Shariah 101

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Enver Masud

Shariah-Council-Logo-green-star-with-logo-copy2-1-300x300The definition of justice, according to Dr. Robert D. Crane, founder of the Center for Civilizational Renewal, is respect for human rights, which were formulated six centuries ago by Islamic scholars. These rights, says Dr. Crane, are: “the right to life and personal integrity (haqq al haya), to family and community existence and cohesion at all levels of human society (haqq al nasi), to equal opportunities in accessing ownership of the means of economic production (haqq al mal), to political freedom for self-determination both within and among nations (haqq al hurriyah), to human dignity (haqq al karama, including freedom of religion and gender equity), and to education, knowledge, and freedom of expression (haqq al ilm).”

Regarding separation of Church and State, according to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, author of Islam, a Sacred Law, Islamic jurists recognized this concept centuries before the Europeans, and divided the body of Shariah rules into two categories: religious observances and worldly matters. The first they observed to be beyond the scope of modification. The second, subject to interpretation, cover the following:

1. Criminal Law: This includes crimes such as murder, larceny, fornication, drinking alcohol, libel. 2. Family Law: This . . . covers marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody, inheritance. 3. Transactions: This covers property rights, contracts, rules of sale, hire, gift, loans and debts, deposits, partnerships, and damages.

“One of the most sensible definitions of the purposes of the Shariah,” according to Imam Feisal, was given by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah who said:

“The foundation of the Shariah is wisdom and the safeguarding of people’s interests in this world and the next. In its entirety it is justice, mercy and wisdom. Every rule which transcends justice to tyranny, mercy to its opposite, the good to the evil, and wisdom to triviality does not belong to the Shariah . . .”

According to Imam Feisal the sources of Shariah are, in order:   1. The Quran – God’s Word revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s); 2. The Sunnah – practice and teachings of the Prophet; 3. Ijma – consensus of those in authority; 4. Qiyas – reason, logic, and opinion based upon analogy.

Imam Feisal describes seven other methods for deriving Islamic laws. These seven, plus ijma and qiyas, are collectively known as ijtihad or interpretation, and/or opinion based upon reason and logic.
Several schools of Shariah have evolved: Shafii, Hanbali, Hanafi, Maliki – the orthodox schools, and Jafari – the Shiite school. The Zaydis and Ibadis also have their own schools.

“Classical international law, reputedly invented by the Spaniards Vittorio and Suarez, borrowed the concept of inalienable human rights from Islamic law,” according to Dr. Crane.

Wisely implemented, Shariah can better nurture and protect society than does Western law which is subject to the whims of lawmakers.

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Corporate Employment Structure: A Way for Doctors to Reduce Income Taxes and Save Thousands…

July 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

Whether you are a physician with a wealth of experience, or a new resident paying your dues, establishing and incorporating a structure to help lessen your income taxes is a concept widely accepted and beneficial to all. If you are currently employed within a Medical Office that also employs additional physicians, chances are you are not being given the opportunity to reduce your income taxes to the optimum level, meaning you are losing out on the opportunity to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in income taxes.

This concept, which is commonly referred to as the “Corporate Employment Structure,” (“CES”) is a concept that is not being utilized by many physicians, and that is partly because of the unfamiliarity with the topic. In this newsletter, physicians will learn the benefits of a CES and how it can be implemented as their current method of agreement.

What is the Corporate Employment Structure?

The CES is a very simple concept that requires limited additional documents to set up, but saves you thousands of dollars.

Under your current structure where your employment agreement is between your Medical Company (MC) and yourself, individually, the MC provides you with a W-2 salary, which you receive and deposit into your account. Therefore, if you decide you would like to implement a plan that helps reduce your income, your only option would be to seek approval from your MC. By seeking MC’s approval you will more or less be given the response you expect – “No”

The CES will help avoid you encountering such a problem, because under the CES, your company would be the one to implement your income reduction plans. Under the CES, you would be required to create a new Professional Corporation (PC) or a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) for the purpose of having it employed by your MC. The CES is where your current employment agreement with your MC would convert your personal name with your PC.

Therefore, instead of your MC providing you personally with an income, your MC would instead provide it to your PC, who would in turn write a check out to you.

Once your PC receives the money, you have the authority and control, as the owner, of deciding when and how that money will be used. The special benefit received through the CES is that it gives you the ability to write-off various expenses that would otherwise not be allowed.

These expenses can vary depending on how you have your PC structured. Nevertheless, some of the more common expenditures that are typically considered written-off are: cell phones, mileage, food, or possibly vehicle lease payments. Moreover, you will have the flexibility of writing off additional major expenses such as insurance premiums, e.g. Disability Insurance, Long-Term Care Insurance. The advantage of a CES is that you would be able to implement your own tax reduction plans without the need of receiving your MC’s approval.

How do you set up a CES?

A common misconception with a CES is that many physicians feel it is too burdensome to set up. This could be true if the physicians attempted the set up process on their own, or had an inexperienced attorney guiding them.

With the proper help and guidance from your trusted advisors, there is no reason why this process should be difficult or complicated. As long as you follow the simple four-step process, your path to saving money should be ready in no time.

The Four-Step Process

Follow these four steps to ensure you have properly created your CES:

Creating a new company: If you are debating between a Professional Corporation (PC) or a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC), it is important to keep in mind that depending on how your PC is structured, there would not be a difference. However, it is advised to consult with an attorney to explain how to have a PC properly structured.

