What Is Islamic Economics

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What Is Islamic Economics?

In Islam man is khalifatullah fil ardh or the `vicegerent of Allah on earth’. What this means is that man as a representative of Allah is required to utilize the resources bestowed upon him as a trust by Allah in the most effective and efficient manner in accordance with the Islamic laws and regulations. In other words in Islam man’s existence comes with a purpose namely to serve and worship his Creator as depicted in the verse of the Quran ma khalaqtul jinnawalinsan illa liya`budun or `We do not create jin and man except to worship Me’ (Surah Al-Jatsiyyah, verse 57). Allah has provided man with the religion of Islam to guide him in performing his role as khalifatullah fi ardh. Islam is adeenul kamil wa syamil or a `complete and comprehensive system’ that provides the specific pattern of social and economic behavior for all individuals. As a vicegerent of Allah, homo Islamicus or the `Islamic man’ should do good to his own self and family, develop a good society and lead the society towards a peaceful and harmonious world based on the Quran and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. His aim is to achieve falah which means `to attain bliss and happiness in this world and the hereafter’. In Islam there is no separation between the material and the spiritual, the soul and the physical aspects of man.

In a godless secular society, man has no purpose except to accumulate wealth and satisfy his lust and desire. He is not guided by any religious law but solely his own reason to maximize his satisfaction. Morality is not an integral part of the society and the life of man. In this society man is an economic agent or homo economicus with the aim of maximizing his own self-interest. He may be guided by customs or traditions of his ancestors or the secular law established in the society or state in which he is part of it but other than that he is free to make his own decisions or in the best he will do is to act in accordance with what his rational mind or conscience says.

In the secular view, economics is defined as the social science that deals with the effective and efficient allocation of scarce or limited resources to satisfy unlimited needs and wants of man. Since man in the secular society wants to gain happiness only in this life, they will try to gain satisfaction, maximize profit and their self-interest utilizing what they believe to be limited resources acquiring them using whatever ways and means possible. What this means is that in achieving this worldly happiness, ethics and moral values are not necessary.

In Islam, economics is defined as the application of the rules of the syariah in a way to prevent injustice in obtaining and distributing the abundance of resources to provide satisfaction to man and enable them to perform their obligations to Allah, society and the environment. In Islam, there are no limited resources as Allah has stated in one of the Surah in the Quran, which means; “It is Allah who hath created the heavens and the earth and sendth down rain from the skies, and with it bringeth out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He Who hath made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers (also) hath He made subject to you.” (Ibrahim 14:32) HOMO ISLAMICUS

Islam offers a balanced and realistic picture of human nature. The homo Islamicus has four characteristics. First, man has been created as the best living beings and given responsibilities towards everything on this earth. The notion of divine vicegerency not only bestows an exalted status on man but also entails certain obligations. As God’s vicegerent on earth, man is responsible to Him for all his actions and deeds. The Prophet is reported to have said: “All of you are (like) shepherds; and all of you are accountable for your sheep”. Man has a moral responsibility to safeguard God’s bounties, including the planet’s resources, its...
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