Sunday, December 5, 2010


Islam has seperated such items from individual ownership which is necessary for the general public and which is not defendant upon the efforts of the individual nor is its benefits exclusive to the individual. Such items are placed under comuunal ownership. This is doneto prevent the individual from being the cause of harm to the society. The Prophet  Muhammad (p.b.u.h) has mentioned four thing in this respect :

General Pasture

He said "Mankind is the communal owner and participant in three thing, water, fire and pasture".

It is reported by Imam Abu Daud, that a man asked Prophet  Muhammad (p.b.u.h) saying"O Mesengger of Allah, what are the thing that cannot be witheld from anybody ? The Prophet in reply said WATER, the man enquired futher, then what ? The Prophet replied PASTURE, the man said then what? Thr Prophet replied SALT"

By fire is meant such as wood and shrubbery which is not the property of any individual and is not the result of individual effort, such as dry wood in the jungle which is blown from place to place by wind, By salt is meant a particular kind of salt found in the mountain an d desert without much effort. This is substantiated by the incident found in the book of tradition. It is reported that Abyud Ibn Kamal, from Yemen, called upon the Prophet. He asked Prophet  Muhammad (p.b.u.h). He asked the Prophet to give him some salt found in some part in his country. The Prophet complied to this request, and he was leaving with the salt, a man came up to the Prophet  Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and said

"O Mesengger of Allah, this salt is found in a land where there is no water"By this he meant that the salt was obtained without any efforts. It was therefore unlike the salt obtained from the salt pens made by individuals and therefore, it was like the water that flows greely. The Prophet then said to Abyud Ibn Kamal "If that is the case, I cannot give it to you"

The famous commentator, El-Sindi, while commenting on the action of the Prophet  Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said: "This action is evidence to prove that such minereal which are obtained without any difficult and are found everywhere are public property and belong to the people, it therefore cannot be given as a gift to anybody. The masses are the owners of such items as water and pasture."

Ibn Kudama in his famous book 'El- Mughny' which is a reference book of Hanbali school of thought, comments on the this incidents ''This is because salt is an items which is belong to the general Muslim masses and has communal interests, it cannot be given as a gift

"The tradition of the Prophet  Muhammad (p.b.u.h) has mentioned these four items exclusively because they are the necssities of lives life of the Rarab people. The communal necessities of lives of various people differs in accordance to the various periods of time and climates. By analogy and reason, various other items which fall in the same category will be affected by the same law. Muslims jurist have placed all public amenities such as roads, bridges, dams and places of historal interest in this category.

The famous Imam Malik has by way of analogy placed all minerals found in the earth irrespective whether in the form of liquid, or solid, as public property belinging to the state. The benefactors are the people of the state. If such items are found on the property of an individual, it will still be considerd communal property. The Imam argues that the individual owns the surface of the earth and not what is found within. In normal circustances, the individual has the right to build on his or to use his land for all purposes. But it is not usual for an individual to own all the treasure found in the depth. The bounties of God in the erath are not exclusive to any individual. Apart from this, these bounties are for the benefit og general public. They therefore resemble the thing mentioned by the Prophet that are not affected by private ownership. They found in particular places and the public is in need of it. Should such items be left to the mercy of individual ownership, the public will suffer immensly. Imam Malik's opinion in this respect is the best. Opinions of many Islamic jurist are in the accordance with Imam Malik. When the earth in which the mineral is did not belong without any hardship or effort.

In his book, Imam Shafie has the following comment, under thsi category all such tangible items as oil, gas, sulphur, stone and chemicals of medicinal valus. They do not belong to any particualr individual. No single individual has nay exclusive right over such itmes, nor can the king have claim over these for himself. If any individual disregards this or deprives others of it, will be considered an aggressor.

In his book, 'Badai El- Sanai' Kashanim who is regarded as an authority of the Hanafi school of taught, has following to say" All grounds possessing salt, gas, oil and items that are indispensible to Muslims, belong to the state. The Imam has no authority of disposing them to any individual in any form, because they are state property"

Ibn Kudama an authority on the Hanbali school of thought, makes the following remarks in his famous book 'El-Mughni' "All such minerals which are indespensible to the public and which they can obtain without any effort, such as salt, water, sulphur, gas, oil, rubies, and the like, cannot be witheld by any individual. They belong to the Muslim masses. In no way can they be reserved or retained by any single individual"

- From Economic Integration in Islam, Its Fundamental Pillars (Dr. Abdul Wahid Wafi)
The Sixth Conference of The Academy of Islamic Research, Cairo, 1971 

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