SEPUTAR EKONOMI SYARIAH “Islamic Economics is Social science which studies the economics problems of a people imbued with the value of Islam.” (Abdul Mannan) By: EDWARN ABAZEL STYLE

Senin, 06 Oktober 2014

Nine Deficiencies of Mainstream Islamic Economics
Muhammad Syukri Salleh
Centre for Islamic Development Management Studies (ISDEV)
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang
After  decades  of  its  introduction,  Islamic  economics  has  undoubtedly
grown  rapidly.  But  the  growth  is  not  a  deficient-zero  growth.  Definitely
Islamic economics  –  in particular the mainstream Islamic  economics  -  has
faced,  and  is  facing,  and  may  likely  to  face  further,  deficiencies.  The
mainstream Islamic economics here refers to the contemporary dominating
Islamic economics thinking that is predominantly accepted, followed, and
grasped by  majority of  the  Islamic economists worldwide. The nature of
this  mainstream  Islamic  economics  is  deliberated  direct  or  indirectly
In  this  paper,  I  would  like  to  point  out  nine  deficiencies  that  I  have
observed, which I think, simultaneously, need further attention and action.
They  may  appear  very  basic  and  simplistic,  but  nevertheless,  I  strongly
think  that  they  are  very  important  to  be  attended  and  acted  upon.  This
paper  is  also  admittedly  to  be  in  a  brief  preliminary  thought,  but  it  is
hopefully  adequate  to  stimulate  a  discourse  and  to  inspire  further
This paper actually evolves from an initial thinking I presented in Doha,
Qatar  in  2011,  at  the  Eighth  International  Conference  on  Islamic
A  paper  presented  at  Konferensi  Internasional  Pembangunan  Islami  (KIPI)  Ke-1,
organized  by  Universitas  Jember,  Indonesia,  in  collaboration  with  Centre  for  Islamic
Development  Management  Studies  (ISDEV)  Universiti  Sains  Malaysia,  at  Universitas
Jember, Indonesia, 16-19 September 2014. This paper is a part of a bigger outcome of a
research project on Islamic-based Development, sponsored by Research University Team
(RUT) Grant of Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Dr  Muhammad  Syukri  Salleh  is  Professor  of  Islamic  Development  Management  and
Director,  Centre  for  Islamic  Development  Management  Studies  (ISDEV),  Universiti
Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.
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Economics and Finance.
In this presentation, I expressed my  concern on
two  deficiencies  of  the  mainstream  Islamic  economics.  The  two
deficiencies are the untransformed structure of the Islamic economics; and
secondly, the remaining of conventional economic assumptions within the
mainstream Islamic economics (Muhammad Syukri Salleh 2011). The idea
has been enhanced in 2013 in my speech at Plenary Session on Challenges
and  Further  Research  in  Islamic  Economics  of  the  2nd  International
Conference on Islamic Economics and Economies of the OIC Countries.
In  this  speech,  I  highlighted  six  deficiencies  of  the  mainstream  Islamic
economics,  including  the  untransformed  structure  I  presented  earlier  in
Doha (which I termed as framework at this occasion). The six deficiencies
(which  I  referred  to  as  the  ‘challenges’  to  Islamic  economics  then)  were
related to the framework, concept, research methodology, system, society,
and the scholars of Islamic economics
This present paper is the enlargement of the ideas previously deliberated at
the two occasions. The previously two and six deficiencies respectively are
now  developed  to  become  nine.  These  nine  deficiencies  are  firstly
pertaining to the philosophical framework of the Islamic economics itself;
secondly,  to  the  conventional  economics  assumptions  that  have  been
adopted  by  mainstream  Islamic  economics;  thirdly,  to  the  undefined
western ethno-centric concepts used in Islamic economics; fourthly, to the
single dimensional scope of the mainstream Islamic economics; fifthly, to
the  conventional  research  methodology  that  has  been  adopted  in  Islamic
economic research; sixthly, to the development of the strength of Islamic
system that could have been accomplished out of the realization of Islamic
economics; seventhly, to the construction of Islamic society entailing from
the  execution  of  Islamic  economics;  eighthly,  to  the  ultimate  aim  of  the
Themed  Sustainable  Growth  and  Inclusive  Economic  Development  From  an  Islamic
Perspective, the Conference  was organized by Qatar Foundation, Islamic Research and
Training  Institute  of  the  Islamic  Development  Bank,  and  International  Association  of
Islamic Economics on 25 – 27 December 2011.
