Wealth of Nations

The Market vs. the Booty Economy

As an enticement to kill until none was left who did not accept Islam as his or her religion, the Prophet, after consulting with God, revealed that the possessions of an unbeliever, including his wives and daughters, belonged to the Muslim who killed him; but not before a sufficient number of the females' fathers, brothers and husbands who refused your invitation to become Muslims had been killed.

8:67 It is not up to any Prophet to take captives except after too much blood is shed (after the enemy is hard hit and subdued) in the land …

This was a powerful enticement for young men to join the Prophet's army of holy warriors. All they had to do was say the magic words: “I declare there is no god except God, and I declare that Muhammad is the Messenger of God” and what had been both illegal and immoral became, not only lawful, but the right thing to do. With a few simple words, wrong becomes right!

33:27 And He bequeathed to you their lands, their homes and their possessions, together with land you have never trodden. Allah has power over everything.

This was the inauguration of "the booty economy", an economy wholly dependent on plunder. A triumphant Islam will see a wholesale return of the Booty Economy whose collapse began in earnest in the year 1683 when the Ottoman host was broken beneath the walls of Vienna. Europe was no longer available for plunder.

This singular momentous event meant more than the loss of wealth for the Sultan and his conquering horde; it would create not insignificant difficulties in attracting warriors who would join his spring expeditions into the land of the unbelievers, the Land of War, to share in the plunder.

The next pillar of the Booty Economy to crumble after the successful defense of Vienna was the head-tax, the jizya.

As Jason Goodwin informs us in Lords of the Horizon, A History of the Ottoman Empire (Vintage, 1999), the last great Islamic empire had a quota on conversions to Islam:

In the Balkans … no efforts were made to convert Christians to Islam. Sixteenth-century cadastral registers suggests that only about 300 families in the entire Balkan region converted in any year … The empire wanted tax-paying subjects, not Muslims.

When Europe followed its success at Vienna with the re-conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman empire loss a significant source of this tax revenue which it could no longer make up through plunder.

Slavery, the third pillar of the Booty Economy, would start to disintegrate with the passing of laws limiting and abolishing the practice. Even before Vienna, European countries, beginning with Spain in 1542, had started passing laws abolishing or limiting slavery; with the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 abolishing slavery throughout most of the British Empire having the greatest impact.

One of the last holdout was Saudi Arabia which officially abolished slavery in the Kingdom in 1962 but continued to spread the slavery gospel with funding of Wahhabi teachings; its greatest impact being in Africa where slavery is making a comeback.

In 2002, the United Nations reported that the number of people forced into slavery around the world had risen to an estimated twenty-seven million.

Irshad Manji in The Trouble with Islam, A Wake-up Call For Honesty and Change mentions the resurgence of the slave trade in African countries that have adopted the Koran as the equivalent of their constitution. Countries such as her native Uganda, Mali, Mauritania “where little boys are seduced into slavery by Muslim hustlers” to the Sudan where “Khartoum’s onslaught has rekindled the trade in black slaves” to Nigeria “where Islamic governments encourage the enslavement of Christians.”

The modern economy is all about knowledge, progress and making choices, all in the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment, which, as articulated by Hassan al Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is anathema to Islam.

Western civilization … is constantly at war with us … [in] this battle it is fighting with such bewitching and enchanting objects as knowledge, wealth, civilization, plans and politics, luxury goods and articles of enjoyment and pleasure, with which we have not thus far been familiar.

The Booty Economy of the Koran may be the only economy that can return Islam to its former glory and profitability without the believers risking eternal damnation, and reverse the gains made by the Market Economy of The Wealth of Nations where freedom of choice and the fair exchange of goods and services through mutual consent is the key to prosperity.

Where you will find many of Saudi Arabia’s former slaves:

My government-supplied minder, embarrassed by what I might see, required plenty of persuasion to show me the maze of crumbling mud houses just a few blocks from a thoroughfare of glittering shops. While the residents were Saudi citizens, most of them who lived here were black. That’s simple, my minder explained: these are former slaves. Slavery, the existence of which the Saudi government had denied for years, was formally abolished in 1962.

Freed slaves and their progeny had been told to settle in this part of Riyadh, without much government help in obtaining education and jobs.

As I stepped out of the car, a crowd gathered around me; men with wrinkled, weary faces and pus-filled eyes, toothless women wrapped in black cloth …

Although slavery no longer officially exists in the Kingdom, the condition of Indians and other Third World workers isn't far removed from medieval serfdom; newspapers all over the Persian Gulf are full of "absconder notices" that feature mug shots of runaway help and offer compensation for their capture.

From a visit to a Riyadh slum by Yaroslav Trofimov author of Faith at War, A Journey On The Frontlines of Islam (Henry Holt, 2005)

Bernard Payeur