IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

How Islamic are Islamic Countries?


  • Rehman Scheherazade S.

    (The George Washington University)

  • Askari Hossein

    (The George Washington University)


In the post 9/11 era, there is growing interest in the complex relationship between religion, economics, finance, politics, law, and social behavior. This has brought with it a disagreement on how to investigate the impact of religiosity, whether religion affects the economic, political, and social outlook of countries or whether these factors affect religiosity? In other words, should religion be viewed as a dependent or an independent variable? In this paper we ask what we believe to be the precursor question to such linkages, namely, do self-declared Islamic countries, as attested by membership in the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference), embrace policies that are founded on Islamic teachings? We believe that only once this question is addressed can one begin to estimate how Islam adherence to Islam may affect economic, political and social behavior. In the first part of the paper we present what we believe should be the characteristics and scaffolding of an "Islamic" country. We base our depiction on the Quran, and the life, practices and sayings of the Prophet Mohammad -- the two principal channels that provide Muslims with the road map. In the second part, we develop an index to measure the "Islamicity" of Islamic and non-Islamic countries. This IslamicityIndex (or I2) measures 208 countries adherence to Islamic principles using four sub-indices related to economics, legal and governance, human and political rights, and international relations.

Suggested Citation

  • Rehman Scheherazade S. & Askari Hossein, 2010. "How Islamic are Islamic Countries?," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-40, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:glecon:v:10:y:2010:i:2:n:2
    DOI: 10.2202/1524-5861.1614

