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Fine Example of Impartial Journalism

Mecca: Centre of the Earth

This is with reference to your answer to a question whether Mecca is the centre of earth (Islamic Voice, Nov. 2012). You have rejected it as a fanciful theory.
The people who assert that ‘Mecca is the centre of the earth’, do not claim it as the geographical centre. If you consider the hemisphere with Mecca at its centre, it can be seen that 95 % of the world population is somewhat around Mecca. Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and a portion of South America will come in this hemisphere. In the opposite hemisphere, we have North America and the western side of South America only. It may be noted that all thickly populated countries in world like China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh are close to Mecca.
For historic reasons too, Mecca could be called the centre of the earth as the first house of prayer for the worship of Allah was established here. After Prophet Abraham, it was developed as the world trade centre and all semitic religions emanated from here.

C. A. Abdul Hameed
Head, Dept. of Civil Engineering
LBS College of Engineering, Kasaragod, Kerala

Good News about Scholarship

I liked the December 2012 issue of your monthly, particularly the good news about Scholarships to Muslims. I hope full advantage will be taken of this facility
In the book, Patriots and Partisans, the famous writer Ramchandra Guha refers to an article by Yoginder Sikand in the Economic and Political Weekly “laying out the reactionary, medievalist, world view of the Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani”. Perhaps it may be a good idea to publish this article (or its extracts) in your next issue

Zafar Futehally

Divine Rulings and Man Made Errors.

Please note that Islamic rulings are created by Allah. It is in Allah’s grand scheme of things. Interest is obvious exploitation of mankind as Mr. Maqbool writes. There is no reference of  interest to be given to the rich by poor or vice versa in the holy book. Taming the rules to the contemporary situations lead to distortion of the rulings as far as inflation is concerned. The ulema suggested the gold rate system while lending and repayment. For example, consider the current rate of gold while lending and the rate prevailing at the time of repayment.   
Let us not mingle divine rulings with man made errors. Many of our brothers use credit cards and they intend paying back within a stipulated period without interest, but scholars disagree to it and declare its usage to be haraam. Saudi scholar Shaik Assim al Hakkim says, “anything may happen in future. Borrowers may fall sick or be jailed”.

S. A. Wahid 
14- Narayanappa Street, Parrys,
Chennai 600001

Riba: Borrower’s Mindset

I read your article on Riba in December 2012 issue and agree with the points raised by the author, that today the poor are arranging finance for the rich.
Also agree on inflation factor, so if one takes home loan or machine loan and pays in EMI, he is not suffering.
But there is one area where interest including bank interest has adverse effect and that is in working capital availed. Here what happens in practice is that one takes working capital loan from bank to purchase his raw material and then when he sells, he has no pressure on him to pay his supplier, so he becomes relaxed in selling terms and gives his goods on credit. As every month he has to pay only interest on his loan, so he is not aggressive in recovering his due from his clients. In the bargain, he is sometimes cheated by his buyer. The mentality of the borrower is that he is only worried about interest and not the principal owed to the bank. The bank on its part, more often than not, is not monitoring his operation as long as it gets interest and when bad times come, the bank just seizes the assets especially from the small borrowers.

Haroon Shaikh, Mumbai,
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