Problems of Research in Islamic Economics.

Topics: Economics, Islam, Sharia Pages: 27 (10622 words) Published: May 18, 2011
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,...

References: preparing of bibliographies, indexes and glossaries in Islamic economics, banking and finance.2. Basic research: aiming at making theoretical contributions to Islamic economics and related aspects of jurisprudence.3. Applied research: aiming at proposing solutions to economic problems particularly in the Islamic region.So far Research Division of IRTI has realized 41 Research Projects in these three domains. Fourteen more are in progress. On the other hand, one of the most important objectives of the External Research Section is to deal with the promotion and encouragement programme, which is designed to encourage and foster academic activities considered important for the Bank as well as IRTI. It also aims at mobilizing intellectual potentials of the Islamic Ummah. External Research Section has established close cooperation with universities and similar institutions. The section organizes lectures in the IDB headquarters and invites renowned scholars. The Dissemination Section looks after the translation of researches, their publications and distribution. The Training Division or IRTI organizes seminars and training programmes on important subjects relevant to IRTI and the Bank. So far, the division has conducted seminars on "Management and Development of Awqaf Properties", "Management of Zakah in a Modern Muslim Society", "The Financial Resources of a Modern Muslim Society" and "Developing a System of Islamic Financial Instruments". The newly established information Centre has started collecting relevant data on different aspects of the Islamic economies. (c) International Institute of Islamic Economics (IIIE) International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan The IIIE came into existence following an amendment to the Islamic University, Islamabad Ordinance, 1980. The IIIE is comprised of three distinct but inter-related functional entities entrusted with specific objectives: 1. School of Economics: it is basically a teaching oriented entity aiming at teaching and studying economics, Islamic economics and related disciplines at undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and post doctoral levels.2. Research Centre: it aims at conducting and promoting research on theoretical issues in Islamic economics as well as on practical problems facing the economies of the Muslim countries. 3. Resource Centre: it aims to serve as a data bank for scholars, researchers and policy makers in the fields of Islamic economics and economic features of the Islamic countries.Kulliyah of Economics,. International ' Islamic University (IIIU), Malaysia The Kulliyah (College) of Economics came into existence with the inception of IIU on 16th July, 1983. It is an integrated teaching unit offering a four-year undergraduate programme in economics in general Shari 'ah framework of the IIU. By its teaching programmes the Kulliyah aims to produce graduates, who are well equipped with required technical skills blended with Islamic spiritual values so that they can playa meaningful role in society after graduation.(e) Department of Islamic Economics, Imam Mohammad Bin Saud Islamic University, Riyadh Established in 1399H-1400H/1979-80, basically a teaching department, it aims at the following objectives:1. Equipping students with necessary knowledge in Islamic economics to be engaged in various aspects of economic and administrative works in the society.2. Training researchers in Islamic economics who can combine technical economic knowledge with Islamic Jurisprudence, so that they can take responsibility of serving and teaching Islamic economics. This is particularly important as the leaders and peoples of the Islamic world are seeking Islamic economic solutions to the ever-increasing problems of modern times.(f) Islamic Economics Research Bureau, (IERB) Dhaka, Bangladesh IERB was established by a group of Islamic thinkers and intellectuals in Bangladesh in 1976. The Bureau is a non-profit private research institution. It is principally designed to undertake research on different branches of Islamic economics in order to develop the same as a separate academic discipline forming a theoretical base for providing solutions to the acute economic problems that the world is facing today. Specifically its objectives are summarized as follows: 1. To undertake researches in Islamic economics.2. To conduct and support schemes to write, translate and publish books in Islamic economics.3. To hold meetings, seminars and symposia in Islamic economics.4. To develop a group of specialists in Islamic economic system.5. To promote cooperation and collaboration with other similar organizations and institutions in the world.As far as its achievements within the short span of its existence are concerned, it has published two books in English and one book in Bengali, held two seminars and published their proceedings. It publishes a quarterly research journal on Islamic economics titled Thoughts on Economics. 