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The main concept of The Qur’an is “There is no God except The God” ( LaIlaha Ilallah) and anyone who doesnot believe (iman) in The God (Allah) but believes in other gods (demi gods) shall never be exempted from the never ending punishment of the Hell (jahannum). This act is referred to as Shirk ( opposite of iman) in the Qur’an and is said to be one crime which would never be forgiven. Now, this is a very interesting point as the entire Quran revolves around this central idea of Shirk . Actually, this point is totally misunderstood as a result of which Qur’an today has been made Mahjoor( tied up).

Human beings have different needs & greed, the fulfilment of which gives him satisfaction and the non fulfillment of which gives him pain. Pain can never be a pleasure to human beings and fear of pain makes him selflish as the sense of personal & communal gains & losses always come in the way of being selfless. This conflict of interests leads to disturbance and disturbance abhors peace.The God who has created all of us and made the Qur’an available to human knowledge is free of all needs and therefore He is selfless. There can be no conflict of interests between the God and the Humanity as a whole.

But, human beings donot realise their faults on their own as they are lost in fulfiling the agenda of their ownselves or of those whom they follow (demi gods). Due to differences in agenda the Human Race gets divided into  smaller and bigger groups. People having a common agenda form a group and people of different agenda form different groups and every group is firm on their agenda resulting in enemity. The agenda of different groups are in conflict thus  groupism leads to fights and disturbance abhoring PEACE, EQUITY & JUSTICE. Thus groupism is a path that is contrary to PEACE, EQUITY AND JUSTICE  and thus groupism is declared by Allah as SHIRK and the people divided due to selfish conflicting agenda as MUSHRIQIINS.

The God wants the human race to shift its focus from individual needs or group needs to universal needs (amaanaat) which will successfully abhor conflict of interests and help them to forsake the domain of evil(aslamna). This is what the Qur’an attempts to teach Human Beings. In spite of differences how to be together (sabr) with mutual love and honour for the purpose of peace(Islam).

Now, believing in Allah is accepting The Agenda of The Allah( Ad-Deen) and striving for the fulfillment of it with ones’s all might (iman). This belief will shift one’s agenda of exclusive interests to inclusive interests restoring peace. In this process whoever would create disturbance and would detest the peace process (Islam) inspite of knowing the truth and having been warned repeatedly are referred to as Kafirs in Qur’an and the Qur’an orders these people to be uprooted . These people are not mentioned as Jews or Christians or Muslims or Hindus etc etc but can be from any of the community.(Allah is not the pleader of any particular community as He is the sustainer of the universes as a whole).

Kafir represents a class of people who continuously strive to detest and disturb the peace process because of their own agenda ( their Deen) of exclusivity and so they form groups and promote fighting with each other. These people are to be uprooted . Denial of rights to justice, truth & equity is the act of a Kafir and it should never be accepted and should be fought against (Jihad) how much strong and influential they might be as it is not for individuals personal desires but for the interests of the entire Humanity.

Today no one reads and tries to understand what The God says but quote verses of The Qur’an out of context to make a joke of it , to prove it is not from the God . This is not the Book for the Muslim community exclusively but for everyone and everybody in the Universe. Qur’an address all Human Beings.

According to the Qur’an , Muslims are those who live not only for themselves but for others too. These are people who with their wealth & lives fight for truth, equity & justice and donot ask anything for themselves. These are people who forgives when angry. These are the truthful. Qur’an is a mindset , a beautiful mindset. Do we find these characteristics in Muslims of today ? If not then they are people who call themselves Muslims but they are actually not. If they are not then why are others not???  Why are the other communities also have made their own agenda so more important than The God’s???  Why are they not coming up with the most beautiful ideas of Inclusive growth ??? Why are they also fighting for their agenda??? Why are they blaming Muslims ????  Why are they wasting their time finding , pointing and discussing faults of the Muslims??  No, it is all the same for everybody. We are all lost in the sphere of selfishness and have constructed rigid walls around.

Why do the fight between communities so important when there is an ever increasing problem in FOOD, HEALTH, SHELTER, EDUCATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS across communities. We are responsible for the hopeless condition of the Poor and We should CARE & SHARE now across the Globe beyond the territories of Nation & Religion and that is AD-DEEN & ISLAM as per THE QUR”AN.

( everything in this article is based on the Verses of The Qur’an)

Supplementary Informations :

The following informations & Statistics will show how SELFISHNESS leads to INJUSTICE & INEQUITY and this further leads to DISTURBANCE DUE TO IMBALANCE and that abhors PEACE.