The  Conference  was  organized  by  Department  of  Economics,  Kuliyyah  of  Islamic
Economics  and  Management  Sciences,  International  Islamic  University  Malaysia,
Ministry  of  Finance  Malaysia,  and  Islamic  Research  and  Training  Institute,  Islamic
Development  Bank,  Saudi  Arabia,  at  Prince  Hotel,  Kuala  Lumpur,  Malaysia,  29-30
January 2013.
The  full  speech  was  published  in  The  Brunei  Times  in  two  parts,  firstly  entitled  “Six
Challenges  of  Islamic  Economics”  (Muhammad  Syukri  Salleh  2013a),  and  secondly,
“The Challenges of Islamic Economics” (Muhammad Syukri Salleh 2013b).
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Islamic  economics;  and  ninthly,  to  the  knowledge-practice  dichotomy  of
the Islamic economic scholars themselves.
In a nutshell, the deficiencies of the mainstream Islamic economics relate
to  the  framework,  assumptions,  concept,  scope,  research  methodology,
system, society, ultimate aim, and the scholars of Islamic economics. It is
the deliberations on these nine deficiencies that this paper is dealing with.
1.  Framework
In  the  first  deficiency  that  relates  to  the  framework,  we  witnessed  the
growth of the accommodative-modification and methodologic eclecticism
approach that eventually shapes the current mainstream Islamic economics
as  a  fiqh-based  neo-classical  economics.  Islamic  economists  have
compromised  on  the  usage  of  the  western  ethno-centric  framework  and
elements embedded in it, based on a stance that it is alright to be so as long
as  it  does  not  contradict  Islamic  shari`ah  and  aqidah.  So  far  this  issue
seems to be quite settled.
But  in  contemplation,  it  is  still  worth  revisiting,  for  is  it  true  that  the
western  ethno-centric  framework  and  elements  which  were  adopted  into
Islamic economics do not really contradict Islamic  shari`ah  and  aqidah?
The answer could be positive if it is considered merely at operational level,
as many do. But if epistemological and philosophical levels are taken into
account, the answer might be different. This proof may lie in the deeds of
Rasulullah  SAW  himself.  Rasulullah  SAW  used  to  adopt  some  of  the
practices  inherited  from  jahiliyah  such  as  tawaf  (circumbulation),
marriage,  zihar,  qisas,  inheritance,  buying  and  selling,  karam  concept,
war, social relationship, slavery and  ‘aqilah. However, as found by Mohd
Shukri Hanapi (2012) through his historiography study, they evolved only
around their names and terms, while the structures and its roots have been
reconstructed  by  Rasulullah  SAW  based  on  Islamic  aqidah,  ibadah  and
akhlaq. This reconstruction is shown in Table 1.
In other words, the practices may look similar at operational level, but the
whole  worldview  (tasawur)  of  the  practices  is  different  when  they  are
based  on  Islamic  epistemological  and  philosophical  underpinnings,
forming a new kind and meaning of the practices.
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So  is  the  case  of  Islamic  economics.  The  stance  that  is  in  favor  of  the
adoption of the western ethno-centric framework and elements into Islamic
economics  has  to  be  revisited  and  re-contemplated.  Could  the  western
ethno-centric elements embedded in the western ethno-centric framework
be  called  Islamic  when  their  epistemological  and  philosophical
underpinnings are different? The answer is definitely not. The other pivotal
question  is  why  could  not  an  Islamic  economics  be  constructed  from
within  Islamic epistemological and philosophical underpinnings based on
Islamic tasawwur (worldview) itself? The answer could only be given after
a systematic and serious research is undertaken.