4. In addition to these institutions, an International Association for Islamic Economics was established in July 1984. The principal objective of the Association is to strive for the reconstruction of economics from an Islamic perspective. The Association will be active in the fields of research, teaching, publication and promotion of Islamic economics. 5. Other organizations are deeply committed to promoting research in Islamic economics such as the International Association of Islamic Banks, Cairo, Institute of Policy Studies in Islamabad, Research Units of Islamic Banks, the International Institute of Islamic Banking and Economics in Cairo, and the newly established Centre of Studies and Research in Islamic Economics in France. Moreover, one should not forget the long-lasting impact of the role played by the International Institute of Islamic Banking and Economics, which was in Kibris. The common problems generally faced by all institutes of Islamic economics can be described:         1. Academic problems 2. Management problems 3. Financial problems 4. Qualified Manpower problems 5. Coordination problemsSince these problems are dealt with in other papers in this symposium, we only mention them in order to emphasize their magnitude and importance. V - FUTURE PROSPECTS OF RESEARCH IN ISLAMIC ECONOMICS 1. A cursory glance at the literature of Islamic economics reveals that valuable and significant work has been done in the past twenty years on crucial issues. Nevertheless, it should not lead to any complacency since much more remains to be done. In case Islamic economics has to offer a new paradigm of economics, it will have to extends its scope, tread in new areas and offer new and workable prescriptions for the economic ills of our times and societies. Hence the question: What future direction further progress of research in Islamic economics might take? It is not usually easy to provide any definite answer to such a question, however, it is possible to give more indications in a few areas where we need to concentrate our attention. (a) Methodology: Contemporary writings on Islamic economics have been criticized on the ground that they generally adopt neo-classical techniques of economic analysis. The critics have not yet offered any alternative technique of analysis. Nevertheless, there is a need to take a hard and critical look at contemporary and prevailing methods of economics analysis and their suitability to the requirements of Islamic economics. In this connection, there is a special need to critically examine the assumption:; behind certain basic concepts, such as pricing, profit, entrepreneur, maximization, distribution, etc. Such concepts must not be unqualifiedly accepted in Islamic economics. .(b) Micro-Economics: Much of what has been written on Islamic economics has adopted a macro view of Islamic economy. However, it is generally accepted in all quarters that micro- economics provides the foundation stone upon which the edifice of macro- economics is built. Although there have been some attempts to theorize on how an individual consumer behaves in Islamic economy, not much has been done to study the theory of production and producers, and theory of markets in the Islamic framework. Construction of a micro- economic theory under the Islamic constraints might be the most challenging task before the Islamic economists.(c) Macro-economic Models: There have been several efforts to formulate macro economic models of Islamic economy, but most of these attempts have been carried out at the aggregate level. In future, it may be useful to disaggregate the basic model into various sectors, study the inter-relationship between various sectors and work out the general equilibrium conditions for the Islamic economy.(d) Development Theory: Theory of economic development in the Islamic perspective assumes more importance in view of the fact that most of the present day Muslim countries are developing countries. Although some economists have already written on the subject on Islam and development, an Islamic Theory of Development is yet to emerge. Problems of development in the Muslim world are too complex and too intricate. Hence, this is an area of Islamic economics, which deserves much attention.(e) Islamic Finance and Banking: Although considerable amount of work has already been done in the areas of Islamic finance and banking, significant issues, still remain unresolved. In Islamic banking, there is a problem of short-term credit to certain sectors and activities in which the principle of profit-sharing is not easy to apply. Similarly, Islamic banks need some kind of financial instruments in which they can invest short-term liquid funds. This is also linked with the general problem of development of Islamic financial instruments and secondary markets. All those and other related issues need analysis and elaboration.2. Universities can playa very useful role in the development of Islamic economics. The discipline of economics owes much to professional economists and university departments for its growth and refinement. Same can happen to Islamic economics. It is promising to note that Islamic economics is now taught at various Universities in Pakistan, Malaysia, the Middle