Transformation of Human Behavior as a Central Strategy for Islamic Economics
Paper prepared for the 12th ICIEF (international Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance) at Ummul-Qura University, 5-6 Feb 2019, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
22 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2018 Last revised: 10 Sep 2018
Date Written: August 24, 2018
All social science consists of THREE elements -- a positive element which describes the existing state of affairs, a normative element which described the ideal, or desired state of affairs, and a transformative strategy for changing current situation to move towards the ideal situation. In all three dimensions, modern economics is dramatically wrong. Actual human behavior differs radically from the economists’ model of Homo Economicus. The normative idea that all rational behavior consists of maximization of lifetime utility obtained from consumption of goods and services is wrong; this does not even lead to happiness within our worldly lives. The transformative strategy of pursuing growth to increase material goods is also wrong, because it cannot remove scarcity.
The paper goes on to analyze all three aspect from the Islamic point of view. The answers in all three dimensions are radically different from anything currently available in Western teachings anywhere in the social sciences. Human behavior is complex, and the human heart is a battleground between base desires and higher visions. Forms of ideal behavior have been modeled for us by our Prophet Mohammed SAW. The transformative effort at the heart of the Islamic message is to try to purify our heart of base desires, and to replace them by the love of Allah, His Messenger, and His Deen. These teachings provide us with a solid foundation to construct a genuine and radically different alternative to modern economics, based on Islamic foundations, solidly grounded in the Quran and Sunnah.
Keywords: Islamic Economics, Homo Economicus, Homo Islamicus, Transformation of Human Behavior
JEL Classification: B41, B59, P49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation