Chapter 34: Islam and Entrepreneurship
Wafica Ali Ghoul INTRODUCTION The number of Muslims worldwide was last estimated to be 1.6 billion, which represents about one-fifth of the world’s population. The number of Muslims who currently live in the Western world (North America and Europe) is growing. There are around 7.5 million Muslims who currently live in the United States, 4 million live in Germany, 6 million in France, 3 million in Canada, and 1.8 million in the United Kingdom (Hassan and Carruthers 2007). Muslim entrepreneurs around the globe have been increasingly seeking to set up enterprises that are consistent with Shari’ah law (Islamic principles of living), because they believe that these entities will enable them to achieve their economic goals while respecting and abiding by their religious beliefs. Feldman (2008) had the following to say about Shari’ah: Shari’ah represents the idea that all human beings – and all human governments – are subject to justice under the law . . . The word ‘Shari’ah’ connotes a connection to the divine, a set of unchanging beliefs and principles that order life in accordance with God’s will . . . Shari’ah is best understood as a kind of higher law, albeit one that includes some specific, worldly command. Feldman goes on to say that ‘a fourfold combination – the Koran, the path of the prophet as captured in the collections of reports, analogical reasoning and consensus – amounted to a basis for a legal system’ which is commonly known as Shari’ah. A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC ENTERPRISES What are the Features that Distinguish Islamic Enterprises from their...
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