Table 1: Reconstruction of Jahiliyyah Practices Accepted in Islam
No.  Type of Practices
Practice Concept
in Jahilliyyah
Practice Concept in
Executed in nudity
and through
piercing of spikes
on the body.
According to them
the tawaf could not
be carried out when
using clothes that
were worn when
making the sinful
act (Jalaludin
Ismail, 2011)
It  is  obligatory  to
perform  the  Tawaf
while  all  the  physical
bodily  aspects  (aurat)
are covered. (al-A‘raf,
2.  Marriage
A man can marry
as many women as
he pleased. In fact
some of them had
hundreds of wives
(Idris Musa, 2009).
A man is only allowed
to marry up till four
wives at any one time.
However it cannot be
practiced according to
one’s whims and
fancies such that
women are oppressed
(al-Nisa’, 4:3).
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Type of
Practice Concept in
Practice Concept in
Zihar (a husband
equating his wife
with one of his
mahram such as
his mother or
Zihar was a way to
divorce the wife. One
way for a husband to
solve his problem of
no longer wanting to
be with his wife
is to utter the zihar
by equating his wife
to that of his mother
(Zulhazmin Mohd
Nasir, 2010)
Zihar is not a way to
talak (pronounciation
of divorce), however
kaffarah (fine) is
imposed (alMujadalah, 58:1-4)
When a member of a
clan is murdered then
that clan can retaliate
by killing as many
members of the
murderer’s clan
(Nuralhadi, t.t.)
Only the proven
murderer is to face the
death penalty since
Islam forbids killing
without any lawful
basis (al-An‘am, 6:51)
Distribution of
Women were
oppressed. They
were not in receipt of
inheritance from their
husband or family’s
estate. This negation
of inheritance is
because women were
regarded as weak and
of no use to each clan
or tribe (Smith,
Women have the
rights of inheritance
on her husband or
family’s estate (alNisa’, 4:11, 12 &
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Type of
Practice Concept in
Practice Concept in
Sale and
Filled with usury and
fraud especially in
measurements of
weight (Muhammad
Asrie Sobrie, 2009)
Sale and Purchase are
allowed and usury is
Furthermore Islam
provided the ethics of
sale and purchase such
as measurements need
to be accurate and
precise (al-Baqarah,
7.  Karam (Nobility)
Nobility is earned
because of wealth,
stature and many
children (Izutsu,
Nobility is due to
taqwa (piety) to Allah
SWT (al-Hujurat,
8.  War
War as a result of
pride and the
‘asabiyyah spirit. In
addition it is
regarded as a noble
Safeguards the
sanctity of the
religion, race and
society from intrusion.
A few guidelines
which are obligatory
to be followed are also
provided. (al-Baqarah,
2:190; al-Baqarah,
2:193; al-Baqarah,
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Type of
Practice Concept in
Practice Concept in
9.  Social Relations
Separated life within
each clan and tribe.
Each individual is
very proud of his
clan and prejudicial
against the other
clan. This caused
them to be partial to
one tribe regardless
whether they are in
the right or wrong.
This situation has led
to animosity amongst
The Muslim society in
Medina was able to
successfully build an
Islamic society
regardless of race and
tribes. Loyalty to
tribes no longer
existed and replaced
with the bond of
brotherhood (alHujurat, 49:10). For
example, Rasulullah
SAW successfully tied
the kinship of
brotherhood among
the Ansar with the
10.  Slavery
The master-slave
relationship was full
of oppression,
humiliation and
exploitation. As an
example when a
person failed to pay
his debts or was a
bankrupt then he can
be made a slave.
Slavery could also
occur as a
punishment on a
criminal offense. It
was aslo the case if a
man from one tribe
was captured by a
stronger tribe, the
man together with his
tribe could be
subjected to slavery.
