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Man, Marxism, and Islam

29 Apr

(Originally from http://www.defending-islam.com/page322.html)

Man, Marxism and Islam

By brother Suranimala

Man, Marxism and Islam – 1

Man, Marxism and Islam – 2

Man, Marxism and Islam – 3

Man, Marxism and Islam – 4

Man, Marxism and Islam – 1

Compiled By Suranimala

(Source: Dr. Abdallah Omar Naseef; Dr. Mustafa Mahmoud)

Islam does not instinctively respond to Communism (Marxism) nor accept its ideology. Communism does not have a place in the lives of Muslims. Islam is, basically, in such a headlong collision with Communism that the two ideologies never meet. The most significant reason for Muslims’ rejection of Communism is that all Muslims believe in Almighty God, the Angels, the divinely revealed Books, God’s apostles and the Day of Judgment. Such a strong belief is neither marginal nor accidental. It is true and deep-rooted, unique, genuine and distinctive, a belief which constitutes the dynamic and propelling force of a Muslim’s life and projects itself in all matters of life and living, significant and insignificant alike.

The second reason for our rejection of Communism lies in the fact that Islam is a comprehensive religion in the sense that it is not only concerned with life after death, the spiritual or the metaphysics. Islam embraces life in the Here and the Hereafter, the body and the soul, the natural and the supernatural.

The third reason why Muslims reject Communism is that Islam provides far better solutions for all problems and ambiguities of life and living, be they political, social, economic, ideological etc than all other solutions artificially worked out by Communism or any other doctrine.

Communism is in the sense a product of European intellectual reaction to the rigidly narrow interpretation of life and nature that the Christian Church in the Middle Ages had imposed on people. In the midst of acute and irreconcilable conflicts in medieval Europe, things were not harmonized and balanced, and naturally they did not lead to stable results. Europe was in a state of reaction to an existing aberration, and consequently was carried to the opposite extreme. The Church imposed so many restrictions on the mind and all intellectual freedom. The result was an insatiable desire to exercise man’s intellectual power paying no heed to the benefit of mankind. The Church waged a severe war against science with the inevitable result that there grew among the people an insatiable hunger for acquisition of knowledge and the accumulation of scientific information so much so that science far exceeded its limited scope and significance and was turned into a man-made god worshiped by many scientists and knowledge seekers. The Church condemned all worldly pleasures and instigated people to live only for the life to come. In response to the Church’s overdose of spirituality there was a great thirst for the physical pleasures of life on earth and an obvious neglect and indifference to the Hereafter. The Church belittled and denied the physical aspect of life for the sake of spiritual purification. The inevitable result was an ardent adoration of the matter and a derogatory deprecation of the spirit. Thus Europe began to take long but gradual strides towards overall materialism which was later maximized in communist dialectic materialism.

The Buddhist society is no different from the extremist experience undergone by the European. Present day Buddhism teaches that to attain eternal redemption (Nirwana) it is imperative to give up ALL desires. One may well question the logic in this as we are taught by Buddhism to give up ALL desires to fulfill the desire to attain Nibbana. As a result desire is not annihilated and the desire to attain Nibbana yet remains.

All Buddhists would agree that Buddha’s development from infancy through childhood and adolescence to adulthood to the age of 29 to be precise was abnormal. In fact, he is the only person, perhaps in the whole history of mankind, who was deliberately kept away from the fact of suffering until he was 29 years of age. He was kept away from the view of old age, sickness, death and asceticism. And, to make matters worse, this abnormality was supplemented with another abnormality. He was fed up to his throat, so to say, with joys of this world-dancing and singing girls, good food and drink, luxurious clothes, joyful sports, and as pleasant and beautiful an abode and environment as the royal purse could afford. He was, in fact, confined in a cage of happiness! According to the Anguttara Nikaya, a canonical text from the sutta pitaka, Buddha himself is reported to have said later about his upbringing.

