Saturday, June 29, 2013

Q&A: Extent of State Involvement in Economics and Taxes | Sheikh Ata’ Abu Rashtah

As-Salaamu Alaikum to our honourable Sheikh may Allah keep you safe and sound.
I want to know the extent of the involvement of the Islamic State's authority in economics as a whole and then the extent of its authority in the enforcement of taxes (Daraa'ib). How are taxes regulated in general according to the Fiqhi understanding?
From Anis Labidi
Answer:
Wa Alaikum Assalaam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Baraakatuhu,
Your question regarding the involvement of the State in the Economy and taxation...
1. In relation to the involvement of the State in the economy accordingly the Economic System in Islam has specified the obligations of the State and its rights in addition to the obligations and rights of the people according to the Shari'ah rules which regulate the responsibilities or powers of both the one responsible for the people's affairs and those being cared for (the people). And because the Islamic Economic System has a major effect in relation to properties in terms of the means of ownership and expenditure. Therefore Islam has specified (or defined) these properties, maintained and safeguarded them from any aggression. So there are individual properties, State properties and public properties and none of these infringe upon another. Therefore, the design of state involvement displayed in the current day where private property is seized and turned into public or state property, or the public property is turned into private property like the giving of petroleum and mineral concessions to the local and foreign private sector, all of the above is not permitted in Islam. Rather each remains within the limits of its ownership: The individuals in their private ownership, the state in regards to its ownership like those of the Ghanaa'im (spoils) and Kharaaj, and the Ummah in regards to its ownership like those related to petrol, minerals and energy resources. As such the pattern of state involvement that is known within the economic systems in our current age does not exist in the Islamic State.
2. As for taxes (dara'ib) then in accordance to Islam there are no taxes that are taken from the people as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to manage the affairs of the people and it has not been proven that he صلى الله عليه وسلم enforced taxes upon the people and there are no reports whatsoever to indicate that he ever did. And when he صلى الله عليه وسلم learnt that those on the borders of the State took taxes upon the goods that entered the lands he forbade that. It has been reported from 'Uqbah Bin 'Aamir that he heard the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم saying:
لا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ صَاحِبُ مَكْسٍ
"He who imposes maks (custom duty) would not enter paradise" recorded by Ahmad and verified as Saheeh by Al-Haakim.
The Saahib Al-Maks is the person who takes taxes upon trade. This indicates the forbiddance of taking taxes according to the connotation defined by the West. In addition the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said in a Hadeeth that is agreed upon narrated by Abu Bakrah:
إِنَّ دِمَاءَكُمْ وَأَمْوَالَكُمْ وَأَعْرَاضَكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ حَرَامٌ كَحُرْمَةِ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا فِي بَلَدِكُمْ هَذَا فِي شَهْرِكُمْ هَذَا
"Verily your blood, wealth (property) and honours are Haraam (to infringe upon) like the inviolability (Hurmah) of this day of yours, in this land of yours in this month of yours..."
And this Hadeeth is 'Aamm (general) and it includes within its meaning every person which includes the State and the taking of taxes means the taking of the wealth (monies) of the Muslims against their will which indicates its inadmissibility.
However there is an exclusive case in which the Shar'a has approved of them and permitted to take wealth according to its measured requirement without excess and it is only taken from the wealthy from the surplus of their wealth.
This case is when spending has been obliged upon the Bait ul-Maal (State Treasury) and the Muslims and there are not sufficient funds in the Bait ul-Maal and as such is taken from the surplus wealth of the rich in accordance to the amount that needs to be spent in order to meet it.
However if the spending is obliged upon the Bait ul-Maal alone and not upon the Muslims, then money is not taken for this from the Muslims if the funds in the Bait ul-Maal are insufficient, rather the need is (still required to be) spent upon it from the Bait ul-Maal.
So for example fulfilling the fundamental (basic) needs of the poor in terms of food, shelter and clothing, this is obligatory upon the State to be taken from the Bait ul-Maal just as it is Waajib (obligatory) upon the Muslims. He صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
وَأَيُّمَا أَهْلُ عَرْصَةٍ أَصْبَحَ فِيهِمْ امْرُؤٌ جَائِعٌ فَقَدْ بَرِئَتْ مِنْهُمْ ذِمَّةُ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى
"In any local community, if a person becomes hungry amongst them then Allah has nothing to do with them."(Recorded by Ahmad and narrated by Ibn 'Umar (ra))
So if there are insufficient funds to meet the basic fundamental needs of the poor in the Bait ul-Maal, then the amount required to meet these needs is taken from the rich without any increase above that.
And in the case of Al-Jihaad for example, it is also Fard (obligatory) upon the State and the Muslims due to the saying of Allah سبحانه وتعالى:
وَجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
"And do jihad with your wealth and yourselves in the Way of Allah."
(At-Tawba, 9:41)
And His statement سبحانه وتعالى:
وَالْمُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ
"And those who make Jihaad in the way of Allah with their wealth and their lives."
(an-Nisaa, 4:95)
Therefore meeting the needs of Al-Jihaad is treated in the same manner (as described in the first example).
And in this way it is understood that taxes are non-existent in Islam with the exception of this case in which it is obligatory for two conditions to be met:
First: That it is obligatory upon the Bait ul-Maal and upon the Muslims established by explicit (Sareeh) Shari'ah evidences.
Second: That there are not sufficient funds in the Bait ul-Maal to meet their needs.
So in this circumstance alone is the amount required to meet the need taken from the surplus wealth of the rich without any increase. And in regards to the surplus (faa'id) we mean that which is above the typical food of the rich, his clothing, housing, servants, wives and what he rides/drives to meet his needs, and all that is like this in accordance to the typical situation of those like him. This is because Allah سبحانه وتعالى said:
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنْفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ
"They will ask you what they should give away. Say, 'Whatever is surplus to your needs.'"
(Al-Baqarah, 2:219)
Al-'Afwa means that which does not require effort to spend which means what is over his requirements according to what is known to be typical from those like him. And the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
أفضلُ الصَّدَقَةِ مَا كَانَ عَنْ ظَهْرِ غِنًى
"The best Sadaqah is that which is spent from the back of the richness (Zhahri Ghina)."
Agreed upon by way of Hakeem Bin Hizaam and Abu Hurairah. And the meaning of 'the back of the richness' (Zhahri Ghina) is any increase upon his known (typical) requirements of what is known (bil-ma'rouf).
And in conclusion there are no taxes in Islam except for this case and it can only be taken to meet the amount required to meet the need without any increase and it is not taken except from the back of the richness and this case rarely occurred throughout the Islamic history because the permanent resources of the State that Islam has explained were sufficient. However if required it is permitted to take the taxes according to the explanation provided above.
Your brother,
Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah
01 Shaban 1434 AH
10 June 2013 CE

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