مهدويت | Mahdawiyat
“If Heaven were a thing that money could buy
Then the rich would live and poor would die”
(John M. Legge)
What is future of the global economy? Of course, this is an unanswerable question. Naturally, future is, somehow, unpredictable. So we cannot know stability, sustainability or what so ever the global economy is, over the medium and longer term, Krueger (2005). Hence we have to work with what we know, from our previous experience, accumulated knowledge about how to reduce, though not eliminate, the impact of unexpected and adverse events.
We know that prudent macroeconomic policies—a sound framework aimed at delivering, and maintaining, low inflation and effective fiscal control—offer the best prospect for sustained rapid growth that brings rising living standards and poverty reduction. However sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction are not possible without reducing income inequality and promoting social justice and good governance. The social injustice, poor governance, income inequality are the contemporary issues that currently the countries are facing. There are different ways, present in the literature, to deal with these issues. A structure of incentives (social, economic, moral) can be utilized to solve these problem.
The present study highlights the above mentioned problems, which could be solved in an economy with faith-based system. Economic agents cannot be rival if they Faith in One God (Allah). Similarly the individuals, while utilizing resources, consider the life-after-death, (Hamdani 2004). So in a world of social justice, good governance, equitable opportunities and distribution of wealth, that is quite possible in faith-based system, sustainable economic growth, happiness, improvement in life standard can happen. So we can say that all these characteristics would be there in the era of social justice would be in climax after the appearance of the Imam-e-Zamaan (AS).
With this background following are the objectives and organization of this paper.
• To identify the deficiencies in the current economic theories.
• To briefly highlight the study of the economics of future.
• To identify the areas of study for equitable distribution of resources, opportunities, welfare of the globe and ideal governance.
Organization of the Study
This study is an attempt to highlight the importance of economics of future in faith based and Mahdavi perspective. In the introduction its importance and objectives have been discussed. The brief sketch of Economics in different perspectives pertaining conventional, non conventional, Islamic and divine economics and along with the scope of Islamic economics is wider than conventional economics while divine economics has wider scope than Islamic economics have been elaborated in 2nd section. The economics of future in faith based framework and its definitions have been presented in the third section. In the fourth section world resources: world GDP, world per capita GDP and world population along with growth rates have been analyzed. Why poverty resides: injustices, inequalities, disparities and poor governance; the cause of inequalities and injustices have been discussed in the 5th section. The divine revelations, ideal governance of the era of Imam Mahdi (AS) and conclusion have been explained in the sixth and seventh section respectively.
2. Economics in Different Perspectives
Economics has been discussed by a certain economists in different ways. Different point of views is given about interpretation of economics. Major views on economics such as conventional and non conventional; including Islamic economics and divine economics are described below.
2.1 Conventional Economics
The evolution of conventional economics started with the definition by Adam Smith as science of wealth, Marshal defined economics as a science of welfare while Robbins defined economics as a science of scarcity. Later on two broad definitions of economics one associated with JM Keynes & Schumpeter that “economics is a set of tools, a way of approaching practical problems and seeking a solution to them”. And the 2nd associated with Hayek & Samuelson that “economics as a source of answers to every human and social problem” this later definition is known as a rational approach. Many theories of decision making of economic agent have been presented by conventional economists in the economic literature familiar with the rational choices. The latest are the robust econometric models like AIDS,
i. Conventional theories are quasi representative of the real world.
ii. Non Walrasian equilibrium exists in these theories regarding general equilibrium of the economy.
iii. These theories do not provide optimal resource allocation to the economic agent for decision making.
Having aforesaid deficiencies in the conventional economic theories, most of the world economies are not running along the steady state path and are facing very serious economic problems like hyper inflation, serious level of unemployment, depression and poverty, inequalities etc. Economists worked on many aspects of human behavior in different scenario, such as social, religious, political, psychological etc. The eminent works in this regard were made by Barro and Mc Cleary (2003), Azzi and Eherenberg (1975), Iannaconne (1990, 1992, 1998 & 2000), Hamdani (2004) and Shah (2007). Understanding of human being is rather a complex phenomenon which can better be studied in holistic framework, so only conventional economic interpretation of individual seems incomplete reflection of human being [Lucas 1988, Romer 1986, Coleman 1990, and Schmid 2003].
