These are the titles I’m currently working on:
“Embayuka Tanu! Maguindanaon Proverbs, English Translation and Annotations” Read more
These are the titles I’m currently working on:
“Embayuka Tanu! Maguindanaon Proverbs, English Translation and Annotations” Read more
Mansoor Limba, “Light Moments in Vienna” (Smashwords and Amazon, 2017), $2.99.
Published in both Smashwords.com andAmazon.com platforms, the book contains selected anecdotes of my personal experience while undergoing KAICIID fellowship training in interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Vienna, Austria.
Get you copy now and be part of that journey!
Mansoor L. Limba on February 7, 2017
MAKATI CITY (7 February) – February 4, 2017. I woke up at exactly 4:10 am. At exactly 5:28 am, I was already inside the campus of Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC). All sporting a maroon T-shirt, many people of various age levels were also coming in.
As can be gleaned from the number of vehicles starting to gather at the playground of the leading public institution of higher learning in the city, a historic event was about to unfold that early morning.
Formerly known as Cotabato High School, Cotabato City High School, and then Cotabato City National High School, CCSPC kicked off its first ever Grand Alumni Homecoming – after 93 years of its existence – with a long motorcade around the city.
After the motorcade, the groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed alumni building was held in which the college president, Dr. Dammang Bantala, expressed astonishment at the huge number of vehicles that participated in the motorcade. “If each of us will contribute one thousand pesos, we could immediately put up the alumni building,” he said in his short speech.
Soon after unveiling the project of Batch ’85, Dr. Bantala proceeded to the main library for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Batch ’89 project for our alma mater – four units of built-in steel benches for the library visitors.
In our Batch ‘89 general meeting on January 4 last year, in which the agendum was the batch project for the school, we had identified the current CCSPC bid for university status as the guide, and it was thus pointed out that these two areas are crucial to this bid, viz. (1) the pool of faculty members with postgraduate degrees, and (2) library facilities; hence, we finally opted for the benches (and books to be donated). After a year of facilitations by the batchmates, generous sponsorship of a benefactor batchmate, and free labor offered by an engineer batchmate, the project was finally materialized.
As the college president went to the next inauguration after a brief exchange of pleasantries and picture-taking with our batch, we were invited to the library for a ten-minute visit, and then we rushed as a group to the social hall of City Mall, the homecoming program’s venue.
As my notebook’s battery began to be depleted in the early afternoon, I had to look for an outlet to charge because I was then catching the deadline for paper abstract submission for a conference abroad.
I was then charging my notebook at the entrance to the hall while seated beside Badrudin Ali, our Batch ’89 2nd vice president, who was then filling up his CCSPC High School Alumni Association Membership Form, when somebody casually greeted us – “As-salamu ‘alaykum!” – and then joined us in the table.
It was no other than Tatay Bantala, as Badrudin would address the college president.
Our not-so-private tête-à-tête commenced with Sir Bantala’s re-expression of surprise at the large number of vehicles in the motorcade and, of course, the first-ever-held homecoming since the school’s establishment in 1924. He then navigated us through his bid for college presidency way back in 2012 and then his recent retention as president.
The conversation soon drifted toward the nitty-gritty of CCSPC’s present bid for university status, and the procedural and attitudinal issues surrounding the second semester enrollment last month.
In the end, we all shared the common view that while the proposed alumni building will surely be an important infrastructure of the school, what is more important is to attain the ideals of ‘scholarship,’ ‘development’ and ‘loyalty’ which are enshrined in the CCSPC logo.
[Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, was the Valedictorian of CCSPC High School Day Class 1989 as well as the President of Senior Class Organization Student Council. He has also been the President of CCSPC Day and Night Class 1989 Alumni Association since its creation in December 2014. He can be reached at email@example.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]
The book features selected anecdotes of my personal experience while undergoing KAICIID fellowship training in interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Vienna, Austria.
(A modified transcript of 20-minute presentation of the paper “Debt Management in Behavioral Economics and Personal Finance as Reflected in Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah” at the 3rd International Conference on Thoughts on Human Sciences in Islam, Jakarta, Indonesia, November 16, 2016.)
Respected elders, distinguished scholars, and brothers and sisters in Islam as well as in humanity! Let me greet you all with the greetings of peace: Salamun ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!
(I’m making this presentation while assuming that all these many seats are filled with both the jinn and human beings – both the sleeping and the awake. In this unholy hour when everybody wants to sleep, I am uniquely fortunate enough to be surrounded by two esteemed Mesbahs (alluding to Dr. Ali Mesbah and Dr. Mohammad Mesbahi as fellow presenters in the same plenary session). As we all know, mesbah in Arabic, Persian and other languages means ‘lamp’. Since I believe I’m illuminated enough by two lamps, I’m optimistic that you will not mistakenly see me as a pillow or blanket.)
