Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, News & Relevant Topics, Personal & Opinion, Social Issues & Politics

Prostitution & Human Trafficking

It was just a week ago that I saw this shocking and heartbreaking episode of the Dr. Phil show that I’ve been watching every day for several years now and honestly, I’m still not over it. I’ve never had a show stick with me like this before, but sadly the issue of human trafficking and prostitution is nothing new to me. I’ve seen many documentaries about it while studying social issues and one of my good friends is in a line of work that involves dealing with human trafficking victims and survivors.

What I find to be very sad is how these people (both men and women can become victims of this, however the majority are women) are looked down upon in society as being filthy rats with no value. We do not understand what road brought them to this point, maybe they were forced or maybe they had no choice if they wanted to survive. Even if they did it voluntarily for whichever reason in the beginning it often spirals out of control and they cannot break the cycle. That is why I was very touched by the important article that I’ve reposted below. Too many of us have forgotten this side of the story.

Personally I would be in favor of legalizing prostitution, not because I like that because believe me I don’t, but precisely to protect the most vulnerable and be able to safely and adequately reach them without getting them into some sort of legal trouble. The person buying the services should be the criminal in this case, not the other way around!

It’s also noteworthy to mention the Sunni tradition where God forgave a prostitute for being merciful to a thirsty dog. While other Muslim groups may not share this tradition, it’s not the first time that we hear of God forgiving a prostitute in the history of the Abrahamic faith. In both the Jewish and Christian Bible we hear the story of a prostitute named Rahab and you know what? She ended up doing good and God ended up forgiving her and accepting her. This is not to say that prostitution is okay or that God will just turn a blind eyes, but this does teach that sex workers are still beloved by God. God cares about them, and we should too!

I strongly encourage you to watch the Dr. Phil show that aired on March 21st, 2017 called Private Planes, Black-Tie Parties, Elite Sporting Events but this is just a very small piece of the story. This is an industry worth billions of dollars with an endless number of victims. I would also recommend watching a series called The Vanishing Women which also makes mention of the evil cycle of drugs, prostitution and helplessness. Kendall got to escape in one piece, but the women in The Vanishing Women did not. May God help the most vulnerable in our society and may we do our part to help them too.

Posted in Reblogged Posts

Why Rudolf Hoess Is Ruining My Theological Life

Although I am not Catholic, I agree with the points you brought up in this post. I too would be curious to know what would have ended up of his remorse because he only returned to the Catholic church on April 10th 1947 and was executed on April 16th of the same year, meaning he only really had six days to repent. Had he not been executed so soon afterwards the true depth of his remorse would’ve been apparent in light of the final words he wrote in his autobiography, “The broad mass of people will never understand that he also had a heart, that the wasn’t evil,” but I highly recommend the book “And Your Conscience Never Haunted You?” by a priest named Manfred Deselaers, you can get it straight from the Auschwitz museum website. It’s also noteworthy to mention that Rudolf’s grandson Rainer Hoess does much public speaking preaching tolerance so something like the Holocaust never happens again.

Inspire to Conspire

Currently I am taking a survey class on the Holocaust (or, more aptly referred to as the Shoah). In preparation for our first test, I was studying the lives of Nazi leaders more in depth as I tried to sort them all out, a practice which felt

Studying Nazi leaders

very strange. It was as if I were reducing the lives of people who killed the families of my Jewish friends into mere flashcards so I could make a decent grade. I digress, but as I was researching these Nazi leaders, I came across some interesting information on Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz.

Hoess was raised in a strict Catholic home and his father wanted him to become a priest. Hoess was against this, and began pulling away from the church. He formally left the Roman Catholic Church in 1922, the same year that he joined the Nazi Party…

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Posted in Reblogged Posts

Is it permissible for woman to read the Quran while experiencing the menstrual cycle (hayd)?

This is an interesting post with many different opinions. From the Shia side of things though, Ayatollah Sistani said that there’s no problem in a menstruating woman to read or even hold the Quran to the exception of touching the verses relating to mandatory Sajdas, however I’ve also noticed that the text of the Quran itself never actually prohibits any of this.

