The Islamic Solution

There are no more than two alternatives for modern man to solve the basic problem of society. Either, he should somehow abandon his self-seeking character and become altruistic while keeping his materialistic world view; or, he should abandon his materialistic outlook and select a different metaphysical criterion and goal.

The communists select the first alternative because they do not believe that man is self-seeking by nature. They erroneously regard private property as infrastructure and man's self-seeking as its superstructure. This is putting the cart before the horse. The second alternative is chosen by Islam. It does not abolish private property but gives a new meaning to human existence. It does not consider human nature a mechanical artifact of social and economic conditions, nor does it put the society at the mercy of the individual.

The Islamic outlook is based in faith in a transcendent source of life and existence. This world is a prelude to another. The highest value and criterion of all human activities and pursuits is the attainment of God's good pleasure and His approval. All human history testifies to the innateness of man's self-seeking character. Had it not been for this self-seeking and self-love there would have been no motive for the satisfaction of human needs. No school of thought or ideology can offer an ultimate solution to man's problems without taking into account his nature and without establishing a harmony between that which is and that which ought to be.

Offering a transcendental interpretation of life, a perspective in which this world is a prelude to the hereafter, Islam seeks to bring about a harmony between man's self-seeking nature and the good of society, by putting forward the criterion of the attainment of God's approval and good pleasure as the ultimate end in itself. As a result it eliminates the conflict between the good of the individual and that of society, and the individual is promised an everlasting reward in his struggle for the establishment of a prosperous and just society as a means for the attainment of God's good pleasure:

Upon that day men shall issue in scatterings to see their works, and whose has done an atom's weight of good shall see it, and whose has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it. (99:6-8)

Such a thing is not possible in the framework of a materialistic world view. The Islamic world view opens up an infinite vista before man's eye, and compensates his ephemeral losses with lasting benefits.

Apart from transforming human criteria through a transcendental world view, Islam offers a specific system of training for nourishing man's various spiritual, moral and emotional potentialities which lie latent in his being. Islam takes into consideration the welfare of both the individual and society, based as it is on a spiritual understanding and moral sense of life. Other systems either sacrifice the individual for society or society for the individual, and as a result they paralyze man's nature and expose social life to severe complications and perils.

Here, at the end of his introduction, the author spells out his objective, which is a comparative study of the philosophical viewpoints of Islam and other schools which confront it. Since the capitalist system lacks any philosophical basis, he proposes to examine in detail the philosophical foundations of dialectical materialism.