Issues Facts Reason
Food Over 9 million people die worldwide every year because of hunger and malnutrition, 5 million are children. In the United Kingdom a shocking 30% to 40% of all food is never eaten.

Overall 38 million (appx) US dollars worth of food is thrown away every year.

In the US 40%-50% of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten.

Read More in Notes Below

Health One billion people lack access to health care systems.

According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Read Below in Notes
Shelter 640 million live without adequate shelter. Read Below in Notes
Education Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. Less than 1% of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by 2000 but yetit did not happen.

Read More in Notes

Human Rights    

 

Only a few Notes  :

 

The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined

 

More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.

 

Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

Behind the increasing interconnectedness promised by globalization are global decisions, policies, and practices. These are typically influenced, driven, or formulated by the rich and powerful. These can be leaders of rich countries or other global actors such as multinational corporations, institutions, and influential people.

In the face of such enormous external influence, the governments of poor nations and their people are often powerless. As a result, in the global context, a few get wealthy while the majority struggle.

Most of humanity lives on just a few dollars a day. Whether you live in the wealthiest nations in the world or the poorest, you will see high levels of inequality.

The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.

By contrast, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to benefit from economic or political policies. The amount the world spends on military, financial bailouts and other areas that benefit the wealthy, compared to the amount spent to address the daily crisis of poverty and related problems are often staggering

Cutbacks in health, education and other vital social services around the world have resulted from structural adjustment policies prescribed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank as conditions for loans and repayment. In addition, developing nation governments are required to open their economies to compete with each other and with more powerful and established industrialized nations. To attract investment, poor countries enter a spiraling race to the bottom to see who can provide lower standards, reduced wages and cheaper resources. This has increased poverty and inequality for most people. It also forms a backbone to what we today call globalization. As a result, it maintains the historic unequal rules of trade.

Read “Structural Adjustment—a Major Cause of Poverty” to learn more.

Around the world, in rich or poor nations, poverty has always been present.

In most nations today, inequality—the gap between the rich and the poor—is quite high and often widening.

The causes are numerous, including a lack of individual responsibility, bad government policy, exploitation by people and businesses with power and influence, or some combination of these and other factors.

Many feel that high levels of inequality will affect social cohesion and lead to problems such as increasing crime and violence.

Inequality is often a measure of relative poverty. Absolute poverty, however, is also a concern. World Bank figures for world poverty reveals a higher number of people live in poverty than previously thought.

For example, the new poverty line is defined as living on the equivalent of $1.25 a day. With that measure based on latest data available (2005), 1.4 billion people live on or below that line.

Furthermore, almost half the world—over three billion people—live on less than $2.50 a day and at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day:

We often hear leaders from rich countries telling poor countries that aid and loans will only be given when they show they are stamping out corruption. While that definitely needs to happen, the rich countries themselves are often active in the largest forms of corruption in those poor countries, and many economic policies they prescribe have exacerbated the problem. Corruption in developing countries definitely must be high on the priority lists, but so too must it be on the priority lists of rich countries.

Read “Corruption” to learn more.

“The often heard comment (one I once accepted as fact) that “there are too many people in the world, and overpopulation is the cause of hunger”, can be compared to the same myth that expounded sixteenth-century England and revived continuously since.

Through repeated acts of enclosure the peasants were pushed off the land so that the gentry could make money raising wool for the new and highly productive power looms. They could not do this if the peasants were to retain their historic entitlement [emphasis is original] to a share of production from the land. Massive starvation was the inevitable result of this expropriation.

There were serious discussions in learned circles about overpopulation as the cause of this poverty. This was the accepted reason because a social and intellectual elite were doing the rationalizing. It was they who controlled the educational institutions which studied the problem. Naturally the final conclusions (at least those published) absolved the wealthy of any responsibility for the plight of the poor. The absurdity of suggesting that England was then overpopulated is clear when we realize that “the total population of England in the sixteenth century was less than in any one of several present-day English cities.”

The hunger in underdeveloped countries today is equally tragic and absurd. Their European colonizers understood well that ownership of land gave the owner control over what society produced. The most powerful simply redistributed the valuable land titles to themselves, eradicating millennia-old traditions of common use. Since custom is a form of ownership, the shared use of land could not be permitted. If ever reestablished, this ancient practice would reduce the rights of these new owners. For this reason, much of the land went unused or underused until the owners could do so profitably. This is the pattern of land use that characterizes most Third World countries today, and it is this that generates hunger in the world.

