Essay a Note on the Institution of Al-Hisbah and Its Economic Functions

These Short Essays are partial fulfillment of Paper IE1001 of Part 1 of Certified Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP) [DRAFT V0. 5] INCEIF Student Name: Mustafa Aydemir Student ID: 1200279 Bismillahirrahmanirrahim Essay (4) A note on the institution of al-Hisbah and its economic functions in today’s economy. A short Essay by Mustafa Aydemir There are various controlling mechanisms in Islam. Allah swt is overseeing his entire creation; Self-discipline and control by a person self; a persons supervising another person; and the accountability system elaborated in this essay, namely Hisbah.
Forbidding the wrong is a divinely imposed obligation on every Muslim. In other words, an executive power of the law of Allah (swt) in vested in each and every one follower of the Islamic faith. This concept points out that it is not only a right but a duty on a single Muslim to issue orders lenient to Gods law, and to do everything in his capacity that they are followed (Cook, 2001). It is the second statement of the Islamic doctrine ‘al-amr bil-maruf wa nahy an al-munkar’ that can can be considered the foundation of Hisbah.
It is derived from the Quran verses “Commanding right and forbidding wrong” (3-110), (3-104), (7-157), (9-71). Beside being an individual obligation of a Muslim to actively seeking the rightful and actively removing the prohibited, Hisbah is a spiritual institution under the power of the state that appoints citizens to carry out the responsibility of enjoining what is right, whenever people start to neglect it, and forbidding what is wrong, whenever people start to engage in it.

It is aiming to safeguard a nation from deviance, protect Iman (faith), and ensure the well-being of all people in both spiritual and matters in our daily life according to the Islamic law. It is common knowledge of a Muslim that Allah has made it obligatory to all believers to command well and prevent wrongdoing to the extent of his or her knowledge and capabilities. The following Quranic verse describes: “Let there arise from you a group calling to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. It is these who are successful. (3:104) Furthermore, the following hadith highlights: “On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (radiAllaahu anhu) who said : I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) say : Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith. (Al Sahih al Muslim)” Hisbah is a religious institution that may be one of the formal departments of a Muslim state.
The institution would be specialized in fulfilling the aforementioned obligatory task of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. The Hisbah is the structured means of carrying out this duty. In today’s economy, Hisbah may be organized around monitoring and ultimately trying to safeguard the limits set by Shariah from being violated as an enforcement agency. Consequently, the execution of Hisbah is protecting the well-being of the society as well as ensuring public safety from committing sins, similar to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The obvious question to be answered weather an elected government would takeover the coordination of Hisbah. Hence, the role of the state in the economy to safeguard life and property of all individuals within its boundaries would be supported and accompanied by Hisbah. The role of the state was continuously discussed and studied in Islamic thoughts since the early days (Chapra, 1995) . One of which, the Hisbah institution could be a department under the Economic ministry to watch over markets and ensure stability, fairness and prevent unlawful trade practices.
What is good for individuals may be applied to economic activities by the Hisbah institution. (INCEIF Lecture Notes). The advantage of Hisbah in particular is highlighted in all its power within Islamic financial institutions. It includes monitoring a financial institution through a rigorous Shariah governance framework. But even a marketplace and manufacturing are of concern to make sure that Shariah-compliance is given. The work of a Shariah Supervisory Board may be considered as Hisbah, or at least affiliated to it.
A Shariah committee is appointed to oversee tasks of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong through Shariah audits, training and advisory activities required to ensure compatibility of an Islamic financial institution with Islamic law. Hisbah in terms of accounting and auditing activities to ensure Shariah-compliance in every industry sector maybe tested in a pilot project if it would ultimately help to improve the well being of all people and hence support Maqasid al Shariah.
The bigger the motivation of Muslims are to implementing Islamic values, and the more effective socio-economic institutions are in creating a fair equilibrium between resources and their claims, the smaller will be the role of the state (coordinating Hisbah) will have to play in the economy. We all must take inspiration from what the Qur’an says: And if they strive in Our Cause. We will certainly guide them to Our Ways. For Allah is undoubtedly with those who strive for the good (29-69).

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