Unformatted text preview: e and application of injunctions and rules
of the Shari'ah that prevent injustice in the acquisition and disposal of material resources in
order to provide satisfaction to human beings and enable them to perform their obligations to
Allah and the Society". 7 On the other hand, Muhammad Arif tends to classify "Islamic
economics" at par with "sot economics" and "capitalist economics"
on the ground that all three refer to economic systems,10 each of them
has its paradigm. He also admits that the study of these three systems is
a branch of economics. Furthermore, it seems that Arif does not challenge the conventional definition of economics although he
disagrees with the utilitarian presumption that shapes human behaviour
in Robbins' mind11.
5. Seif el Din Tag el-Din finds in "Islamic economics" a system of economic policy guided by the Qur'an and Sunnah in facing the
economic problem12. For him, the focus of Islamic economics is “the
normative interventionist policies” made necessary by the greed of
human beings. Hence, Islamic economics becomes, for Tag el Din, a
tool to enlighten policy makers, and help them take the right decision.
Consequently the analytical part of economics becomes a trivial
requirement for policy suggestions as one has to know the "be" in order
to suggest a rational "ought". 10 Muhammad Arif, "Toward a Definition of Islamic Economics", JRIE, Vol. 2, No.2,
1405, pp.87-103. His definition is "Islamic economics is the study of Muslim behaviour who
organizes the resources, which are a trust, to achieve falah".
11 Ibid., pp. 91-92, see also the diagram on p. 102. Arif quotes Robbins' definition of
economics as "the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and
scarce means which have alternative uses".
12 Seif el-Din Tag el-Din, " what is Islamic Economics" in Review of Islamic economics,
Vol.3, No.2 1994.pp.97-100. 8 6. The approach of Zaidan Abu al Makarim is familiar to the Shari'ah spets, because they extensively label each branch of
Islamic studies, as a Science ÚÜáÜã(such as science of inheritance law
ÚÜáÜã ÇáÜÝÜÑÇÆÜÖand science of Qur'anic recitation ÚÜáÜã
ÇáÜÊÌÜæíÜÏetc.) He suggests a ten-point test to determine a science
ÚÜáÜã. These points include name, definition, subject and sources13.
Applying these criteria, al Makarim concludes that Islamic economics is
certainly a science of its own14, and he gives it the name "science of
economic justice". His definition of Islamic economics may be consistent with the definition of "science" proposed later by Zarqa, viz,
'any organized and classified kind of knowledge".15
7. The above mentioned works seem to raise more questions than answers about Islamic economics, its definition, scope and validity as a
"Science", and about the need for the word "Islamic" to precede the
word "economics" too.
For the purpose of clarity, the definitions of "Islamic economics"
are classified in two categories: the first category includes the definitions
of Zaman and al Makarim. Their main focus is the principles and rules
of Shari'ah that make up the framework or milieu for the behaviour of
13 Zaidan Abu al Makarim, Ilm al 'Adl al Iqtisadi,, Dar al Turath, Cairo, 1974, p.35. 14 Ibid.,p.37. Al Makarim's definition is "the science which deals with wealth and its relation
to man from the point of view of the realization of justice in all forms of economic activities".
15 Muhammad Anas Zarqa, "Tahqiq Islamiyyat 'Ilm al Iqtisad", mimeograph , p.38. 9 the economic agents. These definitions refer to what Zarqa calls the
"normative part" of Islamic economics16 i.e., how things should be if
people follow the Islamic conjunctions as derived from the principal
sources of Islam. The definition suggested by Tag-el-Din may be added
to this category as it refers to normative economics by concentrating on
economic macro policy. These normative definitions apply only within
a framework of the Islamic economic system which is a part of what
Islam calls for to be established on earth by means of the conviction,
faith and efforts of human beings17.
The second category of definitions includes those suggested by
Khan and Arif. The focal point of these definitions is human behaviour
within the framework provided by the Islamic economic system. Since
these definitions implicitly cover the study of the Islamic economic
system, the definitions of al Sadr and Zarqa may also be included in this
category. Al Sadr assigns to Islamic economics, what he calls "a scientific function" and "a doctrinal function". Accordingly, the role of
Islamic economics is, on one hand, to discover the shape which real-life
variables may take in a society that applies the Islamic economic system,
and on the other hand, to uncover the Islamic economic system itself18.
Zarqa also considers that Islamic economics consists of two parts: one
16 Ibid.., p.40. 17 Ibid., and Muhammad Baqir al Sadr, Iqtisaduna, 2nd edition, Dar al Fikr, Beirut, 1968,
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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