Bayt al-mal

Bayt al-mal (بيت المال) is an Arabic term that is translated as "House of money" or "House of Wealth." Historically, it was a financial institution responsible for the administration of taxes in Islamic states, particularly in the early Islamic Caliphate. It served as a royal treasury for the caliphs and sultans, managing personal finances and government expenditures. Further, it administered distributions of zakat revenues for public works. Modern Islamic economists deem the institutional framework appropriate for contemporary Islamic societies.

History

Bayt al-mal was the department that dealt with the revenues and all other economical matters of the state. In the time of Muhammad there was no permanent Bait-ul-Mal or public treasury. Whatever revenues or other amounts were received were distributed immediately. During Prophethood the last receipt was tribute from Bahrain amounting eight lakh dirham which was distributed in just one sitting. There were no salaries to be paid, and there was no state expenditure. Hence the need for the treasury at public level was not felt. In the time of Abu Bakr as well there was no treasury. Abu Bakr earmarked a house where all money was kept on receipt. As all money was distributed immediately the treasury generally remained locked up. At the time of the death of Abu Bakr there was only one dirham in the public treasury.

Establishment of Bait-ul-Maal

In the time of Umar things changed. With the extension in conquests money came in larger quantities, Umar also allowed salaries to men fighting in the army. Abu Huraira who was the Governor of Bahrain sent a revenue of five hundred thousand dirhams. Umar summoned a meeting of his Consultative Assembly and sought the opinion of the Companions about the disposal of the money. Uthman ibn Affan advised that the amount should be kept for future needs. Walid bin Hisham suggested that like the Byzantines, separate departments of Treasury and Accounts should be set up.

After consulting the Companions Umar decided to establish the Central Treasury at Madinah. Abdullah bin Arqam was appointed as the Treasury Officer. He was assisted by Abdur Rahman bin Awf and Muiqib. A separate Accounts Department was also set up and it was required to maintain record of all that was spent. Later provincial treasuries were set up in the provinces. After meeting the local expenditure the provincial treasuries were required to remit the surplus amount to the central treasury at Madinah. According to Yaqubi the salaries and stipends charged to the central treasury amounted to over 30 million dirhams.

First Islamic coins by caliph Uthman-mohammad adil rais
The coins were of Persian origin, and had an image of the last Persian emperor, Muslim added the sentence Bismillah to it.

A separate building was constructed for the royal treasury by the name bait ul maal, which in large cities was guarded by as many as 400 guards. In most of the historical accounts, it states that among the Rashidun caliphs, Uthman ibn Affan was first to struck the coins, some accounts however states that Umar was first to do so. When Persia was conquered three types of coins were current in the conquered territories, namely Baghli of 8 dang; Tabari of 4 dang; and Maghribi of 3 dang. Umar ( according to some accounts Uthman ) made an innovation and struck an Islamic dirham of 6 dang.

Charity

The concepts of welfare and pension were introduced in early Islamic law as forms of Zakat (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century. This practice continued well into the Abbasid era of the Caliphate. The taxes (including Zakat and Jizya) collected in the treasury of an Islamic government were used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali (Algazel, 1058–1111), the government was also expected to stockpile food supplies in every region in case a disaster or famine occurred. Thus, according to Shadi Hamid, the Caliphate can be considered the world's first major "welfare state".[1][2]

Umayyad Mosque-Dome of the Treasury
Dome of the treasury at The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

During the Rashidun Caliphate, various welfare programs were introduced by Caliph Umar. Umar himself lived "a simple life and detached himself from any of the worldly luxuries," like how he often wore "worn-out shoes and was usually clad in patched-up garments," or how he would sleep "on the bare floor of the mosque." Limitations on wealth were also set for governors and officials, who would often be "dismissed if they showed any outward signs of pride or wealth which might distinguish them from the people." This was an early attempt at erasing "class distinctions which might inevitably lead to conflict." Umar also made sure that the public treasury was not wasted on "unnecessary luxuries" as he believed that "the money would be better spent if it went towards the welfare of the people rather than towards lifeless bricks."[2]

