Islamic Perspective for Sustainable Financial System
Islamic Approaches to Sustainable DevelopmentAsad Zaman, Junaid Qadir
The myopic formulation of human development by neoclassical economics exclusively in terms of economic growth has resulted in a transformation through which self-interested greed-based consumption is idealized to the great detriment of both the planet and the inhabitants of this planet (not only of the current generation but also those of the future generations). The Islamic notion of human development, in contrast, emphasizes a harmonious coexistence of human beings and nature through the responsible utilization of natural resources, which are considered as God’s gift to the whole of humanity (belonging to the present as well as the future generations). In this article, we articulate the failings of the modern conceptions of development and contrast that with the Islamic sustainable development vision. The Islamic conception of development is endogenously “sustainable” due to its emphasis on the responsible use of resources; moderate consumption and simple living; and empathy for the less privileged (e.g., through both optional and mandatory charity). After providing a broad framing of the Islamic sustainable development vision, we also describe briefly the tools, incentives, and guidelines that Islam offers regarding authentic sustainable development. We also describe how Islamic guidelines provide the keys for facilitating social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and inter-generational sustainability.