Table of Contents

Handbook on Islam and Economic Life

Handbook on Islam and Economic Life

Edited by M. Kabir Hassan and Mervyn K. Lewis

Handbook on Islam and Economic Life is a unique study, one of the first of its kind to consider Islam within a broader economic sphere. Covering a wide breadth of topics and research, it explores how Islam impinges upon and seeks to shape major aspects of economic life including economic organisation, business and management, finance and investment, charity, mutuality and self-help, and government. It concludes by analysing the link between religion and development, the present economic situation in Arab countries and the causes of underdevelopment in Muslim countries.

Chapter 1: Islam, the economy and economic life

M. Kabir Hassan and Mervyn K. Lewis

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, economics and finance, asian economics, islamic economics and finance


There are a large number of articles and books on the topic of Islamic finance. A smaller number of studies, particularly in recent years, have been devoted to the study of Islamic economics. To our knowledge, however, there is no volume that considers Islam and the broader economic sphere, that is, how Islam shapes, and interacts with, the economy and economic life. Why is there a need for such a volume? An obvious starting point is that, according to the 2009 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report, 1.6 billion, or nearly one in four people in the world, are Muslims (60 per cent in Asia, 20 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa, 15 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, 2.4 per cent in Europe and 0.3 per cent in the Americas). There are 57 Muslim majority (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC) countries. In addition, one in five Muslims live in a country where Islam is a minority (160 million in India, 38 million in Europe and 5 million in the Americas). Clearly Muslims are an important part of the world economy. But why Handbook on Islam and Economic Life and not, say, a study of the economies of the various Islamic countries, such as the contribution of the OIC countries to the world system? An overriding reason is that Muslims everywhere ought not to separate economic activities from the religion – the pursuit of economic activities needs to be based on moral and legitimate foundations.