. . . The meaning of the phrase “Islam is socialist in nature” merely acts as a categorisation into a particular system of society based on the features that characterise it as socialist. Those who are against Islam being considered as socialist either do not understand the meaning of certain words or want to uphold the current capitalist system.
This book, by the preeminent Malaysian sociologist, Professor Dr Syed Hussein Alatas, is the translation of the Malay Islam dan Sosialisme (Petaling Jaya, Gerakbudaya, 2020), which first appeared in 1976 as Islam dan Sosialisma (Pulau Pinang, Seruan Masa). Despite its size, the book covers important and critical issues, including the relationship between religion and socialism, the different types of socialism, as well as the public’s unease about the similarities and differences between socialism and communism. Most importantly, Professor Alatas calls upon us to fight the injustices of capitalism. More than 40 years after its original publication, his ideas are still relevant today.
Syed Hussein Alatas (1928–2007) was head of the Department of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore. Professor Alatas served as Cice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya from 1988 to 1990.
Syed Farid Alatas is Professor of Sociology at the National University of Singapore.
The translator, Sharifah Afra Alatas, is Syed Hussein Alatas’ granddaughter. She read history for her first degree at the National University of Singapore, and went on to obtain her Master’s in Malay Studies from the same university in 2020. She is currently a Research Officer at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.