Between the 1950s and early 1970s, a powerful ideology in the Muslim world galvanised itself from the minds and fringes of modern Islamic intellectualism and made its way into the mainstream political arena.

But this ideology did not have a single originator. Its roots can be found amongst the works of Muslim thinkers and ideologues in South and East Asia, Africa and in various Middle Eastern (Arab) countries.

Also, once it began being adopted by mainstream leaders and political outfits, it was expressed through multiple names. But today, each one of these names and terms are slotted under a single definitional umbrella: Islamic Socialism.

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Roots and Trees

Though one can struggle to pinpoint the exact starting point (or points) from where the many ideas that became associated with Islamic Socialism emerged, historians and intellectuals, Sami A. Hanna and Hanif Ramay – who specialised in critiquing and compiling a dialectic history of Islamic Socialism – are of the view that one of the very first expressions of Islamic Socialism appeared in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th century.

A movement of Muslim farmers, peasants and petty-bourgeoisie in the Russian state of Tatartan opposed the Russian monarchy but was brutally crushed.

In the early 2oth century, the movement went underground and began working with communist, socialist and social democratic forces operating in Russia to overthrow the monarchy.

The leaders of the Muslim movement, that became to be known as the Waisi began explaining themselves as Islamic Socialists when a leftist revolution broke out against the Russian monarchy in 1906.

During the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that finally toppled and eliminated the Russian monarchy and imposed communist rule in the country, the Waisi fell in with the Bolsheviks and supported Russian revolutionary leader, Vladimir Lenin’s widespread socialist program and policies.

However, after Lenin’s death in 1924, the Waisi began to assert that the Muslim community and its socialism in Tatartan were a separate entity from the Bolshevik communism.

The movement that had formed its own communes became a victim of Stalin’s radical purges of the 1930s and was wiped out.

One is not quite sure how the Waisi defined their socialism in a country where (after 1917) atheism had become the state-enforced creed. It was left to a group of influential thinkers and ideologues in South Asia and the Middle East to finally get down to giving a more coherent and doctrinal shape to Islamic Socialism.

Islamic scholar, Ubaidullah Sindhi, who was born into a Sikh family (in Sialkot but converted to Islam), was also an agitator against the British in India.

Chased by the authorities during the First World War, Sindhi escaped to Kabul, and from Kabul he traveled to Russia where he witnessed the unfolding of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

He stayed in Russia till 1923 and spent most of his time discussing politics and ideology with communist revolutionaries and studying socialism.

Impressed by the chants of economic equality and justice during the violent revolution, Sindhi, who remained being a Deobandi Sunni Muslim, dismissed communism/Marxism’s emphasis on atheism.

From Russia Sindhi traveled to Turkey and it was from Istanbul that he began to give shape to his ideas of Islamic Socialism through a series of writings especially aimed at the Muslims of India.

He urged Muslims ‘to evolve for themselves a religious basis to arrive at the economic justice at which communism aims but which it cannot fully achieve.’

The reason he gave for this was that though he saw both Islamic and Communist economic philosophies similar regarding their emphasis on the fair distribution of wealth, socialism if imposed with the help of a more theistic and spiritual dimension would be more beneficial to the peasant and the working classes than atheistic communism.

Ubaidullah Sindhi.
Ubaidullah Sindhi.

During the same period (1920s-30s), another (though lesser known) Islamic scholar in undivided India got smitten by the 1917 Russian revolution and Marxism.

Hafiz Rahman Sihwarwl saw Islam and Marxism sharing five elements in common: (1) prohibition of the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the privileged classes (2) organisation of the economic structure of the state to ensure social welfare (3) equality of opportunity for all human beings (4) priority of collective social interest over individual privilege and (5) prevention of the permanentising of class structure through social revolution.

The motivations for many of these themes he drew from the Qur’an, which he understood as seeking to create an economic order in which the rich pay excessive, though voluntary taxes (Zakat) to minimise differences in living standards.

In the areas that Sihwarwl saw Islam and communism diverge were Islam’s sanction of private ownership within certain limits, and in its refusal to recognise an absolutely classless basis of society.

He suggested that Islam, with its prohibition of the accumulation of wealth, is able to control the class structure through equality of opportunity.

Basically, both Sindhi and Sihwarwl had stumbled upon an Islamic concept of the social democratic welfare state.

Building upon the initial thoughts of Sindhi and Sihwarwl were perhaps South Asia’s two most ardent and articulate supporters and theoreticians of Islamic Socilaism: Ghulam Ahmed Parvez and Dr. Khalifa Abdul Hakim.

Parvez was a prominent ‘Quranist’, or an Islamic scholar who insisted that for the Muslims to make progress in the modern world, Islamic thought and laws should be entirely based on the modern interpretations of the Qu’ran and on the complete rejection of the hadith (sayings of the Prophet and his companions based on hearsay and compiled over a 100 years after the Prophet’s demise).

After studying traditional Muslim texts, as well as Sufism, Parvez claimed that almost all hadiths were fabrications by those who wanted Islam to seem like an intolerant faith and by ancient Muslim kings who used these hadiths to give divine legitimacy to their tyrannical rules.

Parvez also insisted that Muslims should spend more time studying the modern sciences instead of wasting their energies on fighting out ancient sectarian conflicts or ignoring the true egalitarian and enlightening spirit of the Qu’ran by indulging in multiple rituals handed down to them by ancient ulema, clerics and compilers of the hadith.

Understandably, Parvez was right away attacked by conservative Islamic scholars and political outfits.

But this didn’t stop famous Muslim philosopher and poet, Muhammad Iqbal, to befriend the young scholar and then introduce him to the future founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Jinnah appointed Parvez to edit a magazine, Talu-e-Islam. It was set-up to propagate the creation of a separate Muslim country and to also answer the attacks that Jinnah’s All India Muslim League had begun to face from conservative Islamic parties and ulema who accused the League of being a pseudo-Muslim organisation and Jinnah for being too westernised and ‘lacking correct Islamic behavior.’

Apart from continuing to author books and commentaries on the Qu’ran, Parvez wrote a series of articles in Talu-e-Islam that propagated a more socialistic view of the holy book.

In a series of essays for the magazine he used verses from the Qu’ran, incidents from the faith’s history and insights from the writings of Muhammad Iqbal to claim:

The clergy and conservative ulema have hijacked Islam.

They are agents of the rich people and promoters of uncontrolled Capitalism.

Socialism best enforces Qur’anic dictums on property, justice and distribution of wealth.

Islam’s main mission was the eradication of all injustices and cruelties from society. It was a socio-economic movement, and the Prophet was a leader seeking to put an end to the capitalist exploitation of the Quraysh merchants and the corrupt bureaucracy of Byzantium and Persia.

According to the Qur’an, Muslims have three main responsibilities:  seeing, hearing and sensing through the agency of the mind.  Consequently, real knowledge is based on empirically verifiable observation, or through the role of science.

Poverty is the punishment of God and deserved by those who ignore science.

In Muslim/Islamic societies, science, as well as agrarian reform should play leading roles in developing an industrialised economy.

A socialist path is a correction of the medieval distortion of Islam through Shari’a.

Parvez joined the government after the creation of Pakistan in 1947, but after Jinnah’s death in 1948, he was sidelined until he resigned from his post in 1956.

An issue of Talu-e-Islam featuring Muhammad Iqbal on the cover. Many essays written by Ghulam Ahmed Parvez for the magazine included arguments for the propagation of Islamic Socialism and fiery polemics against conservative ulema.

An issue of Talu-e-Islam featuring Muhammad Iqbal on the cover. Many essays written by Ghulam Ahmed Parvez for the magazine included arguments for the propagation of Islamic Socialism and fiery polemics against conservative ulema.

A 1935 illustration of Ghulam Ahmed Parvez.
A 1935 illustration of Ghulam Ahmed Parvez.

Another scholar at the time who was using Iqbal’s writings on Islam and the Qu’ran to formulate Islamic Socialism in South Asia was Dr. Khalifa Abdul Hakim.

A philosopher, author and a huge admirer of Muhammad Iqbal, Khalifa ventured into the ideological territory of Islamic Socialism later than Ghulam Parvez.

A keen student of Islam (especially Sufism), Khalifa, after getting his PhD from the Heidelberg University in Germany, authored a number of books on Iqbal’s philosophy, Islamic thought, Jallaluddin Rumi (Sufi poet and writer), and also translated the Hindu holy book, the Bhagwat Gita, into Urdu.

It was after the creation of Pakistan that Khalifa began to seriously study Marxism and what it meant to a young ‘third world’ country like Pakistan.

In his 1951 books, ‘Islam and Communism’ and ‘Iqbal Aur Mullah’, Khalifa saw Islamic Socialism as harnessing the freedom of thought, action and enterprise characteristic of Western democracies by creating opportunities for all.

Like most Islamic Socialists of his era, Khalifa too was basically explaining Islamic Socialism to be a kind of spiritual and theistic concept of the social democratic welfare state enacted in various Western countries.

In ‘Islam and Communism’, Khalifa sees land as being the principle source of economic wealth and thus the moral basis for agrarian reforms in Pakistan.

Dr. Khalifa.
Dr. Khalifa.

Apart from Ghulam Ahmad Parvez, most other Islamic Socialist thinkers discussed above, though thoroughly critiquing Marxism/Socialism on the basis of Qu’ranic teachings and listing similarities and differences between the two, say little about exactly how much a role should a government and state play in matters of faith in societies run on the ideology and economic system prescribed by Islamic Socialism.

Parvez quite clearly suggests that an Islamic Socialist society run on the laws and economics derived from rational interpretations of the Qu’ran and modern scientific thought would inherently become responsible, law-abiding, egalitarian and enlightened and would not require the state to play the role of a moral guide.

In other words, Islamic Socialist policies guarantee a progressive and non-theocratic (if not entirely secular) Muslim majority state where the citizens are enlightened enough to make their own moral choices, and where the state sticks to looking after the citizens’ economic interests and needs and delivering justice.

It is within these two main areas where the state can evoke rational and modernistic interpretations of the Qu’ran, especially those verses dealing with property rights, Zakat, justice and the rights of women.

In the Middle East, Islamic Socialism evolved into becoming a more nationalistic and revolutionary idea, mainly due to the creation of Israel (in 1948) and the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from the area.

A Christian Syrian philosopher and Arab nationalist, Michel Aflaq, is remembered to be the originator of the Middle Eastern strain of Islamic Socialism that expressed itself as Arab Socialism and Ba’ath Socialism.

Born into an Arab Christian family, Aflaq became a communist at college and university, but broke away from the communists to formulate a radical and new Arab nationalist philosophy with another young Syrian, Salah ad-Din al-Bitar.

After studying the steady economic and political decline of the Arab peoples around the world, Aflaq and Bitar advocated the creation of a united Arab state.

For this they recasted Arab nationalism by infusing into it a heavy dose of socialist economic ideas, progressive cultural and social outlook, and by reworking the idea of Islam inherent in it by evoking ‘Qu’ran’s revolutionary spirit’ to counter injustice and inequality but separating Islam (as an organised faith) from the matters of the state.

Aflaq and Bitar claimed that this would lead to a renaissance in the Arab world, turning it into an economic and political power.

Michel Aflaq.
Michel Aflaq.

Their emphasis on the word renaissance (which in Arabic is ‘Al-Ba’ath’), gave birth to the term ‘Ba’ath Socialism,’ and soon both Aflaq and Bitar set out to define exactly how this form of socialism works.

Ba’ath Socialism appealed to the unity of all Arab nations on the basis of language/culture (Arab) and on the faith most Arabs followed (Islam).

It suggested that the Arab nations were being undermined by five forces: European colonialism (driven by capitalism); Soviet Communism; ‘decadent monarchies’ in Arab countries; Islamic conservatism within Arab societies; and the clergy and the ulema who were keeping these societies in the clutches of backwardness.

Ba’ath Socialism offered a path between Western capitalism and Soviet communism by suggesting that all Arab nations come together as one state under a single ‘vanguard party’ of Arab nationalists who would impose socialist economic policies, modernise society through education, science and culture, separate religion from the state but continue being inspired by the egalitarian concepts of Islam that would remain to be the faith of a majority of citizens in the united Arab state.

In spite of being staunchly secular, Ba’ath Socialism celebrated Islam as proof of ‘Arab genius’, and a testament of Arab culture, values and thought.

Song and Dance

The Middle East and Africa 

Ba’ath Socialism seemed to have arrived at a ripe moment in modern Arab history because from 1940s onwards a number of anti-colonial movements in Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Syria were all being lead by outfits declaring themselves to be adherents of Arab Socialism.

In 1948, a young military Colonel in Egypt, Gammal Abdel Nasser, formed the clandestine ‘Free Officers Movement’.

The group consisted of Egyptian army officers driven by the ideas of Arab Socialism/Ba’ath Socialism.

In 1952 the movement overthrew Egypt’s pro-British monarchy in a coup and declared Egypt to be an independent Arab Socialist Republic.

