Capitalism Communism

Islam and Russia – 5

Islam and Russia (5) (Dr. Qazi Muhammad Barakatullah) COMMUNIST REVOLUTION . It was towards the end of the 18th century (C.E.) that a Movement started with the name of Democracy. It was understood that the remedy to remove disparity among the people in their daily life did not lie with individuals but in the hands of Government. It was recognized that the Government had a duty to undertake measures of relief and reform for the people of the country. It was thus urged that people should take part in running the affairs of their country. A representative Government was thus said to be of the people. for the people and by the people. Therefore, the first urge under Democracy was to secure representation from different classes and masses and of people with different interests. In the beginning the representatives were landlords and other interest groups were left out or ignored, so manufacturers and industrialists sought to safeguard the interest of their class. This endeavour was labelled as Liberalism. Then another class, who were workers in factories and offices, began to seek recognition to secure and preserve their rights. The policy and programme put forward by this group was called “socialism”. The principal object of this movement was to secure an equitable distribution of wealth between the owners of capital and the working class. For this purpose, this group was anxious to take the affairs of the government into their own hands. It was then assumed that this action would result in the redress of the grievances of the workers as well as that of other poor sections of the country. The struggle for securing equitable treatment for working class people received great impetus from the doctrine announced by Karl Marx. He advocated that working class people should seize power and that was the only way to redress their grievances. Karl Marx advocated that the workers should take possession of the machinery of the Government. He therefore urged the workers to seize political power in order to carry out economic and political reform. Under the doctrine of Marx, nothing should be given to the capitalists. Power and authority should be vested in the hands of the workers. ISLAM AND RUSSIA 13 Further, Marx encouraged and organized violent revolution. Such teachings of Karl Marx took practical shape in Bolshevism. Marx had argued that the capitalist class had been so long in power that the workers had become demoralized and unable to stand on their feet upright. The workers were not in a position to safeguard their interests due to long suffering and deprivation which they had experienced under the tyranny of the capitalists. They had been deprived of their stamina, willpower and confidence due to being under the rule of the capitalist class for a very long time. Karl Marx therefore advocated that in the beginning the workers should not be entrusted with direct authority in the affairs of the government. As . such Karl Marx first exploited the workers to seize the reins of the government. He urged that the workers should be educated to run the affairs of the government. In the meantime he advocated dictatorship ·to bring up the next generation in an atmosphere of equality, removing class distinction without any sense of inferiority. Then political authority could be handed over to the masses. The Marxist theory took a definite shape and a communist revolution commenced. Organized propaganda was carried on among the workers. The contrast between the miserable conditions of the working class and the luxurious surroundings of the capitalists was carefully pointed out with the result that several anti-capitalist societies came into existence. When the working class organizations gained strength, a meeting was called to determine, if possible, a common line of action. Lenin was the leader of one powerful group and Martov was the leader of another strong group. Lenin carried the majority and his party came to be known as Bolshevik (major party) and Martov’s as Menshevik (minor party). There were few distinctions between Lenin and Martov in the approach to carry on the programme into action. First, Lenin felt that the workers should not seek support of any other group or party. Martov, however, saw no harm in seeking the co-operation of other active groups until the party had assumed complete power, control and authority. Second, Lenin said that in the beginning dictatorship was inevitable; but Martov argued for establishing a Republican form of Government in the beginning. Third, Martov advocated that the death penalty should be abolished outright. Lenin argued that the death penalty would be abolished later on. He reiterated that the Czar should be put to death after his removal from power and authority. He felt that the revolutionary government would not be safe and secure so long as the Czar was alive. It is said that there was a personal and emotional reason for Lenin to argue death for the Czar when deposed. Lenin’s brother had been killed earlier for the cause of the revolution. Therefore Lenin’s hatred for the Czar was clear and as such he favoured the death penalty to begin with even if it was only for the Czar. 14 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The Communist Revolution was eventually successful. The Czar was forced to abdicate and later on taken into custody. The authority, power and control came into the hands of the Mensheviks, the minor p&rty with Martov as leader. It was a sort of compromising government because other parties were ready to support him rather than