The advent of Islam
did not obliterate
slavery but Islam
provided guidelines on
the laws regarding
slavery since slaves
are also humans
whose intrinsic nature
are the same with a
free man. Allah SWT
forbids the
exploitation of slaves
by their masters
(al-Nur, 24:33)
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Type of
Practice Concept in
Practice Concept in
for Murder or
Blood Money)
Should a murder
occured, the
murderer is required
to compnesate (diyat)
to the family of the
murdered. The
compensation was
collected from
amongst members of
the clan or tribe of
the murderer.
The compensation is
only to be paid by the
men of osund mind
from thefather’s side
(‘asabah nasab)
(Mohd Shukri Hanapi
& Tajul Sabki Abdul
Latib, 2003:14-15).
Source: Mohd Shukri Hanapi 2012.
2.  Assumptions
The  adoption  of  the  western  economics  ethno-centric  thinking  in  the
mainstream  Islamic  economics  is  obvious,  amongst  others,  in  the  use  of
the  assumptions  that  have  been  inherited  from  conventional  economics.
The very assumptions of the conventional economics  -  that is the scarcity
of  resources  and  the  unlimited  wants  -  are  adopted  rather  arbitrarily  by
mainstream Islamic economics.
Even though there are a handful of discourses on these assumptions
, but
they  are  flawed  by  at  least  two  shortcomings.  Firstly,  the  focus  is
predominantly  on  the  scarcity  of  resources  per  se,  without  having  to
venture into the meaning, or to link it to the unlimited wants. Secondly, the
focus  on  the  scarcity  of  resources  revolves  around  merely  the  physical
domain, leaving the spiritual domain almost untouched.
In  consequence,  the  scarcity  of  resources  is  perceived  as  true  based  on
physical  availability  alone,  without  taking  into  account  the  spiritual
concepts such as rizq and barakah that may actually determine the scarcity
For  instance,  amongst  Islamic  economists  that  have  dealt  with  these  assumptions,
particularly on the scarcity of resources, were Farhad Nohmani and Ali Rahnema (1995),
Rafiq  al-Masri  (1998), Muhammad  Umar  Chapra  (1998),  Habib  Ahmed  (2002),  Abdel
Rahman Yousri Ahmed (2002) and M. Fahim Khan (2002).
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or abundance of resources. In other words, the discussions on the scarcity
of resources are  based  on quantitative  measurements  rather than  both  on
quantitative  and  qualitative  measurements.  So  is  the  assumption  that  the
wants  are  unlimited.  The  necessity  to  dwell  into  the  unlimited  wants  is
almost ignored, let alone into the spiritual concepts such as  iman  (faith),
taqwa  (piety), and  nafs  (desires) that actually determine the levels of the
wants, either unlimited or otherwise.
All  in  all,  we  observe  how  the  mainstream  Islamic  economics  maintains
the  conventional  meaning  of  the  scarcity  of  resources  and  the  unlimited
wants assumptions in their analysis. It is based on these two assumptions
that the so-called Islamic economics theories and practice are formulated
and developed
3.  Concepts
In  the  third  deficiency,  we  observed  a  widespread  use  of  western  ethno centric  concepts  in  Islamic  economics.  The  concepts  have  been  used
arbitrarily without redefining them according to Islamic teaching. Poverty
for  instance  has  been  accepted  in  its  original  conventional  form,  despite
the  usage  of  Islamic  institutions  such  as  zakat  and  awqaf  to  alleviate
poverty (Muhammad Syukri Salleh 2013c). So are the other concepts such
as justice, growth, development, consumer behavior, civil society, quality
of  life,  wealth  management,  asset  management,  corporate  social
responsibility,  et  cetera.  The  indicators  used  to  measure  their
accomplishment  are  still  the  conventional  indicators,  not  Islamic
indicators. In consequence, the output or the end products of the so -called
Islamic endeavor are judged according to the conventional definition, not
to the Islamic definition.