Leading members of The Free Officers Movement soon after overthrowing the Egyptian monarchy in 1952. Gammal Abdel Nasser is third from right (sitting).
Leading members of The Free Officers Movement soon after overthrowing the Egyptian monarchy in 1952. Gammal Abdel Nasser is third from right (sitting).

Egyptian army tanks move in on the roads of Cairo during the 1952 Free Officers’ coup.
Egyptian army tanks move in on the roads of Cairo during the 1952 Free Officers’ coup.

Interestingly, the Free Officers Movement and coup were initially supported by the anti-colonial right-wing religious group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

But once Nasser began unfolding his policies ‘to modernise the Egyptian economy and society,’ and claimed that Islam was best served when practiced in private, the Muslim Brotherhood turned against his regime.

In 1954 it tried to assassinate Nasser who responded by unleashing a brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and the conservative clergy.

Inspired by Nasser, a group of young officers in Iraq successfully overthrew the Iraqi monarchy in 1958. Though the new regime at once declared Iraq to be a republic, it did not form an Arab Socialist Party like Nasser.

That changed when in a counter coup (in 1963) another group of officers took over and formed the Iraq Ba’ath Socialist Party. But the situation remained fluent and by 1966 the Ba’ath Socialists were ousted in a coup only to return and stabilise their power in 1968.

Ba’ath Socialism became Iraq’s central ideology and the Ba’ath Socialist Party the country’s ruling outfit. This party and ideology in Iraq would last till 2003 until the fall of its last main man Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Members of Iraq’s Ba’ath Socialist Party holding a press conference after taking over power in 1963.
Members of Iraq’s Ba’ath Socialist Party holding a press conference after taking over power in 1963.

Ever since its independence in 1949, Syria had been in turmoil and witnessed a number of coups most of which were backed and planned by the Syrian Ba’ath Socialist Party.

In 1956, Syria also became one of the first Arab countries to enter the ‘Soviet camp’ as opposed to the ‘American camp.’ Nasser’s Egypt soon followed Syria’s lead and signed various defense, economic and cultural pacts with the Soviet Union.

To fully realise Arab/Ba’ath Socialism’s main doctrinal thrust of enacting a united Arab nation, in 1958 Syria and Egypt merged to become the United Arab Republic (UAR).

The experiment was a disaster as the Syrian side thought Nasser was undermining Syrian interests. The union was dissolved when the Ba’ath Socialist Party in Syria engineered another coup in 1961.

Till 1970, Syrian politics was caught in a tense tussle between the radical and moderate factions of the Ba’ath Socialist Party until the party and government were taken over by Hafizul Asad, an Army General.

Asad, an Alawite Muslim – a breakaway Shia Muslim sect – would go on to stabilize Syria and rule as dictator till his death in 2000.

Under him the Ba’ath Socialist Party and regime became the most stable, as well as radical in any Arab country.

Hafizul Asad talks to foreign media in Damascus after becoming Syria’s new head of state and leader of the country’s Ba’ath Socialist Party in 1970.
Hafizul Asad talks to foreign media in Damascus after becoming Syria’s new head of state and leader of the country’s Ba’ath Socialist Party in 1970.

A 1970 poster of the Young Socialist Alliance, an international group of leftist student outfits allied to Ba’ath/Arab Socialist parties and regimes in Egypt, Syria and Iraq and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).
A 1970 poster of the Young Socialist Alliance, an international group of leftist student outfits allied to Ba’ath/Arab Socialist parties and regimes in Egypt, Syria and Iraq and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

In Algeria during that country’s nationalist struggle against French colonialism that began to peak in the 1950s, the movement’s main outfit the Organisation Spéciale (Special Organisation) began to be drawn towards the ‘liberation philosophy’ of Arab/Ba’ath Socialism.

In 1954 The Special Organisation merged with various small left-wing nationalist groups and guerilla organisations to form the National Liberation Front (or the FLN – Front de Libération Nationale) that became the largest nationalist outfit during the Algerian liberation movement against French colonialists.

Thousands of Algerians and French died between 1954 and 1962 in the war. When the French finally agreed to leave Algeria in 1962, the FLN became the first ruling party of independent Algeria.

Right away tensions emerged between FLN’s radical leader, Ahmed Ben Bella and the more moderate, Houari Boumedienne. In 1965 Boumedienne, with the help of the newly formed Algerian army, toppled Ben Bella in a coup and became Algeria’s second head of state.

He outlawed all other political parties, made FLN the sole ruling party of Algeria, initiated a number of socialist economic polices, and cracked down on Islamist and conservative religious groups.

But unlike Arab Socialists in Iraq, Syria and Egypt, Boumedienne did not aggressively push his country into the Soviet sphere of influence. He was, however, equally vocal in his criticism of pro-US Arab monarchies, Israel, Islamists and capitalism.

A female fighter of the FLN posing with her gun during the Algerian War of Independence against the French.
A female fighter of the FLN posing with her gun during the Algerian War of Independence against the French.

Police surround the body of a French military officer assassinated by FLN members in the Algerian city of Algiers in 1959.
Police surround the body of a French military officer assassinated by FLN members in the Algerian city of Algiers in 1959.

Houari Boumedienne (right) in 1972. He ruled Algeria and headed the FLN from 1965 till 1978, putting Algeria ‘on the socialist path.’
Houari Boumedienne (right) in 1972. He ruled Algeria and headed the FLN from 1965 till 1978, putting Algeria ‘on the socialist path.’

During the height of a civil war (between Egypt-backed nationalists and Saudi-supported monarchists) and anti-colonial movement (against the British forces) in the northern part of Yemen, the two main outfits leading the nationalist movement were the Yemeni National Liberation Front (NLF) and the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY).

Both the political and guerilla groups were steeped in Arab Socialism and were being led by Marxists.

When the fighting spilled into the South of the country it intensified, so much so that the NLF and FLOSY began to attack each another in spite of the fact that both were inspired by Nasser’s Arab Socialism and were being operated by Marxists.

In 1967, NLF and FLOSY defeated the monarchists and drove out the British from the south. NLF then went on to crush the FLOSY and declared the south as an independent republic.

In 1970, NLF named South Yemen as the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen and formed the country’s sole ruling party, the Yemeni Socialist Party.

The party right away signed defense, cultural and economic pacts with communist regimes in Soviet Union, China and Cuba.

North Yemen fell into the hands of forces being backed and funded by Saudi Arabia and the US.

British soldiers pin National Liberation Front (NLF) sympathisers to the wall in Aden, Yemen, 1967.
British soldiers pin National Liberation Front (NLF) sympathisers to the wall in Aden, Yemen, 1967.

Three leading members of Yemen’s NLF: Salim Rubai Ali (who became President of South Yemen), Abdul Fattah Ismail, and Ali al-Nasir Muhammad al-Hasani.
Three leading members of Yemen’s NLF: Salim Rubai Ali (who became President of South Yemen), Abdul Fattah Ismail, and Ali al-Nasir Muhammad al-Hasani.

In Libya another admirer of Arab Socialism and Nasser, Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, replicated Egypt’s Free Officers Movement and overthrew the Libyan monarchy in a coup in 1969.

In 1971, he formed the Arab Socialist Union (to be Libya’s sole ruling party), unleashed various radical socialist policies, and signed defense and economic pacts with the Soviet Union.

Though vehemently opposed to pro-US Arab monarchies (especially Saudi Arabia), and a close ally of the Soviet Union, Qadhafi’s Libya, unlike other Arab Socialist regimes of the time, began tempering Libya’s version of Islamic Socialism by paralleling an anti-Islamist policy with certain puritanical initiatives that saw the outlawing of the sale and consumption of alcohol, closure of nightclubs and a crackdown on Marxists in universities and colleges.

In 1976 he published a book (called the ‘Green Book’) in which he described his understanding of Islamic Socialism. The book became a compulsory read for school and college students.

A young Libyan college student blushes after shaking hands with the then 29-year-old Qadhafi in 1970. Also seen in the picture is Egyptian leader, Abdel Nasser, who was on a visit to Libya.
A young Libyan college student blushes after shaking hands with the then 29-year-old Qadhafi in 1970. Also seen in the picture is Egyptian leader, Abdel Nasser, who was on a visit to Libya.

Two opponents of the Qaddafi regime hanged in public in 1977.
Two opponents of the Qaddafi regime hanged in public in 1977.

After engulfing Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Libya, versions of Arab/Ba’ath Socialism made their way into other Muslim countries like Sudan and Somalia as well.

Sudan gained its independence from Britain in 1956. Between 1957 and 1969, the country experienced a turbulent period of democratically elected right-wing coalition governments and one military coup (1958).

In 1969, a military coup shaped on the dynamics of Nasser’s Free Officers Movement took power.

The movement and coup were led by Gaafar Nimeiry, a self-professed Arab Socialist and Nasser enthusiast.

On assuming power, Nimeiry announced his plan to base the country’s society, politics and economics on ‘independent Sudanese Socialism.’

The Nimeiry regime’s first cabinet included a number of communists who helped him devise and implement a series of socialistic economic policies.

He also devised policies to restrict intervention and influence of conservative Islamic elements in the workings of the mosques and educational institutions, suggesting that Islam was best served when practiced in private.

Nimeiry struck strong relations with Arab Socialist regimes in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iraq and with the Soviet Union.

Perturbed by the Nimeiry regime’s strong socialist and secular orientation, various right-wing Islamist outfits merged to form the Ansar. After failing to dislodge the regime, the Ansar (in 1971) took up arms and went to war with government forces.

In a bloody battle that followed, the Ansar were routed and its leader escaped abroad. In 1971, Nimeiry formed the Sudan Socialist Union (SSU) that became Sudan’s sole ruling party.

Gaffar Nimeiry lights a cigarette after taking over power in Sudan, 1969.
Gaffar Nimeiry lights a cigarette after taking over power in Sudan, 1969.

He described Sudan to be a ‘Socialist Democracy’ in which Islam played a central but private role and was not to be mixed with politics and government.

Somalia gained independence from European colonial rule in 1960. In 1969, the military under Major General Mohamed Siad Barre pulled off a military coup and dissolved the parliament and suspended the Supreme Court.

Barre at once rolled out a series of socialist economic policies and a literacy program that dramatically increased the country’s literacy rate.

Apart from taking Somalia into the ‘Soviet camp,’ Barre also forged strong links with Arab Socialist states. He then formed the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party and based its manifesto on ‘scientific socialism and the egalitarian tenants of Islam.’

Apart from putting large agrarian and industrial interests in the hands of the state, the Barre regime also took control of the mosques and actively discouraged the mixing of Islam and politics.

An Islamic Socialist tendency in the politics of Iran had also begun to develop from 1950 onwards. The secular and democratic National Front founded by Mohammad Mossadegh consisted of a number of Islamic Socialists.

In 1951, the National Front that was voted in as the leading party in the Iranian parliament (Iran was a constitutional monarchy), managed to form a government, nationalise Iran’s oil industry and eventually ousted the Shah of Iran and declared the country to be a democratic republic.

A 1973 poster showing Said Barre rallying supporters of the Third World Socialist movements.
A 1973 poster showing Said Barre rallying supporters of the Third World Socialist movements.

However, in 1953, the Shah, with the help of British and American intelligence agencies, the Iranian military and sections of Iran’s Islamic clergy, engineered a coup and toppled the Mossadegh government.

After Mossadegh’s fall, Islamic Socialism in Iran took a more radical turn. In 1965, a group of leftist students at the Tehran University formed the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MK).

Taking its inspiration from Iranian intellectual and author, Ali Shariati, MK advocated an ideology that fused Islamic imagery with Marxist concepts.

Shariati was a sociologist who had studied in Paris and was jailed for his anti-Shah lectures and writings when he returned to Iran in 1964.

Shariati’s writings and talks became popular among university and college students when he began to express revolutionary Marxist concepts with the help of traditional Shia Muslim imagery and language, intensely attacking not only the Iranian monarchy, but the Shia clergy and the communists as well.

Dr. Ali Shariati delivering a lecture in Tehran in 1972.
Dr. Ali Shariati delivering a lecture in Tehran in 1972.

By 1971, the Shah’s regime had begun to denounce him as an ‘Islamic Marxist’ and a Soviet agent. He was arrested and forced into exile in 1975 where he died of a heart attack (in 1977) aged just 43.

The MK expressed Shariati’s ideas in a violent manner and began an urban armed guerilla campaign against the Shah.

The organisation also played an active role during the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the Shah – so much so that forces supporting Iranian Islamist leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, relied heavily on the armed cadres of MK to confront the Shah’s soldiers and police.

But after the revolution when the Iranian Islamists and the clergy managed to seize the government and impose strict ‘Islamic laws’, the MK began an urban guerilla movement against the Islamic regime.

Denouncing the regime as being autocratic and reactionary, the MK fought the regime’s Islamic guards and the police. Hundreds died in the battles and dozens of MK members were executed.

