Capitalism can't be understood in vacuum and divorced from its historical context. Capitalism is the economic model of governments that are usually but not always shaped on the political model of Liberalism. And implicit in the philosophical foundations of both Capitalism and Liberalism are the precepts of European Enlightenment:
- religion can't be a reliable guide for running governments, societies and even individual life, because its doctrines can't be supported rationally and they are also subject to conflicting interpretations that led to the insanity of European Wars of Religion. (We muslims also had sectarian wars of our own, didn't we, even if with lesser intensity and destruction?)
- hence man guides his life by secular reason and science;
- valid science is exclusive to that which is based on sense observation and empirical research, therefore a scientific world-view is also devoid of any metaphysical foundations or postulates;
- because there can be no longer leaders who rule legitimately by religious virtue, their legitimacy must derive from public consent.
These shape the broad consensus of all capitalist and liberal thinkers as well as the socialists and marxists in the opposite ideological camp, and indeed all modern secular thinkers. There would be absolutely no room for religion, any religion, in modern social and political theory or any other area of inquiry, unless there is widely accepted "scientific" evidence in support of a particular religious doctrine or practice. The remaining differences would stem from conflict among secular social and political ideologies such as those between Conservatives, Liberals and Socialists, with Conservatives despite preserving some attachment to their sectarian religions progressively retreating from their earlier positions in the face of the greater advances of liberal and socialist forces.
The emergence of this worldview also went hand in hand with the emergence of the bourgeoisie and the colonial campaigns of their allied European governments for intruding into wealth of other nations, slavery, exploitation, wars, conquests and imperialism that have persisted one way or another to this day. Industrialism has been also a part and parcel of capitalist growth and earnestly desired today by all rival ideologies.
But apart from industry and market, institutions that existed in simpler forms for millennia, and advances in medicine, it is really hard to imagine how everything else with the European civilization may find justification from religion in general and Islam in particular.
Under the culture of worldliness that grew out of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment and became the full-fledged nihilism of post-modernity, under whatever political or economic model you place out there, the general direction of society would inevitably run against all aims of religion. Under free market you get greed, over-consumption, waste, extravagance, undeclared hedonism, imperialism and the rule of the rich, and under a socialist or welfare system, you get depression, repression, recession, tax-evasions, freeloaders, etc, and under both the destruction of the ecosystem and over-exploitation of nature are inevitable because with a man without God, metaphysics and spirituality and proud of his technological powers, there can be no restrain from ambition and greed which pass behind pretty economic concepts such as "growth" and "industrialization" and generate excesses and corruptions that affect all aspects of life.
It is interesting that some of these ills and vices were sometimes openly approved by modern thinkers: John Locke who railed at injustices of kings such as Charles I, didn't apparently feel any scruples for slave trade in which he himself was invested! Adam Smith thought it was normal that businessmen act out of greed or not care about charity. John Stewart Mill thought Western Imperialism/Colonialism was cool for "uncivilized" nations. Many modern economists have talked about perceived benefits of greed.
Hopefully all Muslims can agree that Islam can't be said to endorse the above civilizational mess and absurdity.
So that's why I think without an enlightened religion and spirituality, man is doomed one way or another. However, it is not to say that Muslims who today inherit or actively partake in their legacy of colonialism and have been largely alienated from the deeper layers of religious wisdom due to the literalism, sectarianism and depression of the prevalent petrodollar brand of Islam -- have any sound and viable alternative. Muslims first need to face the truth of the failure of their own religious community after Islam and causes of its original sectarian divisions and its failures today, then work to obtain knowledge of the esoteric foundations of their faith which I believe are vital for an enlightened and genuine understanding of religion,
until they be able to introduce their religion as a sound and true intellectual system, give spiritual life to their mostly ritualistic and legalistic religiosity until we are able to move towards laying foundations of an alternative civilization. But, yeah, all that, we can assume, remains mostly a dream in the foreseeable future but to have a real vision is better than staying in confusion... wa llahu l-musta'an...