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Contribution to Book
Islam and the Science of Economics
The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought (2006)
  • Syed Farid Alatas
Economists have generally maintained a rigorous separation between positive and normative economics. In the Muslim world, however, concerted attempts have been made to relate moral conduct to economic institutions and practices. Demands for an alternative theory and practice of development to both modernization and Marxist theories had led to the rise of Islamic economics. But while Islamic economic thinking presents an ideal of development that is based on an Islamic philosophy of life, it is beset by a number of problems which make it difficult to be considered as an alternative to modernist discourse as far as empirical theory is concerned. As such. so-called Islamic economics cannot be considered as presenting a counter-modernist and alternative development theory. As an ethical theory of development Islam offers an alternative to modernization. dependency. and neo-Marxist theories. an empirical theory. so called Islamic economic theory remains within the fold of Western modernist discourse in terms of its theoretical concerns and methodology. This chapter provides a theoretical critique and suggests an exemplar for a political economy approach for the Muslim world.
  • Alternative Discourses; Ibn Khaldun; Muslim Extremism; Academic Dependency; Christian-Muslim Dialogue.
Publication Date
Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi
Citation Information
Syed Farid Alatas. "Islam and the Science of Economics" The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought. Ed. Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi. Malden: Blackwell, 2006. 587-660. Available at: