ISLAMIC WELFARE STATE: A CRITIQUE OF PARVEZ'S IDEAS ABOUT ISLAM.
Abstract. This study attempts to contextualize the Islamic economic system in the light of writings of Modern Muslim thinkers in general and Ghulam Ahmad Pervez in particular. In the contemporary Muslim world, Muslims have been facing enormous challenges, including extremism, whose root-cause seems to be primarily economic, i.e., poverty, unemployment, inflation, concentration of wealth in a few hands and the resulting societal imbalances. It seems that within the Muslim world, the conflict is mainly between the "haves and have nots". Even though, Islam as a religion provides guidelines for establishing a welfare state which could become a model for the non-Islamic world as well but somehow the Muslim world has failed to achieve that end. To remedy this situation many Muslim thinkers in modern times have interpreted the economic system of Islam in the light of Quran, Hadith and Islamic History.
Ghulam Ahmad Pervez is one of those who have expounded on the Islamic economic thought, which he argues, if implemented, can ensure the establishment of an Islamic welfare state. Therefore, it is important to understand, what constitutes an Islamic economic system and how it can be implemented in the contemporary times and what would be the result of establishment of a welfare state.
Keywords: Pervez, Quran, Rububia, Economic System, Welfare State
Muslims believe that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was the last and the final prophet of Allah (God). Islam, the divine religion, which began with the Prophet-hood of Hazrat Adam was completed with last Prophet Muhammad (PUBH). According to Muslim beliefs Qur'an was God's last revealed message to humanity and He has guaranteed its preservation. Muslims consider it as their religious duty to acquire and impart all kinds of knowledge. In the lifetime of the Prophet, he was the sole interpreter of the Qur'an, and after his death, his companions undertook to explain the meanings of the Qur'an in the light of the Qur'an and Hadith. In their turn this duty was then assumed by their successors who wrote many significant books on the Qur'an, Hadith, history and philosophy. Since Islam's message is believed to be eternal, it must suit all times and space.
Therefore, in almost every era, the commentators and interpreters of the Qur'an have kept in view the socio-political, economic and geographic conditions of their times, to explain the meanings of the Qur'an.
The downfall of Muslim rule in South Asia deeply influenced the Muslim thinkers. Some of them have emphasized the study of Hadith in order to find solutions to the problems facing the community. They came to be known as the 'Ahl-e-Hadith'. Another group laid stress on mysticism and was satisfied in isolating themselves from every kind of worldly development; they were known as the 'Bareliwis'. A third group which emerged tried to bring about a synthesis of both these groups. They were known as 'Deobandis (Metcalf, 1982).
A fourth group of thinkers comprised of modernist Muslims who were equipped with Islamic and western education and were very conscious politically as well. The precursor of the last group was Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), who not only tried to arm Muslims with modern and scientific education but also tried to break the rigidity of taqlid (traditionalism) (Khan,1973).
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817-1898) bridged the gulf between the medieval and modern Islam in India. For the propagation of his ideas, he used two techniques. First, he launched the journal, Tahzib-al-Akhlaq, to propagate modern social ideas. Second, he gave the new Mutazalite interpretation of the Qur'an. His philosophy matured with the passage of time. His religious thought gradually evolved from orthodoxy to apologetic and then from apologetic to modernism. He criticized the methodology of classical Hadith compilers including that of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim. He maintained that any tradition repugnant to human reason should be rejected. Although Sir Syed had no direct interest in religious revival and sought social, economic and political welfare of the Muslims, yet his impact on religious revival is quite tangible. He left a tradition of reasoning in theology which was followed by later philosophers.
Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1838), was a philosopher, poet of the East and the person who contextualized the idea of a separate homeland for the Indian Muslims. He believes that religion is not a departmental affair; it is neither mere feeling, nor mere thought; nor mere action, it is an expression of the whole man. In The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (Iqbal, 1965), he tried to prove the superiority of religion over other sources of knowledge. But he admits that without natural science, history and intuitive knowledge are incomplete and a proper comprehension of religion without these is impossible. Like Sir Syed, Chiragh Ali and others, he also believes in the need of Ijtihad. Gibb maintains that the counterpart of Ijma'a is Ijtihad. (Gibb, 1978) According to Aziz Ahmad the Ijma'a is a revolutionary sense, a consensus of government in an Islamic state. (Ikram,1970)
He presented the idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims of South Asia. According to Rosenthal, Iqbal suggested socialism as an ideal system for a Muslim state. Ghulam Ahmed Parvez seems to have carried further the thread of Allama Iqbal's philosophy of Islamic socialism.
Chaudhry Ghulam Ahmad Pervez was born on July 9, 1903, at Batala, Gurdaspur district (at present in East Punjab, India), which was then a well-known centre of religious activities of the Muslims. Despite belonging to a conservative family and receiving a traditional education he was nonetheless bestowed with an inquisitive mind. Pervez, who was a protestant to mysticism, studied Iqbal's writings and was greatly influenced by his insight into mysticism.
When Pervez came to Lahore for a job, he began to meet Allama Iqbal frequently. Thus, Pervez came to know the secrets of the Qur'an. He realized that Qur'an does not deal with one subject completely at one place. Therefore, one should carefully understand all the verses and chapters to judge the real essence of an issue. Moreover, modern knowledge of all kinds of developments is necessary.
With this background, Pervez started to write on various aspects of Muslim society. His major criticism was on Azad's secular approach to religion in which he had pleaded that all religions were basically equal. Pervez commented that Islam was the best religion and that it was not a religion in the ordinary sense of the word but a complete system of government. He was one of those Muslims who dreamt and struggled for the creation of Pakistan with the goal of establishing an Islamic constitution.
Pervez, from his adolescence onwards, kept himself busy in studying and writing. He was not a blind follower of religion. He tried to comprehend every article of religion. Like Sir Syed, Ameer Ali and Iqbal, he tried to rationalize everything. Sir Syed, Aslam Jayrajpuri, Allama Iqbal and many others exercised great influence on him.
Pervez was a product of his age. For him Islam is the name of progress and he tried to interpret it according to the needs of the time. The focal point of his interpretation was political-economic theory. His concepts were not totally new. Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) and Shah Wali Ullah had already raised economic issues and suggested ways and means to bridge the gulf between the poor and the rich; they had done this much earlier than Karl Marx. Pervez, like many other modernists, presented an economic theory similar to that of Marx but he hardly acknowledged any one's influence on his thinking. He contended that his was an independent interpretation of the Qur'an which could be changed if needed.
The writings on Pervez can be put into two categories: (i) by those who were impressed by his ideas; (ii) by his opponents who find nothing special in his ideas.
II. ECONOMIC VIEWS
Ghulam Ahmad Pervez discusses in detail the economic order of the Quran and argues that the main concern of the Quranic teachings is to develop the physical and spiritual potentialities of man. To him, abundance of food, peace, prosperity and security are gifts of God whereas death, hunger and insecurity represent His curse (Pervez, 1983). One can judge the value of food from the historical event when Prophet Ibrahim while laying down the foundation of K'aba, prayed to Allah for the provision of plenty of food for humankind. Quran recognizes its significance and formulates a well-knit program to promulgate the Quranic Economic Order which he describes as Rububia. He explains meaning of Rububia - 'Rabb' means accumulation and distribution of wealth for development or growth of the society (Pervez, 1983).
According to Pervez, Quran begins with "Praise be to Allah, Rabb of the worlds" (1/1) that means with these appreciations and acknowledgments Quran emphasis on the importance of Rububia or significance of economics in the Islamic society. Everything in this Universe is full of praise for 'the Fosterer of the worlds and the Order of Allah'. In the external world this works automatically; and the human beings should also adopt this course.
Elaborating the order of Rububia, Pervez maintains that since man is a combination of body and soul, the nourishment of both is compulsory. Quite interestingly, 'to have' is must for physical development and 'to give' is necessary for the development of personality, both contradict each other. If one gives a part of one's food to others, one lessens one's own food to that extent. And if one contributes nothing to others (certainly the handicapped are excluded) one fails to enhance his ego. Human reason generally finds it diffi cult to address this challenge (Pervez,1952).