The redefinition of all concepts in Islamic economics according to Islamic
teachings  therefore,  to  my  opinion,  should  become  one  of  the  major
projects  for  research.  It  is  definitely  unfair  for  us  to  highlight  the
importance and effectiveness of Islamic economic instruments, but basing
the arguments on the concepts according to the exogenous western ethno centric definitions.
For further critical analysis on both the scarcity of resources and the unlimited wants of
the mainstream Islamic economics, see Muhammad Syukri Salleh (2011).
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4.  Scope
Another  deficiency  of  the  mainstream  Islamic  economics  is  its  singledimensional scope. To date, the concentration of the  mainstream  Islamic
economics seems to be limited to the economic dimension per se.
Even though the emergence of Islamic economics (especially the Islamic
banking and finance as the most rapid off-shoot of the Islamic economics)
for instance is attributable greatly to the political will of the establishment,
political  dimension  has  been  very  rarely  included  in  the  mainstream
Islamic  economics.  Instead,  the  mainstream  Islamic  economics  has  been
overwhelmingly  assisted  by  mainly  quantitative  and  mathematical
This phenomenon is undoubtedly in contrary to the stance of a handful of
Islamic  economics  thinkers.  Masudul  Alam  Choudhury  –  an  Islamic
economist  who  could  be  regarded  as  a  peripheral  rather  than  the
mainstream  Islamic  economists  –  for  example  thinks  that  Islamic
economics should not have been existed as a stand-alone discipline. In fact
to him, strictly speaking there should not be Islamic economics at all. The
right term is Islamic Political Economy, not Islamic economics, for there is
a  clear  indication  of  the  incorporation  and  mutual-influence  of  both
.  So  is  the  thinking  of  Muhammad  Syukri  Salleh  and  Mohd
Syakir  Mohd  Rosdi  (2014).  In  analyzing  the  use  of  tahaluf  siyasi  (the
Islamic arts of political negotiation) in economic development in Kelantan
Malaysia, both come to a conclusion that the analysis is incomprehensive
unless it is seen from both the economics and political perspectives, hence
the Islamic Political Economy.
5.  Research Methodology
The  fifth  deficiency  of  the  mainstream  Islamic  economics  relates  to  the
research methodology that has been used in Islamic economics. In almost
all cases, we have been using conventional research methodology, not an
Islamic  research  methodology.  In  so  doing,  the  scholars  of  Islamic
economics  are  trapped  within  anti-dogmatic,  value-free,  and  merely
scientific modes of enquiries of the conventional research methodology.
Personal conversations with him in Doha, Qatar on 26 December 2011 and in Istanbul,
Turkey on 28 February 2013.
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It is definitely  illogical to study about Islam and Muslims using such an
exogenous  research  methodology.  Moreover,  the  conventional  research
methodology  also  suffers  from  a  lack  of  tools  of  analysis.  Its  tools  of
analysis  are  meant  only  for  the  tangibles,  not  the  intangibles,  hence  the
emphasis  on  the  “scientificity”  of  the  findings  per  se.  Efforts  in
understanding Islam and Muslims to the best therefore confines only to the
efforts  in  “tangiblizing”  the  intangibles  through  a  process  of  all  sorts  of
quantification  available  in  the  conventional  models  and  formulas,  or
through proxies that are considered able to reflect the so -called real socioeconomic and political realities.
Worst still, the conventional research methodology that is born out of the
western social sciences  is actually endangering the  aqidah  of the Muslim
researchers.  The  anti-dogmatic  nature  of  the  conventional  research
methodology  questions  all  the  dogmas  of  Islam;  the  value-free  stance  of
the  conventional  research  methodology  direct  or  indirectly  insists  us  to
detach ourselves from our Islamic values in the name of objectivity; and
the scientific nature of the conventional research methodology locks us up
with  observable  matters  while  direct  or  indirectly  denying  us  from  the
mechanisms prevailing in the unseen world.
