Riba and the Moral Economy of Islam
Date: 23rd – 25th March 2018
Venue: Palm Garden Resort, Putrajaya
Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF),
Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS),
Institute of Malaysia and International Studies (IKMAS) UKM,
Center for Religious and Cultural Studies (CRCS), Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM).
The Qur’anic teachings are better represented in Western societies than in Islamic countries, which have failed to embrace the values of their own faith in politics, business, law and society.
Muslim countries used religion as an instrument of state control. Unfortunately, many countries that profess Islam and are called Islamic are unjust, corrupt, and underdeveloped and are in fact not ‘Islamic’ by any stretch of the imagination. This was concluded by a team of researchers, led by Prof. Hossein Askari, a leading academic at George Washington University, who had developed an index to address this disconnect between the teachings of the Qur’an and its practice in the Muslim World.
His approach was to establish a benchmark, based on the Qur’an, which Muslims could use to question the policies of their own countries. They could use the indices to assess the success of their governments and their ruling elites in establishing societies that reflect the Qur’anic teachings and values, a benchmark that over time could measure success and failure and afford them an instrument for affecting helpful reforms. The index is known as the Islamicity Index.
It is surprising to discover that despite being known as an index of Islamicity, the top rank countries in both economic achievement and social values are all non-Muslim majority countries. In the most recent rankings in 2016; New Zealand, Netherlands and Sweden were ranked as the top three countries of the Islamicity Index, out of 150 countries. While most majority Muslim countries were ranked at the bottom half of the ranking. Interesting to note, Malaysia was ranked 41, and perhaps can be said as to be the most Islamic among the Muslim majority countries.
Still, what is obvious from this index, Muslim societies are still far behind when it comes to progress and development at the global scale, and even further when it comes to meet the ideal standard of societal development put forward by Islam. Thus, in the third Regional Conference on: “Islamic Development towards Democracy, Social Justice and Religious Tolerance” the discussion on Islam and the development of Muslim societies will be addressed and explored further, with a hope for a better progress especially for Muslim societies in this region, mainly in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Dato’ Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa (Director, IRF)
Prof. Dato’ Dr. Rashila Ramli, (IKMAS, UKM)
Prof. Jomo Kwame Sundaram
Topic: “Riba and the Moral Economy of Islam”