The IslamicText Institute

quranMenstruation (hayd) is healthy and natural

Menstruation is indicative of a healthy woman. It is a completely natural process and is not considered as something dirty. However, it has the legal consequence of barring woman from performing the prescribed prayers as well as other types of worship while permitting her to partake in others.

The definition of hayd

Hayd linguistically means “to flow”. According to the shari’ah, hayd refers to the flow of blood from a given place at a known times. It is also defined as blood that comes from the uterus in a specific manner at specific times.

The period or length of hayd

According to Imam Ash-Shafi’i the least amount of hayd is 24 hours and the maximum is 15 days. The usual is between 6 and 7 days. This he (may Allah be pleased with him) deduced via interviewing woman and conducting a survey…

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Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

The Hijab & Western Civilization

Although I’ve written about this topic before and shared a few more articles about it, I feel compelled to write about it again. The hijab. A symbol of liberation for some and oppression for others. Here in the West things get even more complicated when Muslims are the minority and many unfortunately believe that all Muslims are wife-beaters and terrorists. The worst part is that it’s often no fault of their own either that they don’t know any better but that’s not the point of this post. If you type in Is the hijab mandatory in Islam? you’ll get an abundance of different answers from people, both scholars and regular folks, from all over the world.

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You’ll get the yes side and the no side and the yes side and the no side and the yes side and the no side and it goes on. Just Google it for yourself. This debate won’t be ending anytime in the near future. In an interesting twist that I wasn’t expecting, Dr. Abou El Fadl issued a fatwa cautioning Muslim women to not wear the hijab in Western society. His statement reads in part:

If you are asking me for my personal opinion on the matter, in my opinion, hijab in this country is clearly not a fard and no sin is acquired for failing to wear the hijab. The reason for this position is that the ‘illa (operative cause) for hijab was to protect women from harm and to avoid bringing undue attention to them. In the United States, hijab often results in the exact opposite, in other words, bringing undue attention to a Muslim woman and heightening the risk of harm. To say the least, in my opinion, hijab is not at the core of the Islamic faith, and not the kind of arguable duty that would be worth risking one’s safety for. Put differently, if a Muslim woman wears the hijab in the U.S., I ask that Allah to reward her for the extra effort, but I never advise a Muslima to wear the hijab in the U.S. nor am I keen on raising it as an issue of significance for a woman’s deen. If a woman does wear a hijab in the West and harm does come to her, that gives me serious pause (meaning I am troubled by the fact that the very purpose of the possible rule is now completely contravened). And in all cases, God knows best.

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As you can see from this study, responses can vary wildly from one of the surveyed nations to another. In Saudi Arabia the overwhelming majority prefers Woman 2  while Lebanon overwhelmingly prefers Woman 6. Very few people like Woman 1 but all like Woman 4. While these are just a very small sample of countries, it’s obvious that opinions are heavily influenced by the social and cultural makeup a particular individual lives in. Many hijabi women are harassed in the West and as Dr. Abou El Fadl points out, being harassed was precisely what wearing the hijab was supposed to prevent.

We can all agree that modesty is obligatory, but personally I’m not convinced that the hijab is obligatory. While looking at message boards about this issue I often saw the comment “a scholar knows best” and similar statements but this has obviously gotten scholars divided. I would mostly like side with Tariq Ramadan when he says that the hijab is an Islamic prescription but that no person or government can force a woman to either wear or remove the scarf. What I can deduct from that is that it’s recommended to wear it but it’s not obligatory, especially not when it puts you in harm’s way.

