Thursday, June 16, 2011

Islamic Economics

I stumbled on this last month, but haven’t read it til now (excerpt from the introduction):


Is Islamic economics independent from economics? Does it make a paradigm of its own? Does it depend of a set of assumptions and analytical tools that is different from economics? Does it make a discipline of its own?

Many Islamic economists have an undoubted affirmative answer. They argue that it is independent and they take upon themselves the task of attempting to invent an “appropriate set” of tools to understand the behavior of Muslim consumer, firm, macro numbers. The fervor of this attitude was very apparent when the world of economics had two-part Apartheid: communism and capitalism…

To the Islamic religion and ideology, capitalist and communist thinking stem from a common utilitarian ideology that looks only at the human as a “homo-economicus.” It is therefore natural that many Muslim economists would view a multi-dimensional motive in the behavior of women and men and would rise against the purely utility motivated man as a basic assumption of economics…

Ibn Khaldun, the real founder of Economics as a branch of social studies, established his newly invented science on an absolute human basis and aimed to understand the individual and collective behavior of human beings “as they are” without imposing on them any pre-structured ideological, religious or societal assumptions…He even did not need to add a prefix “Islamic” in every sentence and before every variable and tool of analysis, although he recognizes the Divine Revelation as the Major source of knowledge. He also did not have an urge to “Islamize” the heritage of knowledge as it is handed over from one nation to another throughout history.

This is a fascinating discourse on the problems of “Islamic” Economics, and echoes a lot (and then some) of what I think about the subject. In point of fact, I have trouble with the very term “Islamic” economics – the discipline hasn’t really grown enough to really warrant having a separate label. What we have is really just the bare beginnings of a different approach to economics, but whether it will ever lead anywhere I don’t know.


  1. reminds me of proton's Islamic car proposal. If there is such a thing as Islamic Science, finance, banking and etc... then what have the mass muslims been using and applying? Christian Science? Christian Banking? Christian Finance?

    After all, almost every invention and discovery are done by Europeans and Americans.

    Religion and science don't mix.

  2. In the increasingly interconnected world, it also doesnt make much sense. Any study of Muslim behavior in the realm of economics will generally spill into resources and consumptions by non-Muslim.

  3. The problem with Islam and her followers is that it tries to think out of the box, problem is, there is no box.

    Likewise, muslims are trying to connect the dots between everything and islam. The problem is that they are off different dots.

    Pretty soon, well have Islamic Weapons... since most weapons used by Islamic countries are Christian Weapons.

    Where is the logic? How about Islamic Computer? of Islamic Internet?

  4. thanks.