East and elsewhere. The rise of full-fledged departments of Islamic economics would lead to a multiplier effect in the growth of Islamic economics. Some Western Universities, which are already accepting subjects of Islamic economics for doctoral dissertations, may be persuaded to establish special chairs of Islamic economics. So far Islamic economics is mostly being taught in the Faculties of Shari 'ah except a few universities. Efforts should be made that Islamic economics should be taught in Faculty of Economics. The economics curricula of Muslim Universities may be modified and adjusted to accommodate Islamic Economics. There is a need to undertake research work on teaching of Islamic economics. If feasible, a separate conference of economics teachers should be organized to discuss the issues involved in it. 3. Besides universities, research institutions, will also playa significant role in the development of the subject. As some of them have been already mentioned in this paper, there are a number of such institutions. However, there is a great need of cooperation and coordination in these efforts so that duplication and waste of resources could be avoided. 4. But how priorities in research on Islamic economics should be determined? No doubt, so far market forces and free will of researchers have been allocating the research efforts. Given the diversity of Islamic world there is no need to intervene in this process. However, some guidance may be provided on the issue of priority areas of research by various research conferences, which are held from time to time. It may be a good idea to hold symposium of the present type every two years to review the progress of research in Islamic economics achieved during the period.CONCLUSIONS Islamic economics, as it was already pointed out, is a new dynamic discipline of knowledge. Hence, it bears all the advantages and disadvantages of being new. We have tried, in this background paper to identify, the main problem areas of this new discipline in the field of research and to analyze them. No doubt that problems do not consist of only what has been mentioned here, there are certainly others. But we think that those problems described in this paper are quite important. They can be summarized as follows: (a) Conceptual differences in Islamic economics. These come mainly from conceiving different theoretical aspects of Islamic economics and its relations with other branches of Islamic studies.(b) Reluctance on the part of Universities and other teaching institutions to establish chairs and courses in Islamic economics and undertake research work in an organized and regular manner.(c) Institutional difficulties, which are mainly managerial, financial, manpower-wise and more serious ones, lack of academic freedom in several cases.(d) Problems in implementation: Islamic economic policies began to be implemented in some Muslim countries in some sectors of economic life. This implementation has a favourable effect on research activities. At the same time, it also brings in new problems which await solution.These problems and other can be solved with the development of research activities and advancing their academic level. This level, certainly, depends, before all other factors on the qualifications of researchers themselves. A researcher working in Islamic economics must have, I believe, the following academic qualifications in order to be able to contribute in this new field:        (i) Sound, deep and up-to-date knowledge of economics;    (ii) Solid background of Shari 'ah(iii) Proficiency in Arabic to be able to use primary sourcesI think, these are the basic requirements for any researcher working in this new domain. Some might find it difficult and unnecessary, especially for the third qualification. But those who are serious about research will appreciate it. We have also to bear in mind that no important step in Islamic studies can be realized without sufficient knowledge of Arabic. As we have seen in this paper, the ties of Islamic economics with other branches of Islamics are direct and very strong. Available translated sources cannot entirely satisfy the need. Like in every scientific discipline and particularly a new branch of social sciences, one of the most dangerous developments is easy writing and speculation. Islamic economics also cannot be exempted from this tendency. Only a well established, serious research environment can prevent this tendency and protect it against the juvenile sickness of a new discipline. Solving problems of research in Islamic economics requires good will, patience and a continual hard work from the scholars, researchers and the specialized bodies. *Prof. Dr. Nevzat Yalcintas is the Head of Research Division of the Islamic Research and Training Institute of the Islamic Development Bank. He acknowledges the contributions of his colleagues Dr. Hasmat Basar, Dr. Monzer Kahf, Dr. Ausaf Ahmad and Tariqullah Khan in the preparation of this paper Comments 1 - Dr. Bassam Al-SaketI think, Professor Nevzat 's paper is, neatly organized and carefully prepared. It merits the extension of our sincere gratitude to Professor Yalcintas. However, I would like to make the following remarks about the content and context of the paper. 