Debtor Prisons in Dubai are Unislamic

April 10, 2009

Dark side of Dubai. Describing the plight of one Daniel and Karen Andrews

“Suddenly our cards stopped working. We had nothing. We were thrown out of our apartment.” Karen can’t speak about what happened next for a long time; she is shaking.

Daniel was arrested and taken away on the day of their eviction. It was six days before she could talk to him. “He told me he was put in a cell with another debtor, a Sri Lankan guy who was only 27, who said he couldn’t face the shame to his family. Daniel woke up and the boy had swallowed razor-blades. He banged for help, but nobody came, and the boy died in front of him.”

Chapter 2 Verse 280 of the Quran says

Verse 280 from the Chapter Al-Baqara

Verse 280 from the Chapter Al-Baqara

Translated

Ahmed Raza Khan: Mohammed Aqib Qadri:
And if the debtor is in difficulty, give him respite till the time of ease; and your foregoing the entire debt from him is still better for you, if only you realise.

Yusuf Ali:
If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time Till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.

Pickthal:
And if the debtor is in straitened circumstances, then (let there be) postponement to (the time of) ease; and that ye remit the debt as almsgiving would be better for you if ye did but know.

The injunction seems to be pretty clear to give the debtor time to repay while he is in difficult times. Debtor prisons simply do not fit into this framework.


Understanding the business you are in

February 18, 2009

This story on the collapse in Dubai is doing the rounds.

The real takeway from this is that to survive and to thrive in the long run, you need to understand the business you are in. You maybe doing very well in a particular cycle, but it is important to always make back-up plans and understand that the cycle will eventually turn.

Dubai thought it was doing very well because they rode the boom on Real Estate, Commodities which was driving global trade. There seems to have been no fundamental analysis of, were they rising simply with the rising tide or were they genuinely creating value.

In the end creating value is all that differentiates the winners from the losers.