Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Philosophy of Islamic Economics - 14 Apr 2010

Reflecting on the words of The Last Sermon (above) really brought home a lot of pointers, among which, we are all one family and as a family, we have the amanah to take care of each other. More importantly, we are to collectively fight whispers of Syaitan and refrain from doing small mischief which could lead to bigger mischief (truly all 'ilm belongs to Allah SWT and Allah Azza wa Jalla Knows what is best for us so sami'nah wa ato'nah and refrain from being like the Jews who think that they can circumvent the rules ordained by Allah SWT... oh how wrong were they). And that there is truly no new faith after Islam (the religion is complete) so hold firmly to the Quran and Sunnah (as these will save you from the Hellfire), subhan Allah.

In class, Sheikh Abdul Halim outlines the true definition of ownership rights in Islam. The contemporary thinker of Islamic Economics, Dr Monzer Kahf has good articles on this topic. Indeed, Islam is so beautiful. It is not interested in wealth accumulation (deem as a selfish act), rather it is welfare-driven and advocates wealth creation (no such thing as passive income coz truly productivity is synonimous with barakah) so that there is no idleness, non-utilisation or wastage of resources provided by Allah SWT.

From the Western Worldview's discussion on human nature, behavioural economics (based on prospect theory which in my opinion is unethical as the speculation is centred on the self-interest of the seller i.e. to make a profit) claim that man is irrational in his buying pattern as such there are opportunities to manipulate such buying behaviour. In Islam, man is the most superior creation by Allah SWT - "Surely We created man of the best stature" [Surah at-Tin: 4] - who has the fitrah saleemah and the faculties to reason and ikhtiyar between a good and a better option in order to suppress one's nafs and purify one's soul in his ibadah to Allah Azza wa Jalla, subhan Allah!

The discussion on the price equilibrium was an interesting one as the question revolves around who sets the price and how is the price set. Indeed in Islam, we are not concerned with price equilibrium or profit maximisation, rather we advocate 'adl (justice) in ascribing economic value - "Give full measure, and be not of those who give less (than the due). And weigh with the true balance. Wrong not mankind in their goods, and do not evil, making mischief, in the earth. And keep your duty unto Him Who created you and the generations of the men of old." [Surah al-Shuara: 181-184]

In my humble opinion, in every deed that we do, the sincerity of our niat is key (purity of the soul for the love of Allah SWT). Truly, we do not exist for this world alone. Allow me to end this long post by sharing the following good reads:
- Economic justice: Islam versus capitalism by Dr Mohammad Malkawi
- Islamic economic system by Dr Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry

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