(This is an excerpt from Umar Vadillo's The Return of The Islamic Gold Dinar)
People say to me that all of this business of establishing the Dinar and Islamic trading is all very well, it is a good idea, but surely is it just a dream. The enemies we face are too strong, the United States is too powerful, they will not let us. In the end it is just a fantasy.
This point touches on a nerve with me. I was a kaffir, and I became a muslim, and in a way that is a dream and an impossible thing. From the beginning I understood one thing, and I truly believe it - La hawla wa la quwwata ila billah. I so firmly believe it that I do not consider any other power to be capable of putting itself in the way of this matter. If we rely upon Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, we have everything we need and we do not rely upon them, and it does not matter what they do.
There are two types of theft. There is the kind where someone puts you up against the wall and takes your wallet. And then there is another kind of theft in which you willingly give the thief your money. We are in a scenario in which we are willingly handing over our wealth. There is very little hope that we can construct any political reality any sense of unity or power, while we accept that the present system is correct - worse than that, if we insist that it is Islamic. We have come to a point where this theft is considered Islamic. If we start going to the brothels, and we say these brothels are Islamic, what chances do we have? If the Deen of Islam is turned into something else, what chances do we have? If we, look at our Deen and we say, This is true. Everything else is negotiable, but this is not negotiable then we have a chance. I will be firm . in this matter because I am firm in this matter. How sure am I of La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah? 95% sure? 97%? No, I am 100% sure. If we stand firm in this matter, the whole world will change around us. If we wobble, then the whole world will wobble in front of us, and then we will panic, and go back to where we were. Certainty we need a certainty that we will obtain only by a firm belief that what we have is enough. That will make all the difference.
We are not in trouble, we are the hard workers, the poon the people who do the work. The people who are in trouble are the ones who are living in luxury and giving us pieces of paper; because if we give them back to them, they are in trouble. We cannot have it any worse, for people who are living on 6 dollars a month in Indonesia, it cannot really get any worse. They won't kill them off altogether; they want them picking tea leaves for their tea back in Europe. We really have nothing to lose.
They have everything to lose. In this matter we have to resort to the Deen of Islam, it is our only hope. Perhaps it is a strange thing that it is a European saying all these things to you. It should be an Arab sitting here saying this, that would be much more natural. The only advantage that we had coming from the West was that we did not have any pressure to westernise ourselves. We were the most recent group of people to come into the Ummah so we could ask the most innocent of all questions. Where is the Dinar? Where is the Dirham? Where are the markets? Why do we not implement these matters? This is where we are. It will not be difficult.
Look, it is so simple that it is almost difficult to understand intellectually but it is no more difficult than this; use the Dinar yourself. You have a choice. Take the coins, next time you go to the shop, use them. Every time you use these coins you have wiped out the entire financial system of the United States in one simple gesture. Forget about all the complexity and the rules of that complexity. Think about the enormous power that resides in your hand, the one decision that rests on you and only on you. You are capable of giving great value to that gesture, and as you do, then the other matter will disappear.
We are still living under the shadow of this enormous phantom, and with the impression that this is a very powerful system and we are very weak. I am telling you precisely the opposite. We are very strong, they are very weak. It is a matter of perception only. You do not have to be intimidated by some idea of what some jewish conspiracy organisation is going to do to us. We are not asked to do that in our Deen. We are only y asked to have taqwa of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. I have to be able to see that I have something in my hands that can make the change. It does not matter what they do. Supposing they start banning the Islamic Dinar? This is the greatest thing that could I possibly happen, and it is the one condition that will make us instantly triumph, and it is quite probable that this is what they will do. If they were really intelligent, they would try and absorb it, control it and bring it down. But this is unlikely they are more likely to react to it. Their reaction to it will be the evidence that we are in charge, then they will be playing our game, then it is no longer battlefields in which tanks bought from them fight against tanks made by them, the sort of Saddam Hussein scenario against the whole world of kufr. No, it will be a scenario in which we design the rules of the battlefield, we will decide where we will fight, and with which tools. lf we can decide that, then we have won.
