October 11, 2008
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As a complete way of life, Islam has provided guidelines and rules for every sphere of life and society. Naturally, a functioning economic system is vital for a healthy society, as the consumption of goods and services, and the facilitation of this by a common medium of exchange, play a major role in allowing people to realize their material and other goals in life.
Islam has set some standards, based on justice and practicality, for such economic systems to be established. These standards aim to prevent the enmity that often occurs between different socioeconomic sections. Of course, it is true that the gathering of money concerns almost every human being who participates in transactions with others. Yet, while these standards recognize money as being among the most important elements in society, they do not lose sight of the fact that its position is secondary to the real purpose of human existence, which is the worship of God.
An Islamic economic system is not necessarily concerned with the precise amount of financial income and expenditure, imports and exports, and other economic statistics. While such matters are no doubt important, Islam is more concerned with the spirit of the economic system.
A society that implements Islamic laws and promotes Islamic manners will find that it bring together all the systems – social, economic, and so forth – that it deals with. Islam teaches that God has created provision for every person who He has brought to life. Therefore, the competition for natural resources that is presumed to exist among the nations of the world is an illusion. While the earth has sufficient bounty to satisfy the needs of mankind, the challenge for humans lies in discovering, extracting, processing, and distributing these resources to those who need them.
Islam consists of a set of beliefs which organizes the relationship between the individual and his Creator; between the person and other human beings; between the person and universe; and even the relationship of the person to himself. In that sense, Islam regulates human behavior, and one type of human behavior is economic behavior. Economic behavior is dealt by Muslims as a means of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. In Islam, human behavior -whether in the economic area or others - is not value free; nor is it value neutral. It is connected with the ideological foundation of the faith.
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