Author Archives

Salman Ahmed Shaikh

PhD Economics, National University of Malaysia. Author, Researcher, Teacher and Consultant. He can be contacted at:

Difference between Islamic Economics and Islamic Law

Even though the principles like prohibition of Riba and Zakat are binding as rules, they also have an important economic rationale and function in economic matters of an Islamic society. Hence, the mandate of Islamic economics will be to explain their economic merit using experimental and observational data and by applying statistical and other suited techniques to establish certain analytical hypothesis.

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Economic Merits of Islamic Modes of Financing

From the risk and profitability perspective, Islamic modes of financing keep the Islamic financial system liquid and less prone to risk due to asset backing. Often, the investors with bank (the deposit holders) are risk averse and want consistent returns. But, small savers do not have enough funds to finance big volume projects directly. But, using investors’ pool of funds to provide financing, the investors are able to share in benefit of such economic activities.

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Future Research Directions in Islamic Economics

The recent literature on Islamic economics hardly makes use of mathematics even for expositional purposes. Mathematics is a language. It keeps argument and logic straight. Just like growth models could talk of seemingly non-mathematical concepts like public infrastructure, social infrastructure and governance, one can incorporate Islamic principles to show how they could be more welfare enhancing. For instance, the need is to show the impact and effects of Islamic principles on allocation of resources, income distribution, externalities and so on using mathematics.

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Is Islam the Cause of Underdevelopment

Abbas Mirakhor and Hossein Askari write that the claims of any society to call itself Islamic must be validated by the existence and effective operations of the institutional structure (rules of behavior). They opine that in today’s Muslim societies, the core elements of the institutional structure that would designate a system as Islamic are, by and large, notable for their absence.

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Scope of Islamic Economics

Most of the description of human economic behavior in mainstream economics is trivial at best. Mankiw once wrote in a widely used textbook ‘people react to incentives, rest is commentary’. Islamic economics cannot confine itself to commentary on material pursuits alone. In mainstream economics, the important issues of equity, welfare, equitable distribution and institutions that can ensure these are at the periphery rather than at the center.

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