There is one Surah in the Quran that provides a solution to the wellbeing of a nation or people. It is Surah An Nahl (The Bee), but among the Scholars, it is also referred to as Surah an-Niam ( النعم ) (The enjoyable blessings). Simply because it contains the many blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us.
Apart from acting as proof of Allah’s (SWT) greatness, Surah Al Niam also tells us about the many blessings that we often take for granted. If you think just a little, you realize that these blessings if you have control of them would make you as a nation, an independent nation, instead of being dependent on others.
This Surah, Surah An Nahl is also known as Surah An-Ni’am (the Surah of blessings), because, in the beginning, Allah (SWT) mentions the original sources of blessings and their foundations, and at the end of it He (SWT) mentions the things that complement and perfect them.
There are at least 7 related resources and skills that, if mastered, will generate an abundance of resources. Resources will make a nation truly independent because they will not have to rely on others to fulfill their needs. Instead, others have to depend on them for their survival.
And He created the cattle for you as a source of warmth, food, and ˹many other˺ benefits. (ch16: v5)
He is the One Who sends down rain from the sky, from which you drink and by which plants grow for your cattle to graze.(ch16: v10) With it He produces for you ˹various˺ crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and every type of fruit. Surely in this is a sign for those who reflect. (ch16: v11)
And He is the One Who has subjected the sea, so from it you may eat tender seafood and extract ornaments to wear. And you see the ships plowing their way through it, so you may seek His bounty and give thanks ˹to Him˺. (ch16: v14)
And there is certainly a lesson for you in cattle: We give you to drink of what is in their bellies, from between digested food and blood: pure milk, pleasant to drink. And from the fruits of palm trees and grapevines, you derive intoxicants1 as well as wholesome provision. Surely in this is a sign for those who understand. (ch16: v66-67).
There are six Ayah that deal with the blessings that are connected with food: various fruits, livestock products, and fish/sea products. These resources are available in Indonesia and other Muslim countries and can be cultivated to the point of attaining food security.
The impact of the over-reliance on food imports can be seen way back in 2008 when there was a shortage of rice. Yet we still import so many grains, meat, milk, and even protein sources for animal feed today.
And Allah sends down rain from the sky, giving life to the earth after its death. Surely in this is a sign for those who listen. ch16: v65).
Among the countries that receive one of the highest rainfall is Indonesia. Not only that, Indonesia is also surrounded by seas with its many islands. Both are endless clean water sources. However, as we neglect these clean water resources and fail to harness their potential for both of these assets, they have at times become liabilities. The rain has turned into life-threatening floods, the rain becomes flood and even causes landslides, the sea becomes a danger to marine life, and our water springs are controlled by the private sector.
We need to manage these blessings well so that they empower the nation. This needs the mastery of our water resources, harnessing it for current and future use.
He is the One Who sends down rain from the sky, from which you drink and by which plants grow for your cattle to graze.(ch16: v10)
And from the fruits of palm trees and grapevines you derive intoxicants1 as well as wholesome provision. Surely in this is a sign for those who understand. (ch16: v67)
Energy should be sourced and processed from green plants, which we can easily grow abundantly, instead of relying on from the results of millions of plants last year (fossils which become oil). We are no longer an independent nation in terms of energy.
However if you read Ayah 67, it clearly says that it is a sign for people who understand. The ayah refers to intoxicants, which today refers to as alcohol and ethanol. Ethanol is a renewable fuel that can be made from various plant materials and are collectively known as biomass energy. At the moment there is already a patented process for converting alcohol sourced from renewable or industrial waste gases into jet fuel is being scaled up in the US.
And Allah has made your homes a place to rest, and has given you tents from the hide of animals, light to handle when you travel and when you camp. And out of their wool, fur, and hair He has given you furnishings and goods for a while.
And Allah has provided you shade out of what He created, and has given you shelter in the mountains. He has also provided you with clothes protecting you from the heat ˹and cold˺, and armour shielding you in battle. This is how He perfects His favour upon you, so perhaps you will ˹fully˺ submit ˹to Him˺.(ch16: v80-81).
