In Islam, what is really important, even in economies, is justice
Socialism is generally defined as “an economic system where everyone in society equally owns the factors of production”. It is based on four factors: “Production of Labour, entrepreneurship, capital goods, and natural resources”. These factors are valued only for their usefulness to people. In simple terms, socialism means a socio-economic doctrine that calls for public, rather than private, ownership of the property and natural resources. According to socialist view, individuals don’t lives or work in isolation, but in cooperation with one another. Therefore, everything that people produce, and everyone who contributes to production of goods, is entitled to a share in it.
In philosophy of socialism, it is the society which owns and/or controls property for the benefit of its members. This conviction puts socialism in opposition to capitalism which is based on private ownership of the means of production and allows individual choices in a free market to determine how goods and services are distributed. Socialists complain that “capitalism” (which is precisely defined as “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit rather than by the state”), necessarily leads to unfair and exploitative concentrations of wealth and power in the hands of the relative few who emerge victorious from free-market competition-people who then use their wealth and power to reinforce their dominance in society. Because such people are rich, they may choose where and how to live, and their choice in term limits the options of the poor.
As a result, terms such as individual freedom and equality of opportunity may be meaningful for capitalist but can only ring hollow for working people. Karl Marx and Friednich Engels made this point in Manifesto of Communist Party (1848). They proclaimed that in a socialist society “the condition for free development of each is the free development of all”.
However the socialism has failed in its experiment. It could not lead man to his real goal. It has raised slogan of melting out justiceto the oppressed and fighting exploitation. But it has become, in itself, a force of exploitation which mutilated justice at every step. Thus adding to human misery, the question naturally arises here is; which is then the way of salvation of man in future? Some people think that if socialism is rejected, there will be no other system left for man but capitalism. This is due to their short-sightedness. Capitalism and socialism are aspects of a basic civilization, which do not offer solutions to our problems. Both have a materialistic temperament; have enslaved man to the economic factors; and have taken the path of exploitation.None of them either observes any high ethical code or has any abiding norm of justice and equality.
Man has tried both and has equally disappointed him. He now stands a need of an alternative system which can resolve all his problems, perfectly (and not a few aspects of the same) and gives him the position of honour and prestige which he deserves, so that he may not become a foreigner in his own land and a stranger in his own home. The prevalence of this alternative system has due assurance in Islamic way of life. And man has successfully experimented with it, not once but many times in the past. This is the system which has solved the problems of man in every age. This is that philosopher’s stone which has turned everything that it touched into gold.
Socio-Economic Equality in Islam
Islam guides us in every aspect of life, including economic. This system has provided ample instructions for shaping and building of the economic life. It neither cuts off economy from the rest of life, nor weans it from morals. It solves the entire economic problems in the light of moral realities and values, puts cheeks on the economic strife and struggle so as to be cognizant of the permitted and the prohibited, and cleans it of injustices and high-handedness.
In Islam, what is really important, even in economies, is justice. Justice demands that the needs of the individuals be met, and it should grow and develop, and the fruits of such growth and development should find their way to one and all; their relationship must be based on justice and fairplay; and oppression must be eradicated in whatever shape it exists. It grants freedom of possession of means, but puts some cheeks on the exercise of the proprietary rights. To it, property is a trust that shall be used for Allah and for the betterment of his creation, one’s own self and one’s family, and also according to the ways prescribed for it by Allah (SWT).
Nobody will have any right to do what he likes as he likes. It permits every individual and enjoys his profit, but it closes all those avenues through which Profit is made at the cost of others or through their exploitation. It permits spending of one’s resources but bars all those ways of spending injurious to the individual or the society. It grants everybody the freedom of economic struggle but charges the society and the state with the responsibility of ensuring that proper opportunities are made available to everybody and no such form of unnatural disparity may emerge which bars the doors of progress in some people.
Undoubtedly, income largely depends on industry, but those lagging behind in economic race or those who, for some reason can’t get their due share from the resources of the earth to meet their needs honourably, become the responsibility of the society and the state. Islam cannot tolerate that individual may be homeless or go without medical aid or without education. It guarantees the provision of all those needs and holds the entire society responsible for it.
Islam is desirous of establishing balance, justices and equality, gentleness and harmony and wants to replace confrontation with cooperation and the system of negative competition by a positive and constructive one. This is an economy which is opposite to both capitalism and socialism, but resolves the economic problem on the basis of justice, and through men trained according to its own temperament. It has neither room for capitalism nor communism. It is far superior to both of them
It has also the capacity not only to take up its reformatory work in any society under normal conditions, but under every disturbed conditions when everything is in topsy-turvy, it can start its programme of a peaceful and reformatory revolution and gradually bring the conditions to normal.
Islam as a Comprehensive and All-Pervading System
Islam is a system encompassing the whole life, and provides perfect guidance for humans. All other systems and ideologies are lacking in this respect that they confine their stress to any aspect of life. Or if at all they take all the aspects of life, it is from a limited angle. Again they do not have internal unity and homogeneity, since they drive their different components from different, rather contradictory sources. For example, the western civilization has derived its philosophy from Greece, literature from mythology, law from Rome, science from the Muslim, economic passion from the Jews and the religion from Christianity. The sources from which socialism has derived its components are conflicting and contradictory. But Islam is different from all of them, its foundation-head is one-inspirational guidance. This guidance pervades the whole life which it considers an indivisible whole. This connects all of the aspects of life with a single fibre, and animates it with one sprit. This system has comprehensiveness as well as perfection, expansiveness as well as unity and compactness.
The universal character of Islamic civilization and culture
This system regards the entire humanity as a brotherhood. It eliminates all the old and new idols of colour, race, geographical boundaries and language, and declare that no one is superior to other (except on grounds of piety and righteousness: Taqwa). Being humans, all are equal, coming from the same parents, Adam and Eve, and created by the same Creator, and shall be judged by the same norm. The doors of this universal order are open to all human beings. In this way, it does not only establish a human civilization but is the only system that establishes a universal civilization.