Maulānā Maudūdī and the genesis of Islamic Economics


Maulānā Sayyid Abū’l-A‘lā Maudūdī (1903-1979) is credited with being the founder of Islamic Economics, and having developed the idea of an Islamic Economic System. This article investigates and finds little support for this claim. Moreover, it suggests that these claims not only strain the evidence available, but they also distort Maulānā Maudūdī’s thoughts, and add little either to his formidable stature as one of the most influential Muslim leaders of the twentieth century, or to the dignity of Islam. Instead, it proposes that Maulānā’s economic thought should be viewed as a minor if inextricable component of his social and political vision of a modern Islamic state. Or, as arrangements in law and government for the provision of livelihoods, akin to the German tradition of Polizeiwissenschaft in a Staatswissenschaft, but from the Islamic perspective of commanding the right and forbidding the wrong (especially, allowing wages, rents and profits, but not interest).