In  such  a  situation,  it  is  high  time  for  scholars  of  Islamic  economics  to
construct  an  Islamic  research  methodology  for  the  purpose  of  studying
Islam  and  the  Muslims.  Such  an  effort  has  yet  to  become  a  serious
endeavor  in  the  real  sense.  Undoubtedly,  there  are  already  dispersed
writings on the critiques of conventional research methodology and on the
deliberations  on  the  philosophy  of  Islamic  research  methodology
,  but  a
concrete  construction  of  systematic  Islamic  research  methods  and
techniques is much to be desired. This is another area that I think needs an
urgent attention and action.
See for instance  Ahmad von Denffer (1985), Yusuf Ziya Kavakci  (1990), Sayyid  Abul
Ala Mawdudi (1995), Muhammad Mumtaz (1996), Fazlur Rehman Faridi (1996), Irfan
Ahmad  Khan  (1996),  Mohammad  Rafiuddin  (1996),  Muhammad  Nejatullah  Siddiqi
(1996),  Louay  Safi  (1996),  Mohammed  Muqim  (1999),  Mohammad  Anwar  (1999),
Universitas  Islam  Jakarta  (2002),  Muhammad  Syukri  Salleh  (2003a,  2008),  Ahmad
Sunawari Long (2007), and Mahmood Zuhdi Haji Abdul Majid (2007).
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6.  System
The  sixth  deficiency  of  the  mainstream  Islamic  economics  relates  to  the
question  on  how  far  the  realization  of  Islamic  economics  has  actually
strengthened the Islamic economic system. In fact, the earlier espousal of
the Islamic framework, redefinition of concepts, and adoption of Islamic
research  methodology  actually  aims  to  ensure  a  strengthening  of  the
Islamic  system.  This  is  based  on  the  observation  that  the  execution  of
Islamic economic theories and policies seem to have not been adequately
strengthened the Islamic system.
In  contrary,  the  endeavors  of  Islamic  economists  in  actuality  have  been
directly  or  indirectly  strengthening  the  western  ethno-centric  system
because of their western ethno-centric framework and undefined concepts,
as  well  as  because  of  the  adoption  of  the  conventional  research
methodology. For instance,  zakat  and  awqaf  have been said to be able to
alleviate  poverty,  but  the  concept  and  theoretical  framework  of  poverty
themselves have not been deconstructed. Entrenched in them are still those
of  the  western-ethno  centric  concepts  and  theoretical  framework.  In
consequence,  the  alleviation  of  poverty  through  zakat  and  awqaf  are
confined  to  profit-oriented  capitalistic  commercialization,  hence
strengthening capitalism instead of the Islamic system.
It is therefore probably not unfair to conclude that Islamic economics so
far has not been able to establish a strong economic system, let alone in
prescribing  solutions  to  economic  problems  such  has  been  raised  by
western  economists  themselves.  Perkins  (2006)  for  instance  has  exposed
the problems of the maneuvering of the first world’s economic hit men
There is also the issue of `false economy’ as has been exposed by Beattie
, that leads certain countries to decide their path to be found later
According to Perkins (2006), the economic hit men are “highly paid professionals who
cheat countries around the globe  out of trillions of dollars. Their tools include fraudulent
financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder”. In the words of
Perkins who himself was an economic hit man, they systematically “convince developing
countries to accept  enormous loans and to funnel that money to U.S. corporations. The
American government and international aid agencies then requested the “pound of flesh’,
including access to natural resources, military cooperation, and political support”.
Amongst  other  things  that  Beattie  (2010)  deliberates  are  how  and  why  in  the  `false
economy’ countries and societies and economies got to where they are today – what made
cities they way they are; why corruption destroyed some nations but not others; why the
economy that fed the Roman empire is now the world’s biggest importer of grain.
K o n f e r e n s i  I n t e r n a s i o n a l | 13
on  that  it  is  wrong.  Also  there is  a  challenge  of a  rather  more  open  and
tactical economy as put forward by Harford (2011) which suggests that in
order  to  build  up  a  rich  and  rapidly  growing  country,  one  has  to  fight
scarcity power and corruption, correct externalities, maximize information,
get  the  incentives  right,  engage  with  other  countries,  and  most  of  all,
embrace  markets.  The  Islamic  economics  so  far  has  not  been  seen
addressing such an issue as yet.