Lenin. However, soon afterwards the situation changed and the Bolsheviks took control of the government. (The New World Order of Islam, by Hazrat Mirza BashirudDin Mahmud Ahmad). OBJECTIVE The main objective of the Bolshevik system is to stamp out distinction between the rich and poor and to see that everybody has food, clothing and medical facilities. Also that the needs of everybody are met to a standard which should be the same for everybody. None-the-Iess, it is beyond human power to establish complete equality for all human beings in all circumstances of life. Difference in wealth and worldly possessions have always existed from time immemorial. Karl Marx exploited the working class people to establish the so-called equality between rich and poor. Through time the Russian experiment has proved such a maxim to be only theoretical in nature. Practically the distinction between the ruling class and the working class is becoming more visible as time moves on. The principles upon which the Russian system is based in accordance with Marxist theory are as follows: 1. From each according to his or her capacity: If, for example, a person owns ten acres of land and another one hundred acres then the levy from each will not be equal or even in equal proportion. Therefore, allowing for the legitimate needs of each, the surplus will be taken away from him. Accordingly, the Bolsheviks took possession of all so-labelled extra property, wealth and other sources of production. 2. To each according to his or her needs: A person with less productivity with a large family would yield less to the state and receive more from the state, as compared to another person with higher productivity and smaller family, in accordance with this principle the government charged itself with providing for the needs of every manual worker to each family in proportion to its members. The concept and scope of the needs, however, will be determined by the government. 3. The surplus belongs to the State: The surplus will be taken away by the government with the object that it would be utilized for the benefit of the whole community. Accordingly. the ISLAM AND RUSSIA 15 government takes away everything determined surplus in production and the sources of production. 4. The goods as well as persons are subject to State control: That is to say that the State and not an individual owner has the right to decide what should be grown, where and what should not be grown in a particular locality. For example, areas are designated to the cultivation of sugar cane, growing of wheat or cotton. Accordingly, the Bolsheviks deprived peasants, traders and artisans by dictating to them what each will or will not do. Under this principle, all sorts of activities agricultural, industrial as well as trade and commerce should be carried on as prescribed by the State. The State determines what shall be grown or produced in each area and the peasants have no choice in this matter. The same is the case with other occupations and activities. As such everybody has thus been reduced to the level of a task labourer. 5. Manual labour: The intellectual effort in itself has no value if divorced from manual labour . The basis of all production is manual labour. Anyone who does not undergo manual labour shall have no claim on the State and community. This principle has been used as a weapon against religion. As a priest did not indulge in manual labour ,he was not entitled to have his needs fulfilled by the State. The result was that the priests were compelled to devote the whole or greater part of their time in manual labour . Otherwise, “no daily bread” would be coming to them. 6. Violence: To ensure the successful working of these principles a policy of offence rather than of defence should be adopted. Accordingly, the Bolsheviks began intensive propaganda to convert other countries. The slogan of the Communist was to abolish property and to establish equality between rich and poor which did get some attention in certain countries. Later the Communists were exposed for exploiting the poor sections without telling them the truth and whole truth both in their own country and abroad. (Ref: Ibid: pp. 15-17). RELIGIOUS ATIITUDE The Bolsheviks had no experience of any pure and rational religion. They identified all religions with the most corrupt version of Christianity. When Karl Marx wrote the words “Religion is the opium of the people” he was referring to the Christian religion. Ludwig Feuerbach had exposed the Christian religion in his book “Essence of Christianity” (1841). Actually, the Bolsheviks were tired of the monasteries enjoying large revenues which were 16 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS the nests of miracle mongering. It was concluded that in Tsarist Russia, Christianity was at its worst. So reaction against Christianity made Marx and Engels staunch materialists. They advocated that there is only one world – this world; no soul; no immortality; no life after death. Thus they conceived that the revolution should be based on defiant and militant atheism. They considered Christianity an evil that could not be mended. The Bolsheviks then adopted the principle that religion is a matter for the free choice of each adult. It insisted that parents have no right to instil the principles of any religion into the heads of their children. Under this principle children are separated from their parents at an early age. They are brought up and educated under the supervision and control of the State. All reference to religion and religious doctrines is excluded from the prescribed