Unique study on ‘Is­lamic eco­nomics’


STUDY be­lieved to be the only of its kind in South Africa took a Dur­ban man close to a decade to com­plete.

Ab­dulka­der Cas­sim Ma­hom­edy, a lec­turer at the School of Ac­count­ing, Eco­nomics and Fi­nance at the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal, grad­u­ated with his PhD from the in­sti­tu­tion two weeks ago.

His stud­ies, which he un­der­took part-time, were on Is­lamic eco­nomics.

“Is­lamic eco­nomics is part of a larger in­tel­lec­tual project of Mus­lim schol­ar­ships, which seeks to unify all knowl­edge within an in­te­grated frame­work. It in­cludes the in­fu­sion of ethics within knowl­edge, so that it may serve as the ba­sis for es­tab­lish­ing a just and morally-ori­ented so­ci­ety,” ex­plained Ma­hom­edy.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween main­stream eco­nomics and Is­lamic eco­nomics, he said, was that main­stream eco­nomics was un­der­pinned by cer­tain key as­sump­tions about the na­ture of hu­man be­hav­iour and how a per­son ac­quired knowl­edge. This in­cluded an in­di­vid­ual pur­su­ing his or her nar­row self-in­ter­ests to the ex­clu­sion of the greater well-be­ing of so­ci­ety.

“While Is­lamic eco­nomics was founded as a di­rect re­sponse to the in­ad­e­qua­cies of mod­ern eco­nomics. It ar­gues that eco­nomic choices need not nec­es­sar­ily lead to con­flict be­tween mem­bers of so­ci­ety. Har­mony can in­deed be achieved if we search for so­lu­tions to eco­nomic is­sues in ways that are com­ple­men­tary rather than sub­sti­tu­tive as in mod­ern eco­nomics.

“Sec­ond, if we avoid greed, wastage and debt, all of which are fea­tures of mod­ern con­sumerist so­ci­eties, there will be more than enough re­sources avail­able to sat­isfy the needs of ev­ery­one.”

Dur­ing his stud­ies he was faced with chal­lenges, in­clud­ing find­ing a suit­able su­per­vi­sor who had the breadth and depth of knowl­edge in the var­i­ous do­mains of sci­ence.

“I was priv­i­leged to have had one of the world’s lead­ing schol­ars in the field, Pro­fes­sor Ma­sudul Alam Choud­hury. I am in­debted for the in­sight he pro­vided over the years.

“The other key chal­lenge was to man­age the bal­ance be­tween the de­mands of work, fam­ily and study.”

He added that he viewed UKZN as uniquely po­si­tioned to es­tab­lish a cen­tre for in­te­gra­tive stud­ies in Is­lamic eco­nomics, fi­nance and man­age­ment.

“This would be a first for south­ern Africa and it has enor­mous po­ten­tial to im­pact pos­i­tively on both academia and so­ci­ety. I hope to be­come part of this ven­ture and con­trib­ute to­wards it.” When Ma­hom­edy is not lec­tur­ing, he spends time recit­ing the Qur’an.

“I try to un­der­stand the mean­ings of its verses, for it is the source of great in­spi­ra­tion and guid­ance for all of hu­mankind.”

Ma­hom­edy added that it was im­por­tant the younger gen­er­a­tion pur­sued their ter­tiary stud­ies and shared their knowl­edge to im­prove the lives of oth­ers where pos­si­ble. and through this, they were able to strengthen their bond.

Broth­ers Ran­vir and Ashen Ja­groop con­grat­u­late each other on their BCom hon­ours de­grees.

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