2.2 Non Conventional Economic Approach.
Deficiencies in the conventional economic theories have been noted and attempted to be made up by a number of economists. Deaton (1980) observes “the results found of conventional economic theories do not speak of real world situation”. George (1980) formulated a system for capitalism based on biblical morality and concluded that in the present age continuing economic crisis, moral and religious principles must be infused into the economic system. Non conventional economics is viewed in different perspectives such as social, psychological and religious.
Human history shows that religion has remained dominant factor in the social, economic and other activities of human being. Many studies show that individual belonging to different religious may have different life style from each other [Pencavel, 1986; Azzi and Ehrenberg, 1975, Hamdani 2004, Shah 2007]. The conventional economists ignored the religious effect of the behavior of economic agent in the decision making that is why according to some economists, the world economies are not running along the steady state path and are facing very serious economic problems.. Human beings have been deeply involved in or following any of the divine religion in either way. The history of human beings shows that individuals were getting guidance from divine religion and developed their beliefs in diversified manner. The faith based economics have been discussed by different economists according to religious beliefs and practices of individuals. The Christians, Jews and followers of other divine religions follow sources of their divine religions. The Muslims draw their guidance from their divine religious sources such as Qura’n, Hadiths , Sunnahs etc.
2.3. Islamic Economics
The difference between the conventional and Islamic economics is the behavior of the economic agent in its economic activities on the basis of the concept of two lives: life on earth and life after death (Ahmad, 1980). All divine religions in general and Islam in particular the belief in life after death and the Day of Judgment that significantly effect on decision making process of economic agent. In conventional economics all the economic activities and its benefits are limited to the life on earth contrarily Islamic economics has wider scope for decision making to allocate resources in life on earth and life after death. “The concept of two lives, in fact is like two phases. The first phase is transitional which begins with the present life on this earth. All of its material conveniences and pleasures will come to an end on an appointed day. From here the second phase starts the life hereafter which is eternal and endless in terms of life and its pleasures and possessions. This concept of two lives is important to understand in order to explore economic teachings of the Qura’n (Ahmad, 1980)”.
The people believe that they will be given another life which will be eternal after the death on earth and they are accountable about the deeds made on earth life upon which reward will depend in shape of punishment or Falaah. The deeds during the life on earth are the use of worldly God given resources. This belief gives entirely different perception about planning horizon to the economic agent for the decision making as a consumer, producer or as a businessman. Considering that life on earth is not full life cycle but also includes life after death. “In their wealth there is known right for those who ask for it and those who have need for it”. The Holy Qura’n [70:25-25].
“Have you considered, what you till? Is it you yourselves Who make it grow, or is it We who make it grow?” The Holy Qura’n [56:63]
The whole of the universe is created and controlled by One God, is the basic core Islamic belief. He created man and appointed him His vicegerent on earth to fulfill certain obligations. The covenant with God governs every aspect of life. The obedience to Allah is required not only in worship, but also in economic activities, even though it is at the cost of any benefits, because these apparent benefits may go against the interest of the society. The obligations are neither so exhaustive that they leave no role for human intellect to play, nor are they so ambiguous that they leave life at the whim of human perception and desire. Islam promotes a balanced approach to human life. It has left mankind the freedom where it can take decisions on the basis of reasons and on the other hand, Islam has subjected human activities to a set of central principles, which cannot be violated on any grounds of expediency. Realizing limitations of school of thoughts of Islamic economic, a number of economists elaborated faith based economics for a wider scope. Thus they introduced the concept of divine economics.
