Islam and Socialism by Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad (rh)

Taken from The Review of Religions Oct 1969

After evening prayers, on February 20, 1969, the Khalifatul Masih III observed, in the course of an informal talk, that “there is currently a movement towards religion in Pakistan. Very likely it is a reaction to communism. We should take advantage of it. From the last several years Russia has been taking the line that Islam and socialism are identical and has been getting write-ups on the theme from the literati of Egypt and other Arab countries for world-wide propaganda.

Under capitalism, the individual handles sources of income and makes money as it suits him. He also controls outlets of expenditure with freedom to spend just as he chooses.

Communism has restricted sources of income and has denied the individual freedom in utilizing these resources. On the contrary, it is the state that decides to allocate, what it pleases, to the individual. It has, at the same time, placed no restrictions on individual expenditure; an individual has the freedom of spending his income as he pleases. He is free to booze or employ himself otherwise. Islam has placed restrictions both on income and expenditure allowing, however, a wide latitude in both fields. A gifted man can earn as much as he pleases through business. He may make millions. There is nothing to stop him. The only condition is that he should employ fair means. In the matter of expenditure, Islam, however, places some restrictions, as, for instance, it forbids extravagance and enjoins simple life. It has, in fact, put a total embargo on all luxury items and, at the same time, warns that one’s money is not exclusively his, that there are other co-sharers with him. It has directed the state to recover from the individual the share of the others.

Islam turns against communism in that it has placed no restrictions on the freedom of the individual to make money. He may earn as much as he cares to.

Islam is against capitalism in that it has imposed curbs on the freedom of a man to spend as he likes. A capitalist looks upon a capital sum of a hundred thousand rupees as a mere flea-bite. For instance, he points out a picture that sells at half a million and wants to buy it but hasn’t the money to satisfy his fancy. But Islam does not permit such expenditure. It does not stop at that. A Muslim collects some money from a fellow-Muslim for others and assures the donor of Divine reward. In other words, God, the Most High, enjoins that one should make over from his income what constitutes the right of others and that He would give a reward in return. How vast is the
mercy of God!

Those who clamour that Islam and socialism are interchangeable systems are wrong. Islam is Islam; not that it does not permit a particular type and variant of communism; in fact, it does not tolerate any type of socialism. If the socialists believe that Islam and socialism are indentical why don’t they
turn Muslims? What is there to stop them from doing so?

That money should be considered the ruling factor in Islamic life does not appeal to common sense nor is it a part of faith. If only the state appropriates everything promising to give the individual a certain quota and assuring that it would neither let him starve to death nor let him stay nude, it only covers the physical and apparent needs in the minimum. But there is no provision for development of human talents to full capacity. If human emotions are thus crushed, and man is deprived of means to merit Divine reward of eternal blessings then what did he gain?

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