A system that promotes personal interests may be short-lived but one that aims at the general well-being of the people lasts for long. The Quranic Economic Order, Pervez asserts, prompts personal as well as collective gains but its returns are delayed.
Infaq (spending and disbursement) presents the anti-thesis to 'asserted interests', and formulates 'open interests' because it is done to win favor of God. Whatever one spends on the welfare of others is one's saving for this and the other world. One's expenditure on the needy is a debt (Qarz) on God who will reward to those who spend for His favor.
"If ye lend unto Allah a goodly loan, He will double it for you and forgive you, For Allah is Responsive, Clement" (64: 17)
God promises to return this loan with heavy interest. He Himself does not receive this debt; it is distributed and circulated among the needy people and the economy of the state thus progresses. Such acts induce maturity in the personality of an individual. A society becomes ideal one if it accepts the value of 'Infaq'. But those who break this order deform their society. Such a society suffers chaos and discontentment and its life is shortened. In such a society, revolution becomes unavoidable. Human intellect convinces man to care only for himself and ignore others. This kind of approach may suit an individual but is hazardous for the positive growth of the society and leads it to destruction.
God Himself has taken the responsibility of fostering all humans. He teaches man through revelation to adopt different ways and means to make His scheme of Rububia work. A society has to pass through various stages to reach the highest point of Rububia. At every stage, dedication, commitment and conviction is required from the Muslims. Thus through an evolutionary process a society enjoys the privileges of Rububia which can be achieved in the following stages:
At the first stage is establishment of a capitalistic society in which the rich exploit the poor. At this stage, the rich Muslims are enjoined to spend money on the needy and the disabled (Pervez, 1969).
"And feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan and the prisoner, for love of Him, (saying): We feed you, for the sake of Allah only. We wish for no reward nor thanks from you" (76/78).
This act is meant for the purification of one's self and is termed 'Sadaqa'. As a peasant sows seeds and gets grains in return, likewise, spending on the needy brings about prosperity. Such charity should be disbursed without injury to the feelings of the poor. At this stage, cleansing of wealth is urged.
Powerful people generally usurp the property of the poor by force, which Quran condemns as an inhuman act. The Muslims are directed to be the guardians of the poor, prisoners, orphans and insolvents. Islam gives equal status to women in the society. They can own their earnings. A Muslim is advised to leave a will before death. If a person does not leave a will, his belongings are distributed according to the criterion laid down in the Quran.
If the charity is avoided, wealth in the form of currency accumulates in drawers thus circulation of money stops and the economy faces a setback. Such acts would naturally destroy society because this would mean preference of personal interest over the cause of the society at large.
At the second stage, the Muslims, those convinced of the truthfulness of the economic order of Rububia, start to assemble around revolutionaries as a separate group. In this phase, the society moves to work collectively. Now 'Sadaqa' which was distributed among the poor by individuals, is replaced by organized disbursement of wealth through a central department. Even the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was directed to collect 'Sadaqa' from the affluent class and spend it for the betterment of the society. The money given to the central authority is a loan to God Who would recompense the donor. This prompts security and peace in the society. Co-operation with the society or extension of money to the central authority is not sufficient. One is required to spend surplus money on the penniless. Charity is termed as the right of the poor. Thus, alms recipients do not feel shy over their poverty. Neither the poor feel depressed nor do the rich have any feeling of superiority.
Concentration of wealth is bad for an y economic order. Circulation of money is beneficial for the development of the state. However, the money earned from wealth, not by labor, is 'Riba' which is proscribed in Islam. 'Riba' makes an individual richer but the economy deteriorates. Two opposite classes emerge: One which collects all the resources and the other which is deprived of these resources (Jameela, 1966). The former class usurps all the powers through wealth and exploits the latter class. Hence Riba'(charged interest) n is forbidden; not only 'Riba' but also sleeping partnership, tenancy or leasing of land, etc.
