Islam cannot thrive or even exist under capitalism. Nor can the two systems co-exist. One must eventually see the annihilation of the other.
The nature of fundamental laws and paradigms is that everything built upon them become their outward manifestation. So, fundamental laws of individual and collective objectives and lifestyle become an all-encompassing system of private and social life, from the worldview, motives, and habits of the individual, outward to the establishment of a social order, its laws, organizations, governance, and the beauty or ugliness, propriety or immorality they all produce.
Islam is a complete system of human existence that begins at the most primal questions about our raison d’etre, our motivations, objectives, worldview, habits, values, with both private and public practices all included, including our laws of the market. Our objective is the Pleasure of our Creator, our focus is on spiritual and ethical refinement, our methods are cooperative, our disposition loving and amicable.
Capitalism is a system that is essentially the opposite, although its laws also encompass our reason-to-be, our motivations, objectives, and values. The objective of capitalism is to increase the capital of the capitalist, whether an individual or corporation. Its focus is the hyper-transformation of natural resources at the lowest possible costs of material and labor input. Its method is brutal, even deadly competition. Its disposition is ruthlessness and animosity. Its extremes are seen in corruption, planetary destruction, and widespread warfare.
Whatever exists under a paradigm becomes an extension of that paradigm. Thus, our “islam” is just an extension of capitalism. Whether or not they acknowledge it, our “masajid” are market competitors, vying with one another for ultimate success in the islamomarket, the market that aims to produce the most satisfying islamoculture. The mega-mosque in particular must justify its continued market presence by generating enough donations to establish the minimally required “programs” at the least cost.
Like any other market organization, quality is not a mandate, just a marketable perception. If enough people perceive a “program” as good-enough, it will sell, and the donations will continue. Any community members offering higher-quality but with less advertising power will be squashed. The neediest members of the community will be swept under the rug as negligible attrition. Capitalism doesn’t concern itself with ethics; only the bottom line.
And so we see within our islamocapitalism community all the usual fallout. Hundreds of homeless Muslims in our neighborhoods. Thousands in painful poverty. Marginalization. Racism. Converts ignored. Competition. Opportunism. Critical programs that can’t be funded. Anything that real Islam seeks is minimized while our “community” and “masajid” seek to maintain appearances. Most “masajid” won’t even allow a dissident voice in the community to stand at the mimbar. It’s too costly to their public image and their bottom-line.
And thus, real Islam is already annihilated, utterly co-opted and recuperated by the stringent demands of capitalism, though some may still seek Islam’s resurgence. Those who see through the thick layer of islamoculture painted over our capitalism community, our “islamic” sub-market.
Ultimately, either capitalism will remain with its islamoculture sub-sector, or Islam will survive to see capitalism’s demise. An intermediary step that may help Islam’s survival is anything that promotes the safety and well-being of the impoverished and the working class. This would allow the easing of financial burdens on families and the community, the commitment of more time and resources to Islam’s practice and establishment, and the release of competitive tensions between individuals and organizations.
Bernie Sanders promotes a European-styled social-democracy, which advances what the US had established under FDR and Johnson, prior to the economic and political warfare of the last 40 years which has repealed most of what they had enacted. It could be argued by Islamic principles that support for such a transition is a mandate on the Muslim community, probably even obligatory. It could be our last and only chance for Islam’s survival in America.