2.4 Divine Economics Framework
Religion plays a key role in formulating individual’s behavior, which govern the whole economic system of decision making in the economy. Hence the impact of religion on human behavior as an individual, or as a group is now considered to be an important area for extension to traditional economic models (Iannaconne 1991, 1992). Since all divine religions teach its followers the concept of life hereafter (after death) which is a compulsory part of the faith. The departure of the analysis of divine economics from conventional economics is the concept of two lives, the first one the life on earth and the second the life after death (Nadvi, 1995). In all the divine religions the code of life, belief in life after death and the Day of Judgment will have significant impact on economic decision making of individuals. According to this the economists believe that expected stream of benefits does not terminate at the time of death. Hence there remains scope for a divine economics that may represent consumer behavior in divine religion’s perspective, by Hamdani (2002). The new emerging discipline i.e. Divine Economics as proposed by Dr. Hamdani has wider scope as compared to conventional one, in which religious behavior also play a vital role in the decision making of economic agent for rational choices.
“Divine economics is a science which studies human behavior directly or indirectly to achieve an optimal degree of Falaah from God given resources” (Tashfeen, 2001). The conventional economics studies only welfare of a man in the life on the earth while divine economics studies welfare of a man in the life on earth but also the eternal welfare of the life after the death. In all divine religions, people believe in one God i.e. Almighty Allah and the Day of Judgment (the life here after). The Reward and Punishment of one’s deeds in the shape of the Heaven and Hell are admitted facts of all sects of Divine religions. It is also believed that all the material and immaterial goods in the universe have been gifted by Allah to man, man is vice-regent of Allah, trustee and is accountable the deeds on the earth.
Dar asal Maalik e haqeeqi har shay Khudaa ast
aeen amaanat chand rozah nazd maa ast
Dr. Hamdani One of the contemporary proponents of framework defines Divine Economics as “the study of economics and religion in each other’s perspective using scientific process”. This framework incorporates standard variables and also some additional social, psychological, environmental and religious variables in the economic analysis, which were previously neglected by economists. Hence this framework allows
one to study human behavior with reference to Mahdavi Doctrine and can estimate various socio economic relationships of current and future importance.
3. Economics of Future
Economics of the future is newly emerging subject especially as a branch of Divine economics, which deals with the economic analysis of the current and future scenarios having some future importance. The Economic theories / laws which are used for the economic planning and policies of the economies related with the economics of future. Conventional economics uses empirical evidence on past to predict about future economic outcomes while Divine Economics uses all the three methods such as divine revelation, experience / perceptions made by wise men as well as empirical methods.
1 Divine Revelations
2 Experience / perception of wise men in the society
3 Empirical analysis
Source: Divine Economics (Hamdani 2007)
The conventional economists formulate the theories/laws of economics on the basis of trends using past data. The 2nd technique ( wisdom / experience / perception ) commonly known as deductive method was being used up to the publication of the General Theory of Employment by J. M. Keynes. Later on the 3rd method i.e. empirical analysis known as scientific technique is used. But Keynes used this process only this process only in a narrow sense i.e. he did not recognize that man of wisdom in Islam known as Wali have said much about the global events, centuries prior to their occurrence. For example, Shah Wali’s predictions about 2nd World War, its areas and outcomes etc. which later became true. Different approaches such as Lucas’s misperception theory, adaptive / rational expectations, Game theory and regression analysis are used for the solution of the economy’s problems and predictions are made accordingly for policy making. Conventional economics uses empirical evidence on past values to predict the future economic outcomes that may be true or false so the policies implemented on the basis of these economic outcomes may not be fruitful. On the other hand in divine economics above cited three methods such as divine revelation, experience / perceptions made by wise men as well as empirical methods are used. So predictions made by the divine economics have more chance of becoming and the policies can be used for research. In general the followers of all the divine religions (Jews and Christians) and in particular the followers of Islam firmly believe on divine books (Bibal), Qura’n and also on Hadiths.
