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Our Philosophy – Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr

I Socialism and Communism

There are many schools of socialism. The best-known of these is chat which teats on Marxist theory, or dialectical materialism, which expresses a specific philosophy of life and a materialistic understanding of it along dialectical lines. Dialectical materialists have applied this theory to history, society and economics; and thus, it became a philosophical doctrine concerning the world, a method for studying history and society, a school of economics and a plan in politics. In other words, it shapes the entirety of humankind into a specific mold, according to the kind of thinking they have, their outlook on life and their practical actions. There is no doubt that the materialistic philosophy, as well as the dialectical method, are not the creation and innovation of the Marxist school. The materialistic tendency existed in philosophical circles thousands of years ago, revealed at times, while concealed ac other times behind sophistry and absolute denial. Similarly, some points of the dialectical method of thinking have deep roots in human thought. All its points were formulated at the hands of Hegel, the well-known idealist philosopher. After that, Karl Marx adopted this [dialectical] method and chat [materialistic] philosophy. He tried to apply them to all fields of life, and achieved two things. First, by the dialectical method, he explained history from a purely materialistic perspective. Second, he claimed to have discovered the contradictions of capitalism and the surplus value that the possessor of money steals from his employees in accordance with his doctrine. [4]

On the basis of these two achievements, Marx based his faith on the necessity of abolishing the capitalistic system and erecting, instead, the communistic and the socialistic societies (p. 27) which he considered as humankind’s [first] step toward a full implementation of communism.

In this philosophy, the social field is one of struggle among contradictions. Every social situation that pervades this field is a purely material phenomenon concordant with the rest of the material phenomena and circumstances, and influenced by them. However, ac the same time, this social situation caries its own contradiction within itself. Then struggle erupts among the contradictions within its contents, until the contradictions accumulate and create a change in this situation and the construction of a new situation. Thus, the battle continues, until all people become of one class, and the interests of every individual become represented in the interests of this unified class.

At that point, harmony prevails, peace is realized, and all the bad effects of the capitalistic democratic system are removed, because such effects were produced by the existence of multiple classes in society. This multiplicity of classes was, in turn, produced by society’s division into producer and employee. Therefore, it is necessary to put an end to this division by means of terminating ownership.

In this respect, communism differs from socialism in some of its principal economic ideas. The communist economy is based on the following. First, private ownership must be canceled and fully obliterated from society. All wealth must be appropriated by everyone and handled by the state, since it is the legal trustee over society, so that the state manages and exploits this wealth for the welfare of the whole population. The belief of the communistic school in the necessity of this absolute nationalization was a natural reaction to the complications of private ownership in the capitalistic democratic system. Such nationalization was justified on the ground that its purpose was the cancellation of the capitalistic class and the uniting of people in one class, in order than to end the struggle, and to prevent the individual from employing the various tactics and methods for enlarging his wealth, in an attempt to satisfy his greed and appease the motive that drives him after personal benefit. (p. 28)

Second, goods produced must be distributed in accordance with the individual need for consumption. This point is summarized in the following text: ‘from everyone, in accordance with his capacity, and for everyone, in accordance with his needs’. This is to say that every individual has natural needs deprived of which he cannot survive. He devotes all his efforts to society; in return, society satisfies the necessities of his life and supports his living.

Third, this must be carried out on the basis of an economic plan put forth by the state. In this plan, the state reconciles the needs of the whole population with the quantity, variety and limit of production, in order to prevent afflicting society with the same illnesses and difficulties that occurred in the capitalistic society when absolute freedom was allowed.

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