Umar's innovative welfare reforms during the Rashidun Caliphate included the introduction of social security. In the Rashidun Caliphate, whenever citizens were injured or lost their ability to work, it became the state's responsibility to make sure that their minimum needs were met, with the unemployed and their families receiving an allowance from the public treasury.[2] Retirement pensions were provided to elderly people,[1] who had retired and could "count on receiving a stipend from the public treasury." Babies who were abandoned were also taken care of, with one hundred dirhams spent annually on each orphan’s development. Umar also introduced the concept of public trusteeship and public ownership when he implemented the Waqf, or charitable trust, system, which transferred "wealth from the individual or the few to a social collective ownership," in order to provide "services to the community at large." For example, Umar brought land from the Banu Harithah and converted it into a charitable trust, which meant that "profit and produce from the land went towards benefiting the poor, slaves, and travelers."[2]

During the great famine of 18 AH (638 CE), Umar introduced further reforms, such as the introduction of food rationing using coupons, which were given to those in need and could be exchanged for wheat and flour. Another innovative concept that was introduced was that of a poverty threshold, with efforts made to ensure a minimum standard of living, making sure that no citizen across the empire would suffer from hunger. In order to determine the poverty line, Umar ordered an experiment to test how many seers of flour would be required to feed a person for a month. He found that 25 seers of flour could feed 30 people, and so he concluded that 50 seers of flour would be sufficient to feed a person for a month. As a result, he ordered that the poor each receive a food ration of fifty seers of flour per month. In addition, the poor and disabled were guaranteed cash stipends. However, in order to avoid some citizens taking advantage of government services, "begging and laziness were not tolerated" and "those who received government benefits were expected to be contributing members in the community."[2]

Further reforms later took place under the Umayyad Caliphate. Registered soldiers who were disabled in service received an invalidity pension, while similar provisions were made for the disabled and poor in general. Caliph Al-Walid I assigned payments and services to the needy, which included money for the poor, guides for the blind, and servants for the crippled, and pensions for all disabled people so that they would never need to beg. The caliphs Al-Walid II and Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz supplied money and clothes to the blind and crippled, as well as servants for the latter. This continued with the Abbasid caliph Al-Mahdi.[3] Tahir ibn Husayn, governor of the Khurasan province of the Abbasid Caliphate, states in a letter to his son that pensions from the treasury should be provided to the blind, to look after the poor and destitute in general, to make sure not to overlook victims of oppression who are unable to complain and are ignorant of how to claim their rights, and that pensions should be assigned to victims of calamities and the widows and orphans they leave behind. The "ideal city" described by the Islamic philosophers, Al-Farabi and Avicenna, also assigns funds to the disabled.[4]

When communities were stricken by famine, rulers would often support them though measures such as the remission of taxes, importation of food, and charitable payments, ensuring that everyone had enough to eat. However, private charity through the Waqf trust institution often played a greater role in the alleviation of famines than government measures did.[5] From the 9th century, funds from the treasury were also used towards the Waqf (charitable trusts) for the purpose of building and supporting public institutions, often Madrassah educational institutions and Bimaristan hospitals.[6]

References

  1. ^ a b Crone, Patricia (2005), Medieval Islamic Political Thought, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 308–9, ISBN 0-7486-2194-6
  2. ^ a b c d e Shadi Hamid (August 2003), "An Islamic Alternative? Equality, Redistributive Justice, and the Welfare State in the Caliphate of Umar", Renaissance: Monthly Islamic Journal, 13 (8) (see online Archived 2003-09-01 at the Wayback Machine)
  3. ^ Crone, Patricia (2005), Medieval Islamic Political Thought, Edinburgh University Press, p. 307, ISBN 0-7486-2194-6
  4. ^ Crone, Patricia (2005), Medieval Islamic Political Thought, Edinburgh University Press, p. 308, ISBN 0-7486-2194-6
  5. ^ Crone, Patricia (2005), Medieval Islamic Political Thought, Edinburgh University Press, p. 309, ISBN 0-7486-2194-6
  6. ^ Crone, Patricia (2005), Medieval Islamic Political Thought, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 309–10 & 312, ISBN 0-7486-2194-6

See also

Al-Fadl ibn Salih

Al-Fadl ibn Salih ibn Ali ibn Abdillah ibn Abbas (Arabic: الفضل بن صالح بن علي بن عبد الله العباسي‎) (740–789) was the Abbasid governor of a number of different provinces in Syria during the late 8th-century CE. He was also governor of Egypt for a brief period of time. He was related to the Abbasid caliphs and was part of the Bani Salih Arab tribe.

