Shaping the minds of the Maranaws: On wealth without morals; the common aspirations of men

By : Alexander Mangorsi Mindanao Today/04:21:14pm 08/14/2021


(1st of 4 parts)

IDEALLY, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Beautiful commitments made by all States in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a mighty and lofty achievement in the fight against tyranny, oppression, racism and discrimination within every human polity.

Certainly, men were gifted with reason and intellect and profound judgment to discover the true purpose of life and are expected to live in society with their fellow men in the spirit of freedom, liberty, peace, understanding, harmony, friendship and cooperation to promote and achieve the common good and the collective prosperity for everyone.

In reality however, men by nature depict a more harsh, complex and intricate reality.

Men are born not the same and equal.

Some were born with golden spoons in their mouth, the progenies of the rich and the powerful, the tiny most-affluent and privileged who have seen luxury, wealth and influence at birth.

Others were mired in poverty, destitution and hopelessness, a glaring reflection of injustice, wickedness, inequality and extreme disparity of wealth between the rich and the poor in every ailing society.

Consequently, the rich and powerful get richer and richer because they have the liberty and privilege to build an empire, their own economic kingdom, invest in ideas, notions and businesses which could inevitably exert commanding influence in the political leadership and the rules of society to protect and perpetuate their interest which often at the expense of the underprivileged and their labor.

Whereas for the poor, life has always been revolting, painful and savage especially in every ruthless natural disaster or fortuitous event that tends to destroy their temporary shelters, their shanties, crops and breakable belongings.

This current merciless disease which has created havoc and greater mayhem in every human society around the world has also been a painful experience to the underprivileged segments of our society.

Wealth for a purpose

In Islam, it is understood that the real owner of all wealth is Allah.

Man only owns wealth by proxy as guardian for which purpose he has been made vicegerent (khalifah) of Allah on earth.

Islam regards wealth as a means of human satisfaction in his endeavor to attain al-falah or prosperity that leads to a good life in this world and in the hereafter.

“Wealth therefore in Islam has been visualized as an instrument to lead life in accordance with the Shari‘ah in pursuit of the real objective of man’s existence on this earth - to obey the commandment of Allah and to implement His Will as His vicegerent. The resources of worldly life constitute necessary facilities and instruments for carrying out this mission,” a major point of departure from the Western concept of wealth, where economic pursuits have come to occupy a central place in the life of the individual and the state.

Getting wealth the Halal way

However, as wealth’s purposes are founded on noble objectives, Muslims must earn their wealth in a lawful, or halal, way.

It is not to be earned by selling or buying things that God forbids us, such as alcohol or pork, or by engaging in illegal activities, like gambling, Riba, 5-6 lending scheme, kidnapping for ransom, graft and corrupt practice acts, robbery, snatchings, acts of theft, fraudulent scams, commercial deceits and many other sources of illicit incomes. God advises men against this:

“O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent.” (Quran 4:29)

Wealth, a tool to obey Allah’s command

In Islam, the true believer treats his wealth as if it is merely an objective instrument to meet his personal and family needs and as an instrument to enforce God’s Divine plan for him as viceregent on earth.

Wealth will not follow him into the afterlife. Muslims are warned in the Quran to be on guard against greed, voracity and gluttony.

A true Muslim should not stockpile and hoard huge and vast sums of money, he should rather allocate a great chunk of his wealth to help the Poor (Fuqara), the Needy (Miskeen), the Slaves (Riqab), those who are in debt (Ghanimum), Way-farer (Ibnus Sabil), for those in the way of Allah (Fisabilillah), The Reverts (Muallaf), and the Zakat collector (Amil).

“O you who have believed, indeed many of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people unjustly and avert [them] from the way of Allah. And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah - give them tidings of a painful punishment.” (Quran 9:34).

“Do not withhold your money, for if you did so, Allah would withhold his blessings from you.” Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)

The eternal deeds of men

“When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them.” (Hadith, Muslim).

In Islam, any act of good deed which continues to have positive effects on a community in the long-term can be considered an act of Charity: Building Mosques, Madrasah, homes for the orphans and the needy, schools, clinics and hospitals for the poor, installing durable water systems, helping a person to be relieved of some financial hurdles are all acts of good deeds and are considered as an act of charity.

Poverty incidence

The World Bank had estimated the Philippines' poverty incidence at 23.1 percent in 2017 and 21.9 percent in 2018.In its latest report, the World Bank saw the poverty rate in the Philippines further declining to 19.8 percent in 2020 and 18.7 percent in 2021.

However, with the Pandemic affecting our growth, “The expected growth contraction in 2020 had increased poverty in the short term, resulting in an additional 2.7 million poor people in 2020.” Job losses and slower cash remittances from overseas were likely to push more Filipinos into poverty. (

‘Kamurmur sa ingud a Ranao’

It with great pretense and hypocrisy when we shut our eyes and breathe a sigh of relief, pretending we are doing well and progressing because for almost one decade.

“Na giya ingud tano a Ranao ago giya Marawi na katawan tano dun….a No. 1 tano dun sangkaya a kamurmur nago kapangdod ko katagompia angkaya a ingud tano a Ranao.

Sabap sa kiadaan sa kaya so manga Oloan ko kaputukawa iran ko perak, tamok nago Ompia sa Ranao ago giya Marawi. Kiadaan mambo sa kaya so madakul a tao ko diiran di kapasaa ko boto iran igira a miaoma so election.”

So, we’re all in this morass of darkness and social stagnation.

We’re all at fault. Reform requires mutual, parallel and collective actions from the top and from the bottom.

A “bottom-up and top-down” approach must go together.

Otherwise, nothing of any encouraging optimism for the prosperity and development of our community will be expected in the foreseeable future. (To be continued)

(Alexander Tomawis Mangorsi is the admin of the Bangsamoro Policy Caucus Facebook page. The Bangsamoro Policy Caucus is an internet-based policy advocate for issues of indispensable relevance and significance to the common welfare and collective good of the Moro People.)

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