Communism is an economic system that provides a sharp contrast to the economic system discussed above. Because it has become prominent in discussions, I would like to make a few observations about this system.
Communism claims that:
Everyone must work to the best of their capacity;
Everyone must be provided with income sufficient to meet the normal needs.
The remaining surplus belongs to the State as a trustee for the people.
These principles are based on the notion that there should be equality among all people. As long as a person worked to the best of his capacity, he was entitled to payment on the same scale as all others, who, too, worked up to their capacity. Thus no one was entitled to possess wealth in excess of others; any excess wealth would be appropriated by the State.
This is the economic side of Communism. But this viewpoint has also a political dimension, which falls outside the scope of my discussion for today. I would therefore not touch it.
As far as the basic principle is concerned, it is entirely correct that all must be properly fed, clothed, and housed; all must have access to facilities for education and health. In brief, the basic needs of all should be fulfilled. On this point Islam is fully in accord with Communism. But there is a fundamental difference. While Islam leaves the door open for individual enterprise and due development of individual capabilities, Communism shuts that door completely.
In fact individual freedom is indispensable not only for the proper development of human capacities, but also to allow individuals to freely choose their actions so that they can provide for the life to come. Communism blocks the avenues of individual initiative and destroys personal freedom of choice. And, that is a major flaw of that system. Thus, Islam and Communism share common objectives with respect to meeting basic needs of everyone, but differ with respect to the means adopted to achieve that end.
Undoubtedly, Russia has made remarkable economic progress with the programme it chalked out under the influence of the Communist philosophy. The general public, at least in European Russia has become materially better off than before. (Communist leaders might dispute that the progress is confined only to the European part). We have to admit that the poor people in Russia are better fed, better clad, better housed and provided with better facilities for education and medical relief. Thus, as far as these achievements are concerned, they are very much in accord with the Islamic spirit of fairness in economic treatment. But as noted, Islam does not approve of the means adopted by the Communist Party to achieve this.