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Of Glad Tidings: Islamic Economics

For all those interested in Islamic Economics there’s an interesting academic development that is very significant - including for those many (Muslims) who’re absolutely cynical and doubtful not only about Islamic Economics, but all things Islamic and are ‘more at home with all things Western’, from its toiletries to ideologies.

Whenever I try to talk to people especially those Muslims who work(ed) in banks about the prohibition of interests and evils of interest based banking systems and also those are more inclined towards interest-free economy and had been caught up in this web due to unfortunate series of events, inquire: Why do not ulema (traditional, religious scholars) come up with an alternative plan? Firstly, it is appreciable, they are not sarcastic & cynical, and want a genuine interest free system; I sincerely pray to Allah to forgive their previous sins and open their heart’s eye and ‘inspire them with the Vision of Islam’. Secondly, their rhetorical objection shrouded in the question starting from the phrase, why don’t they/you… has seen light of the day putting a stop mark to their repetitive objections, as if they were free of all blames – none of us is free from blame except those strive in the way of Allah for no worldly gains.

I was listening to this lecture on broad, immutable principles of Islamic Economics by Dr Israr Ahmed (May Allah forgive his sins and increase his rank). In the end, an economist spoke very briefly before asking his question (which i‘ll mention in the end). Sort of a glad tiding for me actually: He said that recently [few years back] some Muslim economists who had gone to western universities to do their PhDs in Islamic economics had their theses approved. Their theses had been about the comparison between interest based economic systems versus Islamic interest-free system. Purely based on ‘economic reasoning’ their theses have proved the ‘superiority of interest free system of islam over Western interest based system’. Their supervisors were Christian economists and they’ve accepted the superiority of Islamic system at theoretical level. Many other Western economists have also started to accept same proposition, he added. However, the supervisors and economists say that they do not want to implement Islamic system because for them interest system is quite simple as compared to (apparently) ‘complicated profit sharing’ system of Islam. The scholar, who to my mind is perhaps Dr Asad Zaman [check out his personal website which features his articles and papers], lamented that we as Pakistanis have wasted decades of freedom in which we could’ve implemented the theoretical model of Islamic economics and could've easily shown the world that it’s not complicated and can be implemented in West too.

I’m in search of at least the abstract of the PhD theses. I will try contacting Dr Asad about it, if he ever replies =)

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