Due to the price hike of essential food items, life has become unbearable for the people of middle, lower-middle and the low income group. The price of essential commodities has gone beyond the purchasing power of the common people. While the so-called economists, politicians and thinkers are proposing unrealistic solutions in newspaper articles and television talk shows, the common people’s suffering is increasing day by day. Successive governments including the current government of Fakhruddin Ahmed have failed to solve this problem and shown gross negligence in fulfilling their responsibility to the people. It is now time for the people to stop placing any hope in these governments, politicians, economists and thinkers and turn to a new economic alternative.
In discussions on the issue of price hike, many reasons are put forward such as the increase of prices in the international market, shortage of production due to natural disasters, price fixing and monopoly by businessmen etc. Solutions proposed for solving the problem include stationing law enforcement agencies in the bazaars to monitor prices, importing food in advance, and opening cheap food sale centers run by the BDR. However no one is asking questions about the real reasons for the price hike – Why is there a food crisis in a country whose economy is agriculture dominated? Who is responsible for systematically destroying the agriculture sector in the country? Why do we have to import our food from India? Who has made the economy of Bangladesh so heavily reliant on foreign countries? The answer to all of these questions is one – the current rulers of the country.
The reality of the current ruling system in Bangladesh is that it is a man made system based upon the whims and desires of the ruling elite. Under this system our rulers have based the entire economy on capitalist economic principles whose only preoccupation is with increasing the GDP which in reality is another term for increasing their own wealth and the wealth of their entourage of rich capitalists. At the same time these rulers gave a free reign to the imperialist institutions such as the IMF, WB and ADB so long as their own pockets were filled. They execute the prescriptions of these institutions to the letter paying no heed to the interests of the nation. For more than thirty years our corrupt rulers together with imperialist financial institutions have ruined the country’s economy.
By implementing the prescriptions of the WB and IMF, the agriculture of the country has been almost destroyed. The corrupt rulers paid no attention to achieving self-sufficiency in food and essential items. They failed to adopt any effective long-term planning for the agriculture sector. In following the dictates of the WB, these rulers provide very little government help and subsidies to this sector. While agriculture contributes 20% to the GDP, they allocate a meager 5% of the budget to this sector. Moreover, there has been no attempt at developing modern farming and irrigation methods or providing the farmers with agro-technology. These governments even fail to manage the supply of fertilizer during the cultivation season.
As a result of such neglect and mismanagement of the agriculture sector, Bangladesh has become reliant on imports for essential food items. Thus we see prices rise as a result of price rise in the international market. Furthermore due to the lack of domestic food production, we have become forever reliant on India for almost all the essential items. India uses this according to her interests with dire consequences for the people of Bangladesh. This is what we are witnessing at present with India’s decision to increase the price of rice when the people of Bangladesh need it most.
These are the causes of price hike and the dire consequences of the capitalist economy. This is how the selfish wretched rulers have made our life unbearable. And do you see any sign of improvement under the current government? Far from it! This government since taking over power has not taken any serious steps to improve the livelihood of the people. Rather they have turned destroying people’s lives into an art. They destroyed markets, evicted the poor from their houses and forced people out of businesses. The only solution they have offered for the problem of price hike is begging at the doors of India! At the same time Finance Advisor Mirza A B M Aziz, the technocrat capitalist, slave of World Bank, is continuing with the capitalist economic policies. As long as our economy continues to be run according to capitalist principles and the dictates of foreign institutions, prices will continue to rise and our suffering will continue. We must now return to implementing the Guidance revealed by Allah (swt) to salvage ourselves from this life of hardship.
Allah (swt) says in the noble Qur’an:
ÒBut whosoever turns away from My Reminder, verily for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection” [TMQ 20:124]
Allah (swt) sent His Reminder for guiding mankind to a better life and has provided in it a comprehensive system for all life’s affairs including a detailed system for the economy. The economic system of Islam is based upon the commands and prohibitions of Allah (swt) and it is free from the errors and corruption of the man made capitalist system. Only the Islamic economic system implemented by Islamic KHILAFAH government can solve the issue of price hike in an efficient and speedy manner as well as ensure economic prosperity for the people.
In light of Bangladesh’s current reality and the Islamic shari’ah rules, we present below some of the steps the KHILAFAH government will take to solve the problem of price hike and ensure a decent livelihood for the people:
- The imperialist financial institutions such as the WB and IMF will be thrown out of the country immediately. These institutions have ruined our economy and imposed foreign capitalist’s control over our economy. Contrary to the claims of our rulers, Bangladesh is a fertile country rich in wealth and resources and is in no need of foreign assistance. Moreover the Islamic shari’ah forbids imperialist control over the Muslim Ummah’s economy.
- In order to achieve self-sufficiency in food, the KHILAFAH state will give priority to and re-organize the agricultural sector in the following ways:
• The KHILAFAH will make use of all the arable land in the country. The current reality of Bangladesh is that there are large amounts of land owned by landlords who never make use of it. Islam prohibits such practices of hoarding land. Anyone who does not cultivate his land for three years, the Islamic state will take this land from him and grant it to someone who can utilize it. This is based upon a number of narration’s attributed to Umar (ra) which were collected by hadith scholars and considered Ijma:
“Whoever neglected a land for three years without using it and another came and used it, it becomes his”
• The KHILAFAH will develop and provide latest agricultural methods and technologies to increase the productivity of land. It will solve the problem of chronic fertilizer crisis by building local fertilizer industry and ensuring that farmers have supply of fertilizers during cultivation season.
• It will grant donations or interest free loans to the poor farmers so that they can make productive use of their land.
- The KHILAFAH state will subsidize the essential food items. One of the fundamental principles of the Islamic economic system is to ensure food-clothing-shelter for the people and it obliges the Khalifah to adopt policies which secures these basic needs for all citizens of the state.
The Messenger (saw) said:
“The son of Adam has no better right than that he would have a house to dwell in, a piece of cloth to hide his nakedness and a piece of bread and water.”
It is from this sense of his duty that KHALIFAH Umar (ra) opened the doors of Bait-ul-Mal to the people during the famine in Medina.
- The KHILAFAH will instill Islamic values among the traders and take effective measures to stop cheating, price fixing and monopolies. Islam has forbidden such corrupt practices by traders.
Muhammad (saw) said:
“Whoever cheats is not one of us.”
And He (saw) said:
“Whoever monopolizes is a wrongdoer.”
- The KHILAFAH state will ensure proper distribution of wealth I n a fair manner so that people have a decent income and are able to afford the essential items. The current capitalist economic system keeps wealth in the hands of the few through its system of usurious banking, privatization, corruption, hoarding, monopolies, etc. On the other hand the Islamic economic system prevents the circulation of wealth within a small section of the society. Allah (swt) said in the noble Qur’an:
“Lest it (wealth) circulates solely among the wealthy amongst you” [TMQ 59:7]
You have seen successive governments including the current government fail to fulfill their responsibility to look after the affairs of the people. The KHILAFAH government on the other hand is duty bound to look after the affairs of the people.
The Messenger (saw) said:
“Anyone who is in charge of the Muslims and does not try his utmost (to look after them) and give them his advice, will not enter paradise with them.”
As a result of realizing this responsibility, Amir of the Believers, KHALIFAH Umar (ra) said,
“I fear that Allah (swt) will question me about my responsibility even if it was about a goat lost in the banks of the river Euphrates.”>
It is now an urgent obligation on you as Believers to remove the rulers who have oppressed you for decades and appoint the KHALIFAH who will spend his utmost effort in looking after you with kindness and compassion.
“O you who believe, Answer the call of Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life” [TMQ 8:24]