Recent Defeat of Communism and Its Meaning for Muslims
Dr. Ahmad Shafaat
As everybody knows, for the most part
the present world is run by three systems:
capitalist /socialist democratic
totalitarianism, atheistic communism,
In the last decade the first of these
three systems has won big victories against the other two. All
communist countries, which are already secularist, are facing strong
pressures from within to move in the direction of western-style
democratic capitalism or socialism or have already started to move
in that direction.
Dictatorships have always faced
pressures to move towards democracy, in the past decade at least
three countries previously ruled by dictatorship--Argentina
Philippines and Pakistan--have moved towards democracy, although the
move is somewhat shaky and in Pakistan it may not completely be in
the direction of secularist democracy.
It seems fairly certain that capitalist
socialist democratic secularism will continue to make big gains for
some time to come. By the end of this century it is likely to
conquer most of the communist part of the world and in this way rule
the entire northern part of the globe. The regimes in the southern
part will also continue to come, one by one, under democracy, mostly
secularist and capitalist/socialist democracy. Before the end of the
first quarter of the next century, this system may well prevail over
almost the entire world, including greater part of the Muslim world.
But never can there be any system,
ideology or group in power without there being an opposition to it.
Consequently, democratic capitalist/socialist secularism, even in
its global victory and domination will face opposition. In the past
it has faced strong opposition from communism. This opposition will
continue, although in a different and much weakened form. The
communist parties in the eastern bloc countries will continue to
exist even after loosing power and will continue to exert opposition
to capitalist democracy in various ways. It is possible even that
communist parties in some western capitalist countries will grow
stronger, as the wall between east and west is now breaking down,
the influence usually travels in both direction, although influence
in one direction may be greater than in the other. Democratic,
capitalist/socialist secularism has also been opposed by groups
within Christianity and this opposition can increase under certain
circumstances such as a revival of traditional religious sentiments
or a big deterioration in socio-economic conditions. But in the
future neither Christianity nor communism can pose a real challenge
to democracy, capitalist/socialist secularism; they will never be
able to replace it at the global level.
The challenge to
democratic, capitalist/socialist secularism can only come from ISLAM
which contains the best of all the systems and has the potential to
give to man both spiritual peace and material prosperity.
The world in the next few decades can be
compared to a country in which one party is in power with opposition
provided by a number of parties, one of which constitutes the main
opposition. In the coming decades, the democratic,
capitalist/socialist secularism will rule the world. Islam will
provide the main opposition while communists, some Christians and
other religious and ideological groups will serve as relatively
minor "opposition parties".
And just as the
main opposition party in a country sooner or later does usually come
in power, so also Islam will sooner or later dislocate democratic,
capitalist/socialist secularism from its global power and assume the
leadership of the world. This in any case is
something that Muslims believe, since the Qur'an says:
"He (i.e. God) it is who has sent
His messenger (Muhammad) with the guidance and the religion of
truth in order that He may cause it to prevail over all
(false) religion" (9:33)
But before this
victory comes, Muslims have to suffer through some hard times.
The recent collapse or weakening of communist power in eastern block
countries poses for Muslims both a danger and an opportunity.
The large number of Muslims in the
communist world will be able to assert their Muslim identity with
greater strength, if they choose to do so. This is the opportunity.
The hazard is that it will now be easier for a powerful nation to
attack a Muslim country.
The victory of
Islam will in any case not be a military victory.
The global and lasting victories are rarely military victories. Even
the victory of democratic, capitalist/socialist secularism which we
are presently witnessing is not a military one (although military
build-up in the USA during the Reagan era may seem to do something
with it ). Democratic, capitalist/socialist secularism is winning
over totalitarian communism because it is the sounder of the two
systems and therefore more beneficial for mankind. Similarly Islam
will win over democratic, capitalist/socialist secularism because it
is sounder and more beneficial for humanity.
"That which is of benefit to mankind
abides on earth" (Qur'an 13:17).
If the global victory of Islam will not
be a military one, what will be the instrument of that victory? The
answer is, da`wah. Muslims will gradually learn what
is the message of Islam and how to communicate it to the modern man
and to win his heart and mind.
The establishment of Islamic states will
be an important part of da`wah, since only through
such states can it be demonstrated that Islam can lead man to the
creation of better societies than can other systems.
Over the past few centuries Muslims have
been very unsure of their role in the world. The time has come for
us to abandon all hesitation and confidently assume once again our
role in world affairs as leaders defined by God Almighty Himself:
"You (O Muslims) are the best
community (Ummah) raised for mankind in that you enjoin
what is right and forbid what is wrong and you have faith in
God..." (Qur'an 3:110).