These conquered people are kept in a state of relative impoverishment. Permitting them any substantial share of the wealth would negate the historic reason for conquest — namely plunder. The ongoing role of Third World countries is to be the supplier of cheap and plentiful raw materials and agricultural products to the developed world. Nature’s wealth was, and is, being controlled to fulfill the needs of the world’s affluent people. The U.S. is one of the prime beneficiaries of this well-established system. Our great universities search diligently for “the answer” to the problem of poverty and hunger. They invariably find it in “lack of motivation, inadequate or no education,” or some other self-serving excuse. They look at everything except the cause — the powerful own the world’s social wealth. As a major beneficiary, we have much to gain by perpetuating the myths of overpopulations, cultural and racial inferiority, and so forth. The real causes must be kept from ourselves, as how else can this systematic damaging of others be squared with what we are taught about democracy, rights, freedom, and justice?”

J.W. Smith, The World’s Wasted Wealth: the political economy of waste, (New World’s Press, 1989), pp. 44,

Some have pointed out over the years that even the US Founding Fathers understood this very well, to the effect that some elites were able to affect the Constitution in this manner:

“Despite the egalitarian rhetoric of the American Revolution and an attempt to place a proclamation in the Constitution for a “common right of the whole nation to the whole of the land,” the powerful looked out for their own interests by changing Locke’s insightful phrase: “all men are entitled to life, liberty and land.” This powerful statement that all could understand coming from a well-read and respected philosopher was a threat to the monopolizers of land, so they restructured those words to “life, liberty and [the meaningless phrase] pursuit of happiness.” Knowledge of the substitution for phrases in America’s Constitution which would protect every person’s rights with phrases that protect only the rights of a few should alert one to check the meaning and purpose of all laws of all societies carefully.”

—    J.W. Smith, Regaining Rights to a Modern Commons through Eliminating the Subtle-Monopolization of Land, Chapter 24, Economic Democracy; The Political Struggle for the 21st Century, (1st Books, 2002, Second Edition)

 

While not necessarily a non-productive use as such, dam projects have long been criticized for displacing millions of people and not providing them the benefits promised, while also degrading the environment and even flooding arable land.

Every year, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, around four million people were displaced from their homes because of hydro-electric dam schemes. These schemes usually created huge resevoirs which flooded homes, forests and fertile land.… Since the electricity generated by the dams was intended to power factories and houses in urban areas, few of the rural poor benefitted from such schemes.

… These [multinational construction] corporations are a vital link in the “big dam” chain. Their experience of such projects means they can provide an expertise that national companies usually lack. Without the TNCs, the big aid-funded dam schemes of the last 40 years could not have gone ahead with such confidence. The schemes give the TNCs security of payment, as the money is coming mostly from foreign aid, and the opportunity to make good profits at low risk — if costs soar they can usually be passed on. Dams often cost more than the original estimates, leaving governments of developing countries to pick up an extra bill.

… The construction of the [Sri Lankan] Mahaweli River scheme effectively witnessed an enormous transfer of wealth from people in one of the poorest developing countries to some of the world’s largest TNCs. “We are a poor country”, said a critic of the scheme, “we cannot afford this kind of aid”.

… The UK had agreed to give aid for Pergau in 1989 as a sweetener for securing a £1.3 billion arms deal with Malaysia. In 1991, Sir Timothy Lankester, a former permanent secretary at the Overseas Development Administration, the British government department which then administered the aid budget, opposed aid for the dam, saying he believed it was neither economic or efficient. He was over-ruled.

John Madeley, Big Business Poor Peoples; The Impact of Transnational Corporations on the World’s Poor, (Zed Books, 1999) pp. 115 – 117

Diversion of land use to non-productive use

When precious arable land use is diverted to non-productive, or even destructive use, the overall costs to society can be considerable. Examples of such land use include, but is not limited to the following:

  • The tobacco industry
  • Tea and Coffee plantations the world over to be sold to the wealthier countries, primarily
  • Floriculture to sell flowers in the wealthier countries comes at a high cost to the growers
  • Certain dam projects
  • Beef and fast food industries using other people’s resources
  • Sugar cane growing for sugar exports
  • Increasing use of biofuels

The tobacco industry

Smoking kills, reduces economic productivity and exacerbates poverty, charges the world’s premier health body, the World Health Organization (WHO).

Smoking also contributes to world hunger, as the tobacco industry diverts huge amounts of land from producing food to producing tobacco:

Dr Judith MacKay, Director of the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control in Hong Kong, claims that tobacco’s “minor” use of land denies 10 to 20 million people of food. “Where food has to be imported because rich farmland is being diverted to tobacco production, the government will have to bear the cost of food imports,” she points out.

… The bottom line for governments of developing countries is that the net economic costs of tobacco are profoundly negative — the cost of treatment, disability and death exceeds the economic benefits to producers by at least US$200 billion annually “with one third of this loss being incurred by developing countries”.

