Monday, May 2, 2011

The Dinarist without Dinar: A Note Towards a Critique

The idea of implementing the use of dinar and dirham as the core spectrum in the economy by the dinarist meet with lot of challenges based on historical, theological, and in particular the reality aspect of it. The dinarist believes the dinar and dirham are the only solution over the threshold of an economic Amargeddon of unprecedented proportion. Ironically, the arguments not only relate to the fundamental of the capitalist’s foundation, it may some time lead towards the ‘Dajjal’ or the Zionis agendas with its ‘one-eye devil’ symbol representing the New World Order[1].

Whilst this position has it supporters, their argument are untenable because they failed to understand the fundamental of using money from Islamic perspective. Hence whenever the argument is post towards the dinarist whether the discussion of gold dinar or using gold and silver is classified under the principle of Ibadah or Muamalat? Non of the dinarist ever argue or explain the Fiqh ruling behind this issue since it is obvious from the Islamic jurisprudence aspect that money itself is categorized under the rule of Muamalat instead of Ibadah in which the rule of thumbs is ‘the rule for 'ibadah is that everything is haram unless proven to be permitted’ (al-Ashl fil Ibadah Tawaquf) . This argument accordance to the normative legal maxims (al-qawa'id al-fiqhiyyah al-asliyyah) that ‘the origins in all things is permissibility’ (al-Asl fi al-Ashya’ al-Ibahah) or in the other hand meaning that the existence of permissibility in all matters except what is clearly and expressly prohibited in The Qur’an and/or Hadith.

Study by Muhammad Aslam and Emad (2006) on the differences in fiqhi opinions of the past Muslim scholars on whether must money be limited to only gold clearly show the understanding of a wider scope of discussion in this issue. Name of Muslim scholars such as Imam Shaybani, Al-Hattab, Al-Wansharisi, Ibn Taimiyyah, Ibn Qayyim, Laith Ibn Sa’ad and as well as some contemporary scholars such Syaikh Yusof Qardhawi, Syaikh Muhammad Taqi’ Usmani, dan Abd Allah Sulayman Al-Mani must be taken into consideration as these renown scholars understand that this issue, in particular must be addressed from Muamalat point of view.

Nik Mahani (2009) further argue that Ulama in the OIC countries were still favoring ‘paper currencies’ in their fatwas by saying ‘acceptable and within the Syariah scope’, she then criticize the scholar’s fatwa as the baffling paradox that lead the ummah devoring other people’s wealth[2]. The fatwa that she refer to in her writing is as follows:

“With regard to the rules that apply to paper currencies: They are legal tender having the full attributes of media of exchange, and all the Shari‘ah laws for gold and silver apply to them, e.g., riba, zakah, salam, and all other rules”[3]

The accusation however did not explain the overall justification that lead to such resolution by Islamic Fiqh Academy from Shariah perspective. The failure to look at the scholars deliberation concerning this issue lead to a deviation in the understanding of why does paper currencies is allowed in Islam. The study or research done by the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Muslim World League in Makkah can be summarized as follows:

“First :Paper currency has become the medium of exchange for today’s goods; it has replaced gold and silver in today’s financial transactions, and as it is the standard by which goods are valued―since gold and silver are scarcely used―the public treats it as an asset, and it is used to store value in savings, even though it lacks intrinsic value. However, the people’s confidence in it and their regard for it as the medium of exchange has bestowed the quality of being a counter-value for any exchange upon it.

Second: Paper currency is considered an independent form of money, just as gold and silver, as well as other media of exchange, are considered independent forms of money.”[4]

The study also acknowledged and highlighted that the Muslim jurists do not restrict medium of exchange to only gold and silver, although these metals are the most basic of them. Even Imam Malik radhiAllahu ‘anhu acknowledged the market acceptance in choosing their own medium of exchange, he once said:

"If people had allowed among them, accepting leather to become money, therefore I will prohibit it to be sold with gold and silver in deferment”[5]

However, most dinarist fail to understand this in their writings and speeches, lead to an understanding that gold and silver are the only and absolute solution to current economic failure, and start to propagate the important and obligation of using dinar and dirham since these are the metals that are used during the time of the Prophet, yet they regard this as ‘Sunnah money’.

The author acknowledges the use of gold and silver as medium of exchange and measure of values. However, it is understood that the fatwa in usage of paper currencies can be categories as rukhsoh and hajiyyat while waiting for the correct Islamic economic system to be implemented as a whole. Thus do not burden ourselves with the understanding that the usage of paper currencies is forbidden by the religion of Islam. Prophet himself advice that:

“Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way."[6]

Hence,from fiqh and economic perspective, it is clear that the money generally is not limited to only gold and silver per se, since majority of Muslim jurist has allowed the usage of any other things as long as it has the characteristics of money, it can be consider as money. Above all, money must be regards as a measure of value and a medium of exchange; any measure that upsets these functions of money is hazardous to the economy.

Ibn Yusof

2 May 2011 / 28 Jumada Al-Awwal 1432


[1] Nik Mahani Mohamad. (2009). The Real Implementation of the Gold Dinar Economy. Prodicing Seminar Antarabangsa Penjanaan Ekonomi Melalui Transaksi Wang Dinar. UKM.

[2] Nik Mahani Mohamad. (2009). Between Islamic Banking and the Gold Dinar – a Compilation of Paper & Articles. p. 34. SABA Islamic Media; Kuala Lumpur.

[3] Resolution of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the OIC 21 (3/9). Paper Money and Change in the Value of a Currency. Retrieved on 3rd February 2011 from

[4] Resolution of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Muslim World League in Makkah. B.D/2/3 7/1406. Resolution No. 6. Regarding Paper Currency. Retrieved on 3rd February 2011 from

[5] Al-Mudawwanah,vol. 3.p.90.

[6] Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Iman. hadith no.38

No comments: