Problems of Research in Islamic Economics.

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Problems of Research in Islamic Economics

- By Prof. Dr. Nevzat Yalcintas |
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When a seminar on the "Problems of Research in Islamic Economics" was included in the "First Annual Programme of Research Activities of Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI)", in 1982 (1403H), as a programme item, it was intended to provide the scholars, specialists and the researchers in Islamic economics an opportunity to come together and discuss the problems of this newly born discipline; identify the problem areas and try to indicate possible solutions. It has taken a bit more time than anticipated for this seminar to materialize. However, it must be a source of satisfaction to all concerned that such a seminar is now really taking place and giving the opportunity to discuss relevant academic issues. We believe in the usefulness of this kind of academic exercise for every branch of scientific knowledge. When we take in consideration the dynamic nature of Islamic economics; observed in recent years, and the progress of implementation of Islamic principles in the economic life of Muslim countries, the importance of academic gatherings in this particular domain becomes vital. Like other branches of social sciences, research activities are the main sources for the development of Islamic economics as a distinct branch of economic studies. No doubt research in the field of economics, finance and banking, as in the case of other social sciences, cannot be alienated from existing socio-economic structure, institutional framework, already designed policies and prevailing preferences of the society. These interrelated factors define not only the scope but the very nature of research. On the other hand, research in Islamic economics has another dimension distinct from other value- neutral social sciences. Islam has its own set of values. Islam encompasses the entire life style of the individual; it comprises principles, commandments and prohibitions which guide the believers in their daily life and regulate relations between them. In economic life as well, Islam lays down principles to be followed by individuals and societies. The principles, which are meant to direct economic activities, are in the main sources of Islam and can be found in the sound practices of Islamic societies in the past. These principles are Lucid and easy to identify but an economic theory, in the framework of Islam, and in the modern sense of the term, has yet to evolve. We can easily observe that Islamic economic research is still in its infancy. However, numerous researchers and several academic institutions are actively involved in the domain of Islamic economics and its research works.In this initial period of development of Islamic economics, an overall review of its research problems may be quite thought provoking corrective and fruitful. Having this in mind, as an objective, we will try, in this paper briefly, to touch upon the following aspects of research problems in Islamic economics: I- Historical BackgroundII - Conceptual DimensionsIII- Teaching Problems (As a direct expression of research) IV-Institutional ContributionsV-Future ProspectsIn short, in this background paper, we are trying to give an overall picture and quick glance of these five important aspects of research problems in Islamic economics. Separate papers, dealing with some of these issues in greater detail are also presented in this symposium. I- HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1. The heritage of Islamic literature, especially the original works of the first three centuries of Hijrah, is full of ideas and perceptions about Islamic economics and the economic system of Islam. It carries the seeds and early precursors of modem research. In fact any study of the history of Islamic economic thought is bound to be incomplete unless it gives due attention to the specialized works of Abu Ubaid, Abu Yusuf, Muhammad bin Al Hasan, and other great pillars of Islamic thinking of that era,...
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