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The Challenge of Poverty and Mapping Out Solutions:
Requisite Paradigm Shift from a Problem-Solving and Islamic Perspective
Mohammad Omar Farooq
Journal of Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance, Vol. 5, No. 2, May-August 2009, pp. 45-76
Islamic economics [IE] emerged with a new vision and aspiration of a better path to development. Unfortunately, IE has evolved mostly as an intellectual/academic shell, in which poverty eradication, except in rhetoric, is a peripheral concern.
Gradually, IE was eclipsed by its offshoot, Islamic finance [IF], which evolved as a prohibition-driven, legalistically-shaped, “shariah-compliant” industry, but delinked from the broader development aspirations.
Encouragingly, renewed soul-searching is causing a shift toward substantively dealing with the challenge of poverty. However, beyond the issue of type of enterprises, policy frameworks and tools/mechanisms, a paradigmatic shift in IE/IF’s focus is needed.
This paper argues that a few key aspects must be addressed at a more fundamental level, without which mere institutional/legalistic changes in the financial/monetary sector, as opposed to the real sector, may prove inadequate for development and poverty alleviation. This paper explores some of those key aspects relevant to a needed paradigmatic shift, especially from a problem-solving perspective.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: Islamic economics, Islamic finance, Islamic banking, poverty, poverty alleviation, poverty eradication, development, grameen bank, microfinance, zakah, zakat, real sector, shariah-compliant, challenge of poverty, problem-solving
JEL Classification: D63, G20, I31, I32, O10
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 10, 2009
; Last revised: November 21, 2010