At the outset, let me take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the conference organizers, particularly the Director of the Sadra International Institute, and generally to all the members of the steering committee down to the drivers and guides. This is my first to come to Indonesia, although I may look like an Indonesian or even more ‘Indonesian’ compared to some Indonesians. I come from Mindanao, the land of promise and the bastion of centuries-old struggle for self-determination in this part of the world.
Before laying down my paper’s Statement of the Problem, let me first make some introductory remarks about behavioral economics and personal finance as well as about homo economicus vis-à-vis homo islamicus. I shall also clarify the kind of ‘debt’ which is the concern of this paper. After giving you the Statement of the Problem, I shall address the four secondary questions one by one and finally make a conclusion.
What is lacking in both behavioral economics and personal finance is the role of the soul or spirituality which is a central theme in a monotheistic worldview. In classical economics, as in related academic disciplines, the economic actor is assumed to be an unboundedly rational, will-powered and selfish agent in which rationality is defined in terms of material gain and profit, without taking into account a notion of spiritual dimension.
Behavioral economics comes to the fore to argue that psychological, social and emotional factors sometimes stand in the way of economic actor’s tendency for rationality in making an economic decision. Yet, there is still no recognition of any place for soul or morality, as psychology is assumed to be ‘the study of the mind’. (In Islam we call it ‘ilm al-nafs which means ‘study of the soul’.)
Statement of the problem
This paper attempts to examine the case of debt management in behavioral economics and personal finance through the lenses of Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah which is a classical Islamic text on supplications. It is argued that by advancing the concept of homo islamicus and asserting the role of the soul in explaining human behaviors, the monotheistic worldview of Islam can shed more lights on the roots of economic or financial decisions, such as incurring debt, that are to be made by an economic agent.
In particular, this paper endeavors to address the following questions:
Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) distinguishes dayn (debt) from qard (loan), considering the former broader in connotation and covers the latter in its conceptual umbrella. Dayn includes any kind of transaction such as ‘settlement of claim’ (sulh), leasing (ijarah), buying and selling, and the like. (See Manifestations of the All-merciful, p. 63)
In this paper, our concern is a broad type of debt we call ‘consumerist debt’. When as we say ‘consumerist debt’ we mean that kind of debt which is motivated by consumerism understood in its negative sense. It is “the selfish and frivolous collecting of products or economic materialism.” Financial advisers would tell you, “You incur consumerist debt when you buy something you don’t need in order to impress people you don’t like with money that you don’t have!”
Debt in Islamic sources and history
Dayn (debt) is mentioned in Islamic sources (Qur’an, Traditions, Supplications, and Jurisprudence) and history in various ways.
In Chapter 33, verse 23, the Qur’an urges the faithful to fulfill their obligations and pledges including the repayment of debt. In Chapter 9, verse 60, it is mentioned that [obligatory] charities (zakāt) are meant, among others, “for [the freedom] of] the slaves and debtors.”
Meanwhile, there are traditions (ahadith) which indicate that debt sometimes stands in the way of spiritual progress. Some traditions condemn indifference in repaying one’s debt – and equates it with theft. There are also traditions that give warning for the spiritual consequences of habitual incurring of debt.
In supplications (ad‘iyyah) transmitted to us, there is an explicit prayer for the repayment of debt. A very good example is Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah’s Supplication 30 (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s supplication for help in repaying debt) which is the main concern of this paper. Another example is the famous daily supplication during the month of Ramadan, which includes this line: “O Allah, facilitate the payment of every indebted one!” There are also transmitted supplications one of whose benefits is the repayment of debt for one who recites them. Among these supplications are al-Mashlul, Yastashir, and al-Mujir.
Muslim schools of jurisprudence (fiqh) are unanimous in the ruling that the debtor who cannot pay his or her debts is one of the seven rightful recipients of zakat (alms-tax); therefore, he or she is given of the zakat to settle his or her debts. Also, when a Muslim dies, one of the four duties which need to be performed by his or her heirs is the payment of his or her debts.
Regarding debt in history, let me just cite two examples. As Imam Husayn made an encampment in the plains of Karbala’, he purchased the site for the would-be graves of him and the other martyrs so as not to be indebted to the owner after the tragedy. Earlier to that, when Muslim ibn ‘Aqil was asked to disclose his wishes before getting executed, the last of his three wishes is the selling of his coat of arm so as to pay for the piece of land where he had to be buried.
