Yazar : Hafas Furqani

The foundations of Islamic economics: a philosophical exploration of the discipline

The study explores aspects of the philosophical foundations of Islamic economics to determine if it qualifies to be called a scientific discipline. To qualify, it has to have a clear subject matter, a well-defined body of knowledge, methodology or methodologies to appraise theories and progress in its development. In almost four decades of its development, the study argues that the discourse on these foundations has been relatively limited and this has stunted its genuine and sustainable progress. Qualitative library research with discourse analysis representing the discursive tradition in Islamic scholarship is employed in this study. By observing the present state of affairs in the literature of Islamic economics and utilizing works on philosophy of science in both Islamic and Western traditions, the study attempts to develop the foundational core of Islamic economics as a scientific discipline that will serve as a platform from which further development can take place. The research first discusses the concept of worldview that acts as the unseen foundation of all bodies of knowledge and action; hence it has clear implications for the development of the discipline. The study approaches the subject matter under the specific branches of philosophy- the ontological, epistemological and axiological dimensions- to provide a more systematic reflection of those foundations of Islamic economics. Two chapters each discuss the three dimensions: one generally critically surveys the literature, while the second provides inputs for the 'Islamic perspective' in those dimensions. The ontological dimension of Islamic economics investigates the nature and fundamental elements of Islamic economics, including its definition, subject matter, nature and scope. The epistemological dimension analyses how the various sources of knowledge in Islam impact the methodology of Islamic economics and affects the criteria, principles and purpose of theory appraisal and evaluation. The axiological dimension examines the concept of values in an Islamic economic system and how these values can be incorporated in both theory and policy prescriptions. The study concludes that genuine Islamic economics must proceed from a sound foundation/philosophy of Islamic economics and that more serious research should be undertaken in this area of research.