John Madeley, Big Business Poor Peoples; The Impact of Transnational Corporations on the World’s Poor, (Zed Books, 1999) pp. 53, 57

Madeley also describes in detail other impacts on land from tobacco use:

  • The land that has been destroyed or degraded to grow tobacco has affects on nearby farms. As forests, for example, are cleared to make way for tobacco plantations, then the soil protection it provides is lost and is more likely to be washed away in heavy rains. This can lead to soil degradation and failing yields.
  • A lot of wood is also needed to cure tobacco leaves.
  • Tobacco uses up more water, and has more pesticides applied to it, further affecting water supplies. These water supplies are further depleted by the tobacco industry recommending the planting of quick growing, but water-thirsty eucalyptus trees.
  • Child labor is often needed in tobacco farms.
  • For more detail, refer to Big Business Poor Peoples; The Impact of Transnational Corporations on the World’s Poor, by John Madeley, (Zed Books, 1999) ch. 4.

Madeley continues on to point out that heavy advertising of tobacco by TNCs can “convince the poor to smoke more, and to use money they might have spent on food or health care, to buy cigarettes instead.”

A report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says that from a socioeconomic and environmental perspective, there is little benefit in tobacco growing, and that “While a few large-scale tobacco growers have prospered, the vast majority of tobacco growers in the Global South barely eke out a living toiling for the companies.” Furthermore, “the cigarette companies continue to downplay or ignore the many serious economic and environmental costs associated with tobacco cultivation, such as chronic indebtedness among tobacco farmers (usually to the companies themselves), serious environmental destruction caused by tobacco farming, and pesticide-related health problems for farmers and their families.”

In fact, it is interesting to note that the tobacco industry has gone to extraordinary level to discredit the World Health Organisation (WHO) and others that are fighting tobacco issues , as a report from the WHO describes. A Committee of Experts had been set up in October 1999 to “enquire into the nature and extent of undue influence which the tobacco industry had exercised over UN organisations.” This Committee produced the report that “found that the tobacco industry regarded the World Health Organization as one of their leading enemies, and that the industry had a planned strategy to ‘contain, neutralise, reorient’ WHO’s tobacco control initiatives.” They added that the tobacco industry documents show that they carried out their plan by:

  • staging events to divert attention from the public health issues raised by tobacco use;
  • attempting to reduce budgets for the scientific and policy activities carried out by WHO;
  • pitting other UN agencies against WHO;
  • seeking to convince developing countries that WHO’s tobacco control program was a “First World” agenda carried out at the expense of the developing world;
  • distorting the results of important scientific studies on tobacco;
  • discrediting WHO as an institution.

While some countries, such as the US have had the resources and political will to tackle the large tobacco corporations, these multinationals have intensified their efforts in other regions of world such as Asia, to continue growing and selling cigarettes, as well as expanding advertising (to create demand, not meet).

Reports from the WHO show that there is a lot of political manouvering by large tobacco companies to lower prices, to increase sales, etc. In addition, the poor and small farmers are the ones most affected by the impacts of tobacco companies. The hard cash earned from this “foreign investment” is offset by the costs in social and public health. In effect, profits are privatized; costs are socialized.

If one doesn’t wish to give up smoking because it is considered their free choice, how about giving up smoking so others may have a choice?

More issues around tobacco and its impacts, the actions of the tobacco industry, attempts at global regulation, and more are provided on this site’s tobacco section.

Environmental and Economic damage from coffee production

“Coffee drinkers will be astonished to learn that they hold in their hands the fate of farm families, farming communities, and entire ecosystems in coffee-growing regions like Costa Rica,” as Old Dog Documentaries notes. Furthermore:

25 million coffee growers worldwide are paid a mere pittance in the corporate marketplace while bearing the full brunt of global price fluctuations. When prices crash, farmers go hungry and their children are forced to drop out of school. Families are separated, communities disintegrate, and the land is cleared for other crops or other means of livelihood. That clearing of the land disrupts the ecosystem in ways that have deadly consequences for migratory birds in particular and for global ecological balance in general.

Birdsong & Coffee: A Wake Up Call, Old Dog Documentaries, Inc., March 2006

The ID21 research organization summarizes some the impacts of coffee production:

“Coffee production provides a livelihood for 25 million people in developing countries and globally, 10.6 million hectares of land are used for growing coffee beans.” Coffee is therefore “one of the most legally-traded agricultural commodities in the world and one of the most important income crops for small farmers in developing countries.”

Despite its importance,

Growing coffee is not always a reliable source of income, however. While coffee production increased by 61 percent between 1960 and 2000, prices fell by 57 percent during the same period.