1. Although the historical background expounded on page 3 and its following pages cover salient events in the history of Islamic economic research, no allusion to the great Arab thinker, Ibn Khaldun, who had paved the way for the pioneers of economic thought, was included. I wish it had been incorporated in the first paragraph, of page 3. 2. I would also like to draw the author 's attention to the necessity of having included in the paper other Islamic financial measures (besides the Zakah Premium) such as Jizya, Kharaj and the Kaffarat under Paragraph 3 of page 4. 3. While sincerely and deeply appreciating the author 's attempt to highlight the characteristics of research in Islamic economics, presented on pages 4 and 5 of the Paper, I would like to raise the following question:Is it to be inferred from those characteristics that the past research in Islamic economics was less related to the basic Islamic sources (like the Quran and the Sunna) than it is now, or was it, otherwise, subjected to a good deal of objectivity?4. Concerning the second part of the Paper, dealing with “Conceptual Dimensions” (pp. 7-13), I approve of the argument, Paragraph 3, page 9, describing research in Islamic economics not only as positive but also normative, or to quote the original text, "In Islamic economics, we do not deal only with how, but we also deal with the aught". It must be asserted, however, that the Postulates contended by Islamic economics are actually derived from the religious precepts that Muslims uphold. It follows therefore, that these postulates need no testing whatsoever, and that Islamic economics must be looked upon as dealing with a well defined line of living. This does not mean; however, that it offers a rigid theory, but rather an ideology which accepts, materialistic practices only by way of adapting them to Islamic principles. Commenting on the methodology of research in Islamic economics, as presented on page 11, I should like to remark that the economic theories of such research can be built on the deductive method. The deductive method, requires a deep and penetrating knowledge of all the data that are to be studied, and also of both the Islamic Shari 'ah and the fundamental sources thereof (Usul). The deductive method is, accordingly, more cost-saving than the other, known as the inductive, or the method of Statistical analysis. Both the deductive and inductive methods are employed in economic research, not only the deductive method, as claimed on page 11 of the Paper under the title of "The Islamic economic theory". The Paper would have had better made reference to the efforts, which if exerted, would shed some light upon the "degree of corroboration" the researcher might cite for his assertion that it is an Islamic theory of economics that he is trying to expound rather than an Islamic doctrine, as I find it necessary to call it. 5. Reference to the institutes which have been established for the study of Islamic economics and for research, the paper would have had better given further details about quantity and quality (i.e. details about the number of graduates and their calibre as well as teachers). This last item is extremely important because one of the major problems we suffer from is the shortage of well- trained instructors an issue which the researcher himself emphasized on page 15 but soon and strangely enough contradicted when on the same page he made reference to the problem of the shortage of opportunities open to professional economists which limits and even threatens the future of instruction in Islamic economics. 6. The Researcher also pointed out the inadequacy of the teaching material prescribed for instruction in Islamic economics. Such inadequacy, I believe, would reflect negatively on the field of research, since research is the major source of instructional and educational material. 7. I believe that one of the major problems of research in Islamic economics is the weak linkage and affinity that institutions of Islamic research and instruction have towards one another on both the levels of Seminars and exchange of views and Information. The Author has, moreover, referred to the weak coordination among the institutions that give instruction in Islamic economics. 8. To make sure that readers, concerned institutions, universities, researchers and Islamic banks have access to the literature of Islamic economics, due attention needs to be paid to the activities of printing, publication and advertisement. As things are, publication is limited and dissemination is more so. The need arises for publishing economic information at prices convenient for the students, researchers as well as bookshops. 9. The Researcher has thankfully listed the institutions that give instructions and undertake research in Islamic economics. He has also listed the objectives which these institutions try to achieve. In my belief, the list of objectives must include research in the area of locating causes of economic failure and poverty within the Muslim states and its gradation. In other words, research must address itself to policy making with a view to-alleviate misery, suffering and injustice. 