Logo of the Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MK) fusing Islamic and revolutionary Marxist imageries.
Logo of the Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MK) fusing Islamic and revolutionary Marxist imageries.

MK activists take over a building at the Tehran University as a protest against the Islamic regime in 1981.
MK activists take over a building at the Tehran University as a protest against the Islamic regime in 1981.

East and South Asia

In Indonesia the groundwork for Islamic Socialism was undertaken by former communist, Tan Malaka.

During the Indonesians’ movement for independence from Dutch colonialists (mainly led by Kosno Sukarno), Malaka argued strongly that communism and Islam were compatible, and that, in Indonesia, revolution should be built upon both.

Tan Malaka also saw Islam as holding the potential for unifying the working classes.

At the time of Malaka’s death in 1949 (the year Indonesia became an independent country), its first head of state, Kosno Sukarno, adopted many of Malaka’s ideas by granting patronage to Indonesia’s communist party (the PKI) and Islamic Socialists inspired by Malaka.

Sukarno ruled Indonesia till 1967.

Former Indonesian communist turned Islamic Socialist, Tan Malaka. His ideas influenced the country’s first ruler, Kosono Sukarno, who ruled between 1949 and 1967.
Former Indonesian communist turned Islamic Socialist, Tan Malaka. His ideas influenced the country’s first ruler, Kosono Sukarno, who ruled between 1949 and 1967.

Another Asian country where the idea and concept of Islamic Socialism managed to seep into mainstream imagination was Pakistan.

As mentioned earlier, two of the earliest scholars who had theorised about this concept (in South Asia) were Ghulam Ahmad Parvez and Dr. Khalifa Hakim.

There was also a string of Islamic Socialists in Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Muslim League that became Pakistan’s first ruling party after the creation of the country in 1947.

However, this section in the party remained on the fringes.

In the early 1960s (during the secular and pro-US military dictatorship of Ayub Khan), a group of intellectuals led by poet, painter and author, Hanif Ramay, emerged in Lahore and began working on giving a more focused look to the Islamic Socialist ideas of Parvez and Khalifa, and to also fuse in elements from Ba’ath Socialism in the context of a non-Arab Muslim country like Pakistan.

The project also included the publishing of a monthly Urdu literary magazine called ‘Nusrat’ that, apart from publishing Urdu poetry, short stories and literary commentaries on the works of Urdu poets and writers, also ran pieces on the works of Ghulam Ahmed Parvez, Dr. Khalifa and Michal Aflaq.

After the 1965 Pakistan-India war ended in a stalemate, Ayub Khan dismissed his young Foreign Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (for showing dissent).

Bhutto befriended a retired bureaucrat and veteran Marxist ideologue, J A. Rahim, and both decided to form a populist left-wing party to challenge the Ayub dictatorship.

In 1966, Bhutto also came into contact with Hanif Ramay who presented him his group’s work on Islamic Socialism.

Bhutto and Rahim formed the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in 1967. A number of Marxist and progressive intellectuals, journalists, student leaders and trade unionists joined the party, but it was Ramay’s Islamic Socialist group who prevailed when the time came to author the party’s manifesto.

In a series of articles (by Ramay and Safdar Mir) in ‘Nusrat,’ the writers explained (the PPP’s) Islamic Socialism as meaning:

  • Elimination of feudalism.
  • Elimination of uncontrolled capitalism and the encouragement of a system based on freedom of opportunity and/or an economic system closely monitored by the government and the state.
  • Nationalisation of major banks, industries and schools.
  • Encouraging the workers to participate in the running of factories.
  • Promoting democracy and the building of democratic institutions.
All this was then explained to be a modern, 20th Century extension of the principals of equality and justice as practiced by the first Muslim regime in Madina and Mecca headed by Islam’s Prophet, and of the many egalitarian economic and social proclamations found in the Holy Qu’ran.

PPP’s Islamic Socialism denounced the conservative religious parties and the clergy of being representatives of monopolist capitalists, feudal lords, military dictators, the ‘imperialist forces of capitalism,’ and of being agents of backwardness and social and spiritual stagnation.

Poet, painter and author, Hanif Ramay, is claimed to be one of the main ideologues and theorists of modern Islamic Socialism in Pakistan. He was also one of the founding members of the PPP.
Poet, painter and author, Hanif Ramay, is claimed to be one of the main ideologues and theorists of modern Islamic Socialism in Pakistan. He was also one of the founding members of the PPP.

In spite of the fact that the right-wing Islamic party, the Jamat-i-Islami, managed to get over a hundred different Islamic ulema and clergymen to declare PPP’s socialism to be ‘atheistic’ and ‘anti-Islam,’ the party managed to sweep the 1970 elections in West Pakistan.

In 1972 (after East Pakistan broke away to become Bangladesh), the PPP became Pakistan’s first popularly elected governing party.

Z A. Bhutto speaking at a leftist students rally in Karachi in 1969. He became the first popularly elected Prime Minister in Pakistan and his party, the PPP, won a majority in former West Pakistan on a manifesto promising the imposition of Islamic Socialism.
Z A. Bhutto speaking at a leftist students rally in Karachi in 1969. He became the first popularly elected Prime Minister in Pakistan and his party, the PPP, won a majority in former West Pakistan on a manifesto promising the imposition of Islamic Socialism.

Afghanistan was the country where the last hurrah of Islamic Socialism echoed.

In 1978, the communist Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of Afghanistan toppled the nationalistic dictatorship of Muhammad Daoud Khan with the help of sympathetic officers in the Afghan military.

The event was named the ‘Saur Revolution;’ or the ‘Spring Revolution’ (Saur in Dari means spring).

The PDP was an outright Marxist outfit that began to rapidly unfold a number of communistic social and economic policies.

But when the PDP regime began facing resistance and resentment from the Afghan clergy and landed elite in the country’s rural and semi-rural areas, its ally, the Soviet Union, asked the PDP regime to slow down its Marxist reforms.

PDP quickly began to shed off its revolutionary Marxist excesses and replace them with rhetoric being used at the time by Islamic Socialists and the Ba’ath Socialists.

For example, apart from constantly quoting Marx and Lenin, the PDP government also began talking about the similarities between the economic systems outlined by Marxism/Socialism and Islam.

Nevertheless, in December 1979, severe infighting in PDP saw the Soviet troops walking into Afghanistan and propping up a more moderate regime led by PDP’s Babrak Karmal.

Flag of the Khalaq faction of the PDP.
Flag of the Khalaq faction of the PDP.

Young women take out a rally in Kabul to welcome the 1978 ‘Saur Revolution.’
Young women take out a rally in Kabul to welcome the 1978 ‘Saur Revolution.’

Decline and Demise

The outbreak of a range of movements, coups and revolutions associated with various versions of Islamic Socialism in Asia, Africa and the Middle East not only attracted grave concern from Arab monarchies and the US, the economic maneuvers undertaken by regimes fusing socialism with certain aspects of Islam largely failed to achieve the kind of economic equilibrium they had promised.

One of the first examples of the above was played out in Indonesia. On the eve of Indonesia’s independence (from the Dutch) in 1949, Kusono Sukarno, had become head of state.

He moved Indonesia towards what he called ‘guided democracy’ that was largely dominated by his own party, the Indonesian National Party (PNI), and the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).

Sukarno and his PNI offered and ran Indonesia on an ideology based on a ‘threefold blend’ i.e. nationalism, Islam and communism.

But on his way to translate this ideology into the economic and social spheres of the Indonesian society, he began to face stiff resistance from Islamic outfits and from those segments of the military that wanted Indonesia to have closer links with the US and the West.

From 1960 onwards, Indonesia’s economic situation began to worsen. In 1965 Sukarno’s communist supporters (the PKI) became disillusioned by his slow pace of reform.

The communists mobilised a pro-PKI faction in the military and attempted a coup against Sukarno.

The coup was crushed by the pro-West faction of the military and followed by a brutal crackdown against the communists and their sympathisers.

In the ensuing violence, over 50,000 people were slaughtered, mainly by the military and the Islamic outfits that it used to purge the left.

In 1967 Major General Suharto disposed Sukarno and took over the reigns of power.

Though PKI was outlawed, and Suhartho navigated Indonesia towards the ‘US camp,’ he eventually came down hard on the Islamic outfits as well that had been mobilised by the military to crush the communist uprising.

A communist student at the Jakarta University being roughed up by soldiers and Islamic student activists during the military’s purge against leftists in Indonesia in 1965.
A communist student at the Jakarta University being roughed up by soldiers and Islamic student activists during the military’s purge against leftists in Indonesia in 1965.

Major General Suharto (in fatigues) with members of the Indonesian military’s anti-communist faction. Suhartho toppled Sukarno and went on to rule Indonesia till the early 1990s until he was himself overthrown by a popular democratic movement.
Major General Suharto (in fatigues) with members of the Indonesian military’s anti-communist faction. Suhartho toppled Sukarno and went on to rule Indonesia till the early 1990s until he was himself overthrown by a popular democratic movement.

The second major setback that Islamic Socialism experienced was in Egypt.

Nasser had ruled supreme as a popular head of state since 1952’s Free Officers Coup and had rung in a number of sweeping socialist reforms.

His regime also became an inspiration and backer of various Arab Socialist movements in the Middle East, offering a socialist and secular Muslim alternative to Arab peoples under pro-US but puritanical Arab monarchies.

However, Nasser lost much of his influence and clout when the Egyptian armed forces were routed by the Israeli army and air force in 1967.

Millions of Egyptians gathered to mourn Nasser’s death in 1970.
Millions of Egyptians gathered to mourn Nasser’s death in 1970.

But Nasser’s regime remained largely popular till his death from a heart attack in 1970.

His successor (and former comrade), Anwar Sadat, became the head of Egypt’s Arab Socialist Union and the country’s new head of state.

Sadat continued Nasser’s socialist policies and also kept up Egypt’s financial and moral support for radical Arab Socialist regimes and movements and the PLO.

However, though the 1973 Egypt-Israel War ended in a stalemate, the country’s economy was found reeling from the war’s impact.

Saudi Arabia offered to bail out Egypt’s economy by offering millions of dollars worth of aid and oil.

By accepting Saudi help, Sadat officially restored relations with the Saudi monarchy that had been severed by Nasser.

The Saudi monarchy then asked Sadat to rehabilitate thousands of members of the right-wing Muslim Brotherhood who had been jailed by Nasser or sent into exile (mostly to Saudi Arabia).

Sadat lifted the ban on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1974, Sadat eventually decided to pull Egypt out of the ‘Soviet camp’ and ordered Soviet military advisors, technicians and citizens who had been stationed in Egypt to leave the country.

In 1976, Sadat finally announced the end of Egypt’s socialist experiment and in 1977 changed the name of Egypt’s ruling party from Arab Socialist Union to National Democratic Party.

He ousted the last remnants of Arab Socialism from the party and ordered a crackdown on students and members of the intelligentsia who opposed his move.

Though Egypt remained largely secular, and Sadat managed to gain the support of the Muslim Brotherhood (whom he used to purge leftist students and members of the intelligentsia), he ended up offending the Brotherhood as well when he decided to enact ties with archenemy, Israel.

Sadat was assassinated in 1981 for this by a militant faction of the Brotherhood. But his successor, Hosni Mubarak, continued his policies for the next three decades until he was toppled in 2011 in a widespread democratic revolution (the Arab Spring).

Sadat (fourth from left) with his family in Cairo in 1975. Sadat put an end to Egypt’s socialist experiment.
Sadat (centre) with his family in Cairo -AP Photo

Taking Sadat’s lead was Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) headed by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

The Bhutto regime had been elected (in 1970) on the appeal of the PPP’s socialist platform and chants of Islamic Socialism.

Overtaken by the economic crises that hit the world after the 1973 Egypt-Israel War, the Bhutto regime toned down its socialist reforms and rhetoric and entered into a number of agreements and pacts with oil-rich gulf monarchies.

Bhutto began by purging the radical left factions within the PPP and then dished out a number of constitutional concessions to right-wing Islamic parties that were close to Saudi Arabia.

He believed that this way he would be able to appease and neutralise these parties.

Z A. Bhutto (right) hosting a dinner for Saudi king, Faisal, in Karachi (1975). On the King’s ‘advice,’ Bhutto toned down his socialist rhetoric and smoothend his relations with Pakistan’s Islamic parties.
Z A. Bhutto (right) hosting a dinner for Saudi king, Faisal, in Karachi (1975). On the King’s ‘advice,’ Bhutto toned down his socialist rhetoric and smoothend his relations with Pakistan’s Islamic parties.

Just before the 1977 election, the words socialism and Islamic Socialism were only minimally used in the PPP’s new manifesto.

However, Bhutto’s new-found closeness to Middle Eastern monarchies, his purges against the left and his concessions to the Islamic parties failed to stem the emergence of a right-wing movement against his regime in 1977.

He was eventually toppled in a reactionary military coup led by General Ziaul Haq and then hanged in 1979 through a sham trial.

