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 30: The three Arab worlds on the eve of the ‘Arab Spring’

James E. Rauch and Scott Kostyshak


On December 17, 2010, a political uprising began in Tunisia that spread with varying force to most Arab countries, in what became known as the ‘Arab Spring’. By the end of February 2012, autocrats in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen, who had collectively held power for 127 years, had been deposed, and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was fighting a war to remain in power, which he continues to do at the time of writing. The Arab Spring dramatically changed popular perceptions of socioeconomic development in the Arab world. Conventional wisdom had previously been shaped by the Arab Human Development Report 2002, the first in a continuing series produced by the United Nations Development Programme. Written by Arab scholars, it was a no-holds-barred indictment of economic, social, and political backwardness in the Arab world. American and European audiences received the report with tremendous enthusiasm. Time magazine (December 30, 2002) called it ‘the most important volume written in 2002’.

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