10. Taking into consideration the fact that most countries of the Islamic World are still developing and that quite a number among them are least developed, I second the researcher’s suggestion for further research to establish an Islamic concept and paradigm of development in the near future. 11. I do share the author 's anxiety over the need for further research in Islamic finance. While admitting that Industry and economic projects in the Muslim states require long- term finance, and that profit- sharing can help alleviate the financing problem, I still find that short- term financing has not yet been discussed by Islamic economists as adequately as it should be. The problem lies in liquidity available at some Islamic financial institutions. 12. The author has stated some Western universities have started to establish chairs for Islamic economics, and he sees this, as a step in the right direction, therefore must be encouraged. May I ask whether encouragement should not be extended at the same time to the endeavour of bringing professors of Islamic economics and conventional economics together in seminars, convened on selective basis, so that both parties may jointly study various aspects of Islam and of Islamic economics, and then come out with certain foundations and policies that may be useful for the application of Shari 'ah and Islamic economics? Such an endeavour could be useful, provided that "ifta" (Last resort deliverance of Islamic legal opinion) are avoided, and conclusions arrived at are referred to Shari 'ah scholars. 13. The author has kept silent as on the matter that while a good number of Western teaching institutions have allowed to undertake research in Islamic economics, generally speaking academic and teaching institutions in the Islamic countries have, on the other hand, are hesitating to reserve staff seats or to prepare curricula for Islamic economic instruction. 14. The author has also made a hint at the lack of academic freedom pertaining to certain fields of research at institutes that provide instructions in Islamic economics. What does the author specifically mean? One wonders how section Four of the Paper has missed to include Al Albait Foundation among the institutions that do contribute and may still contribute to research in Islamic economics. Such an addition can easily be made (on page 24, for example).  5. Under the last section of the research, and more specifically under conclusions on page 29, the author has listed the qualifications which a researcher in Islamic economics must carry. To these I should like to add and to emphasize the necessity of the researcher 's having full faith in Islam and an excellent aptitude to establish a sense of trustfulness and credibility in people around him. The lack of faith and credibility shall cause serious danger to Islam itself. 16. Last, but not least, I would have liked to find in this Paper some allusions to or rather some estimates of the funds allocated by individual Islamic states for the financing of research in Islamic economics in their budgets. It is an important requisite towards which I should like to draw the attention of the participants to, they will persistently exert efforts to correct this unfortunate neglect of financial support, and to urge official authorities to allocate funds for search- financing in their budgets. It might as well be proper to ask the Islamic banks, so much necessarily expected to cater for the Islamic world 's developmental needs, to do something to remedy things. Finally I do emphasize my appreciation for the efforts exerted in this Paper. 2 - Dr. Abed Kharabsheh This topic is very important not only to me, but also for all those specialized in economics. I feel that this paper adds to our stock of knowledge and there is no doubt, that the writer knows well the problems facing: research in Islamic economics through his experience as head of the research division of IRTI. The Writer has summarized the steps taken by economists, research institutions, and universities to develop this new important dynamic academic discipline. In addition he presents and analyzes the main problems of research in Islamic economics. The main Problems discussed by the writer are as follows: (a) - Conceptual differences in Islamic economics, resulting from conceiving different theoretical aspects of Islamic economics and its relations with other branches of Islamic studies.(b) - Reluctance on the part of universities and other institutions to establish chairs and undertake research work in an organized and regular manner.(c) - Institutional difficulties, which are mainly managerial, financial, man power-wise, and lack of academic freedom.