“Bhikkus (monks), I was delicately nurtured, exceedingly delicately nurtured, delicately nurtured beyond measure. In my father’s residence lotus ponds were made; one of blue lotuses, one of red and another of white lotuses, just for my sake…. Of kasi cloth was my turban made; of Kasi my jacket, my tunic and my cloak… I had three palaces; one for winter, one for summer and one for the rainy season. Bhikkus, in the rainy season palace, during the four months of the rains, entertained only by female musicians, I did not come down from the palace”.

At the age of 29 he came in contact with the real world-with the fact of suffering which he never knew before, and, what is just as important, with the temporary nature of the joys and happiness which he, up till then, believed to be real and permanent. It was only natural that this should give rise to an abnormal impact of the reality of suffering and the unreality of happiness on the mind of the disillusioned young man. I believe this to be the fundamental psychological explanation for the over emphasis on suffering on which Buddha founded his religion! Buddhism teaches that ‘all is suffering’ and to be redeemed one has to give up all desires as enumerated above. We would like you to visualize the scenario of whole of or a major portion of mankind choosing to attain salvation (Nibbana) through this method. If the whole of mankind choose this method, the life will come to a stand still and the human race will be wiped off from the face of the earth completely within about 100 years, as no human reproduction will take place from the time of choosing this path, due to annihilation of desire. From these extremist teachings we are observing a very sensuous, atheistic society emerging, having very scant respect for moral values and rejecting all such unnatural and abnormal precepts. Concepts similar to Marxism could easily breed under these circumstances.

In theory and practice, Communism is based on a cluster of hypotheses which are not truly scientifically proven though Communism assumes that it is the first doctrine based on scientific data. The first hypothesis in the Communist theory is that matter is everlasting and imperishable. Communism assumes that matter preceded thought and that thought is but a product of matter. Matter, Communism alleges, is the maker which made everything including man, and that the laws of matter apply to human life. Secondly, there is a certain determinism which Communists believe governs human life: materialistic, economic and historical determinism which is epitomized in dialectic and materialistic interpretation of history. Thirdly, there is the Communist assumption that individual ownership is inconsistent with basic distinctive human nature and that it is, basically and solely, the cause of all conflicts in human life. In order that human life be stabilized and human conflicts be wiped out from the earth, individual ownership should be abolished. Fourthly, Communism predicts that a day will come when people will do without the state and live like angels on the earth only when they fully apply the principle of “From everyone according to his ability, to everyone according to his need”.

Let us now discuss briefly each and every hypothesis upon which Communism (Marxism) is based in order to find out how it can fit in genuine scientific thinking.

Communists assume that matter had always been in existence and that it is imperishable. Therefore, they attribute everything to matter on the assumption that the laws of matter are unalterably permanent, stable and inevitable.

From the purely scientific point of view, geologists and physicists are unanimously in agreement that the physical universe has a specific and a definite date of birth. They may disagree on the accurate and precise date on which the universe, in its physical sense, was created. But they unanimously agree that the universe did really exist at a certain time and did not exist before. Geologists and physicists, out of sheer courtesy to the data of science itself, cannot precisely predict anything about the future-and cannot say definitely the matter is imperishable. If this hypothesis disintegrates and collapses, all dependent hypotheses, theories and applications will inevitably collapse.

Dialectical materialism and materialistic interpretation of history are both based on the concept of determinism which combines materialistic, economic and historical determinism. In the light of and in consistency with this concept, human history falls into five inevitable stages: 1. Early tribal partnership, 2. Slavery, 3. Feudalism, 4. Capitalism and, 5. Communism. Each one of these five stages is inspired by specific material causes. It has its unique economic and social aspects, its own institutions which convey and reflect its basic concepts and ideologies. For Communists, no idea or convictions can be built on non-materialistic, non-economic basis. Ideas and convictions are inextricably linked to the materialistic and economic environment of which they are but faithful reflections. The prevailing ideas and beliefs are always those of the economically dominating social class. These are always sectarian in nature confined to the specific class which has inspired them. The ideas and beliefs will never change unless some material or economic changes take place. To round off three three-dimensioned concept of determinism and Communist philosophy asserts that the world will for ever live in class conflicts until Communism comes along and rids it of inter-class conflicts by the extermination of all classes with the exception of one class only, the proletariat.