Even with this view though, I think it’s important to remain sensitive to the social and cultural views of modesty in your respective nation when it comes to wearing the hijab. In Saudi Arabia it’s highly offensive to forego a headscarf, but in Lebanon it’s a day like any other. As a hijabi myself, I wear the scarf because I like it, I find it beautiful and comfortable and I feel safe freely expressing myself and my faith in my small community here in Canada where Muslims are nearly non-existent. Modesty was very important to me long before I became Muslim so going one step further and covering my hair seemed sensible to me but when I hear the verse/phrase “there is no compulsion in religion” in Islam I get the idea that I am able to express my faith however I want (within the boundaries of what’s halal and haram) and that includes choosing how I want to express modesty. You can see from Islamic clothing websites such as Artizara where models are shown both wearing the hijab (in a multitude of different styles) and not wearing it that modesty means different things to different people yet all are equally Muslim. Your faith is more than anything expressed by what’s in your heart and not so much what’s on your head.

In conclusion, it’s obvious that how a person perceives their faith and how modesty in general relates to it is highly influenced by their social and cultural makeup and that this debate won’t be going away in the near future. The only thing I would add is that ultimately your faith is between you and God and that whatever you do or don’t do is between you and Him, but you should still be considerate of the social norms where you live to ensure your own safety and well being. What do you think? Why do you choose to wear or not wear the hijab? What has been your experience in doing so?

Posted in Français

Trente cinq photos pleines d’émotions d’une époque révolue

Source: Imgur Une simple photo peut parfois en dire beaucoup plus qu’un roman entier et les clichés suivants en sont le parfait exemple. On y voit des personnes partager et vivre des moments paisibles, heureux et parfois même des instants de grand soulagement après une période extrêmement tendue. Mais peu importe la situation, une chose est certaine pour chacune d’entre elles : la vive émotion suscitée chez celui ou celle qui la regarde…

1. Le soldat américain, Frank Praytor, qui nourrit un chaton abandonné au cours de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

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2. Une petite fille tenant une grenouille dans ses mains à Venice Beach en Californie en 1936.

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3. En 1966, une femme aveugle profite de la piscine pendant que son chien la surveille.

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4. Un soldat américain fait une rencontre quelqu’un peu spéciale en 1942 : un petit kangourou absolument adorable.

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5. Un petit Autrichien fou de joie d’avoir de nouvelles chaussures, lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

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6. Au zoo de Londres, une petite fille sourit en se promenant aile dans la main avec un pingouin. Ce cliché date de 1937.

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 7. Une nonne en train de danser avec deux enfants en 1964.

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8. Un propriétaire de chien heureux partageant un bain moussant avec son fidèle compagnon en 1934.

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9. Deux bons amis en train de pousser la chansonnette.

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10. Une petite fille faisant un bisou à cet adorable petit chiot.

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11. Cette petite fille est tellement heureuse après la libération de son pays (fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale) qu’elle embrasse un soldat américain sur la joue.

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12. Pour prouver l’innocuité du rouge à lèvres, un employé accepte de se faire embrasser encore et encore, partout sur le visage. Ce cliché a fait rire de nombreuses personnes en 1960 et il continue aujourd’hui de faire sourire.

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13. Une jeune Marilyn Monroe est jetée dans les airs par le biais d’un trampoline artisanal. En 1948, personne ne se doutait qu’elle deviendrait bientôt une star mondialement connue.

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14. En 1935, ce limier est devenu champion toute catégorie. Mais pour cette petite fille, il reste son ami à fourrure à câliner !

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15. La jeune Carrie Fisher (qui incarnera plus tard la célèbre “Princesse Leia” de Star Wars) en train de regarder sa mère, Debbie Reynolds, sur scène.

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16. Les chats de la ferme ayant une petite gâterie pendant la traite des vaches. Cet adorable cliché a été pris en 1954.

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17. La Reine Elizabeth II en 1973, en train de câliner ses corgis lors d’un concours hippique au château de Windsor.

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18. Un jeune garçon rapportant une baguette à la maison pour le repas en 1952.

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19. En 1938, l’un des portiers sur Piccadilly Circus accueillant un invité spécial à quatre pattes.

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20. Les bons amis s’entraident dans chaque situation.

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21. Dans les années 1890, on ne prenait des photos que pour des occasions spéciales. Mais ce couple ne peut s’empêcher de faire n’importe quoi pendant la séance photo.

