4(d) Economic Development

The goals of Islamic concept of economic development can not be explained in terms of Gross National Product, and increase in per-capita income only. It must also be explained in terms of raising the absolute income levels of the poor to eradicate poverty, meeting material, non-material human needs, conservation of natural resources, wildlife and ecological environment. In addition, the goals of Islamic concept of development must be designed for the preservation of moral and spiritual values as reflected in the concept of tazkiyah (moral purification plus growth).
Despite the fact that the Islamic basis of development is multidimensional having its moral, social, political and economic dimensions, moral and spiritual development need to be integrated into the very concept of economic development right from the beginning. This is what is called Tazkiyah al-nafs.
Thus, economic development of Islam is not simply materialistic development. The spiritual and moral phases are assigned capital importance, and they were made explicit in takaful or tadamun, or mutual social security of Islam. Ideal pattern of Islamic belief contains enough motivational properties to work which can influence actual patterns of Muslim behaviour. It is possible to motivate economic achievement, thereby accelerating economic development through a systematic programme of moral educational training. In Islam “work” for the purpose of efficient utilisation of His resources is also a worship. Besides payment of Zakah, benevolent loan, voluntary and obligatory intra-family and intra community obligation carry the double notion of benefits; they do not merely bring material benefits to takers, but also give benefits to givers both morally and socially.

Let us now put forward some alternative strategies for development in an Islamic framework as hypothesis having clear Islamic dimensions.
1- Emphasizing people at a gross-root level and their Islamic values in a particular development context, thereby developing an appropriate model of development from within.
2- Emphasizing “basic need” rather than “effective demand” in development planning.
3- Emphasizing integrated rural development.
4- Emphasizing social appropriateness in technology.
5- Emphasizing education and schooling aiming at total human development.
6- Emphasizing mobilising resources through defining the scope for social help, individual freedom and group behaviour.
7- Emphasizing complementarities and substitutabilities in development for fostering co-operation among the Muslim countries.
8- Emphasizing conservation of humanity through fulfilling inter-generational obligation.
9- Emphasizing preservation of biological diversity and conservation of resources.

The alternative strategies discussed so far are by no means exhaustive. Economic development in Islamic framework has to be understood in its total relationship with social political, ethical variables. The difficulties often lie in lack of
(a) appropriate human attitudes, (b) inappropriate administrative and social institutions, (c) failure of bureaucracy to identify them with people, and (d) nepotism and corruption. Despite the fact that there are no fixed capital coefficients between resources spent and a desired change in human attitudes and individual motivation to work, scarce resources need to be allocated to carry out necessary social and institutional reform. In any given political structure, attempts to piecemeal reform may be self defeating. The system is likely to re-establish the initial distribution of power and wealth. It follows that each of the strategies as outlined must not be seen in isolation from one another. It is only through total relationship that full manifestation of Islamic concept of development should be possible. It is only then a deep structural reform will take its root.