The stand of a political ideology or religion on the distribution of wealth and the access to natural resources is something that concerns all of us. As we know, resources are limited, as well as there will always be a group of people who collect wealth more than others. This will never change. Therefore, redistribution of wealth is necessary and inevitable.
Islam deals extensively with the redistribution of wealth while it considers the existence of some more fortunate than others as a mere mechanism of test. Islam requires the believers to pay the Zakat annually, as well as it encourages them to help the needy, to contribute financially to the society, and even compete with one another in this spiritual business. By giving, rather than taking, it is a process that not only redistributes the disproportionately concentrated wealth, but also it is a spiritual training that transforms people completely.
The proposal of Islam for the redistribution of wealth is unparalleled. It aims to achieve multiple objectives while it is realized mostly voluntarily, as a pillar of the religion, not as a governmental obligation. By instructing the believers to give wealth as much as possible to others, Islam wants to clean and cleanse them spiritually in order to know God, hence the term zakat – that which purifies. When people give wealth, they are actively abandoning something material, which humans are much connected with, and as a result, they will gradually be elevated to a spiritual understanding, which they have never experienced before.
In addition, Islam also wants to achieve some political and social purposes through its proposal for the redistribution of wealth. By encouraging the believers to donate and help each other financially, and even by making the zakat an obligation that should be fulfilled on their own, without governmental intervention, this improves the social fabric of the society, it strengthens the social cohesion among people, and it makes people politically more powerful and more independent.
Like Islam, Secularism, which is the political ideology of all governments around the world, deals a great deal with wealth, natural resources, and their redistribution in society. In fact, Secularism is a materialist ideology, so its very existence is related to wealth and natural resources. It is not much concerned about spiritual matters.
The proposal of Secularism with regard to the redistribution of wealth and the control of natural resources is very different from Islam. In a nutshell, Secularism considers the redistribution of wealth as the monopoly of the government, which, in addition, it should control all natural resources and means of production. According to Secularism, it is the government that should redistribute the wealth, not people directly among each other. Secularism is only concerned on how to control the resources and rule people.