Men pray and women wail just outside the jail where Z A. Bhutto was hanged in April 1979. The picture was taken in May 1979.
Men pray and women wail just outside the jail where Z A. Bhutto was hanged in April 1979. The picture was taken in May 1979.

Algeria traded the socialist path till 1978 or till the death of Houari Boumédienne who had ruled the country since 1965.

Colonel Chadli Bendjedid became the head of the ruling FLN party and then the new head of state.

In the early 1980s, Bendjedid began to slowly reverse Boumedienne’s socialist reforms and started negotiations with FLN’s Islamic opponents who had been opposed to FLN’s Arab Socialism and secularism.

Though Bendjedid managed to rule Algeria till 1991, his economic reforms that saw Algeria opening up its economy could not curtail the country’s deteriorating economy and the resultant unrest largely led by Algeria’s newly emboldened Islamic parties.

In 1987, Bendjedid almost completely folded FLN’s socialist agenda and ideology and began to warm up to the US, the West and the gulf monarchies.

Wreckage of a government bus that was torched by protesters during the anti-government riots in Algeria in 1988. The riots confirmed the collapse of Algerian socialism.
Wreckage of a government bus that was torched by protesters during the anti-government riots in Algeria in 1988. The riots confirmed the collapse of Algerian socialism.

In 1991, the government decided to hold Algeria’s first multi-party election.

However, when municipal elections were won by a group of radical Islamist parties, the military intervened and postponed the general election.

The military blamed Bendjedid for unwittingly strengthening the Islamists and putting the country’s secular foundations in danger. He was ousted in 1991.

Between 1992 and 2002, Algeria witnessed an intense war between Islamists and the military in which thousands of Algerians were killed.

Brutalities took place on both sides. The military killed hundreds of Islamists and their sympathisers, whereas the Islamists slaughtered numerous civilians through suicide attacks, assassinations and beheadings.

The Islamist insurgency was brought under control and subdued (if not entirely crushed) by the military in 2002.

Algeria’s Islamist guerilla fighters holding a meeting in 1996. Groups of militant Islamists went to war with the Algerian military between 1992 and 2002. Thousands of Algerians were killed in the conflict until the Algerian military finally managed to subdue the militants.
Algeria’s Islamist guerilla fighters holding a meeting in 1996. Groups of militant Islamists went to war with the Algerian military between 1992 and 2002. Thousands of Algerians were killed in the conflict until the Algerian military finally managed to subdue the militants.

One of the Muslim countries where socialism did rather well as an economic and social initiative was Somalia.

The socialist regime there (that came to power in 1969), managed to guarantee a relatively stable economy and dramatically raised the rate of literacy.

In 1977, Somalia entered into a territorial conflict with Ethiopia, putting its main economic and political ally the Soviet Union in a quagmire.

This was because at the time the regime in Ethiopia too was in the Soviet camp. After failing to deescalate the conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia, the Soviets decided to side with the Ethiopians.

Offended by the move, the Somalian president, Siad Barre, broke off ties with the Soviet Union and accepted American military and economic help.

In 1980, he disbanded the Somalian Revolutionary Socialist Party and reversed his socialist reforms, also loosening the curbs his government had imposed on the activities of liberal democratic parties as well as on Islamic groups.

With American aid, Barre was also able to build one of the biggest armies in Africa.

In the mid-1980s, the Barre regime began to face unrest and charges of corruption and totalitarianism.

In 1986, Barree got injured in a car accident and on his return could not stop Somalia’s slide into anarchy.

In 1991, his regime collapsed and Somalia erupted into a crippling civil war between various political and tribal factions.

Today Somalia remains to be in total anarchy.

Women members of Somalia’s paramilitary units march out to battle the Ethiopian army in 1977.
Women members of Somalia’s paramilitary units march out to battle the Ethiopian army in 1977.

Residents of Somlian capital, Mogadishu, ride a truck out of the city to escape the civil war that erupted in Somalia after the collapse of the Siad Barre’s regime (1991).
Residents of Somlian capital, Mogadishu, ride a truck out of the city to escape the civil war that erupted in Somalia after the collapse of the Siad Barre’s regime (1991).

The Soviet Union’s support to Ethiopia in 1977 also offended Sudan that too had a territorial grudge with Ethiopia.

The socialist Gaafar Nimeiry regime cut off ties with the Soviet Union and moved towards the Soviets’ communist rival, China.

Detecting a wobble in the government, and with the country’s economy under duress, the militant Islamist group, the Ansar that had been routed by Nimeiry in 1971 returned to trigger another armed insurgency.

Ansar tried to mobilise some anti-Nimeiry factions in the military to mount a coup but failed.

However, this time Nimeiry agreed to hold negotiations with the Ansar who demanded that he reverse his socialist policies, denounce Islamic Socialism as an atheistic concoction and replace secular rule with an Islamic one.

Nimeiry released hundreds of Ansar members, moved Sudan closer to the US and in 1981 announced a series of ‘Islamic laws.’

He was finally ousted in a military coup in 1985 that was backed by Islamic parties and other anti-Nimeiry outfits.

Famous Sudanese Islamist ideologue, Hasan al-Turabi.  Turabi opposed the Nimeiry regime across the 1970s, but became part of the regime when Nimeiry broke off ties with the Soviet Union and imposed a number of ‘Islamic laws’ in Sudan that were devised by Turabi.
Famous Sudanese Islamist ideologue, Hasan al-Turabi. Turabi opposed the Nimeiry regime across the 1970s, but became part of the regime when Nimeiry broke off ties with the Soviet Union and imposed a number of ‘Islamic laws’ in Sudan that were devised by Turabi.

In 1989, when the Soviet Union was bordering on the brink of disintegration and communism was in retreat, the socialist regime in South Yemen dissolved itself and joined with North Yemen to remake Yemen into a single country.

In Afghanistan, the PDP regime fell in the hands of US/Saudi/Pakistan-backed and funded Islamic forces in 1989.

The Ba’ath Socialist regime in Iraq and Qadhafi’s Islamic Socialist government in Libya began to roll back their socialist polices from the 1990s onwards.

Both fell in the 2000s.

Protesters tie ropes around Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad to pull it down, 2003.
Protesters tie ropes around Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad to pull it down, 2003.

Islamic/Ba’ath/Arab Socialism:

Achievements

- Ideologically mobilised nationalist movements in Muslim countries caught between European colonialism, monarchial decadence and conservative ulema. - Offered a ‘third way’ between Western/American capitalism and Soviet communism. - Wrestled the initiative to interpret the socio-political aspects of Islam from the clergy and conservative ulema and radical Islamists. - Tried to construct an Islamic version (and justification) for secularism. - Co-opted various Marxist, socialist and progressive strands and entities operating in Muslim countries and got them all on a single platform. - Adopted modern social, political and cultural concepts in Muslim societies but discarded these concepts’ colonial/western legacies. - Revived the idea of ‘Ijtihad’ (independent discussion on Islamic law and faith) that had been repressed in Muslim lands for centuries. - Highlighted Islam as a progressive, dynamic and rational faith. - Eschewed differences in Muslim societies on the basis of clans, sects and tribes. - Showed creativity in designing economic and cultural policies and then expressed them with the help of progressive interpretations of Islamic texts and imagery. - Added newer, more progressive dimensions to commentaries and the study of Islam and its place in society and politics. - Encouraged the participation of women in the Muslim world to take a direct part in economic, cultural and political aspects of life. - Emphasised the importance of having high literacy rates. - Gave a political identity to middle-class youth and a sense of economic and ideological participation to the working classes.

Failures

- Remained autocratic and undemocratic in nature. - Relied heavily on the military. - Undermined the people’s political sense and rights. - Was intolerant towards opposing political and economic ideas. - Was too militaristic and yet failed over and over again in wars against foreign enemies. - Regularly intervened in matters of other countries. - Its economic maneuvers remained largely half-baked and carelessly managed. - Though rejected American hegemony and political influence in the name of independent economic and political existence, it banked on Soviet expertise, aid and patronage. - Violently repressed Islamists and Islamic outfits but then turned supportively towards them when deciding to purge opposing leftists. - Unwittingly recharged Islamist and radical Islamic forces that eventually emerged to offer the ‘Islamic option’ with the collapse of Islamic Socialism.

 

Research papers and essays used:

-Islamic Socialism: NA Jawad - The Muslim World (1975) -The Sources & Meaning of Islamic Socialism: F. Rahman – Religion & Political Modernization (1974) -Islamic Economics & Islamic Subeconomy: T. Kuren – JSTOR (1995) -The Ba’ath Party: Rise & Metamorphosis: JA Devlin- JSTOR (1985) -Withered socialism or whether socialism? The radical Arab states as populist?corporatist regimes: NN Ayubi - Third -World Quarterly (1992) -Critical analysis of capitalism, socialism and Islamic economic order: M. Ismail (1982) -Arab Socialism: A documentary Survey: SA Hanna (1969)

 


Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com

 

 


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Comments are closed.

Comments (113)

