Islam’s Normative Discourse On Monotheism And Socio-Economic Justice

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Dr. Ghulam Shabbir , Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim


Islam emerged with the grand ethical ideal of monotheism as an inevitable moral necessity of destroying corrupt socio-economic structures of the world and redeeming socio-economic equilibrium and its essential egalitarian spirit inexorably culminated in the establishment of a global society based on the principle of One God-One Humanity. What transpired from the religious experience of Muhammad in the Cave of Hira was that he was obligated to plant socio-economic justice, particularly economic egalitarianism, in the fertile soil of monotheism since monotheism and social justice are two sides of the same coin linked organically to each other. Muhammad, fully conscious of the universality of his mission, addressed all mankind beginning with pagans of Mecca, Jews and Christians, his immediate addresses, to realize the ideal of monotheism in practical life: if God is one, mankind is also one. It required elimination of social inequalities, economic disparities, and political disenfranchisement. He himself as well as his opponents knew that social reform on such grand scale would require his assumption of political power, evoking fierce opposition at Mecca and resulting in his migration to Medina, where he finally found conductive environment to implement his program of moral sociopolitical order, in perfect logical harmony to its initial impulse and strategy at Mecca. To the Quran, Faith not accompanied by active (and mutual) good will (tawasa) and cooperation (taawun) is hypocrisy not Faith at all. The Brotherhood of Medina (Muwakhat) was materialization of tawasa and taawun in its most ideal form, in which men competed only for virtue and mutual help based on sadaqah and zakat -- the linchpin of Quran’s fiscal system, which terms Riba, by implication all commercial malpractices that distort socio-economic equilibrium of society, a war against God and His Prophet. This paper is based on qualitative research and intends to explore how did the Quran unfold its ideology of socio-economic justice over 23 years of prophetic career in his Sitz im Leben? Whether basic impulse of Islam was personalism i.e., to cultivate personal piety for “salvation” as medieval Sufism under the huge impact of al-Ghazali came to believe, or was it geared to establish a just socio-economic world order not based on “salvation” but on Quranic formula of “success [falah’ fowz]” or “failure [khusran]”, in the task of building egalitarian socio-political order?

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