If the argument is about the gold currency the US dollar is in big trouble. If the argument is about an atomic bomb in the hands of the Taliban, or something of that kind, then they still have everything. Capitalism will not be defeated by · tanks on the battlefield, it will be defeated by an alternative financial system. The means are with us. What they do is irrelevant, which sounds like a very bold statement, but it is the truth behind the saying of Hasbunallahu Wani’mal Wakeel. This is not just what the Sufis say in their zawiyyas, this is the truth of reality. Reflecting on that means that the solution remains in our hands, not in theirs. Thinking in this way means seeing what you have to do which is within your reach that will make the difference. We have within our reach, with this message that we respond to and which appeals to us, something much more important to do than anything that they can do.
Of course, it is the economists who have the most difficulty understanding these matters, including the so-called Islamic economists. Why is this?
This brings us to another subject altogether which is from asking the question, Is economics the right way of thinking? Is there any other way of thinking other than economics? The suggestion that the economists are making is that there is not. Economics is the orthodoxy for now, but it was not always this way. Proudhon, the famous father of anarchism, also seen by many as the father of socialism, one of the greatest intellectuals of his time, was regarded by many people, including Marx, as their master. In his criticism of the system Proudhon used to speak about economists as 'the sect'. It is obvious that from this perspective that the economists were not held in the same high regard that they are today. They were regarded as an ideological group with a particular methodology and with particular objectives. But we have gone past economics now.
For example, these people today say that there is a company in the United States called Microsoft and it is valued at $640 billion. Then you have the national gross product of 220 million people in Indonesia and they say it is worth $140 billion US dollars. This is irrational, I am sorry you can put any figures down and all the rationale behind saying it, but it does not make sense. Yet, this is quoted every day and given to you and you accept it even though it is not rational. One company does not have the same value as the whole entire nation of Indonesia, I am sorry they have got it wrong. But for as long as you accept this, they are in charge of how you think, because they are going to tell you the value of things according to their methodology which we do not consequentially question.
Then on top of that, they then determine the value of your currency so that at the moment that you have gained a little bit by your incredible effort, they are capable of wiping it out. You had Soros in 1997 when he wiped everything out. This is still within the rationale of the system. They determine the price of things, what currency you have to use to buy anything, and every so often they can also take money from you by manipulating the value of your own national currency. This does not seem very rational to me, but yet it is within the frame of this institution called 'economics' and this particular way of thinking which has become the orthodox way. Not only that, we now have Islamic economics, just to make things worse.
My point is that within this frame, g everything that you might describe as being the events of history hold true, but there is another way of describing this history where other new possibilities emerge. For example, this will be in the history of what happened to trading itself. We have to think again from the beginning. What is value, what is wealth? Even what is ownership? At the core of this new thinking we are building economical systems and political realities. We are saying that the orthodox view of the value of things is determined according to certain assumptions that we are not questioning, or we do not have the instruments to reach or question. We are saying that ownership is a particular formulation of law in this regard without really examining what ownership actually means in a existential terms. On the basis of which, for example, the entire stock exchange is established, and systems of value and evaluating are established. Systems of deciding what is ownership are established. On the basis of which l we arrive at the present situation which frankly does not make sense. Would it not be more appropriate, instead of saying that maybe the Dinar is wrong, to say that maybe this thinking that says that the Dinar is wrong, is itself wrong?
Allah ta'ala has said, ‘HallalAllahul Bay’a Wa Harramar Riba’. Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury. This is true, no matter what.
When the economists say the opposite, they are wrong, and all of economics is based precisely on this second version. Any foundational analysis that you do using this way of thinking will lead T you to a wrong conclusion. I take no valid A information from economic theory But I can arrive at the useful positive statement out of it that these economic tools by which the economists are analysing the present reality are not useful. In other words, the Shari'ah is not in question. Their methodology is what has to be questioned.