These two instances show prominent figures’ avoidance of incurring debt as much as possible and their firm resolution to repay once it is incurred.
In sum, debt has been an important topic in Islamic sources (Qur’an, hadith, supplication, and jurisprudence) and history.
Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah and its Supplication 30
Literally means ‘the Book of Sajjad,’ Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah is a collection of supplications composed by Prophet Muhammad’s great grandson, ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (38 AH/658-9 CE – 95 AH/713-4 CE), known as Zayn al-‘Abidin (`the Adornment of the Worshippers’) and ‘Al-Sajjad’ (‘the one who constantly prostrates (sujud) in prayer’). Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah includes fifty-four supplications which make the main body of the text and the additional supplications which make up the fourteen addenda (including the prayers for the days of the week) and the fifteen munajat or `whispered prayers’. It is the oldest extant prayer manual in Islamic sources and one of the most seminal works of Islamic spirituality of the early period of Islam.
Supplication 30 of the 54 main supplications is Imam al-Sajjad’s supplication for help in repaying debt.
Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah’s description of debt
At the outset, Imam ‘Ali al-Sajjad thus supplicates:
“O God, bless Muhammad and his Household and release me from a debt which makes me lose face, confuse my mind, disrupts my thinking, and prolongs my occupation with attending to it! I seek refuge in Thee, my Lord, from worry and thought about debt, from the distraction and sleeplessness of debt; so bless Muhammad and his Household and give me refuge from it! I seek sanctuary in Thee, my Lord, from debt’s abasement in life and its ill effects after death, so bless Muhammad and his Household and give me sanctuary from it through a bountiful plenty or a continually arriving sufficiency!”
This initial part of the supplication is a window to Imam ‘Ali al-Sajjad’s description of debt and its potential maladies and repercussions upon the debtor. Among others, the Imam describes debt as: (1) something that may humiliate a person (debtor), (2) mentally disturb him, (3) emotionally burden him, and (4) a source of disgrace for him in this world and in the Hereafter.
Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah’s steps or measures of freedom from debt
In this brief and specific supplication, certain steps or measures toward freedom from debt can be alluded to, and these are the following:
For any concern or problem of the believer – material or spiritual – he is supposed to extend his arms to the Source of Power and Knowledge, the Essence of Beauty and Grandeur. For relief from the burden of debt, one must sincerely pray and implore to his Lord and perform various acts of devotion.
These parts of the supplication – “Give me sanctuary from it (debt) through a bountiful plenty or a continually arriving sufficiency,” “hold me back through Thy gentleness from squandering,” and “allow me to attain my provisions through lawful means” – may allude to having streams of lawful incomes as a very obvious step toward freedom from debt.
This part of the supplication – “prevent me from extravagance and excess; put me on the course of … moderation” – may suggest an instruction to live below one’s means by maintaining moderation and avoiding extravagance and excess in spending.
This segment of the supplication – “take away from me any possession which will bring forth pride in me, lead to insolence, or drag me in its heels to rebellion” – leads us to another very practical step to freedom from debt; that is, shunning any possession or item which belongs to the category of ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’ and which usually causes pride and related moral vices to the owner.
Elsewhere in the supplication, we read: “Put me on the course of generous spending…; teach me excellent distribution… direct my spending toward the gateways of devotion… O God, make me love the companionship of the poor and help me be their companion with excellent patience!”
These portions of the supplication direct us to a significant step toward freedom from debt and a way to ample sustenance; that is, to spend for wholesome endeavors of devotion including alms-giving and spending for charity. As we all know, Islamic sources affirm the unseen or spiritual connection between the giving of charity and increase in sustenance.
From the above discussion, the following conclusions can be drawn:
Thank you! Terimah kasi banyak!
[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy,intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]
Mansoor Limba, MUSLIM COUPLE AND MONEY: 8 PRACTICAL FINANCIAL TIPS FOR NEWLYWED MUSLIM COUPLE (MuslimandMoney.com, 2016), $2.99.
Published in both Amazon.com and Smashwords.com platforms, the eBook is a personal finance guide that reveals 8 practical financial tips for newlywed Muslim couples to help them attain financial freedom and happy marriage.
This title is part of the Muslim and Money Book Series. The other titles are “Muslim Kid and Money: 12 Financial Stories for Muslim Children” and “Muslim and Debt: 5 Practical Steps to Freedom from Debt,” which will be published soon, insha’ Allah.
Get your copy now!
MAKATI CITY (22 August) – Last Wednesday (August 17) I had to fly to Davao City – not primarily to witness and join the week-long celebration of Kadayawan Festival – but to attend two events related to history as an academic field of discipline.