Owning a house which is a basic necessity has become a luxury for many. Over 8 million people can’t afford a home in Indonesia. If we look at Ayah 80 and 81, the verses talk about homes being light. Housing should be lightweight and constructed from renewable materials.
If we master the knowledge of renewable materials that can be turned into sustainable homes. Making this a success requires us to look at new types of materials and home designs. This will open up new industries and technologies that are needed to make affordable homes a reality.
It also will pave the way for a new breed of housing developers that makes social impact their priority instead of profit. Already this idea alone of providing affordable housing has created an Islamic Fintech company namely Ethis.
And He created the cattle for you as a source of warmth, food, and ˹many other˺ benefits.(ch15: v5)
And Allah has made your homes a place to rest, and has given you tents from the hide of animals, light to handle when you travel and when you camp. And out of their wool, fur, and hair He has given you furnishings and goods for a while.(ch15: v80)
The fifth blessing that is mentioned is clothing resources, we in Indonesia clearly do not have control of this. Very little cotton is planted in Indonesia.
In Indonesia, we are not controlled by the source for clothing because cotton is planted very little in this country. The fact that clothing is mentioned as a blessing, there is more to it than just wearing it. The benefits are immense. Just think of the industry that is going to create, from top to bottom, fabric producers, there are at least 12 kinds of fabrics. There is many more to be discovered
For example, a new discovery of spider silk that can be converted into body armour that is stronger than steel, If you spin spider silk into just the thickness of a pencil, it is so strong that it can halt a Boeing 747 in mid flight.
And your Lord inspired the bees: “Make ˹your˺ homes in the mountains, the trees, and in what people construct,and feed from ˹the flower of˺ any fruit ˹you please˺ and follow the ways your Lord has made easy for you.” From their bellies comes forth liquid of varying colours, in which there is healing for people. Surely in this is a sign for those who reflect. (ch15: v68-69)
The next blessing is natural cure that we are given a clue to. It is honey. But we actually import most of our medicinal ingredients and very few are moved to raise bees. Modern medicine has begun to recognise honey as potent cure more so than antibiotic.
When are we going to heed the advice from the Quran that actually provides the best medicine? If we keep ignoring, most of the discoveries that have been foretold by the Quran have to be imported. It is time for us to pioneer the research and discovery of things revealed in the Quran for the benefit of mankind. Because the Quran is not just for Ibadah,
“And He is the One Who has subjected the sea, so from it you may eat tender seafood and extract ornaments to wear. And you see the ships ploughing their way through it, so you may seek His bounty and give thanks ˹to Him˺. Quran, Surah an Nahl (ch 16: v 14)
I think this is the most severe, transportation is fuel that drives the economy. But the question is, whose economy? Indonesia has approximately 280 million residents but still barely has national pride in her transportation products. Millions of people who are pilgrims to Mecca and Madinah go to Hajj and Umrah, become soft markets for others who make their planes and their supporting systems.
If we look at the Quran beyond the ‘Worship’ lens we will soon discover that we are practically given the roadmap to true independence.
The biggest challenge for our Ummah right now is that we are now just focusing our Islam on the personal worship, the Ibadah, and neglecting in solving the needs of the Ummah.
So it becomes a fardhu kifayah– an obligatory duty that must be done by some members of society to protect the interests of Muslims at this time. So that there are among us who really master each one of these seven skills and resources, so that our consumption is not just a market for others to profit from.
Also read from the same author:
Halalop Editor’s Note: We have previously highlighted the Ummah quandary: where Muslims are being mere consumers whereas the main producers in the global Halal economy are non-Muslim nations, nor Muslim corporations. Muslims today have enough thinkers, experts who are game-changers to make the world a better place.
Muhaimin Iqbal is the Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Bioeconomy Science and Technology, Indonesia. He is also the Founder and Chairman of iGrow Resources, Indonesia – an agriculture resource integrator and market integrator.
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