All the natural resources, air, water, light etc., are meant for mankind free of cost. The word livelihood is used by the Quran for produce from earth, with the instruction that these should also be given to those who are unable to find it. Land is a part of the natural resource. Hence land belongs to God. He demands His share from the produce of land, just as a tenant gives money or share to the owner of the land". God's share is indirect. The food beyond one's needs should be spent on those who cannot get it due to certain reasons. According to Pervez:
"See they not how We visit the land, reducing it of its outlying parts Allah decreeth there is none that can postpone His doom, and He is swift at reckoning" (13/41)
In the light of this verse, the Holy Prophet instructed the people to keep only as much land as was necessary for their needs. According to Pervez, by natural process, if a society does not take steps, per-capita land is bound to decrease. A time will come when personal landholding is removed from the world. God forecasts trouble for those who break His laws. The accumulation of wealth or hoarding food becomes fire, which burns their homes. They hoard goods for personal gains. They benefit temporarily by the rise in prices but ultimately this process affects adversely the economic growth of a country.
One is prompted to preserve wealth for an uncertain future, but this sense of self-preservation should not overcome one's instinct, which wants to enjoy the company of God. No individual should heed such warnings of one's mind, or the devil. One's expenditure on the welfare of society takes him nearer to God and he enjoys nearness to God.
Responsibilities are the establishment of prayer and the arrangement of payment due to the poor. Pervez illustrates the meaning and philosophy of 'salat' (prayer) (Parvez, 1984). Salat means to follow the orders of God. This obedience is not temporary but for the whole life. To obey the complete injunctions of the Quran is called Deen (religion). The assemblage for prayers is a part of that system. This is a practical display of the fact that for their whole lives, Muslims would follow the orders enjoined in Islam. 'Salat' means prayer which is said five times a daily but in reality it covers all spheres of life of mankind.
Pervez enlightens us about his new interpretation of Zakat. He says that 'Zakat' means growth or development (Pervez, 1960). One earns money primarily to improve one's condition. After fulfilling one's needs, he deposits extra money in the state treasury because at the third stage the state becomes responsible for the development of the personality of its subjects; hence it gives 'Zakat' for the development of the people. The government takes Zakat for the handicapped and needy. Salat inspires Muslims to submit their spare wealth to the state while Zakat creates a balance in the economic order. Both are part and parcel of the Quranic Economic Order. Like Rousseau (1712-1778), Pervez subscribes to the idea of a new 'Social Contract'. Through a contract every citizen becomes a member of the Islamic State. Thus life and property go to the ownership of the state, to which Allah has given the charge of fostering citizens and mankind at large.
Therefore, in an Islamic State, private property is eliminated and all wealth belongs to the state at this stage.
There is a great deal of difference in the abilities of the people. Some can work hard but others are weak, and still others are unable to contribute anything. However, this diversity does not justify capitalistic approach in which one with greater abilities should earn more and keep with himself as much wealth as he can. Pervez holds, 'Qaroon' is symbolized as a representative of this approach in the Quran. He used to boast that his wealth was the result of his own labor; therefore, he saw no reason in distributing any part of it to others. This tendency causes cleavage amongst people. A rich man becomes richer and a poor man becomes poorer. The ability of man is a gift of God; this is not a self-made thing. God demands from man to share the gifts with other human beings. On the 'Day of Judgment' one would be accountable for all gifts God had given to him.
God's direction is: since all the qualities of man have been given by Him, therefore, all the money should be deposited with the state after one has fulfilled one's needs. This order is a check on class struggle. Like Karl Marx (1818-1883), he believes, if there is no surplus wealth left to man, there would be no class, as a consequence no exploitation or class struggle.
At the first stage land reforms are introduced. At the second stage it is taught that the land belongs to God and it should be used for the benefit of humanity. It is maintained that all natural phenomenon including land is a gift of God. There could not be an ownership by individual or a group of individuals. The persons who store the sources of production are deviators from the Deen.
At the last stage, the state should have some mechanism to provide food for its citizens and also plan to do it for the whole mankind. It should nationalize all sources of production, including land. Nationalization of land is not enough; the members of the state should also handover spare money to it. If all the members do so voluntarily a welfare state could be established (Pervez, 1957).
