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Unformatted text preview: which Muslims did not need to restrict to a 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid., pp. 35-38. 25 Ibid., pp.35-38. 13 Muslim society or to the Islamic system. Why can’t we, Islamic economists, think of an economics in a universal sense too? In fact, Ibn Khaldun's 'Ilm al 'Imran covers, in a sense, economics as a sub-area. In citing cases of human socialization included in the realm of his invented science, he says "..... and what earnings, living, sciences, crafts [and industries], etc. People have, by their works and efforts"26. As a part of the study of human civilization and association, economics must be defined as "the study of human behavior' individually and in groups, with regard to the use of resources for the purpose of satisfying human material objectives". If we were to use Ibn Khaldun" terms, we would have added the phrase "on its own nature" after the word "behavior", but I think "human behavior is sufficient as it is a general term that applies to any and all human beings regardless of any social, political, religious, or what not affiliation. Thus economics, from the Islamic (Khaldunian) view point studies the behavior of men and women, individually and in their association and socialization, in order to understand the patterns and modes of this behavior, its motives and incentives, as well as its goals and objectives, and responses and reactions, with and without being restricted to a specific situation, norms, set of moral values, or legal, political, religious, etc. framework. 26 Ibid., p.35. 14 Consequently, laws of behaviour and collective and aggregate relationships discovered by this study shall be applicable to all men and women with situational variations resulting from the spiritual, psychological, organizational etc. milieu or environment that establish the circumstances of the behavior. This discipline cannot be described un-Islamic because the word "Islamic" does not appear in its name and definition, nor it is in need for a deliberate effort for its Islamization. It is part of what God ordered us to learn in this world in order to realize His Great Wisdom and because such a study enables us to discover the universal laws,27 which make us understand this area of man's life and reorient it, when necessary, to the servitude of God, (Subhanahu Wata'ala). Zarqa came very close to this when he accepted descriptive postulates of "conventional" economics as part of "Islamic" economics. He also suggested that Islam itself lays down certain descriptive (positive) postulates that carry no value judgement. Such descriptive statements are applicable to human beings, as such, by their own nature28. They are capable of explaining human behavior in a universal way regardless of religion, culture, level of development, race, etc.29 But 27 Laws here are not meant like the laws of physics, they could be statistical observations or more generally descriptive statements. See Mark Blaug, The Methodology of Economics, Cambridge University Press, New York/London, 1980, pp.161-163. 28 M. Anas Zarqa, Op.cit., pp.18-19. 29 Descriptive statements derived from revelation do sometimes better in explaining human behavior than their counterparts which are introduced by western economists. Take, for 15 Zarqa could not detach himself completely from the current trend among Islamic economists30, when he insisted that an Islamized economic discipline is not able to explain behavioral patterns incompatible with the Islamic ethics such as unjust transactions (e.g. effects of interest rate) or the production of non-good commodities, (e.g. alcoholics).31 Besides emphasizing that the subject matter of economics is human behavior, the definition stresses the micro and macro aspects of behavior. Alongwith Ibn Khaldun’s approach in his ‘Imran, human behavior has an individual aspect and an aspects resulting from the socialization which is a macro or aggregate aspect that reflects groups’ or communities’ behavior. Additionally, the suggested definition did not fall into the trap of scarcity. Obviously only scarce resources are allocated by human effort, but the utilization, and especially consumption, of non-scarce resources should not be completely excluded from the arena of economics because such consumption affects the welfare of human beings and influences example, Kahf's extended time horizon proposition in the consumer utility maximization (see Monzer Kahf, the Islamic economy, MSA of US and Canada, Indiana, USA. 1978, p.19), or the multi-dimensional producer's function in producer's maximization proposed by M.N.Siddiqi in The Economic Enterprise in Islam, Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, Pakistan, 1972, pp.1134. Zarqa, op.cit., pp.14-15, mentions several other postulates such as the relation between wealth and aggression, love of wealth, i.e., more of wealth is preferred to less, etc. 30 Zarqa, Op.cit., p.39. 31 Goods as a noun is derived from go...
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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.

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