Islam is an ethical ideal plus a certain kind of polity: a social structure regulated by a legal system and animated by a specific ethical ideal (Iqbal). Social Policies are those policies which are promoted by the government for the well-being, welfare, and social protection of the citizens.
There is a strong correlation between religion and social policy, especially in Islam. Islam promotes social welfare in society to maintain equality and justice in society.
Christianity: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
Hinduism: “The real implication of equal distribution is that each man shall have the wherewithal to supply all his needs and no more. (Gandhi)
From above mention quotes of Christianity and Hinduism, one can understand that social welfare is the concern of almost all the major religions of the world. Their leaders and preachers promote this concept and demand equality.
Islam: “Righteousness is not that you turn your faces towards the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angles, the Book, and the Prophets and gives wealth, despite the love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the travellers, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakat; [those who] fulfil their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are righteous.” (Quran 2:177)
Islam is not just a religion it is a complete code of life which teaches us how to live, act, behave, spend, and pray. Islam covers the social sphere of life at great length and teaches us the principles of social welfare. It condemns the concentration of wealth in the few hands and emphases the distribution of wealth in society for welfare.
In Islam, there is a concept of collectivism Islam all Muslims are like a single body or like the bricks of the building of Islam which makes each other stronger and keeps that building from falling. In Islam, there are multiple levels of responsibilities and different economic instruments to keep the balance and maintain welfare in society.
Level of responsibilities:
Self: The initial responsibility of one is to make oneself responsible for one’s deeds because in Islam everyone is responsible for one’s welfare and one will be questioned about one’s abilities. If one is capable of ones take care of then it is one’s responsibility to work. Prophet warned one in these words: “Whoever puts his/her on the others is cursed, is cursed.”
Family: Family members also owe a responsibility to each other and there is a great reward for this has a very high rank in Islam of whom who works for his family and fulfil his responsibilities. “whoever makes efforts for the livelihood of his family is like mujahid in the path of Allah.”
Public: The third level of responsibility is related to the people of society who are living together. It is the responsibility of the people to look after their neighbours and help those who need help. Prophet said, “has not believed in me who is sleeping full while his neighbour is hungry.”
State: The last level of responsibility is of the state which is very important because the ruler of the Islamic world is the servant of people and the vicegerent of Allah who must keep justice and welfare in his state and those who do not fulfil their responsibilities as rulers they will be permitted to enter in the paradise. Prophet said, “Allah does not entrust to anyone the affairs of his subjects and if he dies acting dishonestly towards them, Allah will forbid paradise for him.”
Economic Instruments for the welfare:
Zakat: It is the tax which is levied on the Muslims to take share for the poor from the wealth of the rich. It is also one of the five pillars of Islam and is mentioned at least 82 times in Quran. It is obligatory for every Muslim and has a high reward. “And establish prayer and give Zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves- you will find it with Allah.”
Sadaqah: It is a charity given voluntarily to please Allah. It is not only related to wealth as simple good deeds like a smile or helping hand is also sadaqah. Those who pay it their wealth will be multiplied “Who is that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over? Ans it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to him, you will be returned.” (Quran 2:245)
Al Qard Al Hassan: it is an interest-free loan which is given to the lender for the sake of Allah. It has also an important role in society as it acts as microfinancing which helps to set up a small business and it also helps small farmers.
In conclusion, I would say that these are the principles through which Islam establishes welfare in society. These days Pakistan is going through a serious economic crisis due to which inflation is very high in Pakistan and Ramadan is also going on, due to which people are facing many difficulties. It is the right time to help others who are in need because, for those who help mankind, Allah will help them. So, look after your neighbours and people in need in this time of crisis and become a true Muslim by following the principles of Islam for the welfare.
M Ahmad is currently pursuing his studies at the National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad, Pakistan. He has a interests include politics, policy, culture, and Islam