Bait al-mal

Bait al-mal may refer to:

Bayt al-mal, a financial institution responsible for the administration of taxes in Islamic states

Ibrahim Bait Almal, a rebel military commander in Misrata

Bay'ah

Bayʿah (Arabic: بَيْعَة‎, Pledge of allegiance"), in Islamic terminology, is an oath of allegiance to a leader. It is known to have been practiced by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Bayʿah is sometimes taken under a written pact given on behalf of the subjects by leading members of the tribe with the understanding that as long as the leader abides by certain requirements towards his people, they are to maintain their allegiance to him. Bayʿah is still practiced in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Sudan. In Morocco, bayʿah is one of the foundations of the monarchy.

Bayt al-Mal (Hezbollah)

Hezbollah Bayt al-Mal, AKA Hezbollah Bayt al-Mal Lil Muslimeen, is a Hezbollah-controlled organization that performs financial services for the organization. In Arabic, the term is used as "House of Money."

Bayt al-Mal operates under the direct supervision of Hezbollah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah. As Hezbollah's main financial body, Bayt al-Mal serves as a bank, creditor, and investment arm for Hezbollah. Husayn al-Shami is the head of Bayt al-Mal.

It has branch offices in:

Harat Hurayk, Beirut, Lebanon;

Burj Al-Barajinah, Lebanon;

Sidon, Lebanon;

Tyre, Lebanon;

Al-Nabatiyah, Lebanon;

Ba'albak, Lebanon; and

Hirmil, Lebanon.

Hezbollah Bayt al-Mal utilizes the Yousser Company for Finance and Investment to secure loans and finance business deals for Hezbollah companies.

According to Mr. Stuart Levey, U.S. Department of Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI),"Bayt al-Mal functions as Hezbollah's unofficial treasury, holding and investing its assets and serving as intermediaries between the terrorist group and mainstream banks."

The central headquarters of Bayt al-Mal was located in Hezbollah's stronghold in Beirut's southern suburbs.

Divan

A divan or diwan (Persian: دیوان‎, dīvān) was a high government ministry in various Islamic states, or its chief official (see dewan).

Husayn al-Shami

Husayn al-Shami is a Shia Lebanese and also the head of Bayt al-Mal and a senior Hezbollah leader who has served as a member of Hezbollah's Shura Council and as the head of several Hezbollah-controlled organizations, including the Islamic Resistance Support Organization. Shami is also responsible for foreign donations to Hezbollah fundraising organizations.

Ibadah

Ibadah (Arabic: عبادة‎, ‘ibādah, also spelled ibada) is an Arabic word meaning service or servitude. In Islam, ibadah is usually translated as "worship", and ibadat—the plural form of ibadah—refers to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) of Muslim religious rituals.

Ihram

Ihram (إحرام iḥrām, from the triconsonantal root Ḥ-R-M) is, in Islam, a sacred state which a Muslim must enter in order to perform the major pilgrimage (Hajj) or the minor pilgrimage (Umrah). A pilgrim must enter into this state before crossing the pilgrimage boundary, known as Miqat, by performing the cleansing rituals and wearing the prescribed attire.

Islamic economics

Islamic economics (Arabic: الاقتصاد الإسلامي‎) is a term used to refer to Islamic commercial jurisprudence (Arabic: فقه المعاملات‎, fiqh al-mu'āmalāt).

Islamic commercial jurisprudence entails the rules of transacting finance or other economic activity in a Shari'a compliant manner, i.e., a manner conforming to Islamic scripture (Quran and sunnah).

Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) has traditionally dealt with determining what is required, prohibited, encouraged, discouraged, or just permissible, according to the revealed word of God (Quran) and the religious practices established by Muhammad (sunnah). This applied to issues like property, money, employment, taxes, along with everything else. The social science of economics, on the other hand, works to describe, analyse and understand production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, and studied how to best achieve policy goals, such as full employment, price stability, economic equity and productivity growth.In the mid-twentieth century, campaigns began promoting the idea of specifically Islamic patterns of economic thought and behavior. By the 1970s, "Islamic economics" was introduced as an academic discipline in a number of institutions of higher learning throughout the Muslim world and in the West. The central features of an Islamic economy are often summarized as: (1) the "behavioral norms and moral foundations" derived from the Quran and Sunnah; (2) collection of zakat and other Islamic taxes, (3) prohibition of interest (riba) charged on loans.Advocates of Islamic economics generally describe it as neither socialist nor capitalist, but as a "third way", an ideal mean with none of the drawbacks of the other two systems.