(d) - Problems in implementation, Islamic economic policies began to be implemented in some Muslim countries in some sectors of economic life. This implementation has a favorable effect on research activities.At the same time, it also brings in new problems which avail solutions. The Writer mentions the following academic qualifications for economists who want to contribute to research in Islamic economics: (a) - Sound, deep and up-to-date knowledge of economics;(b) - Solid background of Shari 'ah;(c) - Proficiency in Arabic to be able to use primary sources.I want to add to this list, willingness, patience, feeling the challenge of other ideologies the individual researcher and proper environment of work as prerequisites of research. In addition to the problems discussed directly or indirectly by the writer, let me summarize some others as follows: 1. Application of Islam as a total and complete way of life. 2. Islamization of all social sciences. Such as sociology, economics psychology, education... etc. Problems of research in Islamic economics cannot be solved unless other fields of social sciences are also dealt with properly because of the inter-relationship between these fields of social sciences. 3. Most Muslim economists lack knowledge about Islam or believe strongly in other ideologies. Such scholars are not expected to undertake research in Islamic economics. 4. Inspite of the importance of these scattered efforts of research in Islamic economics and developing Islamic institutions, the benefits will be very limited unless these researches and institutions are used effectively by Muslim societies in the field of education and formulation of policies. 5. Existing research in Islamic economics is concentrated heavily on the Islamic economic system. Little efforts have been made to develop theories consistent with Islamic economic system. 6. Most Shari 'ah scholars lack knowledge of economics and most economists lack solid background of shari 'ah. So, research in Islamic economics will continue to move slowly, unless effective and sincere efforts are made to overcome this problem. 7. Economic theory is derived from the actual behaviour of the private and public institutions. So, to develop theories and analytical tools, Islamic institutions have to be established. This helps economists testing the credibility of their theories and develop new ones over time. Finally, to solve such problems, steps should be taken to introduce Islamic concepts in all fields of specialization in economics. More steps should be taken in matters; such as rebuilding the scope and methodology of economics consistent with shari 'ah; preparing text books in Islamic economics for different levels of education; preparing a special book in Fiqh for economists; establishing more cooperation and coordination among economists teaching Islamic economics, establishing an intensive programme in Fiqh for economists; introducing an intensive programme in economics for shari 'ah scholars. In most important areas research in Islamic economics has to be carried out jointly by economists and shari 'ah scholars. Discussions Dr. Izzat El Sheikh: The problems raised in the paper indicate the absence of sound planning of whatever efforts we make in the developing societies. Since interests in the research in Islamic economics appeared suddenly, no pre- planning was done to avoid these problems. As for the paper in question is concerned, it did not refer to the experience of Al Azhar University in this field. If the researcher had studied this experience he might have found answers for all the questions raised in his paper. In 1961, a law was enacted to develop education in AI- Azhar University. Thus, combined scientific and Islamic faculties. Faculties of Commerce, Medicine and Engineering were established and Islamic studies were introduced as compulsory subjects at a ratio of 30 % of all different courses at these Faculties. Thus the student of AI- Azhar in these Faculties combines Islamic and scientific education in the speciality he studies. There are two types of education in Egypt: Al- Azhar education, which starts with teaching, from the outset Islamic courses; such as Fiqh, Tafsir, Islamic history, Quran and Hadith. This sort of education provides qualified cadres of teachers to teach at various faculties of Al-Azhar University. The second type is the ordinary secondary education. We are still in the process of forming the required cadres in the Faculty of Commerce for research in the field of Islamic economics. The graduates of this faculty seem to be a promising group to undertake such a task. We have started a postgraduate programme leading to MA and Ph. D. So far thirty-five Ph. D and M.A thesises in different branches of Islamic economics, accounting and administration have been written. Moreover, when we set up a diploma branch in Islamic economics and banking we insisted on the supervision of two scholars: one deals with scientific aspects (economics, administration or accounting) and the other (from Al-Azhar scholars) deals with the aspects of Fiqh.We also established a Center for Islamic Commercial Research and Studies where research is being undertaken by cadres well acquainted with Islamic and secular studies.Dr. Rafiq El-Islam Molla: I would like to comment on important issues raised both by the previous speaker and the presenter of the paper regarding problems encountered by the Islamic economic researchers, these are: lack of institutional backing for research and teaching, lack of qualified staff and lack of Islamic economy- for absorbing the graduates in Islamic economics. I have no experience