The Economic System in Contemporary Islamic Thought:

A Critical Interpretation


Timur Kuran



The salient institutions of the economic system envisaged by contemporary Islamic writers are behavioral norms derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah, the prohibition of interest, and zakat. Of these institutions, the first two are unlikely to enjoy widespread adherence in a large, heterogeneous, modern society. The third is essentially a redistribution scheme resembling those already in operation all over the world, except that it is less comprehensive and rather regressive. On the methodological side, the Islamic writings on economics are replete with unrealistic assumptions and invalid inferences. They nonetheless flourish in some circles, partly because their association with Islam shields them from serious criticism.
 

International Journal of Middle East Studies, 18 (May 1986): 135-164.