IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Economic Problem: Can Islam Play an Effective Role in Solving it Efficiently as well as Equitably?


  • Chapra, M. Umer

    () (The Islamic Research and Teaching Institute (IRTI))


The generally recognized economic problem of mankind is how best to satisfy the basic needs of all people around the world in spite of the prevailing scarcity of resources. Since this is not happening, the paper argues that the primary reason is the secular worldview which has weakened the social and ethical foundations of human life and placed primary reliance on the market mechanism to ensure efficiency as well as justice in the use of resources. This has inadvertently ended up providing sanctity to the social-Darwinist principles of ‘struggle for existence’ and ‘survival of the fittest’. The result is that the concepts of economic man and the serving of self-interest by maximizing wealth and want satisfaction have gained supremacy. In sharp contrast with this, the worldview of most religions, and particularly that of Islam, emphasizes the concepts of human brotherhood and the well-being of all and provides certain moral restraints on the serving of self-interest. While it recognizes the important role of the market mechanism for this purpose, it does not consider it to be sufficient. It provides a moral orientation to all human activity, including the market mechanism, so that they operate within the framework of moral principles emanating from Divine revelations which treat all human beings as brothers and the resources at their disposal as a trust from God. The whole paper hovers around a discussion of how such a worldview can help solve the economic problem efficiently as well as equitably.

Suggested Citation

  • Chapra, M. Umer, 2015. "The Economic Problem: Can Islam Play an Effective Role in Solving it Efficiently as well as Equitably?," Working Papers 2011-1, The Islamic Research and Teaching Institute (IRTI).
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:irtiwp:2011_001

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


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

    Cited by:

    1. repec:abd:kauiea:v:30:y:2017:i:4:p:89-102 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hafas Furqani, 2017. "Consumption and Morality: Principles and Behavioral Framework in Islamic Economics الاستهلاك والأخلاق: المبادئ والإطار السلوكي في الاقتصاد الإسلامي," Journal of King Abdulaziz University: Islamic Economics, King Abdulaziz University, Islamic Economics Institute., vol. 30(SI), pages 89-102, April.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:ris:irtiwp:2011_001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Research Division). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.