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22. Pendant une accalmie lors de la guerre, les soldats russes profitent d’une petite sieste avec leur ami poilu. Cette photo a été prise durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

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23. Un couple heureux de se retrouver après la guerre. Photo prise au Connecticut en 1945.

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24. Ces soldats indiens viennent d’arriver en Europe pour combattre aux côtés des Français et des Anglais. Un petit garçon se présente alors poliment à eux le 30 septembre 1914 à Marseille.

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25. Quelques secondes plus tard, les yeux de l’enfant se sont illuminés !

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26. Des retrouvailles heureuses lorsque ce soldat rentre chez lui en permission dans les années 40.

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27. La saison d’hiver a toujours été un moment de l’année très chargé pour les facteurs comme le montre cette photo prise en 1929 dans la ville de Chicago enneigée.

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28. Lors de la guerre dans le Pacifique, ce soldat américain décide de partager sa banane avec une chèvre. Cette photo a été prise en 1944 sur l’île de Saipan.

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29. En France, une petite fille faisant un gros câlin à son ami félin en 1959.

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30. En 1956, les prémices de l’utilisation d’animaux pour des thérapies. Ces canetons trop mignons aident cette petite fille à supporter son lourd traitement.

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31. Des femmes se rafraîchissant sur le toit d’un immeuble lors de l’été étouffant de 1943.

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32. Cet éléphant se prend pour une nounou sur cette photo datant de 1958.

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33. Un petit garçon entendant pour le première fois de sa vie. Son étonnement est palpable dans ce cliché de 1974.

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34. L’inversion des rôles peut souvent mener à des scènes hilarantes.

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35. Ce musicien de rue a trouvé une grande fan.

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Wouah ! Ces photos sont un peu comme des fenêtres sur le passé. Sur chacune d’elle, les émotions sont palpables et il est difficile de ne pas sourire ou se sentir touché devant tant de beauté. C’est beau de pouvoir revivre, l’espace d’un instant, un événement marquant, touchant ou bouleversant du passé.

Posted in Français, Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Le pape François: Le Coran est un livre de paix

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C’est sur des paroles de sagesse et de vérité, s’élevant au-dessus des torrents d’outrances qui déferlent sur l’islam sans discontinuer, que le pape François a conclu son escale de trois jours en Turquie : “Le Coran est un livre de paix, c’est un livre prophétique de paix”, a-t-il clamé haut et fort, en espérant que ses mots endigueront le flot incessant de calomnies et résonneront fortement, au-delà des rives du Bosphore.

De l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, le Washington Post s’est fait l’écho de son vibrant plaidoyer en faveur de la troisième religion monothéiste, le souverain pontife ayant tenu, avant de regagner Rome, à balayer d’un revers de main les analogies nauséeuses et à rejeter fermement les diatribes assassines qui la salissent de manière éhontée.

Avant de quitter ses hôtes de marque turcs, au premier rang desquels figuraient le président Recep Tayyip Erdogan, le Premier ministre Ahmet Davutoglu et le chef de la Direction des Affaires religieuses Mehmet Gormez, et après s’être longuement recueilli dans le décor enchanteur de la Mosquée Bleue d’Istanbul, le pape argentin, qui abhorre les amalgames en « isme » associant « l’islam à l’islamisme et au terrorisme » et l’a fait clairement savoir, a lancé un dernier appel à l’adresse de toutes les personnalités du monde arabo-musulman, qu’elles soient issues de la sphère politique, religieuse, culturelle, académique, ou artistique, afin de dénoncer les atrocités commises au nom de l’islam.

Cette condamnation à l’unisson que le pape François appelle de ses vœux pour mieux dissocier l’islam de ceux qui le dévoient odieusement, a pourtant déjà retenti sur les cinq continents, de la part de hauts dignitaires religieux comme de simples fidèles, mais a été couverte par la sempiternelle injonction à s’indigner, toujours aussi méprisante, suspicieuse et bruyante, qui ne poursuit qu’un seul but : alimenter tous les islamalgames…

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, Social Issues & Politics

Islam & Socialism (Part 3 of 3)

While Islamic economics can exist independently and separately from both capitalism and socialism, my aim is writing this is because now in secular societies we will never be able to have an “Islamic economy” so we must pick a side between the popular economic theories of day and I want to compare and contrast Islamic principles with them. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to pick a side, capitalist or socialist or otherwise, but for now let’s further look at Islamic socialism.

