Saturday, March 5, 2016

Muhammad the Philosopher Messenger, Karl Marx the Philosopher Sociologist and Iqbal the Philosopher Poet on Labour Rights

By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
05 March 2016
Human beings as intelligent seekers of knowledge, when they contemplate their own place in Universe are awed by the precisions of operation of Universe and the complexities of life. Some such thinkers are led to conclude that there is a Creator, Sustainer and Master of it all and called it God the same as religious god, thus confusing the issue. 
Previous Messengers and Muhammad among them; as a curious and intensely sensitive person and inclined to contemplate on such matters, must have experienced the same and concluded that there is “No god…” other than the one Universal Master whom he called in his Arabic language  …Rabb
Some who profess atheism, as a result of their studies and contemplations surreptitiously accept the infinite Authority that pervades the universe with its fixed laws for its functions. They then name the observed knowledge gained as Science and intellectual the deductions as Philosophy.
Human history, and in particular the religious history of prophets (Messengers) show that such highly sensitive people rejected all worldly authorities as being false and faulty, and based on stratification and division of human beings; mainly on the basis of wealth and poverty in the society and so attempted to correct it.
One strategy to unify humanity is the concept of one unsighted but observed universal authority, just one figure-head; rejecting all earthly god(s) and so acknowledging … But God” as the only Authority. Muhammad the Messenger accepted and propagated this concept; the basis of Unitarianism.
All Messengers had to face and oppose many a false gods who combined political, military and often religious authority bundled into one. They claimed it as divinely bestowed on them, and pretended to be god-incarnate assuming total control over their subjects. This became as normal stratification, to the extent that the upper and wealthy class also considered that the poor in the society were destined to serve them unquestionably and so it is a natural necessity.
Thereafter, followed many philosophers, reformist, revolutionists and social engineers who, in one or more aspects of these norms considered them as gross inequities and so attempted to correct them, facing great opposition.
One such person of recent times can be sited as Karl Marks, an economist, social scientist, activist and philosopher. His observation of the inequities of distribution of wealth in the world and its negative effect on humanity led him to annunciate the principle of equal value of Labour alongside Capital it was named - Marxism. 
But there was a huge tussle.  The ideological war had to be fought on two fronts. The second was the Church and its hierarchy. From ancient times they were strong ally of the ruling classes and therefore it was essential for Marxism to declare Atheism as its intellectual weapon against these forces.
This War still rages on fiercely. Perhaps much more fiercely in the Muslim world which ostensibly holds the Quran close to its chest but knows not that it contains one of the essential commandments in it so as to redress this inequality? Did Marks know that?
Long ago, this particular aspect of economic classless society was given great importance. On the very second page of Quran, is the condition for acceptance of the plea that the Messenger made on (in?) behalf of humanity as a whole.
The condition given can be seen as Marxism annunciating what the Book proposes for equitable distribution of wealth to financially balancing human society: in Arabic text is given as وَمِمْا رَزَقْناھُم یُنفِقُوْن. And distribute the sustenance provided freely and equitably.
This responsibility is put on all and so also it becomes an obligation on those who are vested with authority to govern, that is, the State.
The problem with Muslims, the professed followers of the Book, is that they see Atheism as denial of their religious deities and their ritual of worship of them. But deities form no part of Quran. Its Rabb only asks for action on pledge and pleas made by Believers and guidance given in response; not worship. Did Marks gather that from the Book?
The poet philosopher Iqbal though lauded Marxism for its concern for the poor, was not satisfied with the implementation of Marxism and its absolute atheism and had derided Marxism for its “…no god” strategy of rejection of Universal Authority Rabb.
He implied that if only there was God (Rabb) in Marxism it would make it Islam. Rabb being absent, he maintained Marxism’s philosophy is just an exhibition of curvaceous calligraphy of economic philosophy:
تیری کتابوں میں اے حکیمِ معاش رکھا ہی کیا ہے آخر—خطوط خمدار کی نمائش
                                                        مریزو کجدار کئ نمائش
The implication being that the State - its human operatives have appointed themselves as gods-incarnate and have abrogated one of the essential responsibilities of ensuring equitable distribution of wealth as given in 2-3 in Quran:– وَمِمْا رَزَقْناھُم یُنفِقُوْن. An important part of Muslim’s Belief but hardly ever put it in practice, individually or on State basis!
That is why Labour has no “dignity” as demanded by the Book in 17-70 among Muslims in general and in many Muslim-nation countries Labour Day has no significance; as is in the case with other civilized nations of the world where it is celebrated as a holiday!
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer

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