Studies in Islamic Finance, Accounting and Governance series
Chapter 1: Is it necessary to have Islamic economics?
Conventional economics, which dominates modern economic thinking, has become a well-developed and sophisticated discipline after going through a long and rigorous process of development over more than a century. The development continues uninterrupted, as reflected in the publication of innumerable journals, books, and research reports throughout the world. Individuals, universities, research organizations, and governments are all participating actively in this development. As a result of accelerated development in Western industrial countries over a long period, substantial resources are available to scholars to pursue their research. It goes to the credit of the West that there is a great quest for knowledge; researchers are willing to work rigorously, and creative work gets richly rewarded in terms of both prestige and material benefits. Islamic economics has, however, had its resurgence only over the last three to four decades. The number of individuals, universities, governments, and research organizations participating in its development is relatively very small. Since most Muslim countries are poor and in the initial stage of development, the resources they have available at their disposal for financing research activities are also relatively meagre. Moreover, some of the governments in Muslim countries consider the resurgence of Islam, with its unmistakable call for political accountability and socio-economic justice, to be a threat to their survival. They are, therefore, reluctant to render any moral or material support for the development of Islamic social sciences.