We would take up much time and space if we discussed in greater detail these entire concepts one after the other. Let us deal with one case which will, I am sure, blow up at once this collective mass of Communist ideas. The emergence of Islam and its dissemination across vast territorial stretches in the course of centuries will undoubtedly refute all allegations provided by the Communist philosophy with regard to man and matter. We shall then pose the following questions and queries to be answered by the Communist ideology.

Communism asserts that historical changes are determined solely by material and economical factors. Dialectical materialism and the materialistic interpretation of history spring mainly from the materialistic concept of man. But the emergence of Islam was not conditioned by certain traceable economic or material changes in the Arabian Peninsula. Islam carried with it a group of beliefs, ideas, principles and economic, social, political and moral disciplines completely inconsistent with those prevailing in pre-Islamic Arabia and in the whole world at that time. Islam is still distinguished from most of the currently existing disciplines in the world.

What was the material or economic changes that led mankind to the belief in the existence of One God, the Maker and Sustainer of all creation? Islam emerged and flourished in Arabia which was distressingly torn between heathenism, atheism, agnosticism. Even Christianity and Judaism which are still incapable of working out a decisive, unambiguous and clearly intelligible concept of monotheism similar to what Islam presents.

What were the material and economic changes which led to the emergence of a religion that divested the rulers from their long sustained holiness and re-established them as servants of the One and Indivisible God whom people should all worship irrespective of class, colour or race? The religion of Islam ordained that the assumed holiness with which rulers had been invested should no longer exist on both the secular and religious planes. Rulers should not be authorized to fundamentally legislate for their subjects. In fact all mankind are, from the Islamic point of view, unauthorized to devise their legislations. Allah alone, the Lord of the Worlds, is the divine legislator and Law-giver for all mankind and all people are equal before His Law. Allah organizes their rights and duties and enjoins on everyone to abide by them. Islamic law does not permit social distinctions. The entire mankind is a composite body of individuals. Each individual is independent, unique and self-responsible. But all individuals combine into one self-contained, self-sustained, harmonious, loving and compassionate community.

No material or economic change could lead to the emergence of a religion which called for the freeing of slaves either by manumission or ‘Mukatabat’. Islam allows a contract to be signed by the slave and his master according to which a certain sum of money is paid by the former to the latter within a limited period of time. When such a contract is signed the slave is allowed full freedom to do business with whomsoever he likes. If at the expiration of the assigned period the slave could pay the amount of money to his master as agreed upon in the contract signed by them, he should gain his freedom. This procedure is what is called ‘Makatabat’ in Islam. Islam abolished all sources of slavery that existed on earth with its divine teachings. Slavery by birth, slavery by race, slavery by colour, slavery by poverty……etc.

No material or economic changes could ostensibly or logically lead to the emergence of a religion which called for the immediate emancipation of women in Arabia where they were looked down upon and maltreated in pre-Islam times. Islam equalized the relations between man and woman in human rights and allowed woman the right to learn, own and sell her property. Islam gave woman the right to approve or disapprove of her marriage and claim divorce if she is not justly, decently and humanely treated by her husband. Islam gave woman other rights which non-Muslim women did not possess except only during the last two centuries after a series of feminist movements and rebellions in which women as well as morals were victimized.

More than one thousand years before the emergence of capitalism, no natural or economic changes could bring fourth a religion forbidding usury and monopoly which were the instruments of enforcing social injustice, human bondage and deprivation. No material or economic change could inspire a religion which bases all human relations: social, political and economic, on moral principles to which the poor and the rich, men and women are equally committed. Muslims, in their relations with their brother Muslims, are fully committed to these moral principles. Also in their relations with non-Muslims, Muslims abide by these moral principles in war and peace. Islam was not revealed for a particular class of people. Islamic concepts, beliefs and morals were not confined to one specific people or class. Islam was revealed to all mankind.