Perhaps this brings about a subject that I did not really think that we would come to, which is how we are capable of reconstructing a new type of thinking which is not economics. For that, even in the West, we have enough instruments to start thinking in a different way Martin Heidegger, for those who are familiar with Western philosophy has already pointed out different ways of looking at human realities which go beyond the traditional philosophy of subjectivism on which political science and economical science were founded. There are other ways of looking at the matter. The Muslims must be capable of institutionalising what is halal. It does not matter how we think about it, the Dinar and the Dirham have to be in the street because they are halal, full stop. If there is something that we do not understand then it is our understanding that must be in question, not the Dinar and the Dirham.
We cannot try and think about this in terms of economics, it will only lead to confusion. And I am not prepared to confirm the validity of a science which I have already rejected. I point to another methodology which is much is more straightforward and which I can affirm 100% which is that what Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, says in the Qur'an is absolute truth,not theory truth. On the basis of this everything else makes either sense or it does not. I am afraid with this methodology as a balancing tool, economics does not make sense. The reconstruction of the history of the last three hundred years of what has actually happened with gold and what has happened with paper will have to be conducted under different premises, under different conditions, with a different way of thinking.
People ask whether we will we have to wait until the Khalif comes, until there is political unification before we can bring the Dinar. They say that in the past, Umar ibn al-Khattab and the other Khulafa Rashidun had all the conditions to implement it, we have nothing. How can we do it? What will be the conditions in which the Dinar can be established today? What about the gold standard and what about exchange rates and things of this nature?
There is no reason to suggest that there is an impediment today for the establishment of the Dinar. I want you to do the following exercise. You take a gold Dinar and you go to Turkey or Indonesia and you ask what do you prefer, this or the US dollar? You will see how many people choose the gold coin. So it may be that the difficulty is for somebody else, not with the people. The people are more ready than the organisation of OIC representatives are to accept and to understand it.
Thinking that the past somehow offered more favourable conditions, or that the people then were greater or better than us, is failing to understand this matter. There is nothing to prevent us from doing it except ourselves. Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallam, said when he was found sighing by one of the Sahaba, `I am sighing for my brothers.' He was asked, 'Are we not your brothers?' and he replied, 'No, you are only my companions.' He was asked, 'Who are your brothers?' He said, 'My brothers are those who will love me without having ever seen me.' He spoke of these people who will love him without having seen him and he gave a high place to us.
The task is enormous but it is equally very straightforward. If Allah has put this incredible task in front of us, it is because there are among us people with an extraordinary spiritual capacity to overcome it. So perhaps we have to look at the matter with the view that we are this extraordinary generation, not less, just as good as , those who came before us. On the basis of this, when facing what is in front of us we should not see it as a difficult task, because we have as everything we need to establish this affair.
When doubt comes to mind, I remember what my Shaykh first told me when I became a Muslim. He said, `Umar, everything that you need is within the reach of your hand.' I remember looking at my hand and thinking, 'Everything is within my reach?' I did not understand it, but I knew that it was true. So, I obeyed, and I realised that it was true. If we obey Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, then wait and be surprised. Expect wonders to happen far beyond your expectations of what you can reach and what you are capable of because it will not be by your capability that this will done, it will be done by the One who is capable of putting everything right.
What are favourable conditions for the Dinar? There is no such thing as favourable conditions. Difficulty can be favourable and ease is also favourable. The bad condition is that we are poor and they are rich, but this is positive. They have a lot to lose and we have nothing to lose. They cannot take anymore from us, they are panicking. Who do you think is in danger? The US dollar or the Dinar, and we have not started yet? I am smiling and they are shaking, why? There are far too many dollars and they cannot stop printing more. So from today I am strong, and tomorrow I am a little bit stronger, in two days time I am a little stronger still and they are a bit weaker. All I have to do is keep with this. If at any time I give up then we go back to square one. Where does our strength lie? In obedience.
We are not subjectivist and I will not look at this matter in terms of economics we are Kantians in our way of thinking. We have a very good methodology when we approach the Shari'at, we say 'Sami’naa Wa ‘Ata’anaa’· We hear and we obey.' There is nothing in the ayat which says you have to understand it and then do it. No, the point is to submit. So when you submit, Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, in His Generosity may give you the chance of understanding it, in that order.