Source: Divine Economics (Hamdani 2007)
The above figure shows that economics of the future can be seen from two distinct views; traditional view and divine view. Under traditional view past data is used to forecast the future. In divine view, the divine revelations have also some importance in shaping a future perception about which further investigation can take place using past data. The divine view of the future of the globe can be derived from divine religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In former two religions, it is believed that Jesus will come again and establish ‘Kingdom of God’ on earth. In Islam it is believed that Imam Mahdi (A.S.) will appear and fill the earth with justice and peace as it would be filled with injustice and cruelties. In religious literature, a number of evidences in the support of Imam’s arrival can be found. Based on such predictions, the subsequent sections of this paper will present how economics of future can be developed? How that fulfills the requirements of conventional empiric-based scientific research process more credibly than conventional one? This version of economics can easily incorporate the economic systems of the era of Imam Mahdi (A.S). Ideal level of welfare at globe may be achieved with equitable resource distribution. A number of strategic resources may be exploited to achieve higher level of welfare for average individual. A sketchy view of world economic growth and population increase is given. The analysis shows relationship between demand for resources and increase in number of individuals.
4. World Resources
Whole the nature has been created by the All Mighty Allah; a man is His vice-regent on earth. “Seek the other world by means of what Allah has bestowed upon you, and do not be negligent about your share in this world”. And do good as Allah have done well by you, and do not seek to spread disorder on the earth”. The Holy Qura’n [28:77]. , Islam follows divine guidance on economic activities. Human authority cannot remove these controls imposed by Islam. The prohibition of Rib ‘a, gambling, hoardings, introduction of Zakah, dealing in unlawful goods or services, short sales and speculative transactions are some examples of divine restrictions.
4.1 World GDP
According to the statistics the world GDP (comprising180 countries) has reached a sum of US $46,747 billions. The main contributors to the world GDP are USA, Japan, Germany, China, UK, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, Brazil, Russia, Korea, India, Mexico and Australia. Percentage share of USA to the total world GDP is 28.3. While both the emerging economies such as India and China have a share of 1.82 and 5.41 respectively.
Source: International Monetary Fund and World Economic Outlook Database
The reports of IMF and World Bank shows that more than three fourth world resources are owned by the developed countries having less than one fifth world population while 80% rest of the world population has one fifth world resources. The developed countries have less than 20% world population but with more than 80% world wealth. In the developed countries, there is much prosperity and very high living standard of their people. Although the people of those countries worked hard, productivity of their resources is very high.” God helps those who help themselves” (The Holy Qura’n, 13: 11). To some extent this is true, but it does not mean that this is a universal law of nature. The Divine Blessings are not bounded of this; some times the Blessings are awarded with out this that depends upon the pleasure of All Mighty Allah.
Wallaaho yarzoko maiyanya shaa bagair e hesaab (The Holy Qura’n)
Daad e Haq raa qaabliyat sharat naist
balkah sharat e qaabliyat daad hast
One of the main causes of their richness and prosperity is that those states provide social justice / rule of law to the citizens of their own countries what so ever their policies towards other countries like rule of thumb might is right, negative externalities of developed countries and to capture the resources of the 3rd world countries. So the degree of social Justice is the 1st order condition for the development and prosperity of any society, the other problems and deficiencies can automatically be solved with the social justice. If justice is provided by all the states particularly within the countries and also at Global level then prosperity will be more with peaceful environment will be very high and every where in the Globe.
4.1.2 Trend of Per Capita World Product.
The product per head, normally defined as the world total GDP divided by the world population.
Years Per capita (US$)
2020 (Will exceed) 13,000
2040 (Will exceed) 31,000
4.2 World Population. In the last few centuries, the number of people living on earth has increased many times over. By the year 2000, there will be 10 times more people on Earth than there were 300 years ago.
