Economic Systems of Muslims in History

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Murat Çizakça Professor of Economic History and Islamic Economics/Finance, Presidential Office of Finance, Marmara University, KTO Karatay University, Istanbul, Turkey

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During its long history, the Islamic world experienced three different economic systems. The original Islamic economy introduced by the Qurʾān and other classical sources of Islam, was a form of sui generis, commercial, pre-industrial and ethical capitalism. Evidence for this will be presented from the classical sources of Islam as well as from the history of Islamic economic thought. In later centuries it is possible to observe a transition from this unique capitalism towards more centralised structures, which reached its zenith with the Ottoman proto quasi-socialism. Most recently, after the Second World War, newly independent Muslims re-invented Islamic finance. Although an almost three trillion USD industry, so far this has been basically an imitation of conventional finance. Whether a truly modern and Islamic capitalism or another system will emerge from this, remains to be seen. Ample historical evidence across the Islamic world from West Africa to Indonesia is provided.

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