Among the claims made for an Islamic economic system by Islamic activists and revivalists are that the gap between the rich and the poor will be reduced and prosperity enhanced by such means as the discouraging of the hoarding of wealth,

taxing wealth (through zakat) but not trade, exposing lenders to risk through Profit sharing and venture capital,

discouraging of hoarding of food for speculation,

and other activities that Islam regards as sinful such as unlawful confiscation of land. Critics (Timur Kuran, Feisal Khan) have described it as primarily a "vehicle for asserting the primacy of Islam", with economic reform being only a secondary motive.

Islamic inheritance jurisprudence

Islamic Inheritance jurisprudence is a field of Islamic jurisprudence (Arabic: فقه‎) that deals with inheritance, a topic that is prominently dealt with in the Qur'an. It is often called Mīrāth, and its branch of Islamic law is technically known as ʿilm al-farāʾiḍ (Arabic: علم الفرائض‎, "the science of the ordained quotas"). All Muslims are to follow and implement the rules of Islamic inheritance.

Islamic leadership

After Muhammad's death, the disputed question of who should be the successor (Caliph) to Muhammad's political authority led eventually to the division of Islam into Sunni and Shia.

Sunni's believe that he should be elected, whereas Shia believe in divinely ordained infallible twelve Shi'a Imams for leadership after Muhammad. The Ismaili Shia have their own version of the Imamah doctrine.

Originally, Shi'a belief was that they should refrain from politics in the absence of one the twelve Shia Imams; see Imamah (Shi'a doctrine). But after The Occultation of the twelfth Shia Imam, the original Shia concept of leadership became untenable, so the notion of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (Velayat-e faqih) was derived by Ruhollah Khomeini.

Islamic toilet etiquette

Islamic toilet etiquette is a set of personal hygiene rules in Islam followed when going to the toilet. This code of Muslim hygienical jurisprudence is known as Qadaa' al-Haajah.

The only issue that the Qur'an mentions is the one of washing one's hands (verse 5:6). Issues of chirality (bodily symmetry), such as whether one uses the left or right hand, and which foot is used to step into or out of toilet areas, are derived from hadith sources.

Istijarah

Istijarah (Arabic: إستجارة‎, Istijārah) is an Islamic term for asylum, accepting a person at risk as a member of own tribe.

Mahram

A mahram is an unmarriageable kin with whom marriage or sexual intercourse would be considered haram, illegal in Islam, or people from whom purdah is not obligatory or legal escorts of a woman during journey longer than a day and night, 24 hours.

Masah

Masah (Arabic: مسح‎) refers to the act of ritually cleaning the head or feet with a small amount of water, running the wet hands over the head or feet before salat (Islamic prayer). The term shares the same root as the word Maseeh (Messiah) which is used for one who is anointed, in religious terms by God.

Mut'ah of Hajj

The "mut'ah of Hajj" ("hajj al-tamattu", meaning "joy of Hajj") is the relaxation of the ihram ("sacred state") between the Umrah and Hajj, including its dress code and various prohibitions.

Rakat

A rakat, or rakʿah (Arabic: ركعة‎ rakʿah, pronounced [ˈrakaʕa(t)]; plural: ركعات rakaʿāt), consists of the prescribed movements and words followed by Muslims while offering prayers to Allah. It also refers to a single unit of Islamic prayers.

Secretary-General of Hezbollah

This is a partial list of Secretaries-General of Hezbollah.

Zihar

Zihar (Arabic: ظھار‎) is a term used in Islamic Jurisprudence, which literally means “you are like my mother”. It is a form of divorce (though invalid) and if a husband says these words to his wife, it is not lawful for him to have intercourse with her unless he recompense by freeing a slave or fasting for two successive months or feeding sixty poor people.

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