God's program is to extend the order of Rububia to all creatures and, therefore, fulfillment of their basic needs and development of their physical and spiritual faculties. (Pervez: 1941), Pervez believes that there is a two-fold meaning of paradise. One is in this world and the other exists in the next world. But it is beyond human mind to conceive the true picture of the otherworldly Heaven. For Pervez, Adam and Satan, as mentioned in the Quran, also represent metaphorical characters of history; the former means man and the latter stands for greed or a force that prompts man to commit mistakes. When greed crept into human mind, he was thrown out of the worldly paradise.
Pervez narrates the success and failure of the Quranic Economic Order. During the time of the Holy Prophet, the order of Rububia was established. Man rediscovered his paradise. This order flourished during Hazrat Omar's caliphate but it could not last for long, and once again, man lost his paradise (Pervez: 1941). He did not remain faithful to the system. Since his inner self changed, the outer world could not remain healthy and productive. However, even now, if man becomes committed to this system and creates intrinsic change in himself the lost paradise could be regained.
Time and again Pervez borrows the theories of Karl Marx and Hegel to interpret his understanding of Islam. Hegel (1770-1831), in his theory of dialectical materialism, maintains that there is no permanent value in the world and that every value embodies shortcomings. After some time, the anti-thesis of a value appears and the previous thesis is removed. Then the anti-thesis itself becomes the thesis. This new thesis is also imperfect and is bound to be superseded by another anti-thesis. This dialectical process of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis goes on. It continues due to the involvement of a secret power, which has an ambition to complete itself. As for matter, there is no value to it because it is based on ideas.
Karl Marx first considered himself a disciple of Hegel but then refuted his theory of 'dialectical idealism'. He agrees with him on the point that there is a dialectical process in history. But this process is not in ideas but is manifested in matter. All changes are due to the change of social order. Hegel believes in Absolute Spirit while Karl Marx does not support this idea. According to Marx, there is no supernatural thing save man in this world. Matter has self-generating energy. The ground of life is always on contemporary economic system. Ethical values are inter-linked with economic structure. With the change in the mode of production the economic system changes and new moral values come forth. When the economic fabric was based on slavery, submissiveness, obedience, etc., were ethical values. When feudal system arose, bravery, honor, pride, etc., became social values. In capitalism, cheating, lying, compromising, etc., are its fruits.
Marx maintains that all history is a history of class struggle. There has been a constant conflict in the society, i.e., rich versus poor. There is a persistent change in history and this mutation is a historical necessity.
Pervez argues that the philosophy of 'Dialectical Materialism' is man-made in which God does not exist and which regards religion as an opium. Primary issue for man is economic. Every economic order, according to Marx, generates disorder at its zenith and gives place to another economic order. There is an incessant class struggle. Moral and religious principles mutate with the new economic phenomenon because matter is ever-altering with the resultant changes in the external world. Corollary of this alternation indicates no persistence in values. And that this change is due to historical necessity, which, according to Pervez is a vague explanation. Communism is a state where there would be no class or ruler or ruled and God. However, Pervez believes that Quranic interpretation of history is entirely different from these views. There is a creator and sustainer, i.e., Allah or God, of this cosmos. Everything belongs to 'Alam-e-Amr' unless it unfolds itself into being.
Matter is ever-changing while Alm-e-Amr is beyond transmutation. A thing which has the quality of being constant is 'Haq' or just; God is just and Alam-e-Amr too is just.
God has designed this universe with a high mission. Events happen in this world, not in an accidental manner but in a certain direction. Everything of the world except man is functioning blindly under His command. Man has freedom of thought and action. This liberty is not the result of any biological or material evolution. Helpless things like matter are unable to generate anything. Freedom of thought and action given to man is one aspect of the qualities of God which have been infused in the afore-mentioned matter. This is 'self'. This ego has a separate entity; neither is it a product of matter nor is it of God.