Therefore, we defy all Communist thoughts implied in the second hypothesis to interpret the emergence of Islam in terms of dialectical materialism. Communist determinism, material, economic and historical will inevitably fail to provide a sufficiently convincing and logical interpretation for the emergence of Islam with all its beliefs, concepts, values, principles and social, economic and moral disciplines. Islam thus emerges triumphant over all the determinism of dialectical materialism because it is a God-given religion.

They (the disbelievers, the Jews and the Christians) want to extinguish Allah’s Light (with which Muhammed s.a.w. has been sent-Islamic Monotheism) with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the Kafirun (disbelievers) hate it.

It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammed s.a.w.) with guidance and the religion of truth, to make it superior over all religions even though the Musrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it). (Quran 9: 32, 33)

“Invite (all) to the Way of your Rabb (Only God, Cherisher and Sustainer) with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious, for your Rabb knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance” (Qur’an 16:125)

“You are the best of people chosen for mankind because you command righteousness, forbid evil and believe in Allah” Qur’an 3: 110.

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MAN, MARXISM and ISLAM – 2

Communists (Marxists) assume that individual ownership is not a natural instinct but an accidental novelty in human life attributed solely to material and economic complexities in contemporary life. Early humanity, Communists allege, lived happily in a state of collective ownership and hence suffered no conflicts. When individual ownership appeared inter-personal and inter-class conflicts prevailed in the form of slavery, feudalism and capitalism. The Communism is only a return to the healthy and early life where collective ownership replaces individual ownership. All conflicts based on individual ownership are eliminated in an attempt to achieve the promised (or lost) paradise on earth. Neither science nor experiment can prove the validity or durability of this hypothesis.

In this context I would like to discuss four main points:

· a). There is no evidence that these primitive tribes did not suffer from any conflict, personal or tribal, and that sexual freedom was prevalent among all males and females. It has been proved that conflicts arose sometimes among the young men of the same tribe for the possession of a certain woman who was more beautiful, attractive and sexually appealing to some of them. Conflicts occasionally arose for the leadership of the tribe.

· b). These tribes were in a constant state of war amongst themselves. Tribal wars and invasions were launched for the usurpation of land, arms, women or all. If we contend that individual ownership did not exist among the members of these tribes, inter-tribal wars arose for the possession of land, property, arms, women…..etc. Instead of the individual or the class in recent history, the tribe constituted the unit which owned and fought for sovereignty.

· c). The existence of collective ownership within the tribe is not sufficient proof that the spirit of individual ownership did not exist among the members of the tribe. The apparent non-existence of individual ownership may be ascribed to the absence of anything to owned or destined to be owned by the individual. But with the emergence of something that can be owned by the individual, individual ownership arose. Communists admit that individual ownership arose with the discovery of agriculture. Individual ownership had been latent in the tribal community. It appeared when circumstances became favourable for its emergence.

· d). Practical experiment proved that collective ownership failed to replace individual ownership as incentive to work. The continuous decrease in the production of wheat in the old Soviet Union is an example in point. Russia, prior to Bolshevik revolution, which used to export wheat began to import from USA, despite the fact that the richest wheat fields in the world are found in the Ukraine in USSR. Wheat production has always been decreasing. This has led Russia to change its agricultural policy and allow a reasonable portion of individual ownership as an incentive to encourage more production of wheat.

With the abolition of individual ownership which Communists believe is the principal and only cause of all conflicts, the Communist block is continually exposed to ideological and political conflicts. Between Trotsky and Lenin, Stalin and Beria, Khrushchev and the members of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau, there were eternal conflicts. Even after the establishment of collective leadership there arose a conflict in which one of their leaders was ousted. Afterwards, emerged a serious conflict between Russia and China for the ideological leadership of the Communist world. Communism thrives on conflicts and is a root cause of all conflicts.

