Islamic Economics: Still in Search of an Identity

Working Paper 283
Author(s): 
Abdulkader Cassim Mahomedy
Publication date: 
May, 2012
Journal: 
International Journal of Social Economics, 2013
Classification-JEL: 

The last few decades have seen a phenomenal growth of the emerging discipline of Islamic Economics and Finance. In this paper I trace the origins and birth of this nascent science examining the various factors that gave impetus to its emergence and development. I contrast the different characterisations of the discipline as it has developed within the broader socio-political context and the reasons thereof. Despite the concerted efforts of the proponents of Islamic economics to shape for their discipline a distinctive paradigm they have had little success in doing so beyond arguing that it is underpinned by a strong moral ethic. By and large its epistemological roots have remained firmly within the framework of Rationalism and methodological individualism and consequently it has not been able to shed itself of its neoclassical moorings, the very paradigm it originally set out to replace. I illustrate several of the contradictions apparent in the discipline as hitherto enunciated and I critically analyse the reasons for some of these shortcomings. Finally, I conclude by arguing that if Islamic economics is to fulfil its raison d'être its proponents must resolve its theoretical and practical difficulties by clearly expounding on its weltanschauung and develop its content and form appropriate to this worldview

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