Man also receives direction from Allah through 'Wahy' (revelation to Prophet). Firm values have been determined by 'Wahy'. Man is persuaded to adopt and follow these permanent values. In almost every society, there are some ambitious persons who are dissatisfied with these values and aspire to have immense power and wealth. They protest against these values which result in a clash between defenders and opponents of the values. History of man is full of expression of this conflict. The conflict between Nimrod and Hazrat Ibrahim, Farah (Pharaoh) and Hazrat Musa, and Abu-Lahab and Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) are its demonstrations. The struggle is between good and evil. There is no truth in historical necessity. The corrupt system is removed by a better system.
The Rububia is a state where all human beings easily get physical and spiritual growth and this state can be of communism, as explained by Karl Marx. According to Pervez, Karl Marx could not study the teachings of Islam and failed to unders tand the economic order of Rububia. However, he predicts that communism with a concept of God is the fate of mankind. It would stand for a system which vests property in the state, where each member would work for the common benefit according to his capacity and receive according to his needs. Karl Marx had conceded that it was not possible to tempt people to work selflessly because human instinct ever threatens man about the uncertainty of future. Man is always motivated by feelings of self-preservation, self-generation and self-aggression. Here the main issue is how man can be assured about his future. Faith in the Day of Judgment could create the spirit where one could work for oneself as well as the humanity.
Apparently there are two classes in a society: exploiters and the exploited. The former forces the latter to work while it takes no part in production itself. It consists of exploiters who are big guns of the capitalistic society and this includes the priests. They are prestigious and powerful due to their wealth. But in the Quranic state no one would like to take others' burden. The respect of man is not due to wealth or power but because of his contribution for the cause of humanity.
In a corrupt system, some people invest money and get interest on their wealth without any labor. It is called 'Riba'. But in the Rububia order every person shares the burden and labor and receives what he would have earned as wages.
In an unethical economic system, people may amass wealth by unfair means. No one challenges them. A majority of the people does not own any property and are even deprived of basic necessities. But under the Rububia order every person participates in constructive work and takes as much wages as fulfill his requirements and voluntarily leaves the extra money for his weaker countrymen. Moreover, there is no scope for private property because all the resources are at the disposal of the society; hence there is no class of either the exploiters or the exploited.
In a capitalistic system, the societ y does not care for the development of the people and is interested only in the collection of dues or taxes. But in the Rububia Order, the society is responsible for the provision of basic necessities not only to the present but also to the future generation. The money gathered in the form of dues is consumed in such a way that nobody goes hungry in the country. Above all, man is relieved of the feelings of self-generation, self-preservation and self-aggression. He exerts to develop his personality and the society progresses by leaps and bounds.
Nationalism, factionalism, sectarianism and similar other feelings are by-products of unscrupulous systems, while the Islamic Order breaks through these impediments and seeks to establish an international brotherhood and makes mankind an Islamic Ummah or Islamic brotherhood because it does not discriminate amongst men and guarantees welfare of the whole humanity. (Pervez: 1966).
A revolution brings about a sudden and complete change in society. If Islamic views exist in minds of the people, Islamic revolution becomes inevitable. Pervez throws light on the practical program of an Islamic revolution. Each member of the society should declare that all the sources of production and his personal talents were gifts from Go d; and that utilization of these was the aim of his life. In this universe, only one law operates which governs the natural phenomenon. Therefore, there is no disorder, chaos or protest in nature. As this law runs so successfully in natural phenomenon similarly Islamic laws can work fruitfully in world affairs. Naturally, this conviction makes one to have a strong belief in the Unity of God. The knowledge from Wahy is as perfect as natural law, it is rather more precise and correct than any other knowledge (Parwez: 1976).
It is then more important to have faith in the life hereafter. This generates a spirit of selflessness iman. All his actions are commanded b y the philosophy that he is seeking profit not for immediate needs but is also a gainer in the hereafter. After an assurance of unseen positive result of the order, the second step is to disseminate Islamic education amongst the people. Firstly, one must have himself strong belief in it and it cannot be effective unless one is totally convinced of its validity. After that one should educate the people in the Quranic injunctions. In the society established on the Quranic doctrines, there is no ruler or ruled. No change can occur in the outer world until there is an intrinsic change in mankind. The Quranic education causes internal revolution in man. This change is called 'Faith' and its outward exhibition is 'Amal-e-Saliha'. Those people who possess these two traits are called 'Mominin'. They are the people who start the revolution.