Mohammad Ali Khan
February 23, 2013 3:57 am
Excellent effort.The slow demise of the Islamic power over several Centuries was the result increasing stagnation in the thinking of Islamic scholars.It took more then two hundred years after its invention for printing machine to arrive in Islamic world.The Katibs saw the printing machine as an adversary. Stagnation in Muslim thinking allowed Colonial powers to take hold in the Islamic world.Muslims recognized this flaw and reform movement was started by people like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Mohammad Ali Jinnah.Unfortunately before strong progressive institutions could develop,corrupt feudal lords were able to hijack and contaminate the culture in these institutions.Thus the ineffective institutions could not bring the desired progress.This was exploited by the religious fanatics, and now we see disastrous consequence of this retarded movement.
abbastoronto
February 22, 2013 2:05 pm
Faisal Sahib: AOA Indeed. While Islam stresses spending for a dynamic economy, both Corporate Capitalism and Corporate Socialism wish to maximize accumulation. The difference is how the output is distributed. In the first it is by Corporate fiat, in the latter, by State fiat. I have posted the traits of Quranic/Mohammedan socio-economics earlier. The profligate, wasteful, failing Corporate Capitalist West offers: 1. No responsibility or limited responsibility godless culture 2. Large Corporate controlled Enterprise 3. Knowledge as a Private good 4. Top-down polity 5. Law and Order Democracy and Lawyerism 6. Positive interest regime 7. Income/spending/import taxation 8. Control of movement in goods, money, and people Every one of these is anti-progress, anti production, only for private profit for the few. Taxing incomes, spending, imports is no good for consumers or small and medium business alike. Not taxing assets encourages accumulation and hoarding, ties up resources needlessly. Islam was conceived for soil-poor, water-poor, resource-poor trading economy of Arabia. It is the same economy that the world is becoming today as land, water, and resources become constrained because of population growth, globalization, and trade. For this economy Islam is the natural religion. That is why worldwide churches empty and mosques fill to capacity. Fuqr, sabr and shukr, frugality, simplicity are indeed Mohammedan/Quranic virtues, but Fuqr is not material poverty. One intellectual critique of Western economics (capitalism, socialism, fascism, et al) is Iqtisaduna (google for it) by Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. Parameswaran: Namaste Democracy, Secularism, Communism, Socialism, Capitalism – none of these are compatible with Islam. Islam has its own socio-economics. The closest is the Socratic Republic, the rule of the learned. Khomeini developed it into “velayet-e-faquih” doctrine. In fact, in many ways, Pakistan of Jinnah and Turkey of Ataturk were close models. Ahmed41: AOA “ main purpose of Islam is the eternal success of mankind.—–” Indeed. The pinnacle of mankind in “Miraj”. In material terms it means evolution that Muslims are continuously achieving - superior genes, better able to resist disease and ability to think. Islam, anti-racial by command, has the widest gene-pool, longest evolutionally useful lifespan (calendar lifespan minus useless pill-poppying life-support late years of the evolutionally walking dead), high resilience people. In India Muslims are poorer, yet have lifespan 2 years larger than the rest. Christian Africa is rampant with HIV/AIDS, Muslim Africa has none. We have Parkinson’s disease, German measles, but no Abdul’s disease or Baghdad flu.
ComparativeReligionStudent
February 22, 2013 12:29 pm
"Typical mullah manipulations of trying to fi a square peg in a round hole." This is the typical statement of one who picks bits and pieces from the Internet but never opens the primary scriptures of any religion. I am NOT a mulla. And I have no need to manipulate anything. It is unfortunate that the Qur'an has NOT opened to you. Perhaps you need to acquire the vast body of knowledge required to approach it, understand it, appreciate its wisdom and the knowledge contained therein...otherwise the irony is that you are the 'mulla' you seem to so ridicule. The Rain Cycle is repeated a number of times in the Qur'an, as are the Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles...but you appear NOT to have the requisite back ground to know them, recognize them, if you see them. And this is a discussion forum, exchange of ideas, informative at best, not a teaching platform. You will have to study on your own and do your own homework.
ComparativeReligionStudent
February 22, 2013 5:49 pm
Bank Check/Credit/ system...called "Saackh" and "Immanat"or financial reputation[fidiciary reliability/promise] was invented by Muslim traders.
Rational
February 22, 2013 9:10 am
I commend the author for giving details. Let me Digress from Islamic Brotherhood and Islamic Socialism. Indian subcontinent is defined by the Caste System , The Caste is the very basic identity and it may be part and parcel of Hinduism but any religion which came to India accepted it and didn't challenge it in stricter form. Caste system thrived in India because it gives graded inequality and division of work by birth and daily needs satisfied, however the lower strata of caste system is the most exploited while others are also exploited but in limited manner. Afghanistan (Afgan- Av+gan has sanskrit origin) may be out of ambit of caste system for it was land ruled by Aryans of same race while the rest of India had been multiracial and racial bias in which the aborigines of India got defeated and some went in deeper south , some in jungles while rest became slaves ,. Gandhara (Kandhar) finds its mention ancient epic Mahabharata , Gandhari was princess from gandhara. (Gandharava - People who landed from heave in sanskrit) Pakhtun the dominant Aryan Group is mentioned in Rigveda (Pakhtya) , ancient greatest grammarian of sanskrit Panini was from near kabul. Even SWAT Valley (Swati means mansion on the moon in sanskrit) so afganistan when was Islamised it doe not have caste system as it is prevalent among Hindus and Muslims of subcontinent. The system does not exits unless intermarriages are allowed , Even Sunni Muslims have separate Mosques , graveyards. See in Punjab of Pakistan or in UP , Bihar of India. And I do not mean disrespect to the author the Surname "Paracha" symbolizes the caste allegiance of particular caste in Punjab.
abbastoronto
February 21, 2013 4:25 pm
Capitalism, Socialism, are Western concepts alien to Islam and to humanity. Following either is continuing Western hegemony by other means. Islam’s axis is Adl (Justice, giving each individual his due). Socialism revolves around Insaf (Equity within Tribe). The Partition of India was because Jinnah the Just feared Nehru the Socialist. He was right. In early years Pakistan progressed, but India regressed till it dumped Socialism. Pakistan’s brief experimentation with socialism was a disaster. Later, socialism failed worldwide. Enough is enough. For a change why not follow Quranic/Mohammedan socio-economics: 1. Personally Responsible Individualist Moral God-fearing culture 2. Free Enterprise 3. Knowledge as a public good 4. Bottom Up Polity 5. Justice minded Republic 6. Zero interest regime 7. Asset taxation 8. Border-less world It will lead to Islamic society of our Prophet AS - Universality of God and His Creation (man+) - Individual Rights and Justice - Emancipation of women from Housework and Childrearing - Economy based on Knowledge as Public good - Free Enterprise - Meritocracy - Free Trade - Peace
Farukh Muhammad
February 22, 2013 11:58 am
While early Muslims did make contributions to science and maths, algebra for instance, Muslims have not done much since the mullahs took over and freedom of inquiry and expression were squelched. Almost all discoveries and inventions have been by non-Muslims since then, mostly Christains and Jews but also aetheists, shintos, Hindus. Not that Muslims are not intelligent but when free enquiry is squelched science does not progress. Now leading Muslims such as Zakir Naik are claiming that all these discoveries are mentioned in the Quran, such as the rain cycle, the big bang etc. These are just mullah manipulations of our religious book and all they are doing is insulting Allah. As an example the Quran satates that rain falls from the heavens and that winds gather the clouds and then rain ensues. This is an observable process and it says nothing about the rain cycle because the word " evaporation" is not mentioned. Another example is that of the salt water and the fresh water not mixing where the rivers flow into the sea. Salt water and fresh water do mix but it takes time if not stirred. Eventually the fresh water does mix with the sea water. Such bogus claims will only lull us Muslims into a sense of false security and we will not do the sam kind of hard work and research that Jews and Christians do. Today the most prosperous societies are in the West. It is true that some of the oil rich countries also have comfortable lifestyles but the oil was not discovered by Muslims and it was westerners who did, refined and sold it but eventually the Arabs and the Iranians took control. today none of the Arabs or the Iranians can manufacture even a drilling rig and they have to be imported from the West. the longer we put off educating our people, the longer we put off doing fundamental research in Muslim countries, the more we will be deficient in discoveries and inventions and the more we will line up at Western embassies for a visa to the West. Please do not insult Allah and Islam by making the Holy Quran a book of science. It is book of guidance and faith. While it gives us general guidelines it does not address micro-issues. The Quran is not the place where scientific truths are listed. Allah tells us to have an open mind and to use this open mind to discover things. Mullahs are only making Muslims look stupid by making false claims.
Jerseybb
February 21, 2013 4:15 pm
Why we are not taught this history in schools?
haris
February 21, 2013 2:54 pm
Though this article describes the unsuccessful rein of Socialism but in many ways Socialism still regarded as the most stable form of Government. Modern day ultra-democratic republics in the likes of Germany, Austria and Scandinavian states are still thriving on Socialists agenda. Another prime examples are China and modern day Russia though they are not purely democratic but still thriving on Socialists agenda. The state control all major businesses and unlike US and UK, the intruders in these countries are not welcomed to disrupt their economic stability. For example, most recently when Business Tycoons from Oil rich Arab World and Russia tries to buy public owned Sporting franchises (particularly in Football) in aforementioned countries, the Govt. in aforementioned countries immediately brought new economic reforms and reshape their economic-policies in order to keep them at bars. While, UK, Spain and now France welcomed them and we can now see the signs of economic chaos starting to appear.
Akbar Durrani
February 21, 2013 3:57 pm
A very Brilliant article and high time too that we write about this issue, also we need to revert to some socialist views before the unravelling is complete.
Tahir
February 22, 2013 7:06 pm
“A fool is someone doing the same things again and again, and expecting different outcomes”. Mr Abbastoronto, you yourself are undeniably in the same boat since you have repeated the above messages several times on this particular blog. Please do a reality check before enlightening us with your erudite but magnanimous replies. Much appreciated, nevertheless. Well, it is snowing outside right now, about time I went out and did some shopping otherwise I might not get my evening meal.
Farukh Muhammad
February 21, 2013 2:57 pm
This is another instance of claiming something is already in the Quran. Muslims claim that scientific discoveries in the West by Christian and Jewish scientists such as the rain cycle, hpe of the earth, DNA, the Big bang are mentioned in the Quran, thousands of years before the scientists came upon their discovery. Now Paracha is claiming socialism was already there in the Quran.
Ghani K.
February 21, 2013 2:04 pm
"government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Words of 16th president of US. Mr. Lincoln said it all. Came along 'socialism' especially the Russian version, all ended up in the dustbin of history. Any prefix such as Islamic or Arab attached to socialism or democracy is a farce. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
abbastoronto
February 21, 2013 3:21 pm
Socio-economic ideologies answer to the Primal Existential Question of Survival, Growth, Evolution. Each has: 1. A natural economic environment 2. An optimal unit building block 3. A Planning Horizon 4. An central idea as the Axis 5. An investment source strategy 6. An output distribution formula Religions are also socio-economic systems. And in reverse, socio-economic ideologies are religions – Capitalism, Socialism, Communism. Ideology must keep pace with economic progress. Thus Abrahamic Islams are 3 for the 3 economic stages. For the Pastoral Economy the optimal system is the Islam of Moses, unit as the Tribe, and little planning horizon, and distribution based on Tribal Equity (Insaf). For the Agrarian Economy the Islam of Jesus is the right one, unit as the Family, the planning horizon was the crop cycle, and distribution based on Love. For the Exchange Economy, the natural is Islam of Mohammed AS, unit as the Individual, planning horizon as the business cycle, and distribution based on Justice (Adl) - give each his due, essentially the same as what Socrates (not Aristotle) preached but failed to convince the Athenian Demos of. The laws of Mohammedan Islam were conceived optimally for the soil-poor, land-poor, resource poor economy of Arabia. But when Muslims went on a conquest rampage, they found that the world around them was still Agrarian where the Gospel of Jesus was more optimal. So Quranic Islam became more or less irrelevant. It regressed. Industrializing Europe needed a model. Of 2 candidates, Hellenism and regressed Islam, it chose the native one, and the rest is history. While Islam believed in 1 god, Hellenism has 45 quarreling ones, hence the last 500 year Western history of carnage and continuing failure. Marx the yehud did not study Islam, so he failed in Paris with workers only. Our Prophet AS also failed in urban Mecca, but moving to agrarian Medina he unified workers and peasants and led the first successful Revolution in history. Lenin and Mao were to repeat his strategy unwittingly. For the last 200 years Muslims find their regressed Islam wanting, hence the painful experimentation with “Islamic Socialism”. While Islam’s central axis is Adl, Socialism revolves around Insaf, a Tribal concept from the yehud. The yehud are the most active in Socialist movements. Half of the early Soviet Politburo was yehud until they were purged. Here are the Ayat forbidding Insaf. [4-95], [5-100], [6-50], [19-9], [24-11], [16-71], [16-75], [16-76], [32-18], [39-9], [39-29], [40-58], [41-34], [45-21], [57-10], [59-20] Muslims should learn from Western failure and turn to their own. While the Sunnis stopped updating their governance model after their debacle of 1258, the Shia have continued updating theirs despite waiting for the right time (of Imam to reappear). Hopefully the two sects can get together and learn from each other and teach each other to come with a credible model of governance acceptable to the world, because the Western Models are failing right and left.
G.A.
February 21, 2013 2:26 pm
