Handbook on Islam and Economic Life
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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.
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Chapter 10: A socio-economic profile of Muslim countries

Mohamed Ariff and Meysam Safari


This chapter presents a socio-economic profile of Muslim countries as at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. In broad terms, the 57 majority Muslim countries have a combined population of 1.4 billion Muslims, which is 23 percent of the world population. An additional 200 million to 350 million live as minorities in almost all other nations. The World Bank’s human development index score of 59 for them is 15 percent lower than the world average. In fact, the slightly lower human development score is surprisingly good news on how far the Muslim countries have progressed based on the perception of their situation some 60 years ago as depicted in the then contemporary historical accounts. Muslims then were described as examples of lack of modernization and their countries were examples of poor governance. During the 60-year period, most of these nations gained freedom from colonial rule. The extent of the progress made in the contemporary period is examined in this study using factual socio-economic data series. This augurs well for future development towards democracy, development, and human progress of Muslims around the world.

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