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Progress of Islamic Economics

The primary Islamic concern in man’s economic life has always related to need fulfillment, justice, efficiency and growth, and freedom in about that order of priority, depending on the circumstances in which a particular thinker wrote on the subject. These goals are squarely rooted in the Qur’an and the Sunnah and provide a framework which accommodates almost every past contribution to the subject. Modern economics has, on the other hand, focused primarily on efficiency and growth, the issues of justice and need fulfillment being forced upon it by economic crises or attacks from radical quarters, to which attacks, the orthodoxy has generally responded by extolling freedom as the overriding concern. These goals never got an integrated treatment by any school of economics. True to its outlook on life and society, and in continuation with its past traditions, contemporary Islamic economics has taken up the three dimensional task of defining the Islamic ends and values, analyzing the existing economic reality and exploring ways and means for transforming the existing into the desirable pattern of things. The above mentioned concern stands out clearly in the literature on Islamic economic system, but that is not what primarily concerns us here. We would rather focus on the contributions of a theoretical nature made by Islamic economists recently. As a comparatively recent survey is already available, we will note only the main points without referring to particular authors.

Most of the theoretical work done so far answers the question: How would a particular economic agent behave under the influence of Islamic ends and values, and what would be the resulting order of things? Mostly the analyst proceeds further to discuss the remedial or complementary role of the Islamic state in order to arrive at the desired order of things.


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Source: Dr. Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi, Economics An Islamic Approach. Republished with permission.