In the end all that matters is that there are a few selfless and competent people at the top and people willing to follow them all the way. These two key ingredients can make or break any system of governance.
abbastoronto
February 22, 2013 2:43 pm
Nauman Sahib: AOA “… Quranic Islam of our Prophet AS and his system of Medina … which is basically what we Muslims have been living for the past 1400 years ..” LOL. Mohammed AS defeated the Meccan Demos - Big Business Umayyads, Bankers Banu Abbas, trade monopolists, and yehud to set up the Secular Republic of Medina with Covenant of Medina as the constitution. His Manifesto: 1. Universality of God and man 2. Individual Rights and Justice 3. Empowerment of women- initiate marriage, freedom from Housework and Childrearing 4. Knowledge based Free Enterprise 5. Meritocracy 6. Peace 7. Free Trade His body was still warm that counter-revolution set in. Only 12 of his close family (or 9 or 7) attended his burial, the rest jockeyed for power elsewhere. His Republic was over the day he died, and Meccan Demos, the 5% moneyed males, was back. The central pillar of Islam, universality, was first to go when the miniscule Meccan male minority forced upon the vast Medinan majority that they were superior, falsely citing [9:100]. The “wa” was doctored out, from “alansari wa allatheena” to “alansari allatheena”, totally reversing the meaning to suit Meccan’s anti-Mohammedan stand. Tribalism was back. 5 years later the Law (still on Islamic books) that no Arab could any longer be enslaved. Racism has its own punishment, with slaves now non-Arab, a Persian slit the belly of him who brought out this law. Within a week Our Prophet AS died the Kaliphate confiscated his family property denying it to his daughter Fatima decreeing that women do not inherit. Misogyny aside, Fatima used the wealth to feed the poor, the Kaliphate needed it for conquest. Guns won over butter creating the schism in Islam that pervades to this day. Justice was next. Within 5 years the Kaliph made incumbent on the plaintiff (usually a poor grieved party without resources) to prove his case in a Civil suit. Imagine Nabi Solomon asking the rightful mother to prove her case or get lost. Result was smart lawyers and dumb judges, lawyerism rather than justice. The poor lost, legalism set in, making Islamic Justice an oxymoron as it still is where women victims are flogged while their rapists go free. Women lost most. The Kaliphate reversed every gain women had made under Mohammed AS. “Fixed Term marriage” that gave women freedom to divorce was outlawed. To protect women, Quran asks no witness for marriage but 2 for divorce; Kaliphate reversed it, making Islam a men’s game alone. The requirement of mandatory 3 divorces on 3 separate sittings was gone, a Muslim male could now divorce in anger, in absentia, and even “in the past”. Within 10 years women lost the right to initiate marriage and divorce. They had already lost the right to inherit property if father died without a male heir. With women shackled and sent back to kitchens Islam become one-legged, and the lame do not win races. Next to go was Free Trade and Free Enterprise. Within 10 years the “Ushr” or 10% duty on goods of non-Muslim origin was levied. The unearned slush fund was split among crony Muslims, and some became very rich indeed. Today, Mr. 10% is alive and well in every Muslim country where foreign contracts, especially defense ones, are inflated by, you guessed it right, 10%. Within 15 years Meritocracy was history when the Islamic Administration was purged and filled with close relatives of Kaliph without merit. Then it became the norm throughout Islamic history. And Pakistanis blame nepotism on present govt? Islam’s sword was sent far and wide to put the final nail in its coffin. Peace was history for the next 1,400 years, forgetting that Our Prophet AS was sent to conquer hearts not lands, but Muslims took over most of the ancient world by force. The ultimate result was that both Allah and Mohammed AS were downgraded. Allah was an External Abstract powerhouse of 99 attributes in infinite measure. Today he is homo-morphic, with arms, face, legs that he lowers to cool hell. Quranic Mohammed AS was blessing to mankind. Today he is un-lettered, sleeping with a 9-year old child, literally an illiterate pedophile, astaghfirullah. Maulana Maududi has documented the gradual drift of Islam into mess in mere 25 years in his “Khilafat o Malookiat”, worth a read in urdu here: http://www.urdumovies.net/2012/11/caliphate-and-monarchistic-urdu.html Islam turned out to be a second rate civilization with little to show for than a much shorter ancient Greek Civilization. Today, Pakistan is in much better shape today than Medina was just before the murder of the 3rd Kaliph. Islam and Pakistan has a bright future simply because Islam is the natural religion for the Trading Era just as Christianity was for the Agrarian one, so churches empty while mosques fill. But the world will not allow repeat of what happened 1,400 years ago, Jihadist dreams notwithstanding. For 225 years after our Prophet AS’s death before the Sunni religion was founded, there were only 3 Rightly Guided Kaliphs, who reversed every act of our Prophet AS. If the Kaliphs were Rightly Guided, then that would make Mohammed AS a Misguided Prophet, astaghferlluah. Fortunately, 1,300 years after the Kaliphate, Mustafa Kemal bin Ali Reza Effendi (aka Ataturk) buried the Kaliphate 6 feet under and founded the Turkish Secular Republic under God, copying the Secular Medinan Republic under God of our Prophet AS. 25 years later another anti-Kaliphate Muhammad Ali Jinnah did the same in setting the Secular Republic of Pakistan under God, copying the Secular Republic of Medina under God. Let us learn from our mistakes and not make Pakistan into a Kaliphate again. "A fool is someone doing the same things again and again, and expecting different outcomes". Wassalam
Raj
February 21, 2013 1:21 pm
We call Monday morning quater back syndrom in USA. In Gujarat we call Wisdom after being widow. You can start from now who stops you?
abbastoronto
February 21, 2013 2:36 pm
As usual a comprehensive and informative piece from NFP. Was there a reason to exclude the late Eqbal Ahmad and still active Tariq Ali from the narrative?
Mujaahid
February 21, 2013 1:14 pm
Nadeem worked overtime! Thanks a lot bro, File for archives.
Farukh Muhammad
February 22, 2013 9:12 am
Give details please. regarding rain cycle the Quran says nothing about evaporation. Deatisl such as rain falling from the heavens and winds gathering the clouds are observable phenomena and it does not take Allah to tell us that. I have not seen anything about carbon and nitrogen in the Quran. Typical mullah manipulations of trying to fi a square peg in a round hole.
Majaz Amin
February 22, 2013 9:07 am
language please!
Peace
February 21, 2013 11:21 am
Very impressive and remarkable article. In few paragraphs he has summarized a half century of Islamic History, which, in my opinion, should be known to every person, in every walk of life. Well, conclusion; US, pro-US Monarchs of Middle East, specially Saudi, nexus can be found on every cornerstone of blood shed and anarchy in Muslim World.
Farukh Muhammad
February 22, 2013 8:56 am
Muslims point out to discoveries by non-Muslims and then claim it is in the Quran. Is it not time to point out some scientific facts in the Quran that have not yet been discovered by Jewish, Christian and other non-Muslim scientists. This way Muslim scientists can carry research based on the Quranic descriptions and may be win a Nobel prize. By the way you are making all of us Muslims look like fools when you claim that evolution was discovered by Muslim scientists and that it is there in the Quran. Quran clearly talks about creation and not evolution. It does say that humans were made in stages but that is in reference to the stages in the mother's wombs. That was and is a process that is observable.
khawaja anwar
February 22, 2013 6:39 am
Mr. Anand conveniently leaves out Chinese civilisation as one of the great ancient civilisations, aFreudian slip, I guess.
Parameswaran N.S
February 22, 2013 6:48 am
from what i have read here and elsewhere nothing is compatible with Islam - Democracy, Secularism, Communism, Socialism, Capitalism - none of these are compatible. So what is compatible - Fundamentalism, Monarchy, Dictatorship, Talibanism?
Farukh Muhammad
February 22, 2013 8:51 am
Of course I deny that socialism originated in Islam. The calls for charity via zakat were already there in previous religions such as Judaism. Islam is based on Judaism and on Christianity with a few Arab ingredients. There were hospitals in Syria before it became Islamic and also in India, crude but they were still there. the Quran does not talk about redistributing wealth. It even allows slavery, so how can socialism have is origins in Islam?
naqi
February 21, 2013 11:21 am
an impressive effort in chronicaling the shift from one side to another, the hallmark of all shifts, not genuine content but only imagery!!!!
Nauman
February 22, 2013 4:41 pm
Oh What a yawn!
Rahim
February 21, 2013 11:12 am
Science and technology have remained painfully dormant in Pakistan and is meant to be for others. We just eat, sleep, borrow big time and if it was left to us, we wouldn't have progressed any further than donkey driven carts.
haris
February 22, 2013 3:49 pm
I totally agree with you. If Socialism was discussed 10 years ago, nobody intermingled it with Islam. But today everything is now attached with Islam and people, politicians, militants even celebrities uses Islam as a prefix with every thing (either good or evil) they do.
Namanbhai
February 22, 2013 8:21 am
Even though you have a Nobel Prize winner but you do not want to mention him. We know the reason. That again shows the other shady side of you guys. Ha ha.
ComparativeReligionStudent.
February 22, 2013 7:57 am
Oil, commerce, and trade...riches and wealth from the sky, over land, and from under their feet was prayed for by Abrahim and his son for his followers, when they build the Kaabba. Allah accepted their prayer. If the Arabs deserve it or not is another matter, not ours to judge...as Allah Wills. That wealth is to be shared among ALL needy Muslims by the Arabs. It is called 'Quarz a Husan' Allah's Bounty and a noble loan to Allah. But the Arabs are not up to completing the covenant. Read about Abrahims prayer and its acceptance in the Noble Qur'an.
ComparativeReligionStudent.
February 22, 2013 7:43 am
...while not new but taking your argument some centuries back, Muslim scientists discovered the Theory of Evolution 400years before Darwin. The English translation of their work has just become available for the modern reader. Too bad Darwin did not know Arabic or he would know: “The Mohammedan Theory of Evolution” as the British scientist with knowledge of Arabic called it. And 1400 years ago the Noble Qur’an expounded on the the Evolution of the Universe and Life ...evolution is the method and process Allah uses to create. It is explained in the Qur'an but the uneducated Muslim is not able to understand it. Anyone who has studied 'Theoretical Physics' and 'The Theory of Evolution' and the 'Properties of Matter', Biology and Chemistry, has little difficulty in appreciating the profound words and the poetic redention of these scientific principles in Allah's own words.
JairAM
February 22, 2013 7:31 am
If so averse to western ideology, what are you doing in Toronto. Why not come back to Pakistan and be a aprt of it. I know, Thali mien khao an ched karo. I hope thats not the islamic way.
ComparativeReligionStudent
February 22, 2013 12:11 pm
Islam has nothing to do with socialism. Islam is closer to Judaism in basic belief. With major difference in equity and justice. Judaism is racist and exclusionary. Islam requires equity, equality, justice mellowed with mercy and compassion, and is inclusive. Christianity is essentially Pagan at its foundation. Jesus recommended communism [Bible]. Jesus was a Jew who came to uphold the Torah: The Law of Moses. Jesus is not a law giver. Moses and Muhammad are both law givers. Jesus is NOT the the founder of Christianity. Paul is. Paul abrogated all that Jesus taught and invented Christianity. You need to read the Bible to appreciate that. Islam and Christianity are fundamentally opposite to each other. Jesus is a prophet of Islam. Paul...nothing! The Qur’an forbids slavery. And required freeing slaves if Muslims had any. One of the greatest pious deed for Muslims having a slave was to free them if they want to step on the path to Allah, states the Qur'an. Muhammad repeated this in his last 'Kutba'. He and is followers used to buy slaves in order to free them peaceable so that the owner does not suffer a financial or asset loss. You appear not to have studied The Holy Bible, The Noble Qur'an, Socialism, Communism, or Capitalism.
Naveen Kumar
February 21, 2013 7:52 am
Socialism is a politico-economic ideology, nothing Islamic/Hindu/Christian/Jewish about it. Please stop viewing everything from religious angle else we'll continue to be mired b/w Islamic Mountains, Hindu Rivers, Christian continents etc.
ComparativeReligionStudent.
February 22, 2013 7:23 am
Discovery of the Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis [ALS] Gene and the effort to cure Lou Gherig's Disease by Dr. Teepu Siddique. The top medical researcher, scientist, and neurologist in the United States and the World in that area of the brain science. He was recommended for the Noble Prize in medicine in 2001, but then 9-11 happened. Look it up on YouTube.
Muhammad Rehan Ghazi
February 21, 2013 7:54 am
Thanks NFP, for writing such an informative and insightful article. Wish you all the best. Thanks for the historic pictures as well. Simply loved them.
yawar
February 21, 2013 7:57 am
Did you even read the article, fool? He didn't coin the term. It's been around for ages.
yawar
February 21, 2013 7:59 am
This is a massive scholarly attempt to finally untangle one of the most complex political enigmas in modern political histories of various Muslim nations. Well done, NFP. Time you finally wrote a book.
Sami
February 21, 2013 8:09 am
Good article NFP. Please continue spreading the knowledge. Thanks.
waqas ali muluk
February 21, 2013 8:10 am
Once again a brilliant piece from NFP .. But he missed to include some revolutionary socialist .(faiz and jalib) ...
vijayIndia
February 21, 2013 8:29 am
My, my, my what an article.
thabbithinks
February 21, 2013 8:36 am
Excellent piece. Well researched and thorough. Islamic socialism represents reformist tendencies. Gel two opposing sides together and thus avoid offending both. It's like saying feminism goes with religious teachings because religion too preaches respect for women. Yeah if we ignore every other doctrine in either.
Tahir M
February 21, 2013 8:49 am
Very thought provoking remarks by Islamic Theoretician Ghulam Ahmed Parvez: "The clergy and conservative ulema have hijacked Islam.They are agents of the rich people and promoters of uncontrolled Capitalism." I wish we had listened to his foresight. We might not have been in this mess: "Real knowledge is based on empirically verifiable observation, or through the role of science. Poverty is the punishment of God and deserved by those who ignore science. In Muslim/Islamic societies, science, as well as agrarian reform should play leading roles in developing an industrialized economy."
baidar
February 21, 2013 9:20 am