curriculum. The result is that a child grows up completely in an environment indifferent to religion. By the time an individual becomes an adult and ready to make personal decisions, he or she is almost hostile even to the idea of religion. This attitude reflects in a system which ensures that coming generations will be confirmed atheists. The Holy Quran has alluded to this communist point of view as follows: “Among men there are some who dispute about Allah without knowledge and follow every rebellious satan. Among men is he who disputes concerning Allah without knowledge and without guidance and without an illuminating Book. Turning his side disdainfully that he may lead men astray from the way of Allah. For him is disgrace in this world; and on the Day of Resurrection We shall make him taste of punishment of burning.” (Holy Quran 22: 4:9-10). Regardless of what the political situation is in Russia today, Allah has chosen Islam for mankind: “Surely the true religion with Allah is Islam.” (3:20). “And whosoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him.” (3:86). Mankind being one (2:2-4) all people are born inclined in nature (Fitrat) towards Islam, irrespective of country, race or creed. (30:31). “God is One and humanity is one. This is Fitrat Allah or Dinal Fitrah – the religion which is rooted in the nature of man and to which he conforms and instinctively reacts. It is in this religion that a child is born, but his environment, the ideas and beliefs of his parents and the training he receives from them subsequently make him a Jew, a Magian or a Christian.” (Bukhari). (F.N.: 2248, English Commentary, Rabwah, Pakistan). ISLAM AND RUSSIA 17 Whereas a Communist looks at this world as the only world, being material and an end in itself, a Muslim fervently prays: “And of them there are some who say Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come, and save us from the torment of fire.” (2:202). F.N.: This Prayer is very comprehensive and the Holy Prophet very often made use of it. (Muslim). (F.N.: 239; English Commentary). Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam has pronounced: “Hear ye people and bear witness to it that God Almighty, the Creator of heavens and earth, has foretold me that He shall spread His own Ahmadiyya Movement in all parts of world and make triumphant over all religions by dint of reason and intuition. The days are approaching, rather at hand that Islam will be the only religion held in esteem by all. God shall bless this religion (Islam) and this Movement (Ahmadiyya) in an extraordinary manner. There shall be only one religion, Islam and one guide, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him) in this world. I was raised only to sow the seed for renovation of Islam and I have done it. Islam shall grow now and flourish and no one can check its growth.” (Tazkiratul Shahadatain, English Translation p. 65). DIGNITY OF LABOUR Marxism has claimed to be the first creed which has conferred on workers’ self respect and dignity. Actually Islam was the first to place great emphasis on the necessity for hard work and the dignity of labour. The Holy Prophet of Islam himself was an un tiring worker throughout his life. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, was both a temporal and spiritual king, but he led the simple life of a worker. He never disliked any work no matter how humble and how hard. All his life he was a staunch supporter of the weak and the oppressed. He was simple in his appearance; but it was as though sunlight beamed in his countenance (Life of Muhammad by Sir William Muir). The Holy Prophet of Islam wore simple clothing. Generally it consisted of a shirt and Izar (a piece of cloth wrapped around the waist, hanging to the ankles). Sometimes he wore just a shirt and trousers. (Bukhari). He had very simple habits. No work was too low for him. He repaired his shoes with his own hands. He milked the goats himself. He patched his clothes himself. He 18 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS would dust his home and assisted in the household duties. He would go shopping personally not only for his own household but also for his neighbours and friends. He shared labour work with others in the construction of a Mosque. He was working like others when a ditch was being dug around Medina to fortify it against heavy attack. He never despised any type of work and by his example taught that every type of work dignified a person. Once during a journey, the Holy Prophet’s party arrived at their camping place. His companions immediately occupied themselves with their respective tasks in setting up camp for the night. Holy Prophet said “You have allotted no task for me. I shall go and collect fuel for cooking.” His companions protested and said “0 Messenger of Allah! why should you occupy yourself in that way when all of us are here to do whatever may be necessary.” He said “No. No. It is my duty to share in whatever may have to be done”, so he collected the fire-wood for cooking the food (Zurqani, Vol. 4, p. 306). He made it clear that every work was honourable. His companions followed his example and the most honourable of them did not hate even to work as a porter. It was dignity of labour that Holy Prophet referred to when he said that a road side labourer, a wood cutter or a drawer of water were as respectable members of the Muslim Social Order as were big merchants or high dignitaries. Again and again the Holy Prophet of Islam remarked that no one eats better food than that which he eats out of the work of his own hands. (Bukhari). Once