…Growing coffee has significant environmental impacts:

  • Establishing coffee plantations results in the clearance of natural forest areas. This trend is made worse by the increasing demand for high-grade speciality coffee, which requires more land.
  • Chemical use contributes to soil degradation. A shift to new production methods (such as full-sun production) has increased pesticide use enormously, resulting in lower insect populations and reduced nutrient recycling by soil.
  • As coffee processing has moved away from the farms and fields, waste pulp is dumped in rivers, thus reducing levels of oxygen in the water and degrading freshwater ecosystems. It could instead be used as a soil amendment for coffee crops.

Counting the cost of a cup of coffee, ID21, 28 February 2005

Fair Trade Coffee is often highlighted as a better option than normally produced coffee, for it at least pays the producer a fairer wage. Yet, in a wider context, is such mass coffee consumption healthy for the producing country?

Coffee consumption, in the amounts typically done today, may also be unnecessary. Many consume it in vast quanitites believing the caffeine intake will help them get through the day, especially if working long, stressful hours. A recent program by the BBC called the Truth about Food compared coffee with a decafenated substitute and concluded the following:

Does caffeine give us the edge over decaf users? No. Once we’ve recovered from caffeine we can do just as well without it.

Caffeine and the Brain, BBC, accessed February 15, 2007

Some may choose to consume coffee for its taste, but if so many are consuming it to get through work, then it may not be necessary. This may implied “wasted labour” and resources (the details and implications of which are discussed further on this site’s section on Behind Consumption and Consumerism).

Growing flowers can have a high cost to growers

Floriculture too is a growing field in some developing countries. However, as Madeley explains, it too has some negative effects, such as:

  • Divert land use away from growing needed food. (In Colombia for example, floriculture was seen as a way to avoid cocaine growing. Food growth could have been more directly positive for the growers and local communities.)
  • Very low wages
  • Child labor
  • Pesticide poisoning and other severe health problems. (Some of these pesticides are banned in the West.)
  • Women suffer high miscarriage rates
  • For more detail, refer to Big Business Poor Peoples; The Impact of Transnational Corporations on the World’s Poor, by John Madeley, (Zed Books, 1999) ch. 4, pp 64 – 70 (Non-traditional export crops).

Anuradha Mittal also describes the effects in some parts of India:

In 1999, a UN Population Fund report predicted that India would soon become one of the world’s largest recipients of food aid. The report went on to blame the increasing population for the problem. What it did not mention is that the state of Punjab, also known as “the granary of India,” grows abundant food even today, but most of it is being converted into dog and cat food for Europe. Nor did the report mention that the neighboring state of Haryana, also traditionally a fertile agricultural state, is today one of the world leaders in growing tulips for export. Increasingly, countries like India are polluting their air, earth, and water to grow products for the Western market instead of growing food to feed their own people. Prime agricultural lands are being poisoned to meet the needs of the consumers in the West, and the money the consumers spend does not reach the majority of the working poor in the Third World.

Anuradha Mittal, True Cause of World Hunger, February 2002

And in Ecuador, Mother Jones magazine adds that

Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and soil fumigants used in the greenhouses are causing serious health problems for Ecuador’s 60,000 rose workers — especially the women and children who sort and package the flowers prior to shipping. In recent years, studies by the International Labor Organization and Ecuador’s Catholic University have found that as many as 60 percent of postharvest workers complain of pesticide-poisoning symptoms, including headaches, blurred vision, and muscular twitching. Women in the industry, who represent 70 percent of all rose workers, experience significantly elevated rates of miscarriages. Children under 18, who make up more than a fifth of the workforce, display signs of neurological damage at 22 percent above average.

Ross Wehner, Deflowering Ecuador, Mother Jones, January/February 2003 Issue

The effects of dam projects on the poor

While not necessarily a non-productive use as such, dam projects have long been criticized for displacing millions of people and not providing them the benefits promised, while also degrading the environment and even flooding arable land.

Every year, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, around four million people were displaced from their homes because of hydro-electric dam schemes. These schemes usually created huge resevoirs which flooded homes, forests and fertile land.… Since the electricity generated by the dams was intended to power factories and houses in urban areas, few of the rural poor benefitted from such schemes.

… These [multinational construction] corporations are a vital link in the “big dam” chain. Their experience of such projects means they can provide an expertise that national companies usually lack. Without the TNCs, the big aid-funded dam schemes of the last 40 years could not have gone ahead with such confidence. The schemes give the TNCs security of payment, as the money is coming mostly from foreign aid, and the opportunity to make good profits at low risk — if costs soar they can usually be passed on. Dams often cost more than the original estimates, leaving governments of developing countries to pick up an extra bill.

