Pathologies and Transition of Socio-Political Conditions and Economies of Islamic Societies with Philosophical Considerations

Pathologies and Transition of Socio-Political Conditions and Economies of Islamic Societies with Philosophical Considerations

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9731-7.ch007
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Abstract

This chapter is an attempt to bring both notions of truths, truth of reasoning and truth of facts, to substantiate that, as tools of modern social sciences, they can collectively help us to address issues relevant to of this work. Socio-cultural and economic dimensions of what is known as the Islamic economic system, organizations such as Islamic guilds, and the guilds' affiliation with Sufism will be elaborated upon. In the light of the present developmental problems of many countries of the Muslim world, people since the mid-1970s have been formulating ideas about the Islamic economic system. Islamic economics is based on various principles stipulated in the Shari'a that form the attitude of Islam on issues such as interest, profit, production, consumption, allocation of resources, and distribution of income. After an introduction to the Islamic economic system, Marx and Weber's ideas on socialism and capitalism are discussed in light of the Islamic economic system.
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Introduction

Kenny writes: “In the Monadology (Leibniz 1646-1716), there is a distinction between truths of reason and truths of facts. Truths of reason are necessary, and their opposite is impossible. Truths of fact are contingent, and their opposites are possible. Truths of reason are ascertained by a logical analysis parallel to mathematics’ derivation of theorems from axioms and definitions; their ultimate basis is the principle of non-contradiction. Truths of facts are based on a different principle, that nothing is the case without there being a sufficient reason why it should be thus, rather than otherwise” (Kenny, 2006).

This chapter attempts to bring both notions of truths together to substantiate that reasoning and facts, as tools of modern social sciences, can be utilized to address issues which are contingent and/or sufficient. Marx, uninfluenced by Leibniz, drew a different distinction between structure and superstructure that seems to mirror Leibniz’s truths of facts and truths of reason. The sense of incompleteness of the political, philosophical, and religious system in Marx’s view is distinguished by their separation from the structure. These categories of belief, thought, and arts are superstructures whose lives are inseparable from their economic basis, as if the phenomenon of separation creates existential anxiety in the followers of that branch or system of religious belief. Islam, from this perspective, is not exceptional. George Sorel believes that Marx showed that none of the political, philosophical, and religious systems can be regarded as complete and self-contained with their own fundamental bases. He demonstrated the need to posit economic relationship beneath this whole superstructure (Sorel, 1983). The general conclusion in the Marxian view is that to defy economic base is, metaphorically, to defy gravity.

It was Antonio Gramsci who shed doubt, looked for a remedy for this causal linkage, and saw social evolution to be more complex than what Marx emphasized, suggesting relative autonomy of the superstructure. Also Louis Althusser, and following him the Marxist structuralists, introduced a further distinction, in sphere of ‘consciousness,’ between ‘ideology’ and ‘theory’ or ‘science’ (Bottomore, 1983). Before Gramsci, Max Weber’s concern with the complexity of human social action and interactions between substantive issues, such as economy and religion, directed him to stay away from broad sketch. He did it by avoiding, methodologically, building causal determinism into his theories. In what follows, we do presume Islam, excluding its institutions, as sui generis with the attribution of economics as an important part of the Islamic social structure, contributing as well to social justice in the everyday lives of Muslims.

Islamic economics is based on various principles stipulated in the Shari’a that form the Islamic attitude on issues such as interest, profit, production, consumption, allocation of resources, and distribution of income. Islam does not admit that there is any separation between religious, political, and economic issues. Islamic economic issues were introduced via its main sources: the Qur’an, and the Traditions or hadith of the Prophet’s words and deeds. They are introduced in the context of ethical teachings dealing with economic issues that are part of dealing with ethics and morals. These issues are essential to Islam, since Islam arose to improve the system of life as a whole, to boost the spiritual development of individuals, and to rectify the socio-economic structure of society by moving people toward social justice (El-Ashker, 1987).

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