he said, Allah did not raise a Prophet but he pastured goats. He was questioned whether he did it and replied: “Yes! I pastured them for the people of Mecca for sometime.” (Bukhari). The Holy Prophet made it clear that it was better to work with the hands and earn wages rather than depending on other people for charity. He is reported to have said “If one of you should take his rope and bring a bundle of firewood on his back and then sell it with which Allah should save his honor, it is better for him than that he should beg of people whether they give him or do not give him” (Bukhari). As such, the humblest of work carried with it a sense of dignity. The Muslims who adopted the professions of goldsmith, tailor, carpenter, butcher, were all regarded as honourable members of society as much as other dignitaries of the Muslim Community. No service carried with it any indignity. So much so it was taught and practiced that a servant would eat at the same table along with his master. (Bukhari). The Holy Ouran is explicit on the dignity of labour. Equal stress is laid throughout the Holy Ouran on faith and work to go hand in hand. Some verses from the Holy Ouran are cited here: 1. “And man will have nothing but what he strives for.” (53:40). The verse also signifies that one should earn one’s livelihood by the sweat of one’s brow.” (F.N.: 2888; English Commentary). ISLAM AND RUSSIA 2. “So whoever does good works and is a believer, his endeavor will not be rejected and we shall surely record it.” (21:95). 3. “And 0 my people, act according to your power. ” (11:94). The verse also signifies that they should go on working with their own plans. The righteous would work as guided by their Faith. The result would show who was working in accordance with God’s will and who was seeking to defy and frustrate His purpose. (F.N.: 1343A; English Commentary). 19 The relations between a labourer and his employer were like two parties signing a contract on terms of equality. The employer as well as the employee (labourer) were considered parties and the employer was as much bound by the terms of the agreement as the labourer. It was explicitly mentioned by the Holy Prophet of Islam: “Muslims shall be bound by the conditions which they make.” (Bukhari). If for one reason or another, the remuneration of a labourer was not paid, it was recommended that the amount should be invested in some business and the labourer would be entitled to its profit. It is related in a Hadees that an employer hired a labourer who after finishing the work left the town without his due payment. The employer invested his remuneration in a profitable business which yielded an abundant wealth. The labourer came back after a long time and desired to have his wages paid by the employer. The employer was pleased enough to give all the wealth generated by the wages to the former labourer who then became a rich man himself. (Bukhari). The principle was also laid down that every employer, every servant and every labourer was entitled to remuneration and further that such payment should be received and accepted by the employees. It is narrated that once a Collector appointed by the Holy Prophet was offered remuneration for his services. The Collector declined to accept the payment saying that he did not stand in need of that money. But the Holy Prophet of Islam asked him to accept the payment and he could give it away in charity if so desired. (Bukhari). It is thus clear that it was Islam, 1400 years ago, that attached dignity to labour; and, as such, a labourer was as dignified as any member of the community. What Marxism has done is simply to exploit the labourers. The labourers are in the lowest ebb of society in Russia as in any other country of the world. RUSSIAN LIFE Karl Marx, the leader of Communist thought exploited the wage-earning proletariat. Russia, as such, adopted the materialistic ideology. The system has apparently provided the people with jobs, food, housing, health services and salaries. But the disparity between the ruling-class and the working-class 20 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS still exists which the revolution had avowed to terminate. The Russian system has terribly failed in removing the disparity between classes and masses, because it is beyond human power to remove or level up inequalities in the countless circumstances of human life. Ordinary individuals feel very small and powerless in comparison to the people having control over the helm of affairs. The Russian system in itself is extremely inefficient. It does not satisfy individual wants and ambitions. Indoctrination is the general way of life and conformity is instilled into Russians from their birth. Workers being humans, cannot be controlled by merely treating them as machines. In Ukraine, for example, a factory produced 1300 pairs of sun-glasses but they were so dark that nothing could be seen through them even when looking closely at the object. This report seems to sum up the problems of Soviet labour life. There is a lot of waste involved in production. This is a normal matter of routine for Russian factory workers. The factory manufacturing the sun-glasses did not need to compete with any rival factory to capture a share of the market. It needed only to turn out so many items assigned to it under the yearly plan. If it did not turn out the required number there would be penalties and party reprimands. Sometimes when the supply of raw material arrived late, there would be only a few days to fulfil the monthly required number of items. The factory runs round the