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back and revision of the operational rules of the Islamic economic 50 This is expressed in the Quranic verse 36:47 “And when they are told ‘Spend ye of (the
bounties) with which God has provided you,’ the unbelievers say to those who believe:
“shall we then feed those whom, if God had so willed, He would have fed, (himself).” 29 system take place to cope with changing conditions and circumstances
of the human and material resources of the Muslim society.
21. History, as a register of human experience is to the social scientists, like laboratory to physicists. The development of the
economic system of Islam benefits from Islamic history in drawing
many tests and lessons. Yet the historical experience must not be
allowed to dominate the shaping of the system because the latter is
supposed to fit different conditions and levels of socio-economic
composites than those of the past.
Additionally, historical experience influences the elaboration of
the Islamic economic system in another way by helping understanding
its premises and postulates. The Qur’an and Sunnah have several
references to economic relationships in whose understanding a great
help can be derived from the historical experience, past and present.
For instance, there are statements in the Qur’an and Sunnah whose
understanding requires certain historical and/or statistical information.
The Qur’an says “God will make Riba perish and will increase
Sadaqat íãÍÞ ÇáÜáÜå ÇáÜÑÈÜÜÜÜÜÜÇ æíÑÈí ÇáÜÕÏÞÇÊ”51
“And nothing do ye spend (in his cause) but he replaces it
æ ãÜÇ Ã äÜÝÜÞÜÊÜã ãÜä ÔÜÜí Á ÝÜåÜæ íÜÎÜáÜÝÜå’’52 The
Prophet (Pbuh) also says “No wealth decreases as a result of sadaqah
51 The Qur’an 2:276. 52 Ibid., 34:39. 30 ãÜÇ äÜÞÜÕ ãÜÇ á ãÜä ÕÜÏ ÞÜÉ”53 and “(due but not paid)
Zakah is never mingled with a wealth without adulterating it ãÜÇ
ÎÜÇ áÜØÜÊ Ç áÜÒ ßÜÇ É ãÜÇ áÇ ÅáÇ Ã ÝÜÓÜÏ Êå”.54 These
texts, and many others, can be interpreted metaphysically, i.e.,
whatever relationships they mention refer to the hereafter or according
to the judgement of God. If they ever have any relations to this world,
as suggested by their very wording, understanding such relations can
only depend on the empirical experience of people and societies.
This degree of empiricism (if one may use the term only
loosely) does not only apply to such relationships as mentioned in
these texts but also to the institutional and ethical components of the
Islamic economic system. Take for example, the assertion of some
Islamic economists that the belief in the Day of Judgement and
eternity of happiness in Heavens, or misery in Hell, affects the
economic rationality of Muslims by extending their time horizon.55
This assertion, which relates to the internalized ethics of the economic
agents, can be tested empirically by assigning quantitative values to
the strength of faith in the life after death.56 53 Reported by al Thirmithi. 54 Reported by al Bazzar, al Baihaqi and others. 55 Monzer Kahf, op.cit., pp.19-20. 56 Quantifying qualitative characteristics is a Qur’anic practice. It comes many times with
regards to pleasures of heavens and punishments of Hell, but an impressive example about
this world is found in 8:65-66, 31 B. The Islamic Methodology of Economics
The second task of Islamic economists is to revise the discipline of economics in order to identify and isolate biased
postulates, i.e., those loaded with the dogmatic, doctrinal and/or moral
view points of the professionals and their milieu57
22. In spite of the universality of economic laws, discovering them is a process that is affected by the ideas and values of the researchers
and by the prevailing social attitudes and moral ethics of the social
units whose behaviour is observed by the discipline professionals.
One must add that identifying and isolating the effects of these valueloaded is not, at all, an easy task in all social sciences, not only
“ ..... If there are Twenty amongst you, patient And perservering, they will vanquish two
hundred: if a hundred, They will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these Are a
people without understanding.
For the present, God Hath Lightened your (task) For He knoweth that there is A weak spot
in you: But (even so), if there are A hundred amongst you, patient And persevering they
will Vanquish two hundred, and if A thousand, they will vanquish Two thousand, with the
leave of God: for God is with those Who patiently perservere.”
“Åä íßä ãäßÜã ÚÜÔÜÑæä ÕÇÈÑæä íÛáÜÈæÇ ãÜÇ ÆÊíä æÅä íßä ãäßã ãÇÆÉ íÛáÈæÇ
ÃáÝÇ ãä ÇáÐíä ßÝÑæÇ ÈÃäåã Þæã áÇíÝÞåæä “. “ ÇáÂä ÎÝÝ Çááå Úäßã æÚáã Ãä Ýíßã
ÖÚÝÇ ÝÅä íßä ãäßã ãÇÆÉ ÕÇÈÑÉ íÛáÈæÇ ãÇÊíä æÅä íßä ãäßã ÃáÝ íÛáÈæÇ ÃáÝíä
ÈÅÐä Çááå æÇááå ãÚ ÇáÕÇÈÑíä “
An obvious example of such postulates is the sole economic motive (homo economucus)
which is responsible for the exclusion from the domain of economics of a good deal of
human economic decisions. Ano...
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This note was uploaded on 11/27/2011 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Robert during the Fall '08 term at Montgomery College.
- Fall '08