A world system

Do you know what the system of this world is? Tajudeen bin Tijani writes that the Quran claims to ha

Those of us who are curious enough to find a "winning formula" for success in this world engage ourselves in all sorts of activities such as observation, investigation, evaluation and so on. This in turn leads to selecting from the options made available as a result of these activities attempted. It is definitely worth mentioning that these activities lead us to choose what "winning formula" we put into practice. We keep on trying and tweaking whatever options we select until it proves to be deemed as a "winning formula" to us.

Guess what, the Quran claims to inform us on the system of this world, for we are informed as per the Quran that God is the initiator of this world and designed a system therein.

So let us examine some of the claims of this system:

  • The Absolute Authority is in full control of the system, also known as the best provider, protector and supporter.
  • The Absolute Authority endorses divine law whereby no human can make illegal such laws.
  • Law and guidance is delivered to the human inhabitants of this world via messengers chosen by the absolute authority.
  • The messengers’ role is to deliver this message, and choose to follow it for their own individual good.
  • The essence of the message is the same- One Absolute Authority to revere (i.e. God, The Almighty, The Creator, The Most High etc.), other than this is detrimental to the human.
  • Humans are allowed ‘freedom of choice’ to willingly believe or disbelieve in God, however, with this freedom comes the responsibility.
  • This world is temporary, and death is inevitable for humans, however, there is a hereafter of eternity in heaven or hell.
  • No nation or community is destroyed without prior warnings.
  • Tribulation directly incurred should trigger a change in the human condition to ponder and do better, and more importantly turn to God.
  • Humans are rewarded for being obedient, steadfast, persevering, patient, calm, honest, humble, truthful, equitable, charitable etc.
  • Humans with the abovementioned traits maintained are always in the minority.
  • Humans are given a lifetime opportunity to do better and develop their essence.

Do we think these claims stand up to some scrutiny? Well, I think it does, and please ponder on the following:

  • We are informed to trace back homage to the only one whom homage is truly due.
  • We are informed to follow the source of inspiration, and not the inspired to go no wrong.
  • We are informed to play our individual part, however, it is not our responsibility to try to save the world.
  • We are informed to submit to the absolute authority and His divine law in order to be in harmony with the system of this world.

Regardless of this straightforward and clear account, many of those who call themselves Muslims and should know better about God and His system as per the Quran are second guessing and even worse attributing lies, or rejecting and disregarding His system. Can we blame anyone but ourselves, if we use up this opportunity to develop as humans to second guess whom God will or will not punish, whose prayers will be answered, how long is long as per the dress code or beard of others and so on?

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Autumn Statement 2015: George Osborne abandons his target

How will George Osborne close the deficit after his U-Turns? Answer: he won't, of course. 

“Good governments U-Turn, and U-Turn frequently.” That’s Andrew Adonis’ maxim, and George Osborne borrowed heavily from him today, delivering two big U-Turns, on tax credits and on police funding. There will be no cuts to tax credits or to the police.

The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that, in total, the government gave away £6.2 billion next year, more than half of which is the reverse to tax credits.

Osborne claims that he will still deliver his planned £12bn reduction in welfare. But, as I’ve written before, without cutting tax credits, it’s difficult to see how you can get £12bn out of the welfare bill. Here’s the OBR’s chart of welfare spending:

The government has already promised to protect child benefit and pension spending – in fact, it actually increased pensioner spending today. So all that’s left is tax credits. If the government is not going to cut them, where’s the £12bn come from?

A bit of clever accounting today got Osborne out of his hole. The Universal Credit, once it comes in in full, will replace tax credits anyway, allowing him to describe his U-Turn as a delay, not a full retreat. But the reality – as the Treasury has admitted privately for some time – is that the Universal Credit will never be wholly implemented. The pilot schemes – one of which, in Hammersmith, I have visited myself – are little more than Potemkin set-ups. Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit will never be rolled out in full. The savings from switching from tax credits to Universal Credit will never materialise.

The £12bn is smaller, too, than it was this time last week. Instead of cutting £12bn from the welfare budget by 2017-8, the government will instead cut £12bn by the end of the parliament – a much smaller task.

That’s not to say that the cuts to departmental spending and welfare will be painless – far from it. Employment Support Allowance – what used to be called incapacity benefit and severe disablement benefit – will be cut down to the level of Jobseekers’ Allowance, while the government will erect further hurdles to claimants. Cuts to departmental spending will mean a further reduction in the numbers of public sector workers.  But it will be some way short of the reductions in welfare spending required to hit Osborne’s deficit reduction timetable.

So, where’s the money coming from? The answer is nowhere. What we'll instead get is five more years of the same: increasing household debt, austerity largely concentrated on the poorest, and yet more borrowing. As the last five years proved, the Conservatives don’t need to close the deficit to be re-elected. In fact, it may be that having the need to “finish the job” as a stick to beat Labour with actually helped the Tories in May. They have neither an economic imperative nor a political one to close the deficit. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.