… The construction of the [Sri Lankan] Mahaweli River scheme effectively witnessed an enormous transfer of wealth from people in one of the poorest developing countries to some of the world’s largest TNCs. “We are a poor country”, said a critic of the scheme, “we cannot afford this kind of aid”.

… The UK had agreed to give aid for Pergau in 1989 as a sweetener for securing a £1.3 billion arms deal with Malaysia. In 1991, Sir Timothy Lankester, a former permanent secretary at the Overseas Development Administration, the British government department which then administered the aid budget, opposed aid for the dam, saying he believed it was neither economic or efficient. He was over-ruled.

John Madeley, Big Business Poor Peoples; The Impact of Transnational Corporations on the World’s Poor, (Zed Books, 1999) pp. 115 – 117

After reactions to a pertinent report by the World Bank, a World Commission on Dams (WCD) was established in 1998 with a mandate to review the development effectiveness of large dams and develop internationally acceptable criteria, guidelines and standards for large dams.

The World Commission on Dams (WCD), released a report at the end of 2000 criticizing dam projects for failing to deliver promised benefits while affecting millions of poor people’s lives in developing countries and degrading the environment.

They also pointed out that “dams have made an important and significant contribution to human development, and the benefits derived from them have been considerable.” However, “in too many cases an unacceptable and often unnecessary price has been paid to secure those benefits, especially in social and environmental terms, by people displaced, by communities downstream, by taxpayers and by the natural environment. Lack of equity in the distribution of benefits has called into question the value of many dams in meeting water and energy development needs when compared with the alternatives.”

The full report from the World Commission on Dams is on their web site.

The World Bank, involved in many dam projects, received criticism for choosing to only reference the WCD report rather than adopt them as rules governing its operations.

Beef and fast food industries using other people’s resources

Consider the following cited from this web site’s section on consumption and beef:

  • More than one third of the world’s grain harvest is used to feed livestock.
  • Breaking that down a little bit
    • Almost all rice is consumed by people
    • While corn is a staple food in many Latin American and Sub-Saharan countries, “worldwide, it is used largely as feed.”
    • Wheat is more evenly divided between food and feed and is a staple food in many regions such as the West, China and India.
  • The total cattle population for the world is approximately 1.3 billion occupying some 24% of the land of the planet
  • Some 70 to 80% of grain produced in the United States is fed to livestock
  • Half the water consumed in the U.S. is used to grow grain for cattle feed
  • A gallon of gasoline is required to produce a pound of grain-fed beef

Anup Shah, Beef

The beef industry consumes a considerable number of resources, and for a product that is not a “need” as such, but more of a “luxury”. Excessive promotion of its consumption has led to many health issues as well as environmental problems. Furthermore, the resources used could be put to more productive uses. In addition, as an example of the vast first world subsidies which the third world often complains about as hypocritical, consider the following:

If water used by the meat industry [in the United States] were not subsidized by taxpayers, common hamburger meat would cost $35 a pound. You need 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat — 2,500 gallons to generate a pound of meat.

Simone Spearman, Eating More Veggies Can Help Save Energy, San Francisco Chronicle, June 29, 2001. (Emphasis Added) [Previous link is to a reposted version at Commondreams.org]

The issue of beef and fast food industry is discussed further on this site’s section on beef.

Sugar cane growing for sugar exports

Like beef, sugar too contributes to problems. From the obvious things like health, there are also other concerns such as the environment, and using vast resources to produce an unhealthy product for export when similar resources could be spent in other, more productive ways.

This too is further discussed on this site’s section on sugar.

Like beef, sugar exemplifies issues related to some of the negative aspects of liberalized, industrial agriculture.

Increasing use of biofuels

The food crisis of 2008 that has driven some additional 100 million people into poverty has been due to many of the concerns raised above. An additional cause has also been the increasing use of biofuels, which diverts land away from food production to growing crops for fuels such as ethanol.

For a long time, various people have believed that biofuels would have an impact on agriculture and hunger. However, rich countries, the main backers behind biofuels, have played down their impact. Wrongly, it turns out.

The US and some European countries have often insisted that the impact of biofuels on the food crisis has been small. It seems that this claim has been self-serving, because of interests in the biofuel industry. Yet, based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far,

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75%—far more than previously estimated—according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

The figure emphatically contradicts the US government’s claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil.

Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.

Aditya Chakrabortty, Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis; Internal World Bank study delivers blow to plant energy drive, The Guardian, July 4, 2008

Rich countries have attempted instead to blame demand from rising poorer countries as a bigger cause.

