Friday, April 20, 2012

The best, worst vehicle in the world…

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


There is no god but He,
Praise and glory to Him;
Far is He from having the partners
they associate unto Him. (Tauba 9:31)

A friend sent me this emel; extracting an article from Kiplinger with a title ‘Obama Touts His Middle-Class Experience’.

At the White House Personal Finance Online summit on April 4, Kiplinger asked President Obama to respond to Mitt Romney's remarks the day before that, after his term in the White House, the President was out of touch with the personal finances of ordinary Americans. Here's how Obama responded:

"I went to law school and much of my college on scholarships. So did my wife. We were still paying off our student debt nine years after I had graduated from law school.

"Our first home was a modest condo, and I remember scraping together the down payment to purchase it and comparing interest rates. When Michelle and I first met, the car I was driving I think I bought for $500, and it had a big rust spot that allowed you to see the road on the passenger’s side, so I knew that my wife wasn’t marrying me for my money.”

When I read about Obama’s sad episode in life especially about his ‘rusty car’, I recalled what an ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) who had told me about ‘the best vehicle in the world'. It was not the million ringgits Mercedes, Ferrari, Bugatti, Rolls-Royce or Lamborghini but the most often vehicle that took its owner to the masjid. And the worse vehicle is the one that has never taken its owner to to the masjid!

The best vehicle could be in the form of a rusty old car (as previously own by President Obama), an old motorcycle, a trustworthy bicyle or even an animal such as a horse, camel or donkey! But treat the animals well, for fear God, in respect of these dumb animals and ride them when they are fit to be ridden and get off them when they are tired.

“The shining and expensive Mercedes or BMW that you own actually had no value at all if they had never for once being used to take you to the masjid. What’s the point of having a good car when it failed ‘to serve’ you to the masjid? Actually, it was not the car’s fault but its owner who were too proud or ignorant to go to the masjid,” said the ‘ustaz’.

He also said, the best vehicle is that it is able to transport people other than its owner to masjid or its owner is willing to give ride to those on the same journey as him. And he is not reluctant to lend it to others to be used for the the benefit of others.

In a hadith, the Prophet was said to borrow a horse from Abu Talha for an important task. The hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik r.a. read: “Once the people of Madina were frightened, so the Prophet (peace be upon him, pbuh) borrowed a horse from Abu Talha called Al-Mandub, and rode it. When he (pbuh) came back, he (pbuh) said, “We have not seen anything (to be afraid of), but the horse was very fast (having an energy as inexhaustible as the water of the sea).” (Sahih Bukhari)

By having a good vehicle, a person is able to use it to the masjid for prayers and to attain knowledge. Attainting knowledge is very important because it would help him/her to know which is halal (permissible) and haram (forbidden) in Islam including in buying or acquiring a vehicle.

Knowledge is an obligation and an honour for the Muslim. The Muslim believes that exercising his mind and seeking knowledge and discovering the signs of Allah in the universe is an obligation, because of the saying of the Prophet s.a.w.: “Seeking knowledge is a duty to every Muslim.” (Bukhari)

Therefore the Muslim must continue to purse knowledge, as long as the breath of his life remains in his body. The fact that Allah has raised the status of those who have knowledge, and described them alone as truly fearing Him, should be enough to encourage the Muslim to apply himself to seeking knowledge. For He (Allah SWT) said: “…Those truly fear Allah, among His servants, who have knowledge…” (Qur’an 35:28)

No one truly fears Allah except those whose minds are enlightened enough to see the greatness and power of Allah manifested in the creation of the universe and all living things, and these are the people of knowledge. So He has preferred them over those who have no knowledge: “…Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition.” (Qur’an 39:9)

When one has knowledge on Islam, he knows that riba (usury) is haram. Buying cars using the riba system is haram. The word riba means excess increase or addition. Interpreted in Shariah, it means any excess compensation without any due consideration (consideration does not include time value of money).

The meaning of riba has been clarified in the following verses of the Quran: ‘O those who believe, fear Allah and give up what remains of riba if you are believers. But if you do not do so then be warned of war from Allah and his messenger. If you repent even now, you have the right of the return of your capital neither will you wrong nor will you be wronged.’ (Al-Baqarah 2:278-9)

Ali ibn Abu Talib r.a. said: “Every loan that draws interest is riba.”

So vehicles bought by using the riba system (conventional financing) would not give us the best vehicles, even though we used them to go the masjid. Conventional financing is forbidden in Islam due to its direct involvement with interest.

A conventional car-financing scheme is actually an Interest based loan given by the financial institution and interest is charged on that loan. Also, in conventional car-leasing schemes, the lease contract is not in compliance with Islamic Shariah and has riba and other un-Islamic elements in it.

Thus those with knowledge should go for the Islamic car financing as the ultimate solution. In some countries it is known as Car Ijarah, which meets the principals of Islamic Shari'ah. Ijarah is an Arabic term with origins in Islamic Fiqah, meaning to give something to rent.

Leasing is a contract whereby usufruct rights to an asset are transferred by the owner, known as the lessor, to another person, known as the lessee, at an agreed-upon price called the rent, and for an agreed-upon period of time called the term of lease.

Legally, the lease contract is not a, sale of the object, but rather a sale of the usufruct (the right to use the object) for a specified period of time. The sale of usufruct is permissible in Islam, as evidenced by the verses (translation of meaning by Yusuf Ali (1991)): Said one of them: 'O father, hire him on wages, for truly the best to employ is a strong and trustworthy man'. He said: `I intend to wed one of my daughters to you, on condition that you work for me for eight years, and if you complete ten full years, that will be a grace from you'. (28:26 27)

It is also established by the following hadith narrated by ' Ahmad, 'Abu Dawud, and Al Nasa.'i on the authority of Sa'd): The farmers during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) used to pay rent for the land in water and seeds. He (pbuh) forbade them from doing that, and ordered them to use gold and silver (money) to pay the rent.

Also, 'Ahmad, Al Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of 'Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet (pbuh) hired a man to cup (water) for him, and paid him his wages.

So to have the best vehicle, use it to the maximum to the masjid or other good places; let others travel in it, be please to lend it to others and of course at the beginning bought it according to principles of Islam. Insya-Allah (God willing) you be on the right path to be successful in this world and the Hereafter.

And if you own a vehicle but it had never taken you to the masjid once; then it is the worse vehicle in the world even though it was a Ferrari or BMW, what’s more you had bought it on riba-based loans!

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