By now many Malays would have heard about the Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Negara or MTEN report which is all about how dismal the Malays have performed economically, especially comparing to the other race(s) in Malaysia. The gamut of reaction ranges from blaming the UMNO Malay members to blaming UMNO Malay leaders. Well, in short, blaming UMNO and Malays. So here is my take on the issue, which is what will be writing about today.
Malays, UMNO and the EconomyI say: The failure of advancing the economic situation of the Malays in Malaysia is neither because of the Malays, nor is it because of UMNO.
Now, before any of you jump to the premature condition that I am blaming other races or other political parties, let it be clear that I am also saying that the failure of such is neither because of the Chinese, the Indians, MCA, MIC, DAP, PAS, PKR, PSM, other whatever race or political parties that you can think of existing in Malaysia.
So what is the failure due to?
The answer lies in what actually the Malays are, and that is, for the majority of them at least, that the Malays are Muslims. And if a Muslim does not submit to Allah in all spheres of their lives, including in the sphere of economics, they will fail. And they will fail miserably. In this world, and maybe in the hereafter. And they will fail, because Allah is giving them a chance, at least in this world, to learn of their mistakes and do the right thing. So that maybe if they fail, it is a form of an expiation of their mistakes, so that they are forgiven, correct themselves by doing the right things, and probably get it easy in the afterlife. But if they keep failing, and do not realise that they are failing because they are doing mistakes, and keep on repeating the mistakes, they will fail again. And again. And repeatedly again. Until they obstinately do such mistakes in pride, as an arrogant act of knowing defiance against Allah, then maybe Allah will no longer give them that chance of recovering from their mistake, and perhaps they will get worldly success, at the price of eternal damnation in the hereafter, or worse, terrible punishment inflicted on both this world and in the hereafter. Like personal shame and public disasters. And that is definitely worse.
Conversely, why are the other races, most notably the Chinese (in the Malaysian context), faring better in economy? The answer can easily be related to the above point. For the most part, the Chinese here are disbelievers. And the rules of Islam do not apply to them. If they do what they are best in doing in, in the field of making money, no matter that it is not compatible with Islamic rules, it does not matter. They will get what they work for. And boy, do they work for it. Morally or otherwise. So they are faring better, because they can do whatever it takes for them to win, economically that is. And they will not get the little reminders (failures) that Allah bestows to Muslims to correct themselves, because the disbelievers are generally left to their own devices. What they will pay for in the hereafter, that is for another story, another time, told by another person. But it will not be a pretty story. But we do not have to worry about them. Let them live their way of live, although we will continue to pray that they will be given the guidance to embrace Islam, and of course, do the right things, so that they will do better economically, than the other Muslims doing the wrong things. So that they truly deserve it. We, the existing Muslims, have to worry more about ourselves, to do the right things.
My answer above clearly makes my earlier title an irrelevant headline, so here is another title:
Muslims and the EconomySo the failure of Muslims (not only in Malaysia, but everywhere in the world) in advancing economically is basically down to them doing wrong things. What are the wrong things? If you know what I know, we have gone on the wrong path ever since we embraced or inherited the economic system of our former masters, the imperialist seculars (the British, et al) and continue to follow the same path that is forged by the world's current apparent economic superpower, the United States of America and Europe – the hegemonic Judo-Christian alliance. That economic system of theirs, for want of a better description, is based mostly on capitalism and fiat currency. Let's call it conventional economics. In conventional economics, we have fiat currency based on paper money produced on usury, we have banking systems based on usury (and don't get me started on 'Islamic' banking), we have stock & securities markets based on usury and gambling, we have monopolistic & taxed trading systems & structures far removed from fair trading practices of before, we have pursued artificial advancements for commercial gains whilst sacrificing the order and well-being of 'nature' (or rather, God's pre-ordained creations and way of living), and by doing all this we expect, as Muslims, to fare economically well towards a glorious civilization? You must be kidding me!