Most prominent among Pakistani scholars mentioned is Ubaidullah Sindhi. Through his discipile Habib-ur-Rehman Raipuri his thoughts influenced Shah Saeed Ahmed, Raipuri's maternal grandson and spiritual heir of Khanquah-e-Raipur of India. Shah Saeed came to Pakistan in 1952, worked with JUI and established JTI in 1967, the student wing of JUI. This faction was left-leaning and Shah Saeed Ahmed Raipuri exerted a strong influence on the JUI. It was Shah Saeed who later during the movement against Bhutto resisted JUI becoming a part of the anti-Bhutto alliance. Since he wasn't successful in refraining the organization from becoming part of it, he left it. Throughout the Afghan Jihad, the magazine, Azm (still published), which he set up earlier, kept calling it an American sponsored affair and because of that the otherwise revered scholar earned the wrath of almost all other religious outfits. Later in 1987 he established an organization based on Shah Waliullah's thought, the way it was interpreted by Ubaidullah Sindhi. An institution, Rahimia Institute of Quranic Sciences was also established by Shah Saeed in 2001 and it now has four other branches in the country and Sindhi's thought is disseminated through it. It is through Shah Saeed Ahmed Raipuri's efforts that Sindhi's dreams lives on.
Zees
February 22, 2013 10:28 am
@abbastoronto Very enlightening keep up the good work.
ComparativeReligionStudent.
February 22, 2013 7:11 am
The rain cycle,The Carbon Cycle, and Nitrogen Cycle is explained repeatedly in the Noble Qu'ran. This claim is easy to check. Easy to read and verify or refute. Take a look then come here and pontificate.
Capt C M Khan
February 22, 2013 7:11 am
Excellent article Mr Paracha. The only comment I can give that Islamic Socialism has LOST and the MULLAHS have won. Muslims are ever engaged in making road side posters against unimportant issues like VALENTINE'S DAY" / movies/pictures etc where as the rest of the civilizations are developing drones. satellite cameras, stealth bombers etc now are DIGGING ON MARS., I am not going to blame hadiths etc but 1. MULLAHS, 2. MULLAHS, 3. MULLAHS. 4. SAUDI 5.IRAN (Mullahs do this to earn their daily bread, Saudi and Iran do it to justify their rules so simple). In Pakistan the blame lies on PP for not confronting the MULLAHS in 1972-77 despite being in power. The Scientific and Economic gap between us and the others is increasing every second. I would term this as THE DARK AGES OF ISLAM. And I would not like Mr Toronto to reply with MAUSSEY GUNNAH HEAY. I believe we have enough intelligence and manpower to do ourselves than to expect someone else to help us. Nobody helps those who do not help themselves.
Ahmed
February 21, 2013 10:02 am
Socialism long since died its natural death with the death of the USSR. People dreaming of its revival with concepts as alien as 'Islamic Socialism' should think again. The era of using the name of Islam to mobilize people for leftist causes has ended. People have become more intelligent than believing these fake slogans.
LOL
February 22, 2013 7:06 am
@ATronto:"Here are the Ayat forbidding Insaf." Oh! Pleaseees...give me a break. Stop creating your own religion. You should have started at 40, not 65years old...? Sorry. Could not resist using your absurd logic for a new religion. Or is it yet a one man cult yet?.
Nasser
February 21, 2013 10:07 am
This is a history of an ideology that was popular in the Muslim world and had a huge impact on the politics and society many of these countries. This is not a manifesto. So relax.
Hasan
February 22, 2013 7:05 am
Interesting read, but if you are trying to substantiate the argument with research papers (which is a good thing by the ways) then better way would be create numerical footnotes with hyperlinks to the source.....
ahmed41
February 22, 2013 7:01 am
Sir, you write as a comment : "-----Islam presents Fuqr(poverty), simplicity , austerity, Sabr and shukr as virtues. ---" "----Main purpose of religions and Islam is to seek pleasure of your creator and when you die and meet your creator he will forgive you and this is the real success. Islam did not come primarily for economical reform but to connect human being to his creator. Although following path of Islam eventually people with get Adal(justice), But main purpose of Islam is the eternal success of mankind.-----" But, SIR, we want adal , justice on earth ~~~~~not as a heavenly promice. As you can see, religion is fine , but in practice it has failed miserably. This is due to political-islam. That's no fault of ISLAM , the religion.
ahmed41
February 22, 2013 9:56 am
"------But once Nasser began unfolding his policies ‘to modernise the Egyptian economy and society,’ and claimed that Islam was best served when practiced in private, the Muslim Brotherhood turned against his regime.---" Is this not the best suggestion : practise ISLAM correctly in private
Zahid
February 21, 2013 10:37 am
JUI remains one of the most parochial outfits that one can ever think of. So I am not sure what Shah Saeed's legacy (if any) and influence made any difference in changing the fortunes of the present day Pakistan. Nothing really. So keep on dreaming.
Ranveer
February 21, 2013 10:50 am
The failure of socialism ( whether Islamic or otherwise) and very little support for democratic processes with emergence of right-wing ideas is a very bad sign for the future to come.....
Karim ullah
February 21, 2013 11:04 am
Naveen, I agree with your observation and personal view. Good answer mate.
Islmail
February 21, 2013 11:51 am
A gem of an article.
haris
February 22, 2013 3:25 pm
@BRR: he is talking about Pakistan. may be you are at a wrong place.
Deb; India
February 21, 2013 11:55 am
Awesome. Very well researched too.
ffk
February 21, 2013 12:02 pm
Thank you for a very informative article NFP.
Taqi Ramzan
February 21, 2013 12:02 pm
zabardasth ,,,could not put my eyes off till the last word read............
Manish Mishra
February 21, 2013 12:12 pm
Socialism never had religious colours, Socialism intended to be transparent tasteless regime...Including religion into it was like adding your experiential bias to a scientific fact...Or trying to talk about god with science... the rail tracks are parallel and appear to meet each other at certain distance...but they are meeting only at infinity...
G.Nabi
February 21, 2013 12:59 pm
There is no' Islamic socialism', it is only socialism, just as there is no 'Islamic democracy', it is only democracy. Rest are misnomers.
Freidun
February 22, 2013 5:40 am
You forgot to add the glorious Persian/Zoroastrian civilization to your list.
MAL FABIAN
February 22, 2013 5:33 am
A long article indeed , but a very very good and easy to follow AND readable over view of the history of Islamic socialism , well worth reading for those who are follow the fast emerging politics of the worlds Muslim countries .
M.T. Akbar
February 22, 2013 8:49 pm
This is one of the better articles that I have read from you, as it gives a nice summarized overview of the variegated phenomenon of "Islamic socialism," and while you have an evident bias to the concept I believe you give a very fair presentation of its successes and failures. One can only hope that in this dark time, a return to such a critical concept can be envisaged. My first question, based solely on what comes to mind is, can one say that one of the problems with Islamic socialism is that it did not understand the necessity of creating a middle class and hence the need for an accumulation of more capital within the society as a first stage that would eventually lead to a second stage of socialism
haris
February 21, 2013 2:17 pm
Nice piece and I could proudly share it with my friends who has been long criticizing me of being 'too Socialist'. Thanks NFP, though I made huge criticisms on your previous but this piece is a sheer class.
baidar
February 21, 2013 2:21 pm
JUI now is indeed an outfit that has nothing positive about it. The organization had a few scholars who tried hard to keep this organization away from the course it adopted later. One of them was Shah Saeed but he was cornered and ultimately excommunicated. Throughout his life afterwards, he kept bringing the youngsters from Madaris and those from Universities closer and strived hard to inculcate in them an ideology of Islam that placed a human being at the centre. His dream it was to have a society with politics and economy which placed a human being at the centre, His followers continue to share his dream.
haris
February 21, 2013 2:22 pm
Apart from US many democratic republics in the modern World are still driving on Socialist agenda. Modern day Russia, Germany and Scandinavia are Democratic But Socialists in nature.
hitesh
February 22, 2013 5:26 am
Quiet comprehensive analysis of Islamic Socialism ! It seems it was surprisingly successful. And continue if it didn't suppress the right wing radicals as India did. Out of Nehru,Nasser,Tito,Sukarno's legacy only Nehru's legacy succeed because of its self-transforming attribute that others lacking. Anything you suppress will bounce back with all its potential forces like a suppressed spring ! Any ideology without liberal implementation would bound to fail be it divine or man-made.
observer
February 22, 2013 5:19 am
Hahaha. It is interesting how Indians are taught to be proud of their Indianship. Every dog has his day.
ranganath
February 22, 2013 5:03 am
Hello Abbas ji. Trade and commerce is something which is static. It has evolved from barter system to transaction by currency, Bank Guarantees, etc etc. This I figure has nothing to do with religion.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain
February 21, 2013 4:57 pm
It is an interesting story of the so-called Islamic Socialism throughout the world but very selective, and distorted.
Zalim Singh
February 21, 2013 4:58 pm
phenomenal.
Hash
February 21, 2013 5:14 pm
if you are in toronto can you contact me on 6479756502 or hassaanb@gmail.com. whatever dawn allows to publish
Karachi Wala
February 21, 2013 5:30 pm
A good read. Gives a lot to think and ponder.
abbastoronto
February 22, 2013 3:26 pm
Capt. Sahib: AOA So kind of you to think of me. Thales, an ancient Greek philosopher, was wont to walking with his head turned to the sky, the stars. One day doing such he fell into a well without a parapet. The simple peasant girl who pulled him out of his misery waved the admonishing finger asking to pay more attention to problems here on earth. The Primal Question of Existence is no walking on moon or mars but Survival, Growth, and Evolution here on earth. Iqbal 100 years sensed that the Western thinking was skin deep, and predicted that this civilization will commit suicide with its own dagger. And that was full generation before the 31 years (1914-45) carnage of 120,000,000 souls or 1 in 4 by their own hands. The suicide continues unabated with geriatric ward of Europe having no children. No kids, no future. “Kheera na kar saka mujhe jalwae danishe farang” was what we were weaned on. But I guess things have changed since then. Here is from the horse’s mouth itself. Says so factually the West’s Prophet of Doom Samuel Huntington: ” .. The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do ..” —— The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, p. 51. The civilized do not clash – they cooperate, intermarry, widening their gene-pools, evolve. Venerable Mao, when asked to comment on Civilization in the West deadpanned – “it will be a good idea”. While you dream of digging on Mars, I am content being a Muslim, surviving, growing, evolving, here on Allah's wide world. And as far as the Mullahdom, well, it is a passing nuisance, just as was "Islamic socialism" until Muslims realize that Quranic/Mohammedan Islam is the answer to modernism. They will. Best days are yet to come, inshallah. Wassalam
abbastoronto
February 21, 2013 5:43 pm
Farukh Sahib: AOA Where does NFP claim that socialism is of Quranic origin. For science in the Quran and to the claims you doubt please refer to “La Bible, le Coran et la Science” by Maurice Bucaille, Seghers 1976, (ISBN 978-2221501535), Pocket 2003, (ISBN 978-2266131032). English translation is also available. But do you deny that all trappings of modern life – welfare state, poor support, pensions, schooling/university, hospitals, urban life, restaurants, parks, banking, financial instruments, and more are of Islamic origin? Google for it. Islam is a religion of the city. Muslim societies stress egalitarianism forbidding caste, and have lower Gini Index of disparity. Socialism does that too, but is a limited version of Islam which is much much more. Wassalam
LOL
February 22, 2013 3:14 pm
No Islam is NOT an isolationist monk religion but open and social, inter-personal.
haris
February 22, 2013 3:13 pm
because Soviet Socialists were not remained Socialists, instead they become radical-Communist. And this was what they were trying to impose on other nations. Read the article carefully please
Faisal
February 22, 2013 12:51 pm
I was trying to say that Islamic values are different than Socialism and Capitalism and there goal and purpose is different than the message and goal of Prophets. Socialism should be presented as a Secular idea but as a religious idea.
Cyrus Howell
February 21, 2013 5:57 pm
"According to Heritage Online, nearly 65% of the total seminaries (Madrasah) in Pakistan are run by Deobandis, 25% by the Barelvis, 6% by the Ahle Hadith and 3% by various Shia organizations. The Deobandi movement in Pakistan was a major recipient of funding from Saudi Arabia from the early 1980s up until the early 2000s..." WIKIPEDIA
Farukh Muhammad
February 22, 2013 9:28 am
why is not carrying out research in a Muslim country?
Cyrus Howell
February 21, 2013 6:10 pm
"Ubaidullah Sindhi urged Muslims to evolve for themselves a religious basis to arrive at the economic justice at which communism aims but which it cannot fully achieve." Sindhi was right about that. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, trained as a spy and assassin by the Communists in East Germany, was living proof of how the Ba’athist party and totalitarian socialism in the Middle East did go wrong in the hands of one man.
BRR
February 22, 2013 3:04 am
There is nothing Islamic about socialism, which is an economic system (and related fiscal systems, laws related to sharing of wealth, means of production, etc.) and Islam, which is a religious belief and accompanying social structure. Instead of management by separating concerns, Islamic socialism is a hybrid beast that just makes little sense, by merging orthogonal concepts that do not need to be merged. Thus Islamic socialism is a lot of mumbo-jumbo, a hoax.
pankajdehlavi
February 21, 2013 6:14 pm
How come Pakistani Islamists who are also socialist in NFP opinion, ended up fighting socialist Soviet Union in Afghanistan and lost all its socialistic values to become fundamentalist. :)
Cyrus Howell
February 21, 2013 6:19 pm
(Caption to an above photo) A communist student at the Jakarta University being roughed up by soldiers and Islamic student activists during the military’s purge against leftists in Indonesia in 1965. . It went much farther than that. The Malay population (mostly Muslim) rioted against the Overseas Chinese population killing 350,000 people of that ethnicity in the streets and looting their shops and houses by using Chinese Communism as an excuse.
BRR
February 22, 2013 3:01 am
A lot of nonsense combined to sound good. Democracy is power being exercised by the people. Socialism is about economic structures in societies and the control of economic means, and related to fiscal policies. Democracy has little to say about fiscal policies directly. NFP and others have managed to mix socialism, an economics concept with Islam, a religious belief system. Such unnecessary merger of concerns is neither reasonable nor effective. Separation of concerns works best.
Atheoi
February 21, 2013 6:26 pm
Another Excellent and dot connecting article.
BRR
February 22, 2013 2:55 am
A lot of mumbo followed by a lot of jumbo. This is what potential saviors in Pakistan are made of.
dk
February 22, 2013 2:54 am
