DOI :10.26650/B/SS10.2020.017.03   IUP :10.26650/B/SS10.2020.017.03    Full Text (PDF)

Islamic Approaches to Sustainable Development

Asad ZamanJunaid 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.


  • Abdul-Matin, I. (2010). Green Deen: What Islam teaches about Protecting the Planet. California, US: Berrett-Koehler Publishers google scholar
  • Al-Jayyousi, O. R. (2016). Islam and sustainable development: New worldviews. London, UK: Routledge. google scholar
  • Amir-ud-Din, R., & Zaman, A. (2016). Failures of the “Invisible Hand”. In Forum for Social Economics (Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 41-60). Routledge. google scholar
  • Bauman, Z. (2000). Modernity and the Holocaust. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. google scholar
  • Brundtland, G. H., Khalid, M., Agnelli, S., Al-Athel, S., & Chidzero, B. (1987). Our common future. New York, US: Oxford University Press. google scholar
  • Hoexter, M. (1998). Waqf studies in the twentieth century: The state of the art. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 41, 474-495. google scholar
  • Kolbert, E. (2014). The sixth extinction: An unnatural history. London, US: A&C Black. google scholar
  • Mankiw, N. G. (2014). Principles of economics. Cengage Learning. google scholar
  • Martinez-Alier, J., & Muradian, R. eds. (2015). Handbook of ecological economics. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. google scholar
  • Menocal, M. R. (2009). The ornament of the world: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians created a culture of tolerance in medieval Spain. New York, NY: Back Bay Books. google scholar
  • Nadvi, Syed Abul Hassan Ali. (1986). Tahzeeb aur Tamaddun par Islam kay Ihsanat aur Asarat. [The Gifts and Effects of Islam on World Culture and Civilization], Karachi: Majlis-e-Nashriat-e- Islam. google scholar
  • Naz, M. S. (1999). Islami Riyasat main Muhtasib ka Kirdar [The Role of the Muhtasib in an Islamic State] Islamabad, Pakistan: International Islamic University of Islamabad, Islamic Research Institute. google scholar
  • Nietzsche, F. W. (1989). Beyond good and evil: Prelude to a philosophy of the future. New York, US: Vintage Books Edition google scholar
  • Polanyi, K. (1944). The great transformation: the political and economic origins of our time. New York, US: Rinehart. google scholar
  • Qadir, J., & Zaman, A. (2019) . Sustainable development viewed from the lens of Islam. International Journal of Pluralism andEconomics Education, 10(1), 46-60. google scholar
  • Sachs, J. D., Layard, R., & Helliwell, J. F. (2018). World Happiness Report 2018 (No. id: 12761). google scholar
  • Sait, S., & Lim, H. (2006). Land, law and Islam: property and human rights in the Muslim world (Vol. 1). Zed Books. google scholar
  • Schluter, M. (Sept. 2009). Is Capitalism morally bankrupt? Five moral flaws and their social consequences. Cambridge Papers: vol 18 n 3 ISSN 1361-7710. google scholar
  • Zaman, A. (2010). Islamic economics: A survey of the literature. Islamic Studies, 49(1), 37-63. google scholar
  • Zaman, A. (2010). Scarcity: East and West. Journal ofIslamic Economics, Banking and Finance, 6(1), 87-104. google scholar
  • Zaman, A. (2013). European Transition to Secular Thought: Lessons forMuslims. Insights, Da'wahAcademy, IIUI, Islamabad. Download from: transition. google scholar
  • Zaman, A. (2019). Islam’s Gift: An Economy of Spiritual Development. American Journal ofEconomics and Sociology, 78(2), 443-491. google scholar


Istanbul University Press aims to contribute to the dissemination of ever growing scientific knowledge through publication of high quality scientific journals and books in accordance with the international publishing standards and ethics. Istanbul University Press follows an open access, non-commercial, scholarly publishing.