Zakat

One of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakāt is the practice of imposition (not charity) giving based on accumulated wealth (approximately 2.5% of all financial assets owned over the course of one lunar year). It is obligatory for all financially able Muslim adults and is considered to be an act of piety through which one expresses concern for the well-being of fellow Muslims, as well as preserving social harmony between the wealthy and the poor. Zakat promotes a more equitable redistribution of wealth and fosters a sense of solidarity amongst members of the Ummah.

Zakat is meant to discourage the hoarding of capital and stimulate investment. Because the individual must pay zakat on the net wealth, wealthy Muslims are compelled to invest in profitable ventures, or otherwise see their wealth slowly erode. Furthermore, means of production such as equipment, factories, and tools are exempt from zakat, which further provides the incentive to invest wealth in productive businesses. Personal assets such as clothing, household furniture, and one residence are not considered zakatable assets.

In the United Kingdom, according to a self-reported poll of 4000 people conducted by Zarine Kharas, Muslims today give more to charity than people of other religions. Measured in US Dollars, Muslims, on average, gave $567, compared to $412 for Jews, $308 for Protestants, $272 for Catholics and $177 for atheists. Today, conservative estimates of annual zakat are estimated to be 15 times global humanitarian aid contributions.

Welfare state

The concepts of welfare and pension were introduced in early Islamic law as forms of Zakat, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century. This practice continued well into the Abbasid era of the Caliphate. The taxes (including Zakat and Jizya) collected in the treasury of an Islamic government were used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali (Algazel, 1058–1111), the government was also expected to stockpile food supplies in every region in case a disaster or famine occurred. The Caliphate can thus be considered the world’s first major welfare state.

During the Rashidun Caliphate, various welfare programs were introduced by Caliph Umar. In his time, equality was extended to all citizens, even to the caliph himself, as Umar believed that “no one, no matter how important, should live in a way that would distinguish him from the rest of the people.” Umar himself lived “a simple life and detached himself from any of the worldly luxuries,” like how he often wore “worn-out shoes and was usually clad in patched-up garments,” or how he would sleep “on the bare floor of the mosque.” Limitations on wealth were also set for governors and officials, who would often be “dismissed if they showed any outward signs of pride or wealth which might distinguish them from the people.” This was an early attempt at erasing “class distinctions which might inevitably lead to conflict.” Umar also made sure that the public treasury was not wasted on “unnecessary luxuries” as he believed that “the money would be better spent if it went towards the welfare of the people rather than towards lifeless bricks.”

Umar’s innovative welfare reforms during the Rashidun Caliphate included the introduction of social security. This included unemployment insurance, which did not appear in the Western world until the 19th century. In the Rashidun Caliphate, whenever citizens were injured or lost their ability to work, it became the state’s responsibility to make sure that their minimum needs were met, with the unemployed and their families receiving an allowance from the public treasury. Retirement pensions were provided to elderly people, who had retired and could “count on receiving a stipend from the public treasury.” Babies who were abandoned were also taken care of, with one hundred dirhams spent annually on each orphan’s development. Umar also introduced the concept of public trusteeship and public ownership when he implemented the Waqf, or charitable trust, system, which transferred “wealth from the individual or the few to a social collective ownership,” in order to provide “services to the community at large.” For example, Umar brought land from the Banu Harithah and converted it into a charitable trust, which meant that “profit and produce from the land went towards benefiting the poor, slaves, and travelers.”