clock. There is no time to check and refine the product. The articles produced in like manner are generally sloppy and defective. This fulfils the Russian aim of production of material goods. However, the Russian people are careful in buying the goods made during the close of the month. It is taken for granted that such things are bound to be faulty. It is not only the manufacturing industries that are subject to a required number of items plan. In fact, every aspect of Russian working life has its target. The restaurants have so many meals to serve. Painters have so many square metres of wall to cover. Taxi drivers have so many journeys to make. Sometimes empty trains rattle round the route to attain the monthly required mileage. Poor performance in the manufacturing industry is a common problem in Russia. Workers do not work properly. They do not keep their working schedule. Sometimes they arrive late and frequently become absent from their duty. It was easy, previously, to fire such a person from the job. But now it is becoming costly. A replacement has to be hired and trained for the specific duty. It means that the target output for that month might suffer. Inasmuch as Lenin said “Only those who work should eat” , the person fired from his job has also to seek employment somewhere else. A pool of temporary employment was created for minimum wages. These people could be used for extra casual labour such as repairing the streets, working on the farms etc. until they found a suitable job according to their qualification. ISLAM AND RUSSIA 21 Again, once on the job, people take time off illegally to do shopping and other personal affairs. Such a productive time runs into the loss of millions of hours in Russia for which there is no remedy in sight. Sometimes money spent on training new persons for the job is considerable, but workers know that they can leave a job and find another job, though after a lapse oftime. As such they become lazy and when bored they can quit one job to find another. The average wage of a worker is still far below normal in Russia. However, basic commodities and services such as rent, fuel, transportation, medicine and food are inexpensive. Insofar as attitude towards the State is concerned, the workers do not care much about that. No one worries at considerable loss resulting from careless handling of water pipes, and millions of gallons of hot water pouring out of broken pipes. Fruit is sometimes rotting after being piled up with a shovel. And sometimes numerous bags of cement are left out in the rain. Thus Karl Marx’s interest in production and means of production is manifesting incalculable waste at the hands of the working-class people. And the proletariat whom Marx exploited are experiencing a gulf between themselves and the ruling class with no bridging in sight. (Life in Russia, by Binyon). Recently the Soviet Press has reported new details about Stalin’s activities in that land where Communist equality should have prevailed. A magazine has revealed new details about Joseph V. Stalin’s purges of the 1930s, including strong criticism of the late Soviet leader for killing or imprisoning military commanders before World War H. The disclosures appeared in an article in a recent issue of the weekly Ogonek, about a Soviet diplomat who openly defied Stalin. “You have murdered the most talented generals, brought up on the experience of the world and civil wars, who have reconstructed the Red Army according to the most novel technology, and have made her invincible” wrote the diplomat, Fedor F. Raskolnikov. He died in France in September 1939 under what Western scholars consider to be mysterious circumstances. The Ogonek article said Stalin “cut out” three out of the army’s five marshals, three of the five first-rank Commanders, all 10 second-rank Commanders and scores of other officers. Raskolnikov wrote an open letter to Stalin two weeks before Nazi Germany started World War H by attacking Poland. Western historians say Stalin severely crippled the Soviet military and ignored warnings of Germany’s June 22, 1941 invasion. Ogonek, quoting Raskolnikov’s letters, also said that Stalin staged trials on false charges of old Bolsheviks, writers, scientists, scholars and artists. (The Clarion Ledger, June 28, 1987). Recently, an American Weekly, has published two pictures of Mr. Gorbachev and his wife with comments under the caption “Soviet Disappearing Act” the Weekly comments: “When Raisa Gorbachev – wife of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev 22 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS stepped off a plane in India recently, she was wearing a big, flashy ring (picture: arrow above.) But when a picture of the Gorbachevs’ visit was printed in the Russian newspaper Pravda, Raisa was ringless (picture: below). Apparently, the newspaper’s Communist editors do not like to show that Russian politicians spend the people’s money on splashy jewelry for their wives. ” (National Enquirer, July 7,1987). Centenary Issue of the Review of Religions Readers will be glad to know of the proposal to publish a special Centenary Edition of The Review of Religions in March 1989. To make it worthy of the august occasion we invite suggestions concerning its size, contents and other relevant points. Literary contributions are also solicited for consideration which, along with proposals, should reach us before 30th December 1987. ,———Cover Design ———, Readers with an artistic touch are invited to submit a cover design for the Review of Religions. r

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment