Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mohammed Abed al-Jabri on Ibn Hazm in The Formation of Arab Reason and Democracy, Human Rights and Law in Islamic Thought

"As for his insistence, on the other hand, on the necessity of respecting the norms of reason and committing to such, and the necessity of spreading logic, Arabicising it and integrating it according to its milieu within the Arab culture, all this is clearly in evidence as well, not only in his belief in the 'universalism of reason', but also in his ambition to render it the sole referential authority in the various epistemological fields." (385)

"Is it, then, not our right, or even a duty on us, to look at the above verses and hadith on the rights of the oppressed in the light of what is nowadays called ‘social security’?! This covers the right to medical care, unemployment benefit, and the right to pension benefit. These rights are guaranteed for the benefit of the oppressed through deductions from the income of the rich and the state employees. It is a modern arrangement quite in keeping with righteousness, al-zakāt and surplus (al-ʿafw). Ibn Hazm explained ‘giving money’ in terms similar to the modern concept of ‘social security’: God imposed on the rich of every country to provide for the poor. The ruler is to compel them to do that if zakat revenue was not sufficient for that aim. They have to be provided with their sustenance, clothing for winter and summer, lodging to protect them from rain and sun and the eyes of the onlookers." (246-7)

"The ‘building’ of the land, or what today is simply called ‘development’, may be engrafted in our conscience by the employment of some texts from our tradition. In addition to the texts which make land development a duty of man in general terms, there are other texts which transfer this duty to the state, which can do more to support the rights of the oppressed. One outstanding text in this connection is by Ibn Hazm: The sovereign leads people towards development and increase of agriculture. He allots them portions of undeveloped land as their own and supports their efforts of development and cultivation in order to reduce prices, for people and livestock have a better life. The greater the reward, the more wealthy people there will be and the greater the amount of al-zakāt which will be accrued." (248)

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