Partai Komunis Indonesia, or the Indonesian Communist Party, was at one point the largest communist party outside the Soviet Bloc. In 1965, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of its members were systematically murdered under the watch and approval of General Suharto’s CIA-backed military. Historians estimate that between 500,000 and 2,000,000 communists were killed, making it the biggest genocide of communists in history.
Hasan Raid was a member of the Indonesian Communist Party but miraculously survived the tragedy. In 2001, nine years before his death, he completed his autobiography entitled Pergulatan Muslim Komunis [The Struggles of A Muslim Communist]. Below is an excerpt of one of his speeches, briefly outlining his view of the relationship between Islam and communism. — Ahmad Fuad Rahmat
A people, or a class, will remain oppressed if they do not struggle, if they do not resist or reject the oppression that is inflicted on them by their oppressors. This is the essence of class struggle.
Such a struggle is in line with Surah Al-Rad ayah [verse] 11, which claims that “God will not change the condition of a people unless they first change themselves.”
This passage was addressed to the social circumstances of the time. Back then society was divided sharply on racial and tribal lines. This was the time of the jahiliya, a society of nobles and slaves, of masters and servants, and so forth.
Through that passage God states that society has not reached the level of a tauhidi society, as it remains deeply divided along class and tribal lines. It is the obligation of the Muslim ummah to reconstruct society to attain that tauhidi state, an ummah that is united, as was stated in Surah Al-Mu’minun ayah 52. (The Ayah reads: “And surely this is your ummah.1)
It is to reconstruct a united ummah, a truly tauhidi society, indeed a classless society, that the Communist Party of Indonesia calls for class struggle. A tauhidi society is the society that rejects all forms of discrimination, be it racial, ethnic, or familial discrimination, be it discrimination by wealth or power. It views all human beings as equal. . . .
. . . This is in line with what is stated in Surah Al-An’am ayah 145, which forbids consuming the blood of another being.2 To do so, to exploit the labor of another, as the capitalists are doing to the proletariat, is to make wealth unjustly, is wrong and contrary to what is stated in Surah Al-Baqarah ayah 188.3 Surah Al-Humazah ayat [verses] 1-34 condemns the capitalist who has gained his wealth by taking the flowing blood of another being, by gaining wealth unjustly, and so forth.
Socialism is a stage towards a classless society, a tauhidi society or a communist society. It is clear that the goal of the Communist Party of Indonesia is of the same path as the Muslim faith, that is to fight for truth and justice on all fronts so that there will no longer be the taking of a person’s blood by another.
1 That passage reads as follows: “This [community] is in fact but one ummah [community] and I am your Lord. Therefore, always fear Me.”
2 This may read as a rather creative interpretation of the Qur’anic verse but we should also recall Marx’s vampire metaphor to describe capitalism in Das Kapital.
3 That passage reads as follows: “And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way, e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.”
4 That passage reads as follows: “1. Woe to every slanderer and backbiter. 2. Who has gathered wealth and counted it, 3. He thinks that his wealth will make him last forever!”
Translation by Ahmad Fuad Rahmat.
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