So the path that the 'Malays in Malaysia' (or Muslims anywhere) are currently taking economically, will only lead them towards further doom & gloom, and no amount of sugar-coating can prevent an otherwise imminent destination of destruction. Even if we are to gloss over the statistics that show us as empirically advancing in the economic sense (like the much touted GDP per capita, FDIs, etc.), the whole picture is that the Muslims in Malaysia are generally getting deeper in decline with the continued practice of conventional economics. Because it simple does not work for us as Muslims. It is incompatible with Islam. And because of this, we will continue facing failures. So that we can supposedly learn & recover from these mistakes. But are we? By the looks of the continued policies of our present administration, we are sadly not doing anything about it.
So when did this mistake in economics actually begin? It did not begin at the time of Najib. Neither did it begin at the time of Mahathir or any other post-Merdeka leaders we had. It is also not unique to just Malaysia. Muslims the world over have been slipping further into an economic abyss, aided by the conventional economics that they so much try to depend on. Fooled by this mistake promoted by the controlling secularists who moot it as a panacea to our economic ills, only to have us be subjugated further in their imperialistic desires to enslave a once high & mighty civilization. And therein lies the clue of an answer to this question. This grand error of the Muslims in economics began when we delved into the riba (usury)-based economics at the last days of the Ottoman Caliphate. It started with getting loans and lending on usury terms (with interest), to spend lavishly on material wants. For worldly pleasures or fame, or spurious pursuits of the empire. Soon after that, with the mistaken belief that this new-found usury economics could be a saviour of the embattled empire, it crumbled. As sure as clockwork, the price to pay for the believers, for ignoring the warning to avoid riba which otherwise will result in being at war with Allah & His Messenger ﷺ, came to pass. And so it was since then that we are at a loss. And we have never recovered from it till today. And we will never recover, for as long as we mistakenly believe that this conventional economics is what will save the Muslims from continued regression.
Of course conventional economics works for the disbelievers. The same rules do not apply to them. In fact, their success is warped in that it only benefits one side but enslaves others. Think there are no losers in the usurious economic battle of ever rising inflation and bubbles? Think again! That is why wars and corruptions are ever prevalent in the nefarious system of conventional economics, to prop up the propaganda of prosperity enjoyed by those that partake in capitalism. But their apparent success will be limited to this world. And that is NOT what we, the Muslims, are after. We want success BOTH in this world and the hereafter. A balanced progress that will not require the sacrifice of some poor souls or pitiful states. So we have to play by our rules. Islamic rules. Not by theirs; not by the rules of the new world order.
The corollary of this writing is that, it is my belief that in this day and age, any apparently successful & wealthy Muslims (most typically referring to individuals calling themselves Muslims; not Muslims communities as a whole – those of which can be considered successful are few & far between, or maybe none) are actually 'lost' in a success without barakah. Like the many royals in the Gulf. Rich, maybe, but devoid of barakah. Just take a look at the Muslim community around them and tell me that their richness is doing any good to those people surrounding them. Even with all those wealth they can't solve the problem of Palestine. That shows that their wealth is mostly devoid of goodness. Perhaps only for preparing super-expensive pilgrimage packages, with some token conveniences to the poor, of course.
Having rant about all this mistakes, errors, and the deviance of conventional economics, so what is then the actual model of economy that works for the Muslims? Note again my mention of the Ottoman Caliphate. Again, therein lies a clue. Before the destruction of the Muslim Caliphate happened, we have generally been progressing well economically from the days of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to the last Caliphs. What is the commonality in economics for this era of economic progression? The answer is obvious. We had our own economic model, one that is now termed as Muamalat. Muamalat is the opposite of conventional/usurious-based/capitalist economics. The details of which can only be described in entirety in a separate and probably lengthy post (or by reference to other contributing authors on the subject matter). It was only when we abandoned Muamalat that we started to fail economically. In a big part because abandoning Muamalat by definition means embracing riba. And ever since, we have been on the losing side of the divine war which we cannot avoid, what more win.
The conclusion for today's writing is this: The Malays in Malaysia is failing economically because, as Muslims, we are not practising the Islamic way of economics, which is Muamalat. It actually does not matter that we are Malays (any Muslims regardless of their race, will fail in economics, if it is based on riba; just see the world over). It is not because of UMNO – any political party continuing the same path of conventional economics will face the same failures. And that, my dear reader, is the main reason why I am obliged to offer my services politically in Malaysia, to impart the knowledge and perhaps take action, on the true economic path that Muslims are supposed to follow, to achieve success in this world, and in the hereafter.