paper_of_methdology

It has become a recognized proposition that social

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Unformatted text preview: definition of Islamic economics. 22 Section II Methodology and Tools 13. Section I was concluded with two important points. First, if Islamic economics can be loosely used as a part of economics, it is no more than the application of economic theory to the case of the Islamic economic system. It is not a science on its own, nor does it negate the scientific nature of economics. Secondly, conventional (or western) economic theory, because of historical reasons that overloaded it with Judo-Roman presumptions and preconceptions, falls short of explaining human nature, specifically, it lacks the wisdom derived from Revelation and it carries, within its folds, propositions influenced by local value systems and ideologies. This makes it unable to account for some subsets of the global society such as the Muslim World where there exists a composite mix of values and behavioral patterns that is not in complete conformity with that which exists in the birth place of western economics. These two conclusions determine the dual task of Islamic economists: (a) the elaboration of Islamic economic system; and (b) the revision of conventional economic theory. Ironically, there is a little difference between Islamic economists and other (conventional) economists in the profession as far as the prior, conscious or unconscious, adherence to a value system is concerned. It has become a recognized proposition that social sciences, including economics, on 23 one hand, and ideologies and personal and social values on the other hand, are inseparable,40 although few economists tend, sometimes, to hide it. Clear enough, Islamic economists, because of their ideological consciousness, are usually more explicit about ideological affiliation than their counterparts. The emphasis on “ideological” allegiance, one finds among many Islamic economists, is perhaps only a manifestation of their keenness to be explicit, although some of them seem to carry such emphasis too far to the extent of disclaiming the tools of analysis used in “conventional” economics.41 In our attempt to study the Islamic methodology of economics, and how much does it differ from that of western economists, we feel that any generalization would only provide a little help if not complete confusion. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze how to approach each of the above mentioned two tasks of Islamic economists. A. The Methodology of Elaborating the Islamic Economic System 40 See for example Warrent J. Samuels, “Ideology in Economics” in Sidney Weintraub, ed., Modern Economic Thought, Basil Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, 1977, especially, pp. 473475. 41 See, for example, Akram Khan, Challenges of Islamic Economics, All Pakistan Islamic Education Congress, Lahore, Pakistan, 1985, pp. 20-22. 24 14. An economic system includes three components: a basic philosophy or an ideology; a set of axioms, assumptions and general principles, which are derived from its ideology; and a set of operational rules that, when applied to given human and material resources, result in formulating and shaping the relationships of production, distribution, and consumption as well as the degree of economic achievement of a society. Therefore, an economic system must not loose touch with real life, the same way a legal system is required to preserve its applicability if it is to remain in existence. Hence, the task of elaborating the Islamic economic system consists of two parts: (1) the theoretical discovery of all the components of the system and its internal coherence; and (2) the investigation of the economic validity and applicability of the system including the way variables and behaviours are affected within its framework. 15. The Islamic way of life in all its aspects is derived from the basic sources of Islam, Qur’an and Sunnah. These sources give only the broadlines of the Islamic economic system and leave many of its ingredients to be done by Muslim thinkers. Even with regards to issues mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, there is a great room for exerting efforts in order to discover the economic contents of the principles laid down by Allah and His Messenger (Pbuh). A-1 Discovering the Islamic Economic System 25 16. Essentially the approach of discovering the Islamic economic system is similar to the approach of discovering the theories and general rules of fiqh. In formulating fiqh theorems and general rules, Fuqaha had to survey all the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Some of these rules and theorems may be found in the basic texts themselves. For instance, the rule “la Darara wa la Dirar áÇ ÖÜÜÑÑ æáÇ ÖÜÜÜÜÑÇÑ,” which means: “there should be no harm nor exchange of harms”, came as a saying of the Prophet (Pbuh).42 So is the rule “al Kharaj bi al Daman ÇáÎÑÇÌ ÈÜÇáÜÖÜãÜÇ ä,” which means “return is dependent on (or related to) liability”. This rule is also a text of a saying.43 Other rules are derived from grouping several texts each one of them deals only with one aspect or one case, but when all of them are put together, they revea...
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