of The Nature of Money:- What it can do and should
be allowed to do:
"The creation of Dirhams and Dinars (money)
is one of the blessings of Allah. They are (to be treated as) stones
having no intrinsic usufruct (i.e. no natural use or enjoyment)
or utility, but all human beings need them, because everybody needs
a large number of commodities for his eating, wearing etc.
And often he does not have what he needs, and does have what he
needs not. Therefore, the transactions of exchange are inevitable.
But there must be a measure on the basis on which price can be determined,
because the exchanged commodities are neither of the same type,
nor of the same measure which can determine how much quantity one
commodity is a just price for another.
Therefore all these commodities need a mediator to judge their exact
value. Allah Almighty has created Dirhams and Dinars (money) as
judges and mediators between all commodities so that all objects
of wealth are measured through them. And their being the measure
of the value of all commodities is based upon the fact that they
are not an object in themselves. Had they been an object in themselves
one could have a specific purpose for keeping them which might have
given them more importance according to his intention, while the
one who had no such purpose would have not given them such importance,
and thus the whole system would have been disturbed. That is why
Allah has created them, so that they may be circulated between hands
and act as fair judges between different commodities and work as
a medium to acquire other Things.
So the one who owns them is as though he owns every thing, unlike
the one who owns a cloth, because he owns only a cloth, therefore,
if he needs food, the owner of food may not be interested in exchanging
his food for cloth, because he may need an animal for example. Therefore,
there was needed a thing which in its appearance is nothing, but
in its essence is every thing. The thing which has no particular
form may have different forms in relation to other things, like
a mirror which has no colour, but it reflects every colour.
The same is the case of money. It is not (and should not be) an
object in itself, but it is an instrument that leads to All objectives.
So the one who is using money in a manner contrary to its basic
purpose is, in fact, disregarding the blessings of Allah. Consequently,
whoever hoards money is doing injustice to it and is defeating their
actual purpose. He is like the one who detains a (just) ruler in
a prison. And whoever effects the transactions of interest on money
is, in fact, discarding the blessings of Allah, and is committing
injustice, because money is created for some other things, not for
itself. So the one who has started trading in money itself has made
it an objective contrary to the wisdom behind its creation, because
it is injustice to use money for a purpose other than the one it
was created for. If it is allowed for him to trade in money itself,
money will become his ultimate goal, and will remain detained with
him like hoarded money. And imprisoning a (just) ruler, or restricting
a postman from conveying messages is nothing but injustice."
Imam Al-Ghazzali (Died 505A.H.)
Found in "Ihya al-Uloom" v.4, P,88-89, Cairo 1939.