4.2.1 Trend of World Population
Year Population Growth %
1800 900,000,000 50
1900 1,500,000,000 55
2000 6,000,000,000 300
2006 6,500,000,000 08
2030 8,200,000,000 (Exp) 26
2050 9,100,000,000 (Exp) 13
Source World: World Population International Data Base USA (us census bureau)
While examining schedule and graph of the world per capita GDP growth rate, apparently it seems that per capita is increasing at increasing rate with slight variation. It has been reported by OECD (1999), that there would be long run boom in the global economy and that would be manifold increase in the world resources. On the other hand the population growth rate is slowing down. Throughout the 1960s, the world's population was growing at a rate of about 2% per year. By 1990, that rate was down to 1.5%, and by the year 2015, it is expected to drop to 1%. Observing both the growth rates per capita as well as population, the expected conclusion of the above data refutes the Malthusian theory of population that “population increases by geometric progression and will be double after 25 years. The wealth resources increase by arithmetic progression”. This pattern of population and per capita growth rate shows positive results for welfare of global economy. These indicators provide foundation to optimistic future of global economic growth. If there is equitable distribution of resources among world population the existing resources can fulfill wants/needs of people of whole of the globe. The trends of the world per capita and population may continue, provided, good governance prevails. At macro level global economy is growing positively but at micro level it shows a number of inequalities. This inequality has different causes including lack of good governance at global level. An ideal type of good governance is expected in the era of Imam Mahdi that may peruse global welfare. Contrarily in the world, the governance system is not supportive for ideal governance that keeps welfare level of human beings below desired level.
5 Why Poverty Resides. Within the citizens of any country haves and have-nots and inter countries poverty resides due to inequalities in distribution of wealth, employment opportunities, difference in natural resources, environments, educational standard, health facilities, exploitation of labor force, interest based economic order ete.
At global level poverty, debt servicing of the 3rd world countries, poor countries are poor because they are poor, exploitation of labor force at global level. To reduce the inequalities in distribution the resources must be diverted to have- nots for optimum welfare. The state is the competent authority and has to play a vital role for the eradication of these disparities and inequalities among the citizens.
5.1 Poor Governance as a Root Cause of World Problems
It seems that lack of good governance and sufficient social capital among individual, community, organizations, institutions and state in the present system creates different type of problems. The governance system performs at low level due to different factors including its one dimensional structure of flow of information. This weakness in the governance system creates a variety of problems at different levels. All these bad outcomes in turn create a system of governance that leads to world problems. Therefore, search of an ideal form of governance that enables solution of problems, efficient and timely service delivery in a peaceful world is desired.
5.2 Balance of Resources in Faith Based Economy
In the faith based economic system balance of resources is sought between the citizens of the society. Muslims believe that if left unchecked, unhealthy human instincts may be exploited to make money through immoral and injurious products. Profit seeking can create monopolies that paralyze market forces or at least hinder their natural operation. Islam recognizes private ownership, profit motive and market forces
It is recognized that capital and entrepreneur are two separate factors of production. The person who contributes capital in the form of money in any commercial enterprise assumes the risk of loss; so, is entitled to a proportionate share in the actual profit. In this manner capital has an intrinsic element of entrepreneurship with respect to business risk. Therefore, instead of a fixed return as interest, it derives profit. The more the profit of the business is then the higher the return on capital. In this way the profits generated by the commercial activities are equitably distributed to all persons engaged in the business.
A system of governance may be derived from religious doctrines pertaining to welfare of humanity. A number of research based studies by economists have proved positive relationship between economic growth and religion.
Religious beliefs also affect individual’s wellbeing as Chamberlain and Zika (1988) have discussed the relationship of religiosity and psychological wellbeing of individuals. Their results show that religiosity has positive relationship with wellbeing but to smaller extent. McCleary and Barro (2003) conclude that although religiosity tends to decline overall with economic development, the partial relations depend on the specific dimensions of development. They documented that the measures of religiosity are positively related to education, negatively related to urbanization, and positively related to the presence of children. Increased life expectancy tends to be negatively related with church attendance but positively related to religious beliefs. Hence their productivity will be more as compared to those persons who are not religious or less religious that will increase welfare in this world as well as the life here after.
Barro and McCleary (2003) find that economic growth responds positively to the extent of religious beliefs, notably those in hell, heaven, and life hereafter but negatively to church attendance. That is, growth depends on the extent of believing relative to belonging. Their results accord with a perspective in which religious beliefs influence individual traits that enhance economic performance. To them the beliefs are, in turn, the principal output of the religion sector, and church attendance measures the inputs to this sector. Barro and McCleary (2003) pointed out that greater religious pluralism, measured by the diversity of adherence among major religions, is associated with higher church attendance and beliefs. Across the religions, attendance at religious services is higher for Catholic than for the other religions, except for Muslim. The beliefs in heaven and hell tend to be highest for Muslim, then Catholic, then the other faiths. However religiosity is affected due to prevailing political and governance system. McCleary and Barro (2003) pointed out that the presence of a state religion is positively related to the religiosity measures, probably because of the subsidies that typically flow to the established religions. Therefore religion may promote good governance. An ideal type of governance in the globe is predicted in religious teachings. The Islamic and other religious books give evidences of arrival of Imam Mahdi and Jesus.
