The War on Terror has come to an inglorious conclusion on its 20th anniversary. The collapse of the US backed regime in Afghanistan after two decades of support, has seen many consider this the beginning of the end of the US as a global power. The US constructed the global liberal order after World War II and much of the world was touched by it whether they wanted to be or not, but for a long time now, this order has also been showing cracks.
The liberal world order has dominated global finance, development, trade, international law, global security and much of the world’s culture. Its results are also clear for all to see: three billion people living in poverty, global debt at $290 trillion and much of the world still without electricity. The global liberal order has been fantastic for the few, but left most of the world’s population far behind.
Today, the world is in need of a new global order and the Chinese as well as the Russians have shown they have no such lofty goals or even the capability. The Muslims number nearly two billion people and possess a comprehensive system, but they lack a state that represents their values. The Islamic system was revealed for the whole of mankind and Muslims believe their deen is to take mankind from darkness into the light. There are many aspects to the Islamic order and what follows are some key aspects.
Allah (ﷻ) over Materialism
The Islamic creed is built upon the belief in a creator. Allah (ﷻ) is at the centre of the belief of two billion Muslims today. There are billions of others, who although non-Muslim, also believe in a creator. The Western led order has attempted to secularise the world and remove God from politics and legislation and pushed it into the private sphere.
Individualism, private property, freedom of expression were all attempts to make man the master of the universe, but what we have in the world today is misery, oppression and destitution. Substance abuse, addiction, family breakdown, depression is only increasing, not in the developing world, but also in the developed world who have been promoting the liberal order.
Islam today, much like its history, places spirituality at the centre of its global order with a fixed moral compass and the betterment of humanity over and above materialism, individualism and sensual gratification.
None of this means an Islamic order will not permit wealth acquisition or commerce etc, but an Islamic led global order will bring Allah (ﷻ) the creator of the universe back as a central component of the world.
New Monetary Standard
The US due to her position at the end of WW2 was able to link the whole world to her domestic currency – the dollar. Being the largest holder of global gold, she underwrote the global monetary system with gold fixed at $35 an ounce and her currency becoming the global currency. This placed the US in a unique position in that she possesses the currency the world would need to engage in trade and purchase energy. Whilst other nations would need to give up their hard-earned wealth to gain dollars the US could just print it at will. This system allowed the US to shut nations out who did not follow US instructions such as North Korea, Cuba and Iran.
An Islamic order would promote the bi-metallic standard for the world to replace the US dollar which the US prints at will, which then causes huge inflation around the world. By doing away with paper-based currencies central banks would not be able to freely print money as they would need gold and silver to represent the new printed notes.
When it comes to exchanging a commodity with a specific monetary unit, Islam has has restricted this to gold and silver as the unit of exchange. This is understood from the actions of Muhammad (saw) when he collected Zakah, levied taxes and imposed fines, all were measured according to gold and silver. This is the Islamic monetary standard.
Gold as well as silver has been money for millennia, people have from the beginning of time treated gold as a means of exchange, store of value and unit of account. Up until WW2 the gold standard was the global standard. Due to competition between nations many turned to using money as a weapon for war. Today whenever there is an economic crisis, many turn to gold as a safe-haven.
Equitable Distribution of Mineral Resources
Some of the world’s key minerals are found in abundance in the developing world. Oil, gas, uranium, copper, bauxite as well as many others are in abundance in countries where the people have not seen the benefits of this real wealth.
The reason for this is due to colonialism and the competition between the global powers over the world’s resources.
As humans we need resources to survive, live a decent life and for civilisations to flourish. Some nations have little resources whilst others have plenty of it.
The institutions that deal with global trade are rigged in favour of the nations that established them and their academic and think-tanks have developed theories to justify the status quo. They use ideas such as free markets and free trade as the global system to distribute the world’s resources.
The fact that half of the world resides in poverty shows the liberal order is a failure.
An Islamic order would lead to the establishment of an organisation that established a new set of rules that nations can subscribe to, to organise a more equitable system of mineral resource distribution. Its key values would be nations that possess the resources being suitability rewarded, but also a set of rules so the whole world can access mineral wealth in order for the global population to prosper and survive.
Ending International law
International law evolved from the Christians states in Europe during the 16th century and it today supersedes the sovereignty of individual nations. International law is today enshrined at the United Nations which is dominated by its founders: the five permanent members. The permanent members enforce the norms that suit them, upon all the other nations. This places them in an advantageous position at the expense of the rest of the world as they act as global “policeman”.
The Islamic order would replace international law and the UN with a new voluntary system that manages the norms of international relations. The Prophet ﷺ praised the Hilf al-Fadoul pact which protected the rights of individuals through collective action. Islam recognises that norms have always existed amongst different communities and people abided by these due to public opinion.
The Islamic order would establish an institution that will enshrine these voluntary norms that exist between nations. Nations can voluntarily join or leave, and no-one is forced to join.
This Islamic system recognises the individual sovereignty of nations and uses public opinion for enforcement. It is therefore not a colonial tool to be used for the exploitation of other nations.