The Prophet Muhammad SAW as the head of state did not merely allocate land as the food production center, and responsible for staple food yielding sufficiently for the needs of population, but he controlled tightly the staple food supply chain and distribution to let it reached properly to the people who need it. By utilizing state-owned land (fai land) in the Khaibar area and by partnership with the Jews based on al-Musaqoh scheme, the Prophet Muhammad SAW obtained dates, nuts, wheat and cereals as part of a profit sharing agreement with the Jews. But, unfortunately, there are no sources that mention the amount of tonnage of food products yielded from Khaibar area.
The Sirah Nabawiyyah Ibn Hisham as one of the legal sources for the Prophet’s action which contains the process of law establishing (tasyri) states that The Prophet SAW distributed food products from Khaibar to residents who needed it. The passage that reaches us through the Sirah Nabawiyyah (Al-Muafiri, 2003) states that the Messenger of Allah distributed Khaibar yield to the Muslims who participated in the Khudaibiyyah Treaty, for those who participated in the Khaibar War, and for the Muslims in need. It is said, the family of Osama bin Zaid got 200 wasaqs; Aqil bin Abu Talib obtained 140 wasaqs; Jakfar’s sons got 50 wasaqs; Rabiah bin Al-Harith obtained 100 wasaqs; As-Shalt bin Markhamah and his two sons received 100 wasaqs; Qais bin Markhamah obtained 30 wasaqs; Abu Al-Qasim bin Markhamah received 40 wasaqs; and other individuals get their share.
The Prophet Muhammad’s supervision of the food distribution and allocation did not merely extend to the above actions. In condition of severe pain – which took him dead – the Prophet delivered his will that the Rahawiyyīn group, Al-Dāriyyīn, Al-Shubaiyyīn, and Al-Ashariyyīn, each of them should obtain 100 wasaqs from Khaibar wheat. Umar bin Khaththab acknowledged and paid attention to this will, and as head of state Umar implemented it (Al-Muafiri, 2003). It is should be noted that “wasaq” is a popular measure of weight for traditional Arab society, especially very popular in fiqh discussions, where a “wasaq” is equal to 130.56 kg.
Inapplicable for Staple Food from Individual Ownership
The strict supervision of food distribution conducted by The Prophet SAW is only carried out on food products yielded from state-owned land, and which are managed directly by the state. For food produced from individual owned land, and by individuals, it is not reported that there is very strict supervision of food distribution. For individual food producers, there is only an obligation to pay zakat; and if individuals cultivate state-owned land for agricultural activities – not under the al-musaqoh scheme – then the individual is obliged to pay kharraj, which is part of agricultural products yielded from kharajjiah land (state-owned land). The amount of kharaj that farmers must pay to the state depends on government policy (Mahmud, 2000).
The kharrajiah land is land that is located in a region, in which the region is conquered by war, and the land is categorized as kharrajiah land, even though in fact the land is occupied by individual residents (Mahmud, 2000). This kharajiyyah land is, of course, different from fai land, in which it was immediately abandoned by its owner in a battle, such as Khaibar’s land. This land is a spoil of war which directly becomes state property.
By this description it is increasingly clear that the Islamic system applies dual system. Food procurement can be done by individuals, and also by the state. If the individual produces the staple food, the state should not interfere to regulate distribution and supervision of the food. This is entirely the individual’s right, where he can sell it according to market mechanisms. In this case the law of demand and supply could be applied. Islam only forbids fraudulent measures, piling up (ihtikar) to distort markets, and committing various forms of fraud that can harm consumers (Abdillah, 1990).
However, for food yielded from state-owned land – or food produced by the state – the state must carry out food distribution directly, as well as supervise the food supply chain.
This dual system will encourage the balance of food prices in the market. The prices will not jump high because there is food produced by the state, distributed by the state, and closely monitored by state. Speculators and mafias who tend to mock prices and seek profits from the food supply chain are automatically eliminated.
In the context of modern life, it means that the state must form institutions – such as state-owned enterprises – which are tasked with producing food from state-owned land, cooperating with farmers to produce food, carrying out distribution and supervising the food supply chain. On the other hand, the government gives freedom to individual landowners to use the land according to the interests of farmers, both for farming or for other uses. Food products yielded by individuals, their distribution is left to the market mechanism.***
Abdillah, Muḥammad Husein. Al-Dirāsah Fī Al-Fikr Al-Islāmī. Beirut: Dār al-Bayāriq, 1990.
Al-Baghdady, Abdurrahman. Hukmul Islam Fi Ijaratil Ardh Liz Ziro’ah, Hukmul Islam Fi Malil Ghulul Minal Hukkam wa Muwazh-Zhifid Daulah, Ma’ayirul Athwal Wal Misahat Wal Akyal Wal Awzan Asy-Syariyyah, Indonesian, Bandung: Al-Maarif, 1987.
Al-Muafiri, Abu Muhammad Abu Al-Malik bin Hisyam, 2003. Siroh Nabawiyyah Ibnu Hisyam, Edisi Bahasa Indonesia, terjemahan Fadhli Bahri, Jakarta: Darul Falah
Maḥmūd, Ḥusein Ḥamīd. Al-Niẓām Al-Māl Wa Al-Iqtiṣādī Fī Al-Islām. Riyadh: Dār al-Nasyrī al-Daulī, 2000.