After Gorbachev, emerged a new economic order in Russia and we are witnessing a rapid growth and prosperity due to the open economic policy implemented successfully. China gradually stepped in to the open economic policy of private ownership and has proved to be a tremendous success after years of setbacks. Communism is part of history and does not appear to be a valid currency in any social setup.

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MAN, MARXISM and ISLAM – 3

Marx gave a public statement about religion when he said that, “Religion is the opium of peoples”, Marx may have referred to a particular reality which Europe has witnessed when feudal lords and capitalists used to provoke in the minds and hearts of the working masses a long-desired dream for eternal bliss in the Hereafter to make up for the humiliation and repression inflicted upon them in this world.

Marx made a public statement about religion in general and in all circumstances. We need not discuss Marxian concept of religion but we only mention this fact, that Communism, which considers religion as an intoxicant and opium to all people, is now using more serious intoxicants to divert the minds of the working class into acceptance of hardship, humiliation, suppression and dehumanization.

Now Communists promise unrealizable dreams. They create a dream land to divert the masses from expressing their dissatisfaction with the bitter living conditions they face. From the very outset, Communists used to attract the masses by stimulating and provoking class conflicts among them. They hate religion because it endeavours to eliminate hatred, envy and anger among all people. Communists used to promise the downtrodden working masses that once Communism became a reality, workers will own their factories and farmers will take possession of their land and capitalism and feudalism will be completely wiped out.

Collective ownership proved to be a big fallacy. No one owns anything in fact, nor does anyone feel this ownership. All are but humiliated slaves. The state is the only master. The state authorities particularly the party leaders, political bureau, central committee, have all the power in their hands. They live in villas, palaces and own luxurious and expensive cars, whereas the proletariats, the working class, in whose name the state authorities rule, have to toil and work. The working masses are mere cogs in the huge state machinery. They live in poor houses, wear uncomfortable clothes and eat indecent food. In such worsened living conditions, Communism had to use intoxicants to extinguish the flames of rebellion among the working masses, to make the masses tolerate and put up with the social and economic afflictions imposed upon them. Communists assume that the working masses suffer hardship because national production is relatively insufficient to meet the local requirements. If production increases the law of “From each according to his ability to each according to his need” will be fully applied. Communists assume that they live under the heavy pressure of the state and in the tight grip of espionage circles because they have to confront their enemies. Once they crush their enemies, Communists will form a unified universal government which will uphold and spread justice among all peoples and put an end to all forms of humiliation and oppression. Not only that, eventually the day will come when government will not have to exercise its functions. People will live as angels with no conflicts, disputes, prisons, police force, or suppression among them. What a ridiculous dream, what a utopian expectation. With such foolish illogical assumptions and fabrications, Communism appeals to young men and women inside and outside the Communist camp to believe in Marxist philosophy. When they are caught into the net of Communism they will not be able to escape. History tells us that the Hungarians and Czechoslovakians were crushed under Communist tanks when they tried to break off the Communist orbit and regain their freedom. Communist Russia gave Hungarians and Czechoslovakians an unforgettable lesson so that they would never claim their freedom.

Communism states unequivocally that one who owns is one who rules. Hence one rules for his own interests and those of the class to which he belongs. Therefore, he devises and originates all the concepts and beliefs which are compatible with his own interests and the interests of his class. This unmistakably applies to the laws and legislations conceived and introduced throughout the ages. In the age of feudalism feudal lords owned large stretches of land and exercised their own power on the land serfs. They ruled against the interests of the “people” who were but the masses of the land serfs. Capitalists did the same thing. They possessed everything and ruled for their own interests and not for the interests of the working class. Communists raise up a big fallacy when they assume that they are an exception to the rule. They say that Communism has been introduced to fight and defeat all forms of oppression, social, economical, or ideological. The proletariat rule and own everything. Its supremacy is mainly directed to safeguard its own interests against “none” for it will have dissolved and liquidated all other social classes. The proletariats do not rule in the true sense of the word. A group of individuals rule in the name of the proletariat. They crush, oppress and subjugate the proletariat in their capacity as individuals or as the “state” which own, rule and suppress all others. As long as the rulers devise and apply their own legislations, oppression on earth will remain and humanity will remain divided into masters and slaves into the powerful and the powerless into the rich and the poor.

