Many professionals today experience a dilemma where they must make a choice between being good humans and being good at their job. They are left to wonder how the principles of love, generosity, fairness, reciprocity, and trust that they know to be true about life in general, do not apply at work. Some resort to the unfortunate conclusion that cold selfish behaviour is “natural” for human beings in economic situations. This is false. One of the prime reasons for moral listlessness at the workplace lies buried in mainstream economic theory.
Muslim economists have employed the mainstream economics tools to explicate consumption in the Islamic framework. Two of the key limitations of these early works are that they used the Keynesian framework without building micro foundations and they did not model the behaviour in an intertemporal context.
This article highlights the points of distinction and compatibility between the Islamic and mainstream economics framework. The distinction comes in the decision horizon and the addition of moral filters on the choice set. The difference also appears explicit when one looks at the encouragement and incentive structure for pure altruism in a two-worldly Islamic framework. The distinction is even deeper in values whereby the Islamic framework encourages contentment, pure altruism and self-less behaviour while the mainstream economics framework is at best neutral between the moral content of economic choices.
This article looks at some of the descriptive and prescriptive teachings of Al-Quran and Sunnah (Ways of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]) on consumption and spending behaviour.