During the great famine of 18 AH (638 CE), Umar introduced further reforms, such as the introduction of food rationing using coupons, which were given to those in need and could be exchanged for wheat and flour. Another innovative concept that was introduced was that of a poverty threshold, with efforts made to ensure a minimum standard of living, making sure that no citizen across the empire would suffer from hunger. In order to determine the poverty line, Umar ordered an experiment to test how many seers of flour would be required to feed a person for a month. He found that 25 seers of flour could feed 30 people, and so he concluded that 50 seers of flour would be sufficient to feed a person for a month. As a result, he ordered that the poor each receive a food ration of fifty seers of flour per month. In addition, the poor and disabled were guaranteed cash stipends. However, in order to avoid some citizens taking advantage of government services, “begging and laziness were not tolerated” and “those who received government benefits were expected to be contributing members in the community.”

Further reforms later took place under the Umayyad Caliphate. Registered soldiers who were disabled in service received an invalidity pension, while similar provisions were made for the disabled and poor in general. Caliph Al-Walid I assigned payments and services to the needy, which included money for the poor, guides for the blind, and servants for the crippled, and pensions for all disabled people so that they would never need to beg. The caliphs Al-Walid II and Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz supplied money and clothes to the blind and crippled, as well as servants for the latter. This continued with the Abbasid caliph Al-Mahdi. Tahir ibn Husayn, governor of the Khurasan province of the Abbasid Caliphate, states in a letter to his son that pensions from the treasury should be provided to the blind, to look after the poor and destitute in general, to make sure not to overlook victims of oppression who are unable to complain and are ignorant of how to claim their rights, and that pensions should be assigned to victims of calamities and the widows and orphans they leave behind. The “ideal city” described by the Islamic philosophers, Al-Farabi and Avicenna, also assigns funds to the disabled.

Some notable Muslim socialists include Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his daughter Benazir Bhutto and Malala Yousafzai, among many others. Aside from everything that has been mentioned here, there are also many more socialist and Muslim socialist movements and similarities, etc. but it is simply impossible to get all of them in a small series of posts. It’s also a concept that constantly evolves as our societies advance (or face economic disasters) so this is something that will most certainly show up again at some point during the future.

While Islam balances out capitalism and socialism to ensure that good, but not excess, is available to everybody, it’s clear that in modern/secular economics Islam and socialism are very much compatible. Islam makes room for both being a socialist and not being a socialist while always making sure that everyone can have a decent quality of life and the greedy cannot exploit others for their personal gain. Now the question is, are you a socialist?

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Islam & Socialism (Part 2 of 3)

While my explanation to my friend that socialism and Islam are indeed compatible, I couldn’t exactly convince him to convert to Islam just yet. 😛 He asked me a handful of questions in regards to reconciling Islam and socialism which I’ll go over briefly here just to give you a general idea again like in Part 1 but you’ll really have to dig into different forms of socialism and decide for yourself if it’s compatible with your understanding of Islam or not.

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Don’t socialists ban religion?

Not necessarily. In socialism the state generally aims to remain secular, not all forms of socialism want to ban religion. If you compare communism and socialism you’ll see that Lenin’s idea of communism was opposed to religion, but general socialism theory promotes freedom of religion. The secular State will also not promote one religion over another and most certainly won’t attempt to ban people from entering the country based on their religion.

But isn’t socialism the same as atheism?

Again the answer is no. Socialism in itself is only the belief that economic resources should be controlled by the people. Hence, socialists can be atheists and atheists can be socialists. Just like Muslims can be socialists and socialists can be Muslims. Some will mix politics into socialism too but generally speaking, socialist principles believe in freedom of choice when it comes to your faith.

So, socialism is based on equality, Islam is also based on equality…

Yes. Socialism adds to our scientific knowledge about history and society. And that is why we need it. It teaches us that capitalist profit is based on the exploitation of the working class (theory of surplus-value). It teaches us that the material conditions of societies determine their ideological and political views (historical materialism). It teaches us the laws of change and movement (dialectics). It teaches us the the laws of capitalist development (falling rate of profit, concentration of capital, disproportionality). These world historic discoveries make socialism relevant to us today as a science.

But I had a friend who was a socialist and he kept criticizing my religion.

