Recently, the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, dismissed President Trump as just a "tradesman" who lacked the qualifications to handle political and international affairs. At face value, the criticism might sound similar to that of an opposition party alleging that Trump lacks political experience. Coming from an Islamic leader, however, it reflects a much deeper meaning: on how differently the Islamic culture views the work ethic and the means of acquiring wealth.
Although there are many Muslims who work tirelessly and are immensely successful, Islamic culture in general has little respect for manual labor and even for business owners. People who engage in legitimate "trade" for a living are often viewed with scorn or as "having" to labor for a living.
Historically, Islamic society has given the highest respect and wealth not to the innovators or hardest workers; rather, is usually been bestowed on the ruling class, their families and associates. After the ruling class, the highest respect and wealth is given to the jihadist class, or military leadership class.
According to the Koran and the example of Muhammad, the spoils of war (acquired wealth through jihad) is to be given to the jihadists. Jihadists need to be kept busy against the outside world at all times to expand or maintain the power of Islam. Otherwise, the jihadist or military class might turn against the leadership and Islamic system itself. Congress recently pulled more than $300 million a year from the Palestinian Authority that the US was paying in a "pay to slay" arrangement that incentivized murder -- a "jobs program".
Muhammad rewarded Muslim fighters who died with Paradise; these are the only people guaranteed admittance. Those who survived jihad were given wealth:
"Allah guarantees that He will admit the 'mujahid' in His cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safety with rewards and war booty" (Bukhari 4:52:46).
The example of Muhammad and his Muslim fighters rests in stark contrast to the example of the pre-Islamized Meccan merchants who rejected Muhammad, and to the Jews who lived in Medina, who engaged in trade and earned their living from hard labor.
The contrast between the lifestyle of Muhammad and his fighters and that of the Jewish tribes probably alarmed the Jews -- with good reason. Muhammad's eyes were set on taking the power, wealth and control from the Jews and from the Arab leaders of Mecca -- and he succeeded.
"Spoils of war" -- also the name of a chapter in the Koran, Al-Anfāl, mostly about the Badr war -- became the lure used to attract more and more fighters to the side of Islam against wealthy Jews and the merchants of Mecca.
Spoils of war or booty, or taking the wealth of Muhammad's enemies after killing them became a big business. Anyone who was caught stealing booty was punished by Muhammad gave his fighters four-fifths of the spoils and one fifth was given to Muhammad and Allah. Anyone caught stealing booty was punished by Muhammad
Capturing wealth from others, rather than creating wealth, became an Islamic value, established as an honorable and holy legal right of Muslims. As Muhammad said in the hadith, "Booty has been made legal for me" (Bukhari 53:351).
This has been, in general, the Muslim economic model, set by the example of Muhammad, for building wealth. The most prestigious and privileged position in society for any Muslim man is the position of the jihadist. Islam became an ever-expanding machine of conquest that could not stop -- or else it would run out of money. It took as the spoils of conquest the wealth of many great civilizations including Persia, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Coptic Christian Egypt, and the Biblical lands in and around Jerusalem -- demonstrating why manual labor and those who work in both farming and trade are looked down upon in Muslim culture as not putting jihad as number one to earn a living.
Today, as Muslims are escaping their vast, poverty-stricken Islamic territories in 54 Islamic nations for the greener lands of Europe and America, Westerners seem to think they are rescuing refugees. Many times they are, but other times this is just the latest version of a story that has been repeating itself for 1,400 years.
Muslim clerics today are still advocating jihad for the acquisition of wealth. For example, the prominent Egyptian Sheikh, Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni, is still lecturing at Al Azhar University on how Muslims' financial difficulties are due to the fact that they have abandoned jihad and the wealth and slaves that could be acquired from it.
At least one Muslim leader -- the Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi -- has noticed the lack of a work ethic in Islamic society. He tried to recommend a solution to the lack of a work ethic in Muslim society, but he could not find one quote in the Quran regarding the subject except in doing jihad well. Referring to the Muslim world, he said: "We don't work and if we work, we don't do it professionally. We do not produce... and we import everything from the needle to missiles." He gave the only Islamic reference he could find regarding proper work ethic:
"Muhammad ordered us to excel in everything 'if you kill, do it properly, and if you slaughter, do it properly...' How come the Zionist gang has managed to be superior to us? They have become superior through knowledge and technology and work ethics."
The lack of a proper work ethic in Islamic culture is possibly a large cause behind the refugee movement and helps to explain why Muslims' eyes are always focused on the outside, non-Muslim world, the greener pastures, for more and more to conquer or expand into.
Islam's long history of wealth creation through acquisition continues today. In 2013, the British Muslim cleric, Anjem Choudary, who was sentenced prison for "urging support" for ISIS, called it a "Jihadi allowance," as if it were, or should be, an entitlement. By the age of 45, and with four children, Choudary said that according to Islamic law, this is the way it is supposed to work.
- "We are on Jihad Seekers Allowance, we take the Jizya [protection money paid to Muslims by non-Muslims] which is ours anyway."
- "The normal situation is to take money from the [non-Muslims] isn't it? So this is the normal situation."
- "They give us the money. You work, give us the money. Allah Akbar, we take the money. Hopefully there is no one from the DSS [Department of Social Security] listening."
- "Ah, but you see people will say you are not working. But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar [non-believers]. So we take Jihad Seeker's Allowance."
Only the West, still in denial, seems to have trouble believing it.
British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, who was sentenced prison for "urging support" for ISIS, called unemployment and welfare benefits for Muslims a "Jihadi allowance," as if it were, or should be, an entitlement. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is author of "Wholly Different; Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values".