Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Imam Al-Ghazali's views on economic activities

Diaw, Abdou (2009): Imam Al-Ghazali's views on economic activities.

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Abstract

The failure of the different regulatory measures to prevent the frequent occurrence of scandals in the marketplace is proof that ethics is an essential element in all spheres of life. This paper investigates Imam al-Ghazali's views on economic activities with emphasis on the ethical aspects. As a starting point, he considers maal (wealth) as a mere means, hence its status is function of the motive for its acquisition, the way to acquire it and the way to spend it. The most common way of acquiring maal is through economic activities (kasb) that al-Ghazali thoroughly discusses in one of the chapters in his book Ihya. To al-Ghazali economic activities could be a means to attain the highest level of "al-muqarrabun" if they are carried out within a normative framework that he outlined with some details. In line with one of his favorite argument, al-Ghazali opines that the first step in the right direction is to have a correct conception of the reality of this world (a journey to the Hereafter), then maal as well as the economic activities will be conceived and dealt with in a right manner to attain eternal happiness (saadah).

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