According to Fadhlalah, Isa Qassim and a bevy of other religious scholars taxes are haram.
With this opinion, our largest parliamentary bloc has been falling all over itself yesterday and today to distance themselves from their unanimous decision to adopt and approve the “Unemployment Benefits which automatically deduct 1% of everyone’s salary which will be jointly administered in a fund between the Ministry of Labour and the General Organisation of Social Insurance. This fund will exclude the security services – including the military – ministers and members of parliament of course, all of whom are regarded by the scheme as foreign to our society and not part of it.
What is the objection, I hear you ask? Simply that in Islam you cannot force people to give up their hard earned money, so if that money is collected from an unwilling participant who should give it up freely, then the receiver would have received “tainted” money, hence haram, should he or she accept it.
So what is a modern country to do, in light of these conflicting fatwas and interpretations thereof? Should we just shut shop or make any law specifically contingent on the acceptance of a disparate Shari’a scholars who can’t even decide to unify when the Maghreb prayer should be, let alone a whole calendar, or should we – as a modern country – turn our backs on them and go along with modern principals and studies to enable us to not only compete but be part of this world?
There is another dilemma of course for the government, they do not want to appear “anti-Islamic” so they will try to find a face-saving gesture to go around this new conflagration, rather than stick with modern principals, turn their backs on religious interpretation on modern economic principals and join the train with the rest of the world. My guess also is that as Bahrain is the “center of Islamic banking” – that chestnut that has been swallowed so readily because every institution therein employs and very handsomely rewards Shari’a enabled scholars who are ready to ameliorate differences of principals set 1,400 years ago with today’s business and economic arenas by creative interpretations and hearsay – the government will opt once again for the short-term gain rather than step up to the plate and for once declare that it is intent on looking way into the future for the benefit of this country and its citizens.
What we need are drastic measures and this is the perfect opportunity to grasp the moment and enact them.
What we need now is an unambiguous declaration to remove Islam from the basis of our constitution and rule the country with modern ways and thinking rather than stay for ever beholden to a bunch of folk’s disparate and desperate interpretation of ancient texts.
But then again, my money is on them taking the short-cut to keep ’em quite quiet.
Until the next time.