The noted author is one of the pioneer contributors in the field of Islamic economics. He has written on methodology of Islamic economics from time to time. He is an objective thinker who had made critical evaluation of both mainstream economics as well as Islamic economics on some aspects. In principle, he wants Islamic economics to be an analytical field. He expects that mainstream economics shall avoid bias against religion and should not undermine and disregard knowledge that comes from religious texts. Some knowledge that comes from religious sources dates back to centuries. However, such knowledge is still applicable today. Instead of arriving at same conclusions and reinventing the wheel, it is not unwise to pay heed toward the knowledge that emanates from religion.
Corona Virus has affected millions of people and killed hundreds and thousands of people already in more than 200 countries and territories of the world. Almost all routines of life have been affected. Our tremendous journey in scientific, technological, industrial and economic advances has come to a pause for a while in the last few months. As we ponder over origin of Corona Virus, it is high time to also reflect and think over origin of everything. This short book engages and invites readers to together seek answers from science, philosophy, and spirituality.
If the virus had been growing at a linear rate, it would not have been that much dangerous. It is the exponential increase in the Corona Virus spread which makes it become uncontrollable and create havoc in the society. Compound interest in the financial system is such a Corona Virus. Interest accrued but unpaid increases interest in the future periods ahead at an exponential rate.
In the Godless worldview, the battle of survival ends with destruction eventually for Corona Virus, bacteria, unicellular organisms, animals and humans the same way. Humans having consciousness and conscience may define their personal meaning of life by themselves as to how best to spend few million breaths under the sun in maximizing self-pleasure. But, the life ends without due justice for many people who are killed, robbed and discriminated against and it ends without due punishment for many people who cause these crimes. Some are lucky and some are unlucky in the mortal game of survival of the fittest.
A reflective human mind would look at the pandemic and will be reminded that this life will end one day for him from one or the other material cause. A reflective mind will keep in mind the scientific and historical evidence that death is as much a fact as is life.
Mainstream economics treats altruism as ‘impure’. It looks at altruism in the paradigm of pursuing self-interest. Economists like Andreoni reason that altruism can be explained through the ‘warm glow’ effect. People feel good to help others as they gain personal and private comfort. They might be doing it because of social pressure, to gain fame, to improve social image, to exhibit status or to avoid the guilt of saying no to a cause in public. The paradigm of self-interest is neutral between a person’s decision to help others or to not help others.
The doctors and nurses who have risked their lives to treat patients have defied these explanations and proved that altruism can be genuine. The idea of selfish self-interest needs revision. John Nash gave the idea that everybody does what’s best for him and the group. Referring to humans as a group, Dawkins think that Selfish Gene has no inherent morals and only has survival instincts. Morality is then just an instrument to achieve survival of the fittest.
The major issue is that the government has not been active in the collection of Ushr. Furthermore, historically, it never achieved its true potential in terms of the amount collected due to the trust deficit between the government and the landowners. It is also a fact that some greedy landlords try to evade it. On the other hand, poor knowledge about Ushr among the landowners results in the meager collection of Ushr at the national level.
In the Islamic framework, there is an emphasis on conservation, preservation and responsible use of resources. There is a discouragement for excessiveness, extravagance, lavishness and wastefulness in the use of resources. These norms are especially needed in the present times to foster a healthy, livable and sustainable ecosystem. In 2019 alone, humans have used up resources for the whole year within 7 months according to World Economic Forum.
Islam and science are not at odds as commonly perceived. According to World Values Survey Sixth Wave results, 32.73% Muslim respondents completely agreed that science and technology are making our lives healthier, easier, and more comfortable as compared to 24.89% others citing the same opinion.