The suggestion that we have to fulfil the Islamic Dinar because we understand it is for Christians, because Christians have this philosophy. My father, for example, is a Catholic who I hope one day will overcome this kufr, but when we have these discussions he says, 'I do what I can.' He has charities to which he donates, so he does what he can. I said, 'What a funny religion you have got. I do not do what I can, I have to obey.' I found it impossible to do this ` without changing my way of life so that this way now for me makes sense because what Allah has ordered is not open to debate, my life is open to debate.
Reasoning is measuring and that is dangerous because ihsan is about you not being a measure of the world, you worship Allah as if you see Him but you do not see Him, but you know He is seeing you. We are not the observers of the world but we are the ones being observed. Scientific methodology based on the suggestion that we are measurers is therefore a mistake from the first step. We are not the judges, we are the ones being judged. When it comes to the conditions of the law, I am afraid you do not have the luxury of saying, let me wait until I understand. You have to pay Zakat, you have to pray tomorrow whether you understand it or not. You may try to understand why you pray three raka'ats at Maghrib and try to rationalise it but it is worthless. The point is that you have to pray three raka'ats, not five, not six, even if that makes more sense to you.
As far as the gold standard is concerned, we are not defenders of the gold standard. The reason why there is no gold standard is because you cannot slim down the present economy. You cannot put a corset on this economy without suffocating it. Unless we understand the method by which we became dependent on money we have no way of finding out how we can return to a gold coin. I am saying we have to go back to the original affair.
We had gold coins, then the banks came and they said, paper equals gold and now we have paper which is worth nothing. People think that the quick answer in this framework would be to say that from the present system we have to go back to the gold standard. I am saying no, you will have no benefit from it, you will only find all the constrictions attached to the establishing of non-flexible medium of exchange without the benefits. To get the benefits you have to resort to the regeneration of another type of wealth and that is essentially thinking in terms of another way of measuring wealth, and another way of funding policies which is trading. Defining and analysing history with inadequate tools in a framework and using a vocabulary that is alien to us, will inevitably lead us to the wrong conclusions.
To examine this matter from the point of view of an Islamic perspective is in the nature of saying something like this:
Imagine Sinan, the great architect of the Ottomans. If they brought him to the city of Kuala Lumpur and asked what they should do here, how would he respond? First of all he would say this is not a city. They would ask what do you mean this is not a city it has millions of people? No, this is not a city. Where is the marketplace? Without the marketplace this is not a city. The city is built around two elements, the mosque and the marketplace. So the very first thing that he would say is, where is the marketplace? The second thing he would say is where are the Dinar and the Dirham? They would say well, we have these e pieces of paper. He would say what do you mean these pieces of paper? What are they? It is a . promise of payment. By whom? When are they going to pay? What do you mean you do not know? You are saying that these people are promising to you an amount of something and you do not even know what it is, or if they will pay you and you are trading with and working r for them? What has happened to you?!
So resorting back to our way of identifying the needs of development will result in a completely new set of realities that need to emerge. There is a new analysis of history in which the reasons of our decadence will be seen, not in terms of our lack of development in their terms, but our lack of being within the parameters of the Shari'ah, how we lost the Shari’ah and through what process we lost it, and how we can reconstruct it again. You have to admit that this l would be the only effective way of recreating the Shari'ah, not reconstructing their model. Because if the solution at the end of the day is that I have to put my crisis right in their terms, then I am back at square one, stuck in a model that is alien to me anyway. Valid information from the point of view l of a muslim would be to know what is lacking from my original model. How did I lose it and how can I put it back again? This way of looking will show me a new path that declares by itself how we can go from the present situation to an Islamic model.
On the question of exchanges, and what will happen with the economy when we introduce the Dinar. There is a wrong perception here when it comes to the idea of a shortage of gold. The difficulties people foresee, such as that all the gold will flow to them, are only true if we try and go e back to the gold standard; then the Gresham law will apply as well (bad money drives out good), the gold will be stored and the paper money will circulate. We are not talking about this, we have to go one step further than this. Back to gold itself. Gold against paper.