Revolution is not an easy task. It requires steadfastness, firmness and determination. It is a very tiring and lengthy process. Sometimes people become discontented and disappointed. The Holy Prophet himself spent thirteen years for the education and training of the people. During this period, he revolutionized their character.
Karl Marx appeals to the poor workers to come out and snatch their rights from the government and the rich people. This advice would definitely result in bloodshed and chaos. In such a revolution means are justified by the ends achieved. But Islam does not approve of this type of methodology. Its origin and culmination are just. The ways and means to bring about a revolution are peaceful.
The principles of the Holy Quran lay the foundations of a system which ensures the establishment of a welfare society. The object of an Islamic State is to be responsible for the physical and spiritual development of all human beings, irrespective of caste, creed and religion or even geopolitical boundaries. Its first and foremost duty is to provide basic necessities of life to its citizens. This is not an easy task. It requires determination, commitment and devotion. Nationalization of all the means of production facilitates its achievement. Pervez propounds an Islamic economic theory almost similar to that of Karl Marx. Pervez adds two points to strengthen his viewpoint. Firstly, according to Karl Marx, communism is a state where people use their energy for the welfare of the society to their best level and take only that much share from it as fulfills their needs and leave the rest voluntarily for the society.
However, Karl Marx did not have any historical evidence to prove his thesis. But Pervez cites historical examples when the real sense of communism remained operative. According to him, during the time of the Holy Prophet and Hazrat Omar the true Economic Order was achieved and he maintains that this state can be regenerated in modern times as well. Secondly, Karl Marx ignored the element of religion in his theory. He considered it 'opium' for humanity. But Pervez holds that the conviction that Allah will reward man on the 'Day of Judgment' for his selfless services can persuade him to make selfless contribution.
It is very difficult to understand his views from a single book or writing. For instance, he argues that Hazrat Abu Bakr declared Jehad against those who refused to pay 'Zakat' to the central government, but after independence, he evolved his concept of 'Zakat' in a different perspective; then he considered 'Zakat' as development or growth. (Pervez: 1938). He argued that Islamic government is responsible for the development of its citizens; therefore, it gives, not takes, 'Zakat' from the citizens. This view helped him strengthen his economic theory.
He was a strong opponent of socialism and communism till the early 1960s. But in the late 1960s and early 1970s he tried to accommodate these theories with his own concepts. This change was perhaps due to the political trends in Pakistan when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his Pakistan People's Party were propagating 'Islamic Socialism' in Pakistan.
In short, Pervez, like Maulana Maududi, Fazlur Rehman, Khalifa Hakim and other contemporary modern scholars in the Muslim world wished to ensure peace and prosperity in an Islamic State. He seemed to borrow the theories of Ibn Khaldun" (1332-1406) and Shah Waliullah, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Allama Iqbal and especially of Karl Marx. For him Islam is the name of progress and he tried to interpret it according to the needs of the time and spelled out the concept of 'Rububia' (Islamic Economic Order) quite synonymously with the theory of Karl Marx. His concepts were not totally new as many Islamic scholars had already raised and discussed similar economic issues and suggested ways and means to bridge the gulf between the poor and the rich. But Pervez has synthesized all those views and suggested ways and means for bringing about a peaceful revolution in Pakistan for implementing the Rububia. Once it is established its fruits will reach the world at large as well.
Keeping in view the failure of socialism in the Soviet Union, one can disagree with Pervez' proposal of bringing a communistic revolution, but one cannot deny the philosophy of the Quran and practical manifestation of Rububia during the times of the Holy Prophet and Hazrat Omar which Pervez proudly cites as the ideal period in the history of Islam. Therefore, Pervez, by reinterpreting Quranic economic philosophy in modern times wished to ensure the re-emergence and re-establishment of that system.
Al-Qur'an: 15/9 (M.O.D.)
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|Publication:||Pakistan Economic and Social Review|
|Date:||Dec 31, 2017|
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