In one case only this rule does not apply. Injustice will be uprooted from the face of the earth if people do not devise and implement their own basic legislations. When the Divine Law of God replaces the man-made law all owners and non owners, the rulers and the ruled will be subject to the God given Law and all forms of injustice will be ruled out from the earth. This is ISLAM.

Islam is not merely a set of beliefs rooted in the hearts of Muslims though faith constitutes a basic and an indivisible part of it. Islam is a Divine comprehensive system of life in all its aspects, political, economical, social, ideological and moral. Therefore it is the only religion which actively responds to the requirements of the human body and soul and of life at large. Faith in God is indispensable for man. Man is naturally and instinctively a worshipper. The difference between one man and another does not lie in that this man is a worshipper and that one is not. The difference lies in that one man worships God Almighty and the other worships something else, an idol, a star, a human being, or even nature. Man may worship his own self, the state, the leader, the political party, an ideology, materials of production, the dollar, or even science, or intellect or the base human instincts. All these are stray forms of worship which will lead man into all indecencies and divert him from his honourable decent human nature. The real worth of man is inspired by the god he worships. If he worships the true God, man will be duly honoured and respected. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “We have honoured the sons of Adam, provided them with transport on land and sea, given them for sustenance things good and pure and conferred on them special favours above a great part of Our Creation” )Chapter 17:Verse 70). If man worships another god, he will degenerate himself with his own man-made god and sink into the lowest of the low.

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MAN, MARXISM and ISLAM – 4

There can be no doubt that Marx founded his theory on the backward industrial situation of the nineteenth century. Workers were in the main manual; they toiled for bread, were greatly exploited and suffered endlessly. Marx could never have anticipated the changes brought about by the scientific and technological revolution of the twentieth century. Workers today enjoy the luxury of sitting at panels with push-button switches, factories are run by computers, and instead of an army of tired workmen, we see comfortable employees protected by many trade unions and social insurance laws (against disability, old age and illness) and having every chance of education and medical treatment. Marx could never have foreseen the flexibility of capitalism and its capacity for developing a new industrial situation in which workers have stakes in the capital, as has happened in many Japanese, Italian, French and British firms. Hence the dissociation of Marxist thought from the reality of our century. Indeed, in the prevailing conditions of today, Marxism may be regarded as reactionary.

All Marx’s predictions, based on his dialectical method have proved to be wrong.

Marx has predicted that the Communist Revolution would break out not in a backward society but in an advanced, capitalist, industrial one, such as the British or the German. He was wrong: Communism struck root in a backward, agricultural society, as happened in Russia and China.

He had predicted that the gap between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in capitalist states would consistently grow and that the situation would deteriorate so much that a revolution would break out to destroy the entire capitalist system. In fact the reverse of this actually occurred in capitalist countries: thanks to a series of reforms and trade unionist activity the gap has narrowed and class differences have diminished, while it is in Communist states that a conflict has broken out and intensified.

Marx had predicted that capitalism would lead to more concentration of money in colossal monopolies, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. What actually happened was that capital has tended to split up through the establishment of joint stock companies and that through inheritance, land ownership also tended to split up naturally.

Marx has predicted that a devastating economic crisis would practically crush the capitalist system following an imbalance between supply and demand, (namely that as a result of extreme poverty the rate of demand and purchasing power of workers would be too low for ever-rising levels of production). However all economic crises in capitalist countries have so far been temporary. Furthermore, according to Marx’s theory of ‘surplus value’ workers’ wages in capitalist countries should merely fulfill their minimum living requirements, but, thanks to new legislation, trade unionist activity and capitalist self-modification, workers’ wages in many European countries rose to remarkable levels of affluence, thus entirely refuting Marx’s theory.