or authority to comment on issues except lack of qualified staff, to undertake teaching and research activities, particularly in the conventional universities. Our experiences in Sokoto University may help others who are interested in introducing Islamic economics. We have Islamized the teaching programmes of economics which is carried out under the social science faculty. In doing so we realized that Islamizing only the economics programme is not enough, it has to be associated with Islamization of other branches of social sciences. Therefore, we tried to Islamise all the social science and business study programmes. We found this extremely useful to provide inter- disciplinary training to the students and to meet the problem of staff shortages. We have under-taken a programme of staff training, with the co-operation and co-ordination of several institutions where economic scholars are available, for example the Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah, and the International Islamic University, Malaysia. Thank God brothers are interested. With good sympathy of the brothers this discipline is growing. I think, the staff problem can be solved by pooling resources like that. On the issue of integration of these programmes in the conventional economics departments, I think that those who are engaged with the matter like the Islamic Development Bank could offer support, encouragement and motivation, for its introduction in Nigeria. So far, we have been able to encourage two more universities. Now three of us are trying to introduce this programme. With regard to the economy for absorbing our staff, I think that we have no control except hoping for Islamic resurgence as it is going on throughout the world, and I am extremely hopeful that Muslim countries will eventually emerge with Islamic economics. Unless we get the Islamic economies, we should not bother about the absorbtion of our graduates. The graduates themselves will rather compel the societies to follow the Islamic economic principles. Yousef Al- Adem: I have two remarks; the first is about those scholars who wrote on Islamic economics: Mohammad Al-Ghazali, Mahmoud Abus- Su 'd and Sayyid Qutb. Al Ghazali 's two books; "Islam and Socialist Doctrines" and "Islam and Economic Conditions" are among the best written for university students. The second remark is about the prerequisites of research in Islamic economics. Researchers are supposed to be thoroughly acquainted in Arabic, Shari 'ah and Economics. Dr. Bassam Al-Saket 's proposal is praise- worthy to add the element of faith in Islamic thought, and I would like to add piety, since the first four conditions might exist in some orientalists too. Abdul- Latif As- Subaihi Dr. Bassam Al-Saket pointed out that the motive for knowledge in Islam is an ideological one, not materialistic or economic. Man, is a social being, and when he makes money it is to be spent for the sake of good and jihad. It is not for hoarding and mere enjoyment while denying others their rights as is the case in capitalism. The economic problems in the Muslim World, referred to by our respected brothers, came as a result of maladministration and bad planning, not because of some deficiency in the Islamic doctrines or ideals which are not applied. Rather, we apply foreign economic theories without testing their validity for our Muslim societies. Those Western economic systems are free from human values such as: brotherhood, mercy, justice etc. Hence, the economic theories already applied in the Muslim World being based on the objective of making money and mere self- enjoyment, lack of mercy and equity. But in Islam, the economic system is based on social security where man makes money for himself and the others. Dr. Mahmoud Rashdan: It seems to me that some of the problems or obstacles to research in the field of Islamic economics are the same as the problems of scientific research in the Muslim World in general. The Muslim world is underdeveloped in all fields of genuine scientific research. However, I claim that what has been achieved in the field of research in Islamic economics during the last twenty years exceeds its counterpart in other fields of knowledge in the Muslim World. This is because many of those who assume research in the other fields of knowledge in the Muslim World do import and imitate the works of others. Hence, I am rather optimistic because Islamic economics surpasses other social sciences as far as scientific research is concerned. The other problem which the researcher overlooked is the political obstacle. In many Arab and Muslim universities, those in charge of the departments of Islamic economics are appointed according to some political considerations. They are not necessarily intimated to Islamic economics. In many cases, they are against the development of this field of knowledge and impede any possibility to undertake research in it. We call on the decision makers to refrain from appointing those who have neither faith in Islamic economics nor in Islam in its totality. This would be a serious and sincere gesture to support research in Islamic economics. |
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