Today all they have to do to buy from us is print more of their paper. We, on the other hand, have to borrow from them in order to create our own paper. This gives an extraordinary advantage to them. To go back to gold simply means that gold is then evaluated against all the commodities and services provided by or used in your country including the dollar. So if you are going to ask, what will happen with the gold, you have equally to ask, what will happen with the dollar itself. From the point of view of the gold standard, it has been established by certain economists who have looked at the figures that if America went back to the gold standard, the price of gold would go up by anything from ten to thirty times the current price. This would make an incredible jump in gold prices, so whatever assets you have in gold would of course multiply, but also more importantly putting pressure on the paper itself. My argument is that the use of the gold coin will affect the value of the paper currencies. The utilisation of the gold coin in our exchanges, the return of the gold coin to the economy of the United States will put pressure on the value of their own currency even more than we observe today.
If the gold coin was equal in value to the dollar if our coins were on the gold standard, then just by raising interest rates they would be able to absorb all the gold from us. In as much as you establish parity between the gold and the paper, then all the mechanisms of the outflow of gold will happen, and all the other inequalities will be put in place, as the French invented. They were the first people to start absorbing the gold from everyone by increasing the interest rates all of this is valid thinking under the gold standard mechanisms. If you go back to pure gold, these mechanisms do not apply because at that point you can say 'I do not want your paper.' That is the difference. We are not contractually obliged to them. And the gold will increase in value and the paper will decrease.
There is some very simple mathematics to this. The demand for a currency and the offer of the currency determines the price. lf you start demanding the currency the price will go up, if no one wants it, it goes down. Behind the idea of establishing the gold coin is the fact of not accepting their currency. If you have a gold standard currency if the Ringgit is parallel to gold, and still exchangeable with other currencies under a mechanism of gold standard, then of course there are problems. They will be able to absorb all the gold. But if you have gold coins, this does not apply. You are not under any contractual obligation, you can say no to them. And will the people in the United States accept gold? I can go to the United States and buy things with gold today. There are 300,000 users of the e-Dinar system in the USA. They will certainly accept gold.
Behind all of this there is a new way of looking at things, and this is at the heart of the methodology of a new discourse, and one will have to say as the result of this talk, that we have to adopt this new way of looking. Not just that A this was an interesting talk, this new idea of the Dinar has come, it is completely different, how can I make sense of it? This is not the point, if this happens to you then we will have to change our way of thinking. This is at the heart of the matter.
We must create a new Chair of Islamic Trading in our Universities, teaching the true Islamic Model, so that all the matters I have spoken about today can be properly elaborated and built upon. If you wish, I will come here and help you build this up. If you have someone better then me, then please get him, you need him. But S find someone who is capable of doing it. On this basis we will be able to articulate, not only new thinking, which is of course necessary but much more importantly political realities and valid projects that can be presented to the Prime ` Minister of your country who is crying out for them, he is demanding them.
This Chair could be both a new academic forum to gather resources for a new way of thinking, the way for a genuine Islamisation, but building on our own model, at the same time a body that can produce the policies for the new economy and the new Ummah that will result in the establishment of the true Islamic economy. This is the proposal I leave for you. I am ready to come. And if you do not do it here, I am going to go to Indonesia and do it there! Because this has to be done somewhere.
We are hands on, we are not waiting for new legislation to come for the Dinar. We are doing it. The physical Dinar exists, and it will soon be minted here, e-Dinar is already working. We are moving on, creating new horizons. My message to you and my final word to you is to rally together around this idea, and I hope that among you there will be a new trend of thinking that will illuminate Malaysia and the rest of the world.
I want just like to finish with a general acknowledgement of one thing, which is the courage of your Prime Minister in having taken this matter forward because I am perfectly aware he is doing it against the current of the orthodox discourse and you have to appreciate for a politician to take this stance is abnormal. He is not seeking your favours and your votes when he is saying Islamic Dinar, he is truly concerned for you and he is particularly concerned for the poor, for the destitute. It is for them that the Islamic Dinar is coming into place.
So with my admiration and a word of respect for Dr Mahathir and with my hope that through his leadership Malaysia will take leadership of the Muslim world, and through your contribution, the intellectuals of this country will respond with equal enthusiasm and we are capable of creating the new model in which the Islamic world will be able to come together.
As salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah.