Economic System in Islam Compared with Capitalism and Socialism

Social Justice

There are two means for achieving social justice in Islam:

(a) Islamic Social Insurance

This is partly the duty of all Muslims in the Islamic State. For they are responsible for their brothers and sisters in Islam. The Prophet (p.b.u. h.a.h.f.) said: "He who sleeps the night not caring about Muslims welfare is not one of us". He also said: "He is not one of us, who sleeps the night while his neighbour is hungry." It is clear then that if the State's possession is not enough to satisfy the necessary needs of the poor people, it has the right to pass laws on rich people in order to help the poor.

The State's duty is not providing the essential requirements of her citizens only. This is the minimum which should be given, but the State ought to endeavour for higher standard of living, whose degree is decided by the economic progress of the Muslim community.

Imam Musa ibn Ja'far (al-Kazim) said: "The Muslim governor should distribute the national wealth according to the directions made by God. It should be divided into eight shares, for the poor and the needy. He should distribute it among them so that they will be satisfied during the year without hardship or concealing their need.

If something is left it should be returned to the governor, but if it was not enough so that they are not yet content, the Governor ought to supply them from the reserves according to their need till they become satisfied."

(b) Islamic Social Balance

The Islamic State strives to limit and lessen material differences among Muslims. Although it recognises natural differences among people due to environment, education, and personal gifts, etc. On the other hand, Capitalism approves and contributes to widen the gap between two extreme classes in the society. One class have all the wealth, while the other is empty handed.

Socialism denies any natural difference among people and forces its "concept of equality" on the society.

وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَائِفَ الْأَرْضِ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَكُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ سَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ 

"And it is He who made you (His) vicegerent in the earth and raised some of you above others in grades, that He may try you in what He gave you; Verily your Lord is quick in the requital (of evil) and He is most surely the Forgiving, the Merciful". ( Qur'an, 6:165)

The ways of conceiving social balance are two:

(1) The Islamic State provides equal opportunities for all members of the society to work, develop and utilise their powers.

(2) The Islamic State endeavours to lift up the standard of the poor, on one hand, while it closes the revenues and causes of capital inflation, on the other. This action would limit and gradually converge the gap between the poor and rich people, which prevent any class-consciousness. There are many examples by which the Islamic State secures social balance in the society. It has been already mentioned that a large sum of the national economy is taken under collective and State ownership.