Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Economic Thought of Muhammad Abduh: An omitted aspect of his biography

Islahi, Abdul Azim (2012): Economic Thought of Muhammad Abduh: An omitted aspect of his biography.

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Abstract

Mufti Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905), a graduate of Jāmiʿ al-Azhar, was harbinger and precursor of Islamic modernism. He attracted attention of maximum number of researchers on modernism in the Muslim world. His contributions to fiqh, tafsīr, tawḥīd, literature, educational reform and politics are well known. He also thought and wrote on economic problem. He is one of the pioneer ʿulamā in the modern period who paid attention to this aspect of human life. He had deep concern for the poor; he opposed bonded labor and stressed upon the obligations of the rich towards the poor. He pointed out that the concentration of wealth caused the lack of effective demand. He gave wide meaning to the term fi sabīl-Allāh and al-afwā. He permitted insurance on the basis of muḍārabah. However, this aspect of his biography remained neglected. Ironically, the only thing reported about his economic views is ‘his permission of interest earned from the deposits in post offices’ for which no evidence is available in his writings. The present paper discusses all these points.

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