Islamic Economics Institute

Wednesday Academic Dialogue (12-1439)

Do We Need to Review our Starting ?

The Economic Objective of Shariah

underlying Riba al-fadhl (RFL)

Full Text

Prof. Dr.Saifaldin Taj aldin

Researcher, Shariah Faculty

Al-Qaseem University, Al-Qaseem, Saudi Arabia

Wednesday 29-11-2017 (11-03-1439H)

Abstract

To explore the economic objective of Shariah underlying riba al-fadhl (RFL) prohibition, this working paper sets out from a preliminary demonstration of various jurisprudential (fighi) opinions about the jurist reasoning (i.e ‘illah reasoning) pertaining to the six items (gold, silver, dates, wheat, barley. Understandably, the major concern of jurisprudence is to establish visible and well-defined ‘illah reasoning of Shariah rulings whereas the major concern of economic analysis is to explore the hidden and rather controversial rationale (wisdom) underlying such rulings. Yet this does not undermine the relevance of jurist reasoning to the given economic inquiry since illah is usually believed to embody the logical rationale. With this background, the ‘illah reasoning of Maliki School proves to reflect the required economic rationale most clearly as it associates gold and silver with ‘pricing’ and the last four items with ‘storable and staple food. Strong market demand and low price-elasticity of ‘staple storable food’ are, indeed, powerful temptations for the emergence of monopoly thereby justifying the prohibition of RFL as anti- monopolist weapon. This confirms Sheikh Mohamed Abu Zahra’s viewpoint and echoes similar implications from the work of Abu Hamid Al Ghazali and Ibn Al-Qayim. To further express this finding analytically, the above research problem has been developed formally into an economic model capable to offer critical assessment of rival arguments and present the underlying economic objective of Shariah in a familiar economic framework.


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