6. Divine Revelation
The Holy Qura’n, Hadith, other divine books and religious literature tells about a future which shall be based on justice, equity and would ensure prosperity and human elevation as superb creation.
Qura’n Verse 32 note by S.V Amir Ali;
“this is as well the prophecy of the advent of the Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi, the Twelfth and the Last Imam or the Apostolic successor to the Holy Prophet who is also named Muhammad; in whose regime, the whole world will be united into one single unit of a Universal Rule on earth when the darkness of falsehood shall be gone and the world will be wholly lighted with the light of divine justice, peace and security, through the disbelievers may not like it to happen.”
This interpretation has been vouched by most of the prominent and the leading commentators’ eve of the Sunni and Shia schools of Islamic thoughts.
Qura’n: Sura Tauba 33
“He it is who sent His Apostle with guidance and the religion of truth, that may prevail it over all other religions though may detest it the polytheists.”
S. V Amir Ali notes that the triumph of Islam over all religions mentioned in this verse is explained under the previous verse 32.Hadith e Nabvi (S It is a note of prophecy accepted on all hands of the various schools in Islam that the complete triumph of Islam over all the other religions of the world will be realized during the regime of the awaited Mahdi, a Hashemite of Holy family of Prophet Muhammad. Notwithstanding the strength Christianity and the other major religions of the world have gained, the beginning of the prevalence of the Islamic faith over them all, has already set in. The Christian doctrine of the vicarious atonement, the belief in the Trinity and the worshipping of idols of the saints, all such false beliefs and wrong practices are fast dying away a natural death and the monotheism and the inclination towards the correct idea of worshipping only the One True God, is gaining ground in the world and it is evident from the spread of Islam. The present situation of the world is turning to wards divine governance.
6.1 WHAT CAN BE AN IDEAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT?
The ideal form of a government would be that which ensures eradication of world problems like injustice, cruelty, corruption, mal-functioning of institutions, mis-management of all types etc. Abundant literature exist telling point of view of common people, philosophers, politicians and others about the ideal form of government. The Muslims, however, believe with conviction that the best form of governance shall be ultimately established by Islam on whole globe. In other divine religions it is believed that the Kingdom of God shall be established when Jesus Christ shall come again. This view does not create any difference from Islamic point of view as Jesus is believed to be a Minister with the Holy Imam Mahdi and He (Jesus) will say prayer in Baitul Muqaddas behind Imam e Zamaan (Imam Mahdi A.S.). In the era of Imam Mahdi (AS), the social justice will be at climax on the earth among the people of the globe as it has filled with injustice and jabber (zulm), economic prosperity and equitable distribution of resources will be every where on the earth. This era of ideal governance will be unmatched on earth. (Hadith e Nabvi PBUH).
In the paper, the problems in current economic systems of the world have been discussed, such as social injustice, unequal income distribution and other problems of governance both are with in and across the countries. All these problems are due to poor governance national and global level. The conventional economics fundamentally has no solution to these problems because the forecasting in the conventional economics is done by empirical method which is based upon the adaptive expectations that may be true or wrong. On the other hand Divine economics not only deals with the issues like growth, employment, inflation etc. but also focuses on well being, happiness and improve all other social indicators of human life. Divine economics embodies certain principles that help to resolve the problems such as equitable distribution of wealth, justice, equal opportunities employment and human welfare. More over in divine economics forecasting is made by using aforesaid three methods such as divine revelation, experience / perception of Wiseman and the empirical methods, hence forecasting by the divine economics is likely to be more closer to reality.
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