Islamic Economics, Banking And Finance: Contemplating Raisons D'etre And Future Directions

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The emergence of Islamic economics, banking and finance as a system of thought and practice is timely in the midst of world crisis and the uncertain proposals for solving it. It is hoped that Islamic economics, banking and finance (IEBF) offer a coherent perspective for understanding real economic problems as well as a genuine alternative to the very foundations of how economics and finance should be managed to actualise human prosperity. It is believed that IEBF will continuously evolve into a more sophisticated form and structure in the next decade. Some, however, question whether the development is moving on the right track to realise the hopes pinned on it at the time of its initial establishment. The points of discussion range from technical issues related to the appropriate products, mechanisms and policies to serve the goals; to the human capital requirements; to the systemic issues of paradigm, structure and goals of an Islamic economic and financial system. In this research we argue that it is only with a sound philosophical base for Islamic economics, banking and finance that the body of knowledge can sustain itself or provide genuine Islamic alternatives to contemporary economic and financial practices. Therefore, to resolve the tensions in the development of Islamic economics and finance and to guide it in the proper direction, greater concern should be given to the foundations. Likewise, to provide for meaningful development in the twenty-first century, IEBF must realise its full potential as a system, not merely a stopgap means of surviving the crisis. It must go beyond that to provide the guidelines for managing a good economy, stimulating growth and development, realising socio-economic justice and promoting employment and stability. It cannot limit itself to merely offering economic and financial practices that satisfy the minimum standard of legal requirements.



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