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elsa V. Artadi & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "The Economic Tragedy of the XXth Century: Growth in Africa," NBER Working Papers 9865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    3. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    4. Hossein Askari, 2006. "Middle East Oil Exporters," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 4232.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:abd:kauiea:v:31:y:2018:i:1:p:3-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Askari Hossein & Rehman Scheherazade S. & Arfaa Noora, 2012. "Corruption: A View from the Persian Gulf," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-36, March.
    3. Engku Ahmad Zaki Engku Alwi & Nurul Syahida Mat Rodzi & Norazmi Anas & Zarinatun Ilyani Abdul Rahman, 2017. "Islamic Aqeedah Compliance Index for Human Development from Maqasid Syariah Perspectives: A Systematic Review Career Thinking and the Vocational Situation of Form Four Students," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 7(12), pages 1-12, December.
    4. Syed Ali, Salman & Hasan, Hamid, 2014. "Towards a Maqasid al-Shariah based Development Index," Working Papers 1435-18, The Islamic Research and Teaching Institute (IRTI).
    5. Muhammad Amri & Saidna Zulfiqar A. Bin Tahir & Salman Ahmad, 2017. "The Implementation of Islamic Teaching in Multiculturalism Society: A Case Study at Pesantren Schools in Indonesia," Asian Social Science, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 13(6), pages 125-125, June.
    6. Necati Aydin & Aljawhara Ibrahim Alquayid, 2019. "Market Reality Versus Religious Morality: Empirical Evidence from the Saudi Arabian Labor Market," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 679-698, May.
    7. Adel Benhamed & Mohamed Sadok Gassouma, 2023. "Preventing Oil Shock Inflation: Sustainable Development Mechanisms vs. Islamic Mechanisms," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(12), pages 1-16, June.
    8. Engku Ahmad Zaki Engku Alwi & Norazmi Anas & Wan Rohani Wan Taib & Mohd. Hudzari Razali & Hartini Mohd. Rosli & Hasni Suhana Mat Hassan & Intan Noorazlina Abdul Rahim, 2017. "A Review of Islamic Aqeedah Compliance Index (IACI) from Malaysian Perspectives," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 7(11), pages 1449-1461, November.
    9. Raphie Hayat & Frank Butter & Udo Kock, 2013. "Halal Certification for Financial Products: A Transaction Cost Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 601-613, October.
    10. Azmi, Muhammad Saifullah & Masih, Mansur, 2018. "Does education expenditure lead or lag GDP ? Malaysian evidence," MPRA Paper 108891, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Sabur Mollah & M. Kabir Hassan & Omar Farooque & Asma Mobarek, 2017. "The governance, risk-taking, and performance of Islamic banks," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 195-219, April.
    12. Azmat, Saad & Skully, Michael & Brown, Kym, 2017. "The (little) difference that makes all the difference between Islamic and conventional bonds," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 46-59.
    13. Mohamed Sadok Gassouma & Adel Benhamed, 2023. "The Impact of the Islamic System on Economic and Social Factors: A Macroeconomic Uncertainty Context," Economies, MDPI, vol. 11(12), pages 1-18, December.
    14. Rehman Scheherazade S. & Askari Hossein, 2010. "An Economic IslamicityIndex (EI2)," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 10(3), pages 1-39, October.
    15. Murat Çokgezen, 2016. "Islamic economics in real life: Do Muslims give more than the others?," Working Papers hal-01349872, HAL.
    16. Salman Syed Ali & Hamid Hasan, 2018. "Measuring Deprivation from Maqasid al-Shariah Dimensions in OIC Countries: Ranking and Policy Focus قياس الحرمان من خلال أبعاد مقاصد الشريعة في دول منظمة التعاون الإسلامي: الترتيب ونقاط التركيز السياس," Journal of King Abdulaziz University: Islamic Economics, King Abdulaziz University, Islamic Economics Institute., vol. 31(1), pages 3-26, January.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Robert MacCulloch & Silvia Pezzini, 2010. "The Roles of Freedom, Growth, and Religion in the Taste for Revolution," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 329-358, May.
    2. Martin Paldam & Erich Gundlach, 2013. "The religious transition. A long-run perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 105-123, July.
    3. Robert J. Barro & Rachel M. McCleary, 2016. "Saints Marching In, 1590–2012," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(331), pages 385-415, July.
    4. Bentzen, Jeanet Sinding, 2021. "In crisis, we pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 pandemic," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 541-583.
    5. Baele, Lieven & Farooq, Moazzam & Ongena, Steven, 2014. "Of religion and redemption: Evidence from default on Islamic loans," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 141-159.
    6. Augenblick, Ned & Cunha, Jesse M. & Dal Bó, Ernesto & Rao, Justin M., 2016. "The economics of faith: using an apocalyptic prophecy to elicit religious beliefs in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 38-49.
    7. Cosgel, Metin & Miceli, Thomas J., 2009. "State and religion," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 402-416, September.
    8. Arye L. Hillman & Niklas Potrafke, 2018. "Economic Freedom and Religion," Public Finance Review, , vol. 46(2), pages 249-275, March.
    9. Baele, L. & Farooq, M. & Ongena, S., 2012. "Of Religion and Redemption : Evidence from Default on Islamic Loans (Replaces CentER DP 2010-136)," Discussion Paper 2012-014, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. Michael R. Strain & Stan Veuger, 2022. "Economic shocks and clinging," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 456-475, July.
    11. Davide Cantoni & Jeremiah Dittmar & Noam Yuchtman, 2018. "Religious Competition and Reallocation: the Political Economy of Secularization in the Protestant Reformation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 133(4), pages 2037-2096.
    12. van Hoorn, André & Maseland, Robbert, 2013. "Does a Protestant work ethic exist? Evidence from the well-being effect of unemployment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-12.
    13. Opfinger, Matthias & Gundlach, Erich, 2011. "Religiosity as a determinant of happiness," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 48360, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    14. Brown, Sarah & Gray, Daniel & McHardy, Jolian & Taylor, Karl, 2015. "Employee trust and workplace performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 361-378.
    15. Carlos Miguel Lemos & Ross Joseph Gore & Ivan Puga-Gonzalez & F LeRon Shults, 2019. "Dimensionality and factorial invariance of religiosity among Christians and the religiously unaffiliated: A cross-cultural analysis based on the International Social Survey Programme," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(5), pages 1-36, May.
    16. León, Anja Köbrich & Pfeifer, Christian, 2017. "Religious activity, risk-taking preferences and financial behaviour: Empirical evidence from German survey data," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 99-107.
    17. Naci Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," NBER Working Papers 20557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Charles Noussair & Stefan Trautmann & Gijs Kuilen & Nathanael Vellekoop, 2013. "Risk aversion and religion," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 165-183, October.
    19. Ronen Bar-El & Teresa García-Muñoz & Shoshana Neuman & Yossef Tobol, 2013. "The evolution of secularization: cultural transmission, religion and fertility—theory, simulations and evidence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1129-1174, July.
    20. Sacit Hadi Akdede & Hakan Hotunluoðlu, 2008. "Economic Development and Religiosity: An Investigation of Turkish Cities," Papers of the Annual IUE-SUNY Cortland Conference in Economics, in: Oguz Esen & Ayla Ogus (ed.), Proceedings of the Conference on Emerging Economic Issues in a Globalizing World, pages 261-271, Izmir University of Economics.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:glecon:v:10:y:2010:i:2:n:2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Peter Golla (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.