I also had a friend who was a capitalist and he kept criticizing religion. It only proves the point above that there are atheists and theists amongst those who support capitalism and also amongst those who support socialism. One only becomes a socialist if one supports the view that resources should be controlled by the people. My only criticism is only for these people and their doctrines who use religion as a cloak to justify exploitation and oppression in the world today.

This sounds too good to be true.

I know. That’s why capitalists and imperialists spend trillions of dollars trying to convince you to hate socialism and follow capitalism. They are extremely greedy and don’t want you to know that socialism can liberate all of humanity. Islam also aims to liberate its adherents and unlock their full individual, social and collective potential to benefit all of society and the world as a whole.

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As much as I detest Hitler and the brutality that his regime brought to the world, if he did one thing right it was denounce capitalism in this quote. In an ideal capitalist society there would be no greed, no exploitation and no unfairness but we all know that this is a far cry from what capitalism is today. If you take a look at capitalism, you’ll see that it’s major disadvantages are that it does not provide for those who don’t have competitive skills or ability. This includes the elderly, children, and the developmentally challenged, as well as their caretakers. Therefore, capitalism requires additional social mores that value the family unit to keep the society functioning.

Capitalism does not necessarily promote equality of opportunity. Those without the proper nutrition, support and education may never make it to the playing field, even though they have valuable innovative, competitive, or efficiency skills. In the short term, this is in the best interest of those who are succeeding in capitalism, since they have fewer threats to compete against. They may also start to use their influence, money, and power to further “rig the system” by creating more barriers to entry. This includes laws and regulations, educational attainment, and even money itself. In the long term, this can limit diversity and the innovation it creates. Capitalism ignores external costs, such as pollution. This makes goods cheaper and more accessible, but over time can deplete natural resources and lower quality of life in the affected areas.

What about socialism? Workers are no longer exploited, since they own the means of production. All profits are spread equitably among all workers, according to his or her contribution. The cooperative system realizes that even those who can’t work must have their basic needs met, for the good of the whole. That means poverty is eliminated, everyone has equal access to healthcare and education, and no one is discriminated against. Everyone works at what they are best at and what they enjoy. If society needs jobs to be done that no one wants, higher compensation is offered to make it worthwhile. Natural resources are preserved, again for the good of the whole.

Socialism doesn’t have many disadvantages to the exception that people may become disruptive if they don’t want to cooperate and there may be a lack of innovation, but that’s a very small price to pay for unlocking the full potential of a society. Not only that, but everyone will have equal rights and equal opportunities.

In a capitalistic society, only the wealthy ever get anything. If a poor person who has the potential of being a doctor doesn’t have the money to pay for it, well that’s just too bad. Although there may be some forms of social assistance at some points, not everybody qualifies for it and even if you do, it doesn’t cover everything and for many it simply falls too short. In a socialist things are much different: Free, equal access to healthcare & education for all citizens provided through a socialized system funded by taxation.

For capitalists, either Muslim or not, who only see dollar signs reading this post will be absolutely disgusting but for those who have been economically exploited (you’re not alone, I have too) a socialist society is a true blessing. Socialism is also compatible with the vast majority of forms of government and different faiths.

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, Social Issues & Politics

Islam & Socialism (Part 1 of 3)

Recently, one of my most devout capitalist friends decided that socialism was the way to go. In the wake of the turmoil and uncertainty brewing up around the world he said that he came to the conclusion that socialism is inevitably needed if society is going to remain afloat. He gave me his list of reasons for believing that and then asked me the big question we’ll be discussing today: Does Islam believe in socialism?

socialism

This is not a yes or no question for several reasons. First there is no fixed definition of socialism because it can take on many forms and has also varied considerably throughout the ages. The term is thrown around so much nowadays that it can literally mean anything from fascism to progressivism but the general definition of socialism according to Merriam-Webster is this:

Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

A quick internet search of “types of socialism” will give you endless examples; communism, democratic socialism, libertarian socialism, social anarchism, syndicalism, international socialism, market socialism, state socialism, Marxist Communism, Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, Dengism, Prachanda Path, Hoxhaism, Titoism, Eurocommunism, Luxemburgism, Council communism, Left-Communism, National Socialism, Left Anarchism, European Communism, Juche Communism, Primitive Communism, Religious Communism, International Communism, and there are far more since each political party seems to have their own ideas as to how socialism should be practiced under their current circumstances and despite their vast differences, all fall back under the umbrella of socialism. The Wikipedia page for Socialism will also give you several examples throughout history.