Cancel current employment agreement: Once your new Company is formed, your next step would be  to contact your MC and inform them (assuming you have already received their approval for allowing such a structure to take place) that your PC/PLLC has been created and you need to cancel the current employment agreement.

Creating new agreements: Once you have informed your MC about the cancellation, you must   move forward with drafting the new employment agreement between your MC and your PC/PLLC. Very simply, this will involve the MC changing your personal name to your PC/PLLC name.

Save money: At this point you are ready to receive your income from your PC/PLLC and begin to write-off whichever expenses you want through your company.

If you find yourself in an employment position that restricts your ability to reduce your income taxes, then a CES may be your gateway to saving money. Although an effective plan that helps physicians preserve their hard-earned wealth, it is still a plan that has yet to be fully utilized. Take advantage and see the savings grow!

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, and Family Law. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

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Ecosystem

March 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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The term ecosystem refers to the combined physical and biological components of an environment. An ecosystem is generally an area within the natural environment in which physical (abiotic) factors of the environment, such as rocks and soil, function together along with interdependent (biotic) organisms, such as plants and animals, within the same habitat. Ecosystems can be permanent or temporary. Ecosystems usually form a number of food webs.

Central to the ecosystem concept is the idea that living organisms interact with every other element in their local environment. Eugene Odum, a founder of ecology, stated: “Any unit that includes all of the organisms (ie: the “community”) in a given area interacting with the physical environment so that a flow of energy leads to clearly defined trophic structure, biotic diversity, and material cycles (ie: exchange of materials between living and nonliving parts) within the system is an ecosystem.”[2] The human ecosystem concept is then grounded in the deconstruction of the human/nature dichotomy and the premise that all species are ecologically integrated with each other, as well as with the abiotic constituents of their biotope.

Ecosystems have become particularly important politically, since the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – ratified by 192 countries – defines “the protection of ecosystems, natural habitats and the maintenance of viable populations of species in natural surroundings”[5] as a commitment of ratifying countries. This has created the political necessity to spatially identify ecosystems and somehow distinguish among them. The CBD defines an “ecosystem” as a “dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit”.

With the need of protecting ecosystems, the political need arose to describe and identify them efficiently. Vreugdenhil et al. argued that this could be achieved most effectively by using a physiognomic-ecological classification system, as ecosystems are easily recognizable in the field as well as on satellite images. They argued that the structure and seasonality of the associated vegetation, complemented with ecological data (such as elevation, humidity, and drainage), are each determining modifiers that separate partially distinct sets of species. This is true not only for plant species, but also for species of animals, fungi and bacteria.

The degree of ecosystem distinction is subject to the physiognomic modifiers that can be identified on an image and/or in the field. Where necessary, specific fauna elements can be added, such as seasonal concentrations of animals and the distribution of coral reefs.

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Book Review

December 31, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Ayesha Jalal,Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.), $29.95.

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Madison (Wisc.)–With many contemporary books, I find myself merely skimming over the text.  (I think this comes from reading information over the computer.)  This book by Professor Jalal is too absorbing to do that, though. 

I was commissioned to do a scholarly a chapter on Jihadi websites here and in an abridged form in Orlando during early April.  I was encouraged to read Ayesha Jalal because it is the latest and most authoritative statement on Indian Jihadism.

Jalal goes into the fascinating South Asian history and theology of Jihad.  This is a challenging book to comprehend, but it is well worth it.

To a sincere traditional Jihadist, Shari a does not prohibit nationalist wars.  Therefore, a Jihad is not always a “physical” struggle for God (Allah [SWT]).  Still, some temporal rulers employ the concept against the “infidel” (both those who practice different forms of Islam and the non-Muslim), and, thus, in essence these rulers along with their militaristic entourages are imperialistic.  Still, there are those who believe that there is an intrinsic relationship between outward physical Jihad and violent resistance and faith in their concepts of religious concepts of personal and collective identity.

Nonetheless, Jihad has high ideals, but the tragic end to so many Jihadi fighters has led to a eulogistic and nostalgic fog concerning their actions.

Even such outstanding thinkers such as Muhammad Iqbal theorized on Jihad, but he saw Jihad in the original Arabic sense which denoted “a struggle within, or as he states in a poem:

“Jihad with death does not befit a warrior

One [who] has faith [is] alive and war[s] with himself.”

Iqbal’s originality gives elucidation to the love of God (i.e. Allah [SWT]).  Further, Muhammad Iqbal saw his poetry as an explication upon the Koran; consequently, therefore, he wrote upon his vision of inward Jihad “In…the ‘sword’ of men” which found expressed in his life, throughout.

Finally, in her study, Jalal brings Jihad into the contemporary period, and the perversion of the concept of Jihad amongst a minority of Muslims who have reinterpreted it as a violent struggle: “Equating Jihad with violence and terror makes a sheer tragedy of a concept… [that]… remains [at] the core of Islamic ethics.”

Dr. Jalal points to the lack of understanding by the counter-insurgent:  While The American-led [War on Terror until recently promoted] a military dictator in Pakistan [Musharraf] while seeking, at the same time, to spread democracy in the Middle East…”

Your critic considers Ayesha Jalal’s study to be an essential one on the subject.  It is important reading for all Muslims – especially here in the West – where one hears so much erroneous claims and counter-claims on Jihadism.  

Parisians of Allah is not only a book for education for Muslims, but the information presented can here help to explain the true nature of Islam to those outside the faith and to clarify the misrepresentation on many subjects to the non-Islamic world.

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