President Bush has linked higher food prices to higher demand from India and China, but the leaked World Bank study disputes that: “Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases.”

Aditya Chakrabortty, Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis; Internal World Bank study delivers blow to plant energy drive, The Guardian, July 4, 2008

The report mentions the following ways in which biofuels have distorted food markets which had led to the 2008 food crisis:

  • Grain has been diverted away from food, to fuel; (Over a third of US corn is now used to produce ethanol; about half of vegetable oils in the EU goes towards the production of biodiesel);
  • Farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production;
  • The rise in biofuels has sparked financial speculation in grains, driving prices up higher.

The World Bank has also estimated that an additional 100 million more people have been driven into hunger because of the rising food prices. Another institute, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) estimates that 30% of the increase in the prices of the major grains is due to biofuels. In other words, biofuels may be responsible for some 30-75 million additional people being driven into hunger.

With such large numbers of destruction, it is understandable why politically the US and EU may wish to publicly minimize the impact of biofuels.

To Know More See http://www.globalissues.org/

 

 

 

 

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Celebration & Eid

 

A celebration is a mark of achievement and the sense of achievement is always a source of satisfaction and being satisfied one attains status-quo. In Islam, every road to the attainment of status-quo has been discouraged.

 

No one is suppose to celebrate success in the middle of an examination. Only, after the results are declared and one wins he is supposed to celebrate. In the middle of the journey there can be no destination, it is only at the end where the journey ends.

 

After, 29 to 30 days of Saum in the month of Ramadhan the celebration of Eid on the first day of the next month Shawwal is the celebration of happiness. Can anyone tell  the reason for such celebration of happiness? What is achieved? Is the result of this life declared by Allah? that such a celebration by the name of Eid is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal month after 29 to 30 days of Ramadhan.

 

 To utter disappointment it has been found that the spirit that develops among the followers during Ramadhan is put to an end by the celebration of Eid and everyone who participates in the celebration of Eid gets a satisfaction of an achievement and gets lost in the sphere of status-quo like the examinee who left the examination hall in the middle of the examination in happiness for having answered a question to his satisfaction. Does having answered a question to one’s satisfaction allow him to celebrate and leave the other questions of the question paper unanswered have any meaning ? He would be considered a fool from every meaning of the word. The condition of the muslims at large is the same and so is the case with people of other communities.

 

The result rests with Allah, and we shall have to wait till the Day of Judgement for the result. When the results will be declared and the winners will enter the gate of Jannat the celebration of achievement will begin and such a celebration will be eternal , the details of which is mentioned in the Qur’an. Till then struggle is the only thing that the believers have to do.

 

The self restraint practice in the 29 to 30 days of the month of Ramadhan should not be understood as a performance & achievement but as a training for brushing up & recharging of the acquired knowledge of common & collective concern in regards to restraint of thoughts and expressions  and their channelisation for the execution of the agenda of Allah. The methods to be adopted for the execution of the agenda of Allah should be taken from the Qur’an.

 

There, is no mention of ‘Eid’ in the Qur’an and hence what is not in the Qur’an is not a part of Islamic Faith and thus should be closely scrutinised. ‘Eid’ is an innovation in Islam and it is also burden on the Muslims for the enhanced expenditure. This money should be spent on the poor section of the society for providing food, cloth, medical assistance and education.

 

Brothers, there is nothing to rejoice now, this is the time to introspect , understand and strive for the establishment of PEACE, EQUITY & JUSTICE on Earth.

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Do u think that Allah missed out or forgot to mention the details of prayer ? there was Hajj, there was Saum, still HE gave the details.

He discussed the details of Salaat very well and in elaborate manner in each and every verse of the Qur’an. In 68:36  & 37 &  39 states as follows:

“What is a miss with you? On what do you base your judgement?

Or, have you perchance, a divine writ which you study,

and in which you find all that you may wish to find?”

24:54 of the Qur’an states as follows:–

” Say: ” Obey Allah , and obey

The Messenger: But if you turn

away, he is not responsible

for the duty placed on him

You shall be on right guidance.

The Messenger’s duty is only

To preach the clear message”

That last two lines of this verse clarifies that the highly respected Rasool was not to clear the Qur’an to its people but to preach the already clear Qur’an.

The same thing in the last portion of 16:35 of the Qur’an, which is as follows:–

” …………….But what is the mission of Messengers but to preach the clear message” .

The succeeding verse16:36 explains that serving Allah is by eschewing evil.

Allah also tells that Qur’ani the best Hadith and also after Qur’an in which hadith are we going to believe?

