Mawdudi Islamic Theory and Communism Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Mohan describes this concept this way:

"A new tribalism seems to mark the post-modern evolution of the contemporary society in which the ominous forces of oppression are decivilizing people. Paradoxes of existence fracture the essence of life (p 1)."

Paradoxes of existence describe those people who have been subdued by the aggressive forces of a greater political power (Tucker 1990 p 1). This was evidenced when Stalin drove the communist revolution to its power place between 1929 and 1941. During that period of imposing communism on Russians, Stalin murdered, or eliminated anyone whom he believed might raise a public awareness of what was happening in Russia -- and that elimination knew no class or political distinction (p 275). Stalin is cited by Tucker (1990) as saying to H.G. Wells, "The new state power creates a new legality, a new order which is a revolutionary order (p *)." Professor Mahmoud Youssef Shawarbi concurs, remarking:

"In communism, the legislator is free to put forward any laws he believes - according to his own mentality - that will lead to the material progress of the communist society without any regard to any moral or religious obligations. As a matter of fact, in communism all legislations are anti-religion (Shawarbi, unknown, p 11 of 13)."

Stalin used assassination and murder as a means to bring about his own law and revolutionary order (p *). Following Stalin's attempt to assassinate Lenin, the period known as the Red Terror ensued, wherein countless Russians were murdered (p 275).

The Marxist ideal of freedom arises out of Lenin's perception that freedom is a manifestation of social development, and is omnipotent because that social development, or evolution, is its own truth (Mohan 1993). Lenin's work in forcing the development in the direction of communism was subsequently furthered by Stalin's own interpretation of freedom in his new order as it existed within the parameters of law that forced the ideology structure within which people had to build and lead their lives.

The Marxist concept, then, is not a natural evolution of humanity. It is, rather, a forced state of ideology upon a population that is being bent against their natural inclination into a structure of philosophical ideology, and because of that the fit does not work for everyone and what follows is the loss of the natural human characteristics of spontaneity, individualism, and, Mohan says, elitism (p 11). Elitism, however, is debatable, because regardless of the philosophical doctrine by which communism forced people to bend to, the power elites existed within that structure, and exercised a greater freedom, and one that was afforded them greater luxury and comfort as individuals by virtue of their power status.

The Marxist negative view of bourgeois freedom is perceived from the communist pedestal of empowered elitism as it would hold meaning in the lives of the masses (Mohan p 11). It will perhaps as no surprise to some who find similarities between the forced (jihad) ideals of communism and Islamic jihad that Marx spoke with expressions of admiration for what he observed as the functional, simple, and approvingly lacking ostentation lifestyle of the Egyptian masses (Ed. Selsman et al. p 267). Marx is cited by Selsman et al. As reflecting on Egyptian society this way:

"The fewer the number of natural wants imperatively calling for satisfaction, and the greater the natural fertility of the soil and the favorableness of the climate, so much less is the labor time necessary for the maintenance and reproduction of the producer. So much greater therefore can be the excess of his labor for others over his labor for himself. Diodorus long ago remarked this in relation to the ancient Egyptians. "It is altogether incredible how little trouble and expense the bringing up of their children causes them. They cook for them the first simple food at hand; they also give them the lower part of the papyrus stem to eat, so far as it can be roasted in the fire, and the roots and stalks of marsh plants, some raw, some boiled and roasted. Most of the children go without shoes and unclothed, for the air is mild. Hence a child, until he is grown up, costs his parents not more, on the whole, than 20 drachmas. It is this, chiefly, which explains why the population of Egypt is so numerous, and, therefore, why so many great works can be undertaken." Nevertheless the grand structures of ancient Egypt are less due to the extent of its population than to the large proportion of it that was freely disposable. Just as the individual laborer can do more surplus labor in proportion as his necessary labor time is less, so with regard to the working population. The smaller the part of it which is required for the production of the necessary means of subsistence, so much the greater is the part that can be set to do other work (Ed Selsman et al. pp 267-268)."

We can see how observing Middle Eastern societies that were predominantly subsistent and on an individual or small scale met their needs with the fruit of their labors appealed to Marx. Never mind that this made little sense as might pertain to an industrialized society, but we can nonetheless observe how this concept translated itself into the ideology of Marx. In turn, these ideas derived from observing subsistent third world societies were incorporated into an ideology that was then imposed upon a people first by Lenin, then by Stalin, and others as it spread across Eastern Europe and Communist Asia. The elements of peasantry are reflected in Marx's philosophy; but it goes unmentioned that there will be an elite ruling class -- living differently from tsarist rule only in that the socialism was a new political body as opposed to an inherited royalty. Even as Marx makes his observations about the Egyptians, he notices, and identifies them accordingly in his remarks as the working population. This suggests that there is a non-working population, perhaps the governing population, which will ostensibly -- and as we know did happen -- live differently, better, than the working class and subsistent rural people.

The Analysis

It is interesting to note that even while Dr. Mahmoud Youssef Shawarbi describes his rationale as to why Islam is a natural barrier or roadblock to Communism, he is all the while listing the very similarities of the two philosophies. When we consider Islam in terms of a theocracy, one that is at the center of people's daily lives, and one that carries strict punishments for failure to adhere to the faith as prescribed not just by the state, but by the prelates to the faith whom are imbedded in the daily processes of the state; then Islam surrenders its religiosity to political and social governance. If a people are governed in their daily lives by their religious ideologies, which foregoes that distinction between church and state, then it becomes unclear where that which is intended for them by God, salvation; and that which is intended for them by civil governance, order and justice. Under the governance of Islamic states, salvation is forced upon the people, who are then deprived of that which God also instilled in us: free will.

Communism, like Islam, forces governance upon the people under its political system of order and justice. When Islam obscures the concept of Allah in the minds of the faithful by combining it with civil law and civil behavior and needs; then Allah is reduced to a non-meditative cleansing of the soul in the name of Allah, and becomes a perfunctory behavior under social law. The deep personal relationship between mankind and Allah is broken, or non-existent, as is the goal under Communism as concerns religion, because the state, not the salvation, becomes of the focus in the life of the citizens.

Communism, like Islam, obliterates the image of God, and eradicates the personal relationship between a person and God by laws that make illegal religion and religious practices. While Professor Mahmoud Youssef Shawarbi's argument in favor of a distinction between faith and state in the Islamic state is weak, Sayyed Vali Reza Nasr (1996) cites Mawdudi on the state and faith, saying that Islam could not be understood through meditation alone (p 80).

"Mawdudi began by interpreting Islam in political terms. Islam, argued Mawdudi, could not be understood through mere contemplation; it could only find meaning when implemented by what he termed 'amali shahadat (testimony of faith through practice). Religious truth was predicated on social action, which was also the supreme expression of piety.3 Reiterating his stock argument in favor of revivalism, Mawdudi time and again asserted that Islam recognized no boundaries between the spiritual and the mundane, between faith and politics: "The chief characteristic of Islam is that it makes no distinction between the…

Sources Used in Document:


Firestone, Reuven. Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Book online. Available from Questia, Internet. Accessed 22 May 2009.

Haar, Gerrie Ter and James J. Busuttil, eds. Bridge or Barrier: Religion, Violence, and Visions for Peace. Boston: Brill, 2005. Book online. Available from Questia, Internet. Accessed 22 May 2009.

Mohan, Brij. Eclipse of Freedom: The World of Oppression. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1993. Book online. Available from Questia, Internet. Accessed 22 May 2009.

Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza. Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Book online. Available from Questia, Internet. Accessed 22 May 2009.

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