Practical Islamic Economy

The religion of Islam is profoundly concerned with the social life of human beings, and its rules are set to be practiced on a large scale and in all aspects of humans’ life. Therefore, it is inseparable from the financial and political organization of the society. So, Islam has built a system of economy compatible with any society [1] and practical at any given time.

 

Islam considers the economy as one of the most important aspects of the social life, but not its sole purpose which has to be taken into account at the expense of ignoring or harming other aspects of human’s life. The typical and well-known economic concepts in Islam are Khums, Alms tax (Zakat), Usury (Riba), Mortmain property (Waqf), etc.

 

Islamic economy, society, Islam

 

What Are the Characteristics of Islamic Economy?

 

The healthy economy according to Islam is the one which is vibrant and growing, advantageous for all kinds of people in the society, and free from favoritism and injustice. This is an economy in which a fair amount of income is earned through a sufficient amount of work which is beneficial both for the individuals and the society.

 

 

Therefore, a Halal source of income -that is the money earned through acceptable ways in Islam- in Islamic society is earned through a job, which is compatible with public interests based on the sharia of Islam. On the contrary, the income earned by any demand regardless of its nature or its effect upon the society is not considered Halal according to Islam. In other words, the demands must be for the benefit of humankind -not just materialistically but also spiritually- to result in a healthy and desirable income [2].

 

 

Despite many misunderstandings, Islam never condemns being wealthy or having a prosperous way of living[i]. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Worshiping has seven parts and its best part is lawfully earning money”. Contrarily, producing wealth in lawful ways, legal trading, and spending money for personal matters without extravagance and prodigality -which is strictly forbidden in Islam- have been highly recommended [1].

 

 

However, it condemns putting financial needs and concerns above other things, living for the sake of gathering money and piling it up, not earning money to have a better life, which is apparently not achieved just by money. On the other hand, if money becomes a means for work, activity, and productivity, then it will result in a more satisfactory and peaceful life [2].

 

Islamic economy, Islam, Muslim

 

To conclude, the practical religion of Islam is in favor of a lively economy in which welfare is not restricted to a particular group in society, a typical feature of capitalistic societies. Moreover, wealth is distributed fairly but not equally and regardless of the amount and quality of the work they undertake - characteristic of a communistic economy-  among all kinds of people in the society.

 

 

It is a system which is continually developing, and each individual has an opportunity to put his or her talents into practice. In other words, social justice is the crucial factor of the Islamic financial organization. A perfect example of this kind of society can be easily depicted in the reign of Muslims’ great religious leader after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Imam Ali (AS) [ii]. 

 


Notes:


[i]. Money has been directly called “Kheir” which means “goodness” in the Quran (2:180).

 

[ii]. On the second day of his reign, Imam Ali (AS) told his people as an announcement of his way of distributing the common wealth among the society that: “the wealth is God’s property. Thus it will be distributed equally betwixt you, and no one is regarded above the other in this distribution, and there will be the best reward for God-fearers on the Day of Judgement”. Also, he was severely criticized by the upper-class groups in society for his careful observance of neglected people and his similar behavior with all kinds of people from any economic background. 

 

References:


[1]. Sheykh Al-Saduq. Savab al-Aamal va Iqab al-Aamal.

[2]. Morteza Motahhari. Nazari bar Nezame Eghtesadye Islam (An Overview of Islamic Economic system). Tehran: Sadra Publication.