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Poverty And Bait-al-Maal In Kashmir

Poverty And Bait-al-Maal In Kashmir


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The Army major’s involvement in the hotel incident is nothing but one of the step of steep failed ladder

Shahid Majeed Mir

Kashmir lies at the northern extremity of India. It includes Muslim majority in social composition. They form numerical majority and bears a widespread influence on social fabric. The Kashmir valley survives on mixture of traditional activities and modern business and commerce. It is largely a consumer economy amply by natural  tourism. People are engaged in agriculture and related activities from a long period of time.

Initially the landlordism in Dogra Raj ruined the conditions of local peasants and tenants. This landlordism culminated in the efforts of Shiekh Abdullah and widespread land reforms arrived with new dawn. The redistribution of land started the period of self sufficiency. As per the statistics, a large no of people especially men were engaged in seasonal migration to successful Green revolution areas to make both ends meet. As large chunk of commoners were miserable, they used to work day in and day out to meet daily expenses.

With period of time the self sufficiency and self reliance uncovered the head, Kashmiris started to engage in modern activities. SGDP showed slow and steady growth with overall change in the living conditions of people. But the inequality graph as seen in other regions disturbed the fruits and diverted the major chunk to selected corners. Thus the condition of Rich and Poor came to the fore. As for as religious aspect is concerned the provision of Bait-al-maal offers a reliable and long lasting solution. Does it exist in Kashmir? Are Muslims ready to contribute to Bait-al-maal?

The Islamic jurisprudence and basic principles laid down a great set of norms for followers which when adopted guides to successful world of heaven. The basic functional aspect of Bait-al-maal lies in the consideration of poverty ridden people or Muslim brothers in cognizance.

When the Quran announces “wabil muumeeneena ikhwana ” which translates to ” Every Muslim is brother of every other in community” or what can be summarized to Brotherhood of man.

Therefore Islamic faith rests in community consideration not on isolation. The unity and uniformity in Muslim community at least in life style and basic necessities is implied in Islamic jurisprudence. It repeats the demand on followers to uphold the norms related to community considerations. One such principle when traced from “Uswatun Hassana” or the life style of our beloved prophet requires establishing Bait-al-maal.

The near English translation would be the formation of community fund for those who are in dire need because of emergency or any natural calamity. It is to be organized on the basis of contribution from well off people. The members would share some property monetary or other forms to fund meant for care of poverty stricken or emergency faced Muslim families who I’ll afford to make both ends meet. What a concept of social sector harmony and upliftment of weaker section does Islam provides. But either the fund is yet to see the light of day or if it does remains non functional most often.

The recent incidence of Budgam sister surfaced repercussions of failure to materialize true spirit of Islamic principles. The white wash of 2014 floods proved destructive and the Budgam family emerged no more exception. It speaks volumes about the action taken by government and the society writ large. If the Bait-al-maal could have been established these stories would have been to send coals to new castle.

We as a Muslim majority failed miserably to follow social inclusive policies. The Army major’s involvement in the hotel incident is nothing but one of the step of steep failed ladder. It’s one but extreme precedence uncovered due to negligence of Bait-al-maal establishment. If the society would have established one such fund Budgam minor would have been engaged in career formalities and her family as per sources would not have came under harassment of Army Major during night.

Our consciousness is in hibernation as on one side majority seeks Islamic rule while on other we seek reservation for adoption in day today life. It’s a moral and ethical disaster which fades the basic tenets of Islam in our lives. We copy paste the societal structure of survival of fittest which contradicts the very spirit of our Deen. The Muslim majority of Kashmir valley awaits the true adoption of Bait-al-maal establishment for care of down trodden to repeat the Budgam tragedy in future lest we fail to sustain the moral high handedness of Islam through our life style.

The social inclusion of Islam pronounces the share of wealthy towards weaker sections for their basic needs as precursor of making the property halal ( right in precepts  of Islam ). It endows to look after the weaker sections and weaker people for their welfare not as charity but as a duty towards the society which shapes the personality of man. As is said “Before you act see where did you stand “.

We are traversing a morally degraded trajectory of mine and then through knowingly unislamic and inhuman acts. The end of this path is going to create intra community conflicts in near future. To a broader perspective no religion whosoever it may be believes to segregate the welfare of downtrodden section of society. Then the lapse as is present in contemporary times rests from the alienation of man from moral teachings. They sub serve the mortality of man to immortality of wealth. Such a Thesis would neither be accepted nor proved in whole world of man.

We as a human being and the Muslims in religious sect must introspect such heinous tragedies and reassess our life style for their elimination in future. Rather we should be ready to face the brunt of heavy punishment from Almighty Allah which needs no bounds. The sooner we awake the better it will be for prospect of Muslim Ummah. The Budgam episode should not only kept us down in dumps but prove as an example to be kept away from our society. Islam has provided solution to every problem which crept the society but our preferences halts their realization in literal world. May Allah guide us towards true path?

Writer Shahid Majeed Mir hails from Misribehak Machil Kupwara and can be reached at*


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