, never behave generously, never spend money even on themselves, but constantly save up against some unknown day in the future. The fact is, however, that because of the lack of production, this money that they generally keep in reserve and think will bring them profits through the interest system is unable to keep pace with inflation and loses value. This money has never produced the anticipated abundance. Stagnant production has always been the consequence of this money excluded from the markets out of parsimony.
Yet if people abide by Allah’s command and behave generously, they will encounter an unexpected abundance. Almighty Allah has revealed that interest will not grow, but that alms spent for His approval will be rewarded with huge gains in this world and in the Hereafter:
What you give with usurious intent, aiming to get back a greater amount from people’s wealth, does not become greater with Allah. But anything you give as alms, seeking the Face [approval] of Allah –” all who do that will get back twice as much. — (Surat ar-Rum, 39)
The Solution Is to Behave According to Qur’anic Moral Values
It is impossible for such a financial crisis to arise in the absence of an interest-based financial system, where people are not parsimonious and hide their money away, when they employ it generously for production, when they make proper use of the money in their possession, when they give alms and, most important of all, when they submit to Allah and believe with all their hearts that it is Allah Who will bestow money and wealth. It is impossible for people to become poor under such a system. When the rich help the poor, the poor will also have purchasing power. That will make production necessary. When manufacturing rises and people have purchasing power, factories will operate and sales will rise to high levels. The markets will immediately revive and money kept in banks and under mattresses that benefits nobody at all will enter the markets again. The poor will grow richer, and the rich will grow richer still. The abundance caused by the re-emergence of money that had been hidden away will, of course, be very great. This is the only solution capable of solving the problems facing all the countries of the world.
There is no doubt that this solution is the only and most logical way of resolving the crisis. Above all else, this solution is compatible with the moral values of the Qur’an. There is no doubt that Allah’s help and response will be very great if people act according to Qur’anic moral values. Allah will show all the people the abundance that comes from acting in the light of the moral virtues of the Qur’an. Our Lord makes this promise to His servants in a verse:
The men and women who give charity and make a good loan to Allah will have it increased for them and they will have a generous reward. — (Surat al-Hadid, 18)