18 November 2020 The Quest for a Moral Economy in the Post-Covid Era

Professor Iqbal Asaria delves into the Prophet’s life to find the moral compass in our difficult contemporary times – a presentation followed by a wide-ranging conversation with Mahmood Ahmed, National Committee chair of the Aga Khan Foundation (UK).

In the lecture, Professor Asaria described how the Prophet’s conduct and behaviour was so meticulous that even his enemies were forced to call him al-amin and as-sadiq, the trustworthy and the man with integrity: “this character created such a moral compass that it provided Muslims across the ages up to today with a beacon of how to behave with equity and justice.” He noted how in recent decades, the view emerged that neo-liberalism, market economics and democratic capitalism offered all that is required to solve human problems, and “this mantra was to be spread across the globe, by persuasion or by force if that became necessary.”

He observed that the financial crisis of 2007-2009 revealed the emergence of a system “in which we had created a small clique which believed in the monopolisation of profits, but when they ran into problem, it also believed in the socialisation of losses.” This untenable situation created an underclass of people who did not feel a sense of belonging, leading to an increase in populism. and related issues. Moreover, before the appropriate lessons could be learned, he noted that we were now confounded by the Covid pandemic – “it shows that it is not possible to live in small silos – the rich cannot isolated themselves from the poor and the desperate.. Everybody is one; humanity is one”. Professor Asaria recalled the Prophet’s statement that ‘my ummah is like a body; when one part of the body is in pain, the whole body is uncomfortable”. He then proceeded to illustrate the sharing that took place between the ansar and muhajireen in Medina.

In the lecture Professor Asaria also urged for attention to be given to the climate change crisis, which is going to have far more serious consequences than what is being experienced today. Man has to take on the responsibility of being khalifa – that is serving as steward of the world’s resources. In the conversation with chairman Mahmood Ahmad, he placed hope in the greater conscientiousness among young people that is leading to practical steps such as in the areas of fair trade and equitable wage campaigns.

To listen to the lecture click here.