you dont need islam to be prosperous, you just need common sense>>>>>
BRR
February 22, 2013 2:53 am
People like this fellow will IMPOSE islam on others. Watch out.
Tahir
February 21, 2013 6:30 pm
Give us an example of that ray of light where the “Shia have continued updating theirs despite waiting for the right time (of Imam to reappear)”. Is Iran in your mind as the contemporary example-setter of this renaissance? Right now it is in gross disarray depending largely on Yehud countries for their oil and gas plant and machinery upgrading needs and all other technological marvels of daily life. Surely you have a highly complexed perception of better things to come from the Muslims, which is not a bad idea, but in the meantime the others are already a million light years ahead, now getting ready packing up their bags to exploit a Martian settlement and Economy while hoping to leave us guys behind in this ailing planet exterminating each other out of sheer hate, intolerance and still searching for that elusive seemingly old fashioned business cycle to sync in.
Cyrus Howell
February 21, 2013 6:31 pm
"US, pro-US Monarchs of Middle East, specially Saudi, nexus can be found on every cornerstone of blood shed and anarchy in Muslim World." From this we would conclude that Muslims are robots who have had nothing to do with their own demise, and that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were no more than naughty boys. The US and the monarchists are trying to preservie their status quo. It is militant Islamists who are spreading anarchy.
Cyrus Howell
February 21, 2013 6:38 pm
"What difference does it make if the cat is black or white so long as it catches mice." Deng Xioping discussing modified capitalism for China.
ComparativeReligionStudent
February 22, 2013 2:53 pm
@Farukh Muhammad: The following is a short extract taken from 14th century [ 400 years before Darwin] Muslim scientist IBN KHALDUN, in his book “The Muqaddimah” [Translated as “The Introduction” ISBN 0-691-01754-9 Page75] Translated from Arabic by FRANZ ROSENTHAL: “One should then take a look at the World of Creation. It started out from the Minerals and progressed, in an ingenious gradual manner, to Plants and Animals. The last stage of Minerals is connected with the First stage of Plants, such as herbs and seedless plants. The last stage of plants, such as palms and vines, is connected with the First stage of Animals, such as snails and shellfish which have the power of touch. The word “connection” with regard to these created things means that the last stage of each group is fully prepared to become the first stage of the newest group. The Animal World then widens, its species become numerous, and in a gradual process of creation, it finally leads to Man, who is able to think and reflect. The higher stage of Man is reached from the World of Monkeys. The following reached similar conclusions as Ibn Khaldun and like him did not claim the theory of evolution as their own but Allah's creation they explained: AL-JAHIZ [776-869]; IBN MISKAWAYH [932-1030]; HASAN IBN AL-HAITHAM [965-1040]; ABU RAYHAN AL-BIRUNI [973-1048]; NASIR AL-DIN TUSI [1201-1274]; ISMAIL IBN KATHR [1301-1373]. Thus Evolution was well known and understood hundreds of years before Darwin. In Darwin's time western scientist knew as: 'The Mohammedan Theory of Evolution of Man from Lower Forms.” Thus western scientists attributed evolution to an illiterate man who did not know how to read or right, lived 1400 years ago, and to a book called: The Noble Qur'an[Qur'an Majeed]. FURTHER PROOF ON RECORD: Sir Dr. William Draper, [1811-1882], MD, LL.D., Professor University of New York a contemporary of Darwin, in his book “History of the Conflict between Religion and Science” on Page188 called it 'Mohammedan Theory of Evolution”. Also read French scientist Dr. Maurice Bucaille's work that reaches the same conclusion on the Qur'an and The Theory of Creative Evolution. Evolution was studied in Muslim Madrassas, Universities and Mosques till 'so called Muslims' leadership sided with Christian Creationists against Darwin and against Muslim Scientists and teachings of the Noble Qur'an. [ISBN=The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique[1][2] numeric commercial book identifier assigned to ever book before publication.
abbastoronto
February 21, 2013 6:47 pm
It is the paradox of history that a desire for equity leads to inequity, stagnation, and ultimate failure, while justice end up with more equity and success. Orwell noted wryly in his “Animal Farm” of the early years of the Soviet Union, that “All are equal, but some are more equal than the others”. The Quran had warned of it 1,400 years ago. With equity comes exclusion. It can be practiced only within a group (Tribe). It engenders the concept of the “chosen people”. Islam stresses justice, a universal concept, for Believers and non-Believers alike. Equity leads to warfare with other groups. To force equitable (rather than just) distribution of output, socialism needs to control the means of production, killing freedom, initiative, thus growth and evolution. But even survival is not assured. The central question of existence is Survival, Growth, Evolution. Of the three Islam that of Moses stresses survival, of Jesus growth, and of Mohammed AS Evolution. The yehud today as ever fight for survival, the Christians have grown to be largest,, the anti-racial Muslims have evolved with the widest gene pool and best immune system. The idea of each getting the same, or rationing, is from Pastoral times always fighting for survival. Pasturing lands was a limited resource that could run out anytime. Christians pray for their daily bread because crops can fail, not in their hands unless divine intervenes. Islamic Allah guarantees sustenance to all because with trade food can always be brought in from far. Famines were nonexistent where Islam ruled (though water poor, soil-poor) whereas agrarian Europe had almost 100 of them in century straddling the 1300. The concept of “Islamic Socialism” are deeper than NFP has identified. Alas, in the early days of the Kaliphate, the Principle of “Insaf” was re-introduced in Islam. Here is a famous story: “ .. A common man got up and accused Kaliph Umar that he had plundered from the war bounty and was not fit to be the Kaliph thus. The man alleged that he had taken for himself two pieces of cloth from the bounty to make the dress he was wearing that day, while everyone else has received just one piece. Umar’s son stood up and bore witness that he had given his share to his father.” Muslims had reverted to that anti-Koranic, anti-Mohammedan practice of Insaf, the Kaliph and his son and everyone else receiving the same quantity (from which non-Muslims were excluded of course). On the face, “insaf” is a laudable principle, but it is anti-Quranic and anti-nature. In our times the Socialist System, based upon this principle, wrecked the lives of 4 generations in the 20th century, until it was obliterated from earth. To Muslims, insaf brought only death and destruction. The situation in Medina after only 25 years of Kaliphate was worse than it is in Pakistan today – lawlessness, insecurity, turmoil, Mr. TenPercentism (ushr), Nepotism, murder. Enough of it. “A fool is someone doing the same thing again and again and hoping for different results”. Let us all follow the Quranic Islam of our Prophet AS and his System of Medina.
Cyrus Howell
February 21, 2013 6:51 pm
"Western civilization has reached the summit of science and technology. It has achieved knowledge, skills, and new discoveries, as no previous civilization before it ... My admiration for the West is not at the expense of others; rather, it is an invitation to those others to acknowledge their illusions and go beyond their inferiority and liberate themselves from backwardness." Ibrahim Al-Buleihi
Cyrus Howell
February 21, 2013 6:53 pm
Agree.
Faisal
February 22, 2013 12:47 pm
I agree with you brother that we want Adal(justice) in this world and Quran promised this adal in Sura Maida(chapter 5 and verse 66: And if only they upheld [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed [provision] from above them and from beneath their feet. We saw that adal at the time of 1st four Khulafah and also at the time of Umar Bin Abdul Aziz there were nobody who was eligible to receive Zakat and a woman travels across the state alone without fear of anyone except Allah However point I wanted to make is that economical reform was not the centre of message but adal is the logical result of submission yourself to will of God. The duty of rulers are describe in Surah Hajj(chapter 22 verse 41) Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship(salat) and pay the poor-due (zakat)and enjoin kindness(maroof) and forbid iniquity(munkar). Thanks
Nina
February 21, 2013 7:13 pm
Mogambo khush hua?
Cyrus Howell
February 21, 2013 7:14 pm
"Ba’ath Socialism suggested that the Arab nations were being undermined by five forces: European colonialism (driven by capitalism); Soviet Communism; ‘decadent monarchies’ in Arab countries; Islamic conservatism within Arab societies; and the clergy and the ulema who were keeping these societies in the clutches of backwardness." . "... the clergy and the ulema were keeping these societies in the clutches of backwardness." Also true of Pakistan and other countries today.
Nauman
February 21, 2013 8:18 pm
Abbastoronto, you give me the impression of a man in a disturbed sleep. You wake up in your sleep from time to time. And every time you wake up, you appear to land a slap on the face of Islam and fall back to sleep again. Then eventually when you wake up and in a state of a sheer hangover, you end up saying "Let us all follow the Quranic Islam of our Prophet AS and his system of Medina" which is basically what we Muslims have been living for the past 1400 years.
haris
February 22, 2013 1:56 pm
@Faisal: Islam is a 'Deen' as cited by Koran and Hadith and there is a significant difference between Deen and a Religion. however, religion itself is one of the most essential part in Islam. To be more precise, let me give one simple example. Think about a Islamic society with an interest based Banking System which is a heart of Economic model. And as we all know, Interest (Riba) is strictly forbidden in Islam (religious obligation though) and Allah declared war against the beneficiaries of Interest. Thus, here we can see that religious obligation has now concur together with the economic system. Therefore, it is not possible to disregard any obligation which coincide with social or economic system of the society. I hope I made my point clear :-)
anand
February 21, 2013 8:52 pm
Lol...,Stop living in fools' paradise.Islam is hardly an ancient faith (630AD onwards), a religion of desert at the most. Far superior civilization/texts /thoughts existed/flourished in India, Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia & Egypt.Check your favourite google for acheivements of these civilizations!
james
February 21, 2013 8:55 pm
Sir, Tell me one scientific discovery in present day world that can be credited to muslims in any field of sciences. If Arabs didn't strike oil,muslim,think of the plight of muslims.
Optimist
February 21, 2013 9:13 pm
I must admit your efforts in explaining Muslim history of last 80 years. However it is ironical that those conservative forces and clergy that we had fought in the years gone by are ruling us with more intent and weapons (and killing us on their will, whenever and wherever). In addition, Muslim youth is less rational and more fundamentalist than earlier generations and less receptive to scientific methods (you will not be surprised to find that in science professionals)
Imran Barlas
February 21, 2013 9:16 pm
I congratulate you on writing this comprehensive piece that can serve as both an overall refresher and a starting point for intellectuals to examine its individual aspects in more detail. Additionally, many of the issues discussed in this article provide some historical lessons which are useful for people who wish to change Pakistan towards a better direction. This article should be on the bookshelves of Left parties in Pakistan and perhaps even translated into Urdu for a wider reach.
Faisal
February 22, 2013 12:42 am
Both Capitalism and Socialism are not compatible with Islam. Both want to do maximum accumalation of wealth. Actually both are the form of capitalisation 1st is liberal capitalism and 2nd is socialist capitalism. In Liberal Capitalism market is the driving force and in socialism Planning Commision makes vital decision. In reality both are the form of Capitalism with different structure. Socialism claims that as economy is evolving and Liberal Capitalism failed to achieve Maximization of wealth so it needs new structure of ecomony and this is the reason Marx predicted that Socialism will come to the most advance economy like Great Britain and Germany however that did not happen. Islam presents Fuqr(poverty), simplicity , austerity, Sabr and shukr as virtues. While in Capitalism (both liberal and socialist)poverty and austerity are vices and consumption is the driving force. As in this article NFP quoted Ghulam Pervaiz that Poverty is punishment from God. Main purpose of religions and Islam is to seek pleasure of your creator and when you die and meet your creator he will forgive you and this is the real success. Islam did not come primarily for economical reform but to connect human being to his creator. Although following path of Islam eventually people with get Adal(justice), But main purpose of Islam is the eternal success of mankind. There was a development of great academic and intellectual critique of Socialism by Islamic Scholar and that is the main cause of its demise and downfall in muslim world.
Naveen Kumar
February 21, 2013 9:24 pm
Yawar, The author has refered to various socialist movements that took place in Muslim majority countries. But the fact of the matter is that after the Bolshevik revolution of Russia, Communist & Socialist ideals had electrified the entire world. Many a freedom movements in colonial world were inspired by socialist ideals of creating an equal and just society. Later the entire world got divided into Capitalist and Socialist blocks. What has religion got to do with it? Whoever has attached the word 'Islamic' to it is doing great disservice to the cause of Socialism as this makes the noble cause vulnerable to puritanical exclusivist definitions of religious overlords . Do we ever use Christian Marxist ideology ? Vision of a world where there is no exploitation of the poor by the rich is a Pan-Human ideology. We need no Ulemas/Pope/Pandits/Rabbis to guide us on this path?
abbastoronto
February 22, 2013 12:24 am
Tahir sahib: AOA 1. The Shia ijtehad has remained open while Sunni was closed around 1258. 2. Shia is not all Iran, and Iran is not all Shia. More than ¾ of Shia live outside Iran. 3. Iran economy is increasingly self-generated, thanks to sanctions. 4. Better things will come to Islam because of Globalization and Free trade for which Islam is the natural religion. It was not the natural religion for the last 1,400 years because the world was largely agrarian for which the natural religion was the Gospel of Jesus. Islam is better today because it is more efficient. 5. Muslims are already ahead of the world where it counts – evolution. The Muslims have the widest gene-pool and best immune system. That is the only measure that counts for humanity, not how tall the buildings are in your city or whether you have settled Mars. 6. The ailing planet is left behind by Corporate Capitalism with no or limited responsibility that does not pay for externalities. For Muslims, the earth and its creatures are a trust from Allah. Wassalam
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