The most serious flaw in Marxism is, perhaps, that it insists on being a comprehensive system of thought which has an answer to every question and a solution to every problem. He who does not accept this comprehensiveness has no claim to Marxism. Indeed, Marxists believe their worst enemies to be the eclectic-those who accept (or reject it) partially. This rigidity is the weakest aspect of Marxism. In contrast, there is an obvious intellectual flexibility in capitalist states, as well as an ability to absorb the ideas of their opponents and benefit by them regardless of ideology. Many capitalist states have adopted nationalization in an attempt to defeat the evils of exploitation and monopoly.

For all its ideological fanaticism, Marxism has not been comprehensively applied anywhere. Whenever it came to actual application, ‘comprehensive’ Marxism has always been rejected, the reason being a basic weakness in Marxism which we may term ‘methodological arbitration’.

Such arbitrariness of method as is found in historical materialism, may be illustrated by its very dialectic, based as it is on the idea of a single factor in operation down human history, namely the economic factor, which Marx regards as the root cause of all historical phenomena. This mode of thought has come to be rejected as unscientific. The accepted view today is that we cannot interpret social phenomena in terms of a sole, independent and externally isolable factor; we cannot even regard one factor as principal and another as secondary or subordinate in as much as the relation between ’cause’ and ‘effect’ is complex and changing. Instead, we may mark out numerous factors which affect one another and observe the changes in this dynamic process, for what may seem principal today may prove to be secondary tomorrow and so on.

The economic factor cannot be regarded as primum mobile, there are national, psychological, racial and ideological factors which may play an even greater part in shaping history than the economic.

Because Marx did not found his theory on the evidence of the entire history of man but on that of a few, carefully selected historical stages, the laws which he deduced cannot be valid for a reading of all history; indeed, they cannot be regarded strictly as laws. His materialistic interpretation of history, namely that it had always been production methods and employer-worker relationships that built up the social superstructure (including art and thought and religion), constituted a naïve simplification of many interconnected and highly complex processes. Any modern theory is ineluctably based on multiple factors and the principle of reciprocal causality, so that a given factor may be seen as both cause and effect at once. Thought and invention are likely to introduce changes in methods of production and worker-employer relations but the latter two can hardly produce any system of thought; religion can change social relations while social relations cannot create a religion, as amply evidenced by the birth of ISLAM itself.

Islam was not the creation of a class-based community. It was neither a reactionary religion designed to protect the property of tyrants and oppressors nor a drug to induce the poor to accept their poverty. It called on people to enjoy life in moderation and to fight all forms of oppression and exploitation. Nor was it the result of a revolution in the methods of production and worker-employer relations in Quraish. It was a super structural phenomenon independent of environmental factors. From the start Islam established the principles of equal opportunities for all, a guaranteed and adequate level of income for each citizen and an economic balance between the individual and society. It also introduced a system of private ownership, public ownership, and a guided but free economy. All this was introduced in the Arabian Peninsula at a time when neither production conditions nor employer-worker relations called for any change. Consequently, Islam cannot be seen to have sprung out of a particular economic situation. Thus the historical logic of Marxism is defeated and the materialistic theory that a revolution in the production system and worker-employer relations is followed by a political revolution is utterly defeated.

One of the worst excesses of Marxism is its bestowal of a mythical aura of purity and virtue on the proletariat (the working class), as though they were the ‘chosen people’ or an alien race of Martians. Today, as a result of a discrepancy in income between skilled and unskilled labour, this class has itself split into two opposed ones. It is not surprising, therefore, that in view of such obvious gaps in the theory and practice of Marxism many writers and politicians who had once adopted it have now turned away from it. Disenchanted with it, many old socialists today criticize and even oppose it. To state in this context that we belong neither to capitalist ‘right’ nor to Marxist ‘left’ is not to imply that ours is an ideological mean between the two extremes. Ours is an independent contribution to political thought – all our own. We have rejected the dictatorship of the proletariat and substituted a method based on the alliance of the working forces of the population, covering all sectors and classes. We do not regard religion as a reactionary force but as a moving force, as a constructive energy and as a progressive thought – more progressive than all available theories.

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