In short, a revisit to the impact of Islamic economics on the establishment
of  an  Islamic  economic  system  vis-à-vis  the  dominant  liberal  capitalist
system is necessary. There is a huge room for attention and action in this
7.  Society
Another  deficiency,  the  seventh,  pertains  to  the  establishment  of  Islamic
society  out  of  the  realization  of  Islamic  economics.  How  far  the  target
groups of the Islamic economics become more Islamic than before?
Observations  have  shown  that  the  society  that  is  developed  out  of  the
execution of the so-called Islamic economics system does not differ much
from the exogenously cultured society, characterized by merely consumer
and  producer-oriented  behavior.  So  was  the  society  that  has  been
developed  by  contemporary  utilization  of  zakat  and  awqaf  and  halal
institutions,  for  instance.  These  institutions  as  well  as  the  institutions
relating  to  Islamic  finance  and  banking,  in  reality  have  not  so  far
contributed  much  to  the  development  of  a  real  Islamic  society  that  is
characterized  by  Islamic  lifestyle.  Instead,  some  members  of  the  society
related to these institutions could be said to have been characterized more
by capitalistic and profit-seeking attitude rather than the Islamic attitude.
Research on how could an execution of Islamic economics entails with an
establishment of a more Islamic society therefore is pertinent.
8.  Ultimate Aim
The ultimate aim of the mainstream Islamic economics is also problematic.
The  most  accepted  and  cited  ultimate  aim  of  the  mainstream  Islamic
economics is al-falah (happiness in this world and the world Hereafter).
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Such  a  belief  is  incorrect  for  al-falah  is  just  an  end  to  a  means  called
mardhatillah  (the  pleasure  of  Allah  SWT),  not  an  end  in  itself.  It  is
impossible to attain  al-falah  unless the  mardhatillah  is accomplished. The
ultimate  aim  of  Islamic  economics  is  therefore  mardhatillah,  not  alfalah
. It is this mistake in the mainstream Islamic economics that entails
with its eighth deficiency.
9.  Islamic Economic Scholars
The  ninth  deficiency,  lastly,  is  the  deficiency  of  the  scholars  of  Islamic
economics  themselves.  Undoubtedly,  some  scholars  have  successfully
come up with in-depth and seemingly high quality knowledge of  Islamic
economics. But to what extent the knowledge is being practiced by them?
The  possibility  of  seeing  an  Islamic  economic  scholar  suffering  from  a
knowledge-practice dichotomy is not difficult. One who writes on Islamic
consumer behavior for instance  is not necessarily the one who consumes
on the principle of  wasatiyyah  (moderation). So is the one who writes on
Islamic  economic  ethics  is  not  necessarily  unethical-free;  the  one  who
writes on tazkiyah an-nafs  (self-purification) is not necessarily free  of evil
attributes; et cetera.
So  far,  some  researchers  have  studied  the  thinking  of  some  Islamic
economic scholars, but rarely a study has been undertaken on the behavior
of these Islamic economic scholars. It is high time, I think, to balance the
study  by relating the thinking of the Islamic scholars with their behavior,
so as to allow a fair analysis that could really contribute to the sacredness
of Islamic economics.
Those are the nine deficiencies of contemporary Islamic economics that to
my  opinion  necessitates  attention  and  action,  including  further  research.
The  deliberations  on  these  nine  deficiencies  here  are  undeniably  brief.
However, it is my hope that it is sufficient to stimulate re-contemplation on
the issues  raised.  If  these nine  deficiencies could  be  solved  successfully,
For a further discussion on al-falah and mardhatillah, see Muhammad Syukri Salleh
(2003b, and 2013d).
K o n f e r e n s i  I n t e r n a s i o n a l | 15
the  Islamic  economics  that  we  endeavor  to  uphold  to  its  peak  would
become a reality, InshaAllah.