Apart from the fact that this month is Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month) by virtue of Proclamation 1041 signed by Pres. Fidel Ramos in 1997, August is also celebrated as “History Month” by virtue of Proclamation 339 signed by Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III in 2012.
In celebrating this month-long occasion, the Philippine Historical Association (PHA) held its 2016 National Conference with the theme “Philippine Governance: Historical Perspectives” at Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, on August 18-20, 2016. In the “Bangsamoro Panel” of the said annual conference, I presented a paper on the growing influence of violent religious extremism in the Philippines and its impact upon intra-faith and interfaith dialogues.
Immediately after answering questions regarding my paper presentation during the open forum, I left the conference hall and proceeded to the Waterfront Insular Hotel to attend the Mindanao-leg Series 1 (Topic: “Historical Method”) of 2016 Training Seminar Series (August 20-21, 2016) organized by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
Conducted by no less than the NHCP chair, Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, the two-day historical writing training covered a wide range of topics from “Meanings and Uses of History” to “Evaluating Sources in Historical Writing,” and it was interspersed with challenging written exercises too.
One of the recurring themes in both the conference and the training seminar is critical thinking – critical thinking in reading, writing and teaching history. It means to be circumspect and judicious before swallowing hook, line and sinker of everything we read, write and teach. It means that to rely on the perceived reliability of the source is not dependable; the merit or value of each datum must be assessed independently.
To paraphrase, “Critical thinking, and not the ability to memorize historical facts, is the hallmark of a historian,” Prof. Diokno would remind us. “Do not worry or be afraid of using any historical material. Anyway, the most important is you – the teacher – who critically read the material before teaching it to the students… Make inferences. Try to infer even from historical silences; they are not passive; they are active; it’s only that they are loaded with a silencer.”
Ibn Khaldun’s Lamentation
In his celebrated Al-Muqaddimah, which is a comprehensive prolegomenon to a planned voluminous book on universal history, Ibn Khaldūn – the famous 14th century Muslim historian and historiographer – lamented some historians for being concerned only with the authenticity of the chain of transmitters (sanad), whereas one must focus instead on the authenticity of the text.
As an example, Ibn Khaldun cited the supposed account that when the people of Prophet Moses crossed the sea while the legion of Pharaoh was pursuing them, they had two hundred fifty thousand soldiers. Accordingly, it must be reckoned that the Israelites were all descendants of Prophet Jacob, a single person, and it had been not more than five or six generations. Assuming that four centuries had passed, to say that they had two hundred fifty thousand soldiers necessitates claiming to the least that they had a population of one million in order to produce such a huge army. This is while Pharaoh had killed their male newborn babies.
Given these male infanticides perpetrated against them, Ibn Khaldun would ask: is it rationally possible for them to have been such a number of Israelite men at that time?
As mentioned in his Training and Education in Islam, Murtada Mutahhari – a prominent Muslim thinker of the past century – read in popular general history books that during the event of Harrah when Medina was ransacked and mass murder was committed [in 62 A.H. by 12,000 strong army under the command of Muslim ibn ‘Uqba], the perpetrators went inside the house of a poor resident of Medina, whose wife had just delivered a child and was still lying in bed while the child was in the cradle. A soldier allegedly entered the house with the intention of looting. No matter how much he roamed around the nooks and crannies of the house, he failed to find anything to loot. As he was empty-handed, he got furious and returned [in order to molest her]. The woman humbly pleaded, saying that she was the wife of so-and-so companion of the Prophet and that both of them pledged their allegiance to the Prophet in the Pledge of Ridwan (6 A.H.).
Mutahhari would interrogate, “Can it be true? Can a 63 years old woman who, along with her husband, paid allegiance to the Prophet in the Pledge of Ridwan, usually get pregnant and deliver a child after 58 years? If we assume that the said woman was ten years old and newlywed during the pledge, she was then a 68 years old woman. Can a 68 years old woman normally get pregnant and deliver a child?”
He then cited a Prophetic tradition (hadith), thus: “For the ignorance of man, it is sufficient that he relays whatever he hears.”
Thereafter he commented: “In most cases, the ignorance (jahl) that is mentioned in traditions (ahadith) is not the opposite of knowledge (‘ilm). [Instead,] it is the opposite of reasoning (‘aql); that is, lack of intelligence and not lack of knowledge. Refusing to think and assess is enough for a person to believe in and relay whatever he hears!”
As I was heading toward the airport, the festive mood of Claveria Avenue seemed to be leaving a life-long lesson for all and sundry: “Celebrate critical thinking not just in August but even beyond!”