So which one is it? If I had to compare Islam to all of these theories I would probably be 80 by the time I am done! The better question to ask is this: Is Islam compatible with socialism? The answer is yes. There is very much a thing called Islamic socialism and aside from that, Islamic economic principles have much in common with the general principles of socialism whichever form it may take. There is considerable debate today regarding how an economic theory developed 1400+ years ago when Islam first began can still be relevant today since things have changed so much since then and let’s face it, things were so much simpler back then.

It would be erroneous to say that Islam is a socialist religion since Islam has it’s own laws regarding economics, but we can certainly say that Islam and socialism are mutually compatible. Islam is not against the ownership of private property, which some forms of socialism deny completely while others are somewhat more lenient. However, some anti-capitalist overtones that Islam has regarding this matter is that is opposes a large concentration of wealth in the hands of a select few. It’s unfortunate that today capitalism has turned into severe greed where the superior economic class will gladly exploit the lower economic classes to enrich themselves and that is completely contrary to the economic principles of Islam. Let’s look at some of the similarities between Islam and socialism:

  • Islam stands for the state-ownership of such “means of production” as the mineral wealth, thus eliminating from its society the steel-barons and the oil-magnates.
  • Islam prohibits usury and interest in all forms. All students of economics know that the greatest impetus which Capitalism receives today is from the modern system of Banking which functions on the basis of interest. Islam does not permit the rate of interest to rise above zero and conceives the Bank primarily as the medium of commercial transactions.
  • Islam condemns the hoarding of capital in very strong terms. It imposes a fairly heavy tax on all capital, above a certain minimum standard, for the benefit of the less fortunates.
  • Among all the systems of Law, the Islamic law of inheritance is the most anti-capitalistic. It stands for the distribution of inherited wealth among the largest number of persons on the basis of the widest margin of relationship.
  • From the ultimate point of view, Islam regards the interest of the society above the interest of the individual.
  • Islam makes it an obligation of the Islamic state to provide for the basic necessities of life, including such ‘modem necessities’ as health services and free education, for all of its citizens. With that end in view Islam levies a Social Insurance Tax on all persons possessing more than a certain minimum of wealth.
  • Islam stands for free trade. It is averse to monopolies and favours the participation of the largest number of people in commerce, for which it advocates the creation of Mutual Alliance Societies—Islam’s substitute for Capitalistic Banking.
  • In the field of industry, Islam’s ideal is the creation of the “Co-operative Guilds of Workers” where all forms of exploitation as well as unrest and bad blood are eliminated.

Islam, however, does allow private enterprise in industry even as it allows private trade. But then it propounds a socialistic principle of wages. In that connection: 1) It gives freedom to the wage-earner to fix his wages at whatever reasonable level he desires. Simultaneously with this prerogative it safeguards the wage-earner against all possible harm which the ‘capitalist’ might do to him by closing the doors of livelihood, and for that purpose it creates a fund for the maintenance by the state of all unemployed wage-earners; and 2) The standard of wages which Islam has ordered all the Muslim employers to adhere to is that in which the employee gets the “same to eat” which the employer eats and the “same to wear” which the employer wears. That means equalisation of economic status between the employer and the employee in the basic necessities of life.

With that said, being a Muslim doesn’t automatically make you a socialist but you can be both a Muslim and a socialist at the same time. Socialism is a mode of production (i.e. economic system) where the means of production (i.e. economic resources) are owned collectively by society. It is the opposite of capitalism where economic resources are controlled by a capitalist elite. From this definitions we understand that one can belong to any religion or not belong to any religion and be a capitalist or a socialist.