The Qur’an is clear and well explained Book ref 15:1, 25:33, 26:2, 27:1, 28:2, 36:69 & 70, 43:2

The Qur’an is a Book of Wisdom–10:1, 31:2, 36:2

6:38 of the Qur’an reads as follows—

“ …………..No single thing WE have neglected in this Book”

‘The Middle Prayer’ 

The word Salatul Wusta used in 2:238 in the Qur’an  is often refered to as the ‘Asr Prayer’ which is a speculation but nothing.

The literal understanding of  ‘Salatul Wusta’ is ‘ the balanced Salaat’ like the meaning of the ‘Ummatun Wasata’ in verse 2:143 is ‘ An Ummat justly balanced’. The meaning of ‘Salatul Wusta’ is a conduct balanced in Justice, equity and truth.

In 2:239 , the next verse to 2:238 it is said to celebrate the praises of Allah in the way Allah has taught which we knew not and the word used for celebrating the praises is ‘fazkur’.

‘Fazkur’ is a form of ‘Zikr’ and the method of ‘Zikr is taught by Allah in 7: 205 of the Qur’an which is as follows:

“ and do thou bring to rememberance( Wazkur)

In thy soul

With humility  and remember

Without loudness in words,

In the mornings and evenings;

And be not thou

Of those who are heedless”

Thus, our balanced reaction and not a biased reaction towards anything & everything for upholding/ establishing TRUTH, EQUITY AND JUSTICE is referrred to as ‘Salatul Wusta’

Thus , after asking us to do something , Allah doesnot leave the order incomplete and abstract  but explains it clearly there or  somewhere else in the Qur’an.  We have been asked to do day and night ‘Zikr’ and its method is also detailed in the Qur’an. This is why Qur’an is a complete book and what is not in Qur’an is not a part of the Islamic Faith.

11:114 of the Qur’an in Arabic is as follows:—

“ wa aqimi as salaata tarafi an nahari wa zulfan minal layli inna al- hasanati yuz hibna As- saiyati zalika zikra liz-zaakiiriina”

There is no mention of ‘Fajr’ or ‘Maghrib’ in the above Verse.

The traditional understanding of the above verse is as follows:-

“ And establish the Salaat At the two ends of the day And at the approaches of the night For those that are good Remove those that are evil This is a reminder For the mindful.”

 Plz note the following points:—

The word ‘Qayam’ means to stand firm ,whose derivative is ‘aqimi’ here translated as Establish , it doesnot mean to perform a special act of worship.

The meaning of the word Salaat can be easily understood if we understand the meanings of verses 11:112 & 11:113 . Also the word Aqimu is used in the verse 11:112.

Salaat is also explained in the same verse 11:114, i.e establishment of Good deeds. Good deeds that removes the bad deeds. This is a way shown by Allah to make human kind responsible and accountable about himself and his fellow beings. The meaning of the verse 11:114 is that we should stand firm in truth, equity and justice on Earth day and night by driving away evil deeds with good deeds. For example: neglecting a poor is evil deed but feeding him and taking his care is a good deed . If we feed him for the sake of Allah –as obedience –it will automatically remove the bad deed. My dear friend the word Salaat encompases into it all the ways to truth, equity and justice and opens all the roads to PEACE.

THIS IS A REMINDER FOR THE MINDFUL.

Surah (Chapter)-9 , Ayat(verse)-117 of Qur’an-e-Kareem,

Indeed, Allah has turned HIS mercy unto the Prophet, as well as unto those who have forsaken the domain of evil and those who have sheltered and succoured the FAITH-those who FOLLOWED (ITTABA) HIM IN THE HOUR OF DISTRESS, when the hearts of the other believers had well-nigh swerved from Faith, …….”

Itteba i.e to follow that is to carry forward & support the mission of Rasool as stated in the Qur’an.

Qur’an Chapter 9 , verse-20,

” Those who believe, and who have forsaken the domain of evil and have striven hard in God’s cause with their possessions and their lives have the highest rank in the sight of Allah; and it is they , they who shall triumph” 

The details of’ Saum’ , ‘Hajj’ are there but the details of ‘the present day form of 5 times daily Prayer’ is not there in the Qur’an.

There is no system of five times daily compulsory prayer discussed anywhere in the Qur’an. It teaches to be in prayer continuously day & night. The  word SALAAT(often translated as prayer) in Qur’an refers to the disposal of duties and responsibilities in the absolute transparent way in favour of TRUTH, EQUITY & JUSTICE. The five times prayer as of now is an innovation punched in from the Zorastrian system of Prayer. Zorastrians pray five times a day in the same times as Muslims do today. To know in more details please read the book-“Fajarul Islam” by Allama Mohammad Ahmed Misri & Book on Comparative Religion by  Masi.