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Beyond Capitalism and Socialism: Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr’s Quest for an Islamic Economic System

Al-Sadr claims that moral and ethical principles, rather than purely self-interest, should govern economic activity.

Al-Sadr claims that moral and ethical principles, rather than purely self-interest, should govern economic activity.

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was a towering figure in Islamic scholarship, economics, and social justice activism. Generations of Muslims all over the world continue to be inspired and guided by his contributions to Islamic theory and practise. In this article, we will examine Muhammad Baqir al-life Sadr’s and legacy while analysing his concepts and contributions to Islamic scholarship, social justice, and economics.

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was born in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, in 1935. His family had a long history of academic excellence and religious devotion, and he was the son of a prominent religious scholar. Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr showed a prodigious intellect and a keen interest in Islamic scholarship from a young age. He studied under some of the most well-known scholars of his time, including Grand Ayatullah Abul Qasim al-Khoei, and quickly earned a reputation for his command of Islamic theology and law.

Contributions to Islamic Scholarship

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr made numerous and significant contributions to Islamic scholarship. He authored a large number of books and articles on a variety of subjects, such as Islamic law, philosophy, and theology.

Sadr’s theory of Islamic economics, which he developed in the 1960s and 1970s, was his most important contribution. Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr later emerged as a leading proponent of the establishment of an Islamic economic system that would be distinct from both capitalist and socialist models.

He made the case that Islamic economics ought to be based on the ideas of social justice, equity, and compassion and ought to work to advance the welfare of all societal members, particularly the poor and the outcasts. He thought that Islamic economics was an alternative to the capitalist and socialist economic systems and was based on the values of justice, fairness, and equality.

The Islamic idea of distributive justice, which emphasises the equitable distribution of wealth and resources among all members of society, served as the foundation for Sadr’s theory of Islamic economics.

Contributions to Social Justice

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was a tireless worker who fought for the rights of the underprivileged and marginalised. He believed that poverty and inequality were major social ills that needed to be addressed through a combination of charity, social welfare programmes, and economic reform.

He also believed that the Islamic concept of khums, or the obligatory payment of one-fifth of one’s income to support the poor and needy, could be a potent tool for promoting social justice and reducing poverty.

Contribution of Sadr to Islamic Economic Doctrine

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr is best known for his influential Islamic economics work Iqtisaduna (Our Economy). One of Al-most Sadr’s important economics works, the book was written between 1960 and 1961 and published in 1982. The book is divided into two volumes, with each volume further subdivided into two parts.

Part One of Volume 1 is titled The Islamic Concept of Economy, and Part Two is titled The General Economic System. Al-Sadr lays out the theoretical foundation for the Islamic economy in Part One. This includes the fundamental tenets of Islamic economics, such as the idea of property and ownership, the function of the market, and the interaction between the individual and society. Al-Sadr emphasises that the Islamic economy prioritises social justice, equality, and the satisfaction of human needs over the maximisation of profits.

Part Two of Volume 1 discusses the economic system as a whole, including the roles of the state, the market, and the individual in the Islamic economy. Al-Sadr argues that the state plays a crucial role in regulating the economy and ensuring social justice. He also discusses the idea of the Islamic welfare state and the various strategies that can be used to guarantee the satisfaction of fundamental human needs.

Part one of Volume 2 is devoted to microeconomics, and Part two is devoted to macroeconomics. In Part One, al-Sadr focuses on microeconomics, which is the study of individual economic agents and their behaviour. In this section, he examines the role of individual behaviour in the Islamic economy and how social and cultural factors affect it. Al-Sadr also examines the idea of profit and how it relates to social justice and individual rights.

Macroeconomics, or the study of the economy as a whole, is covered in Part Two of Volume 2. Al-Sadr examines a number of macroeconomic ideas, such as employment, inflation, and economic growth. He also discusses the role of the state in regulating the macroeconomy and ensuring social justice. Iqtisaduna is a significant contribution to the field of Islamic economics because it offers a thorough and in-depth analysis of the subject.

Al-Sadr’s contribution to Iqtisaduna is his contention that moral and ethical principles, rather than purely self-interest, should govern economic activity. He makes the case that the idea of profit in Islam is not an end in and of itself, but rather a means to the accomplishment of specific social and moral objectives, such as the eradication of poverty, the advancement of social justice, and the preservation of human dignity. He promotes the creation of an economic system based on Islamic principles, which would ensure social welfare, protect the environment, and ensure a fair distribution of wealth and resources.

Al-Sadr’s work in Iqtisaduna also includes a thorough examination of the social and political ramifications of economic systems, in addition to economic theory. He contends that economics cannot be studied independently of other disciplines and that broader social objectives should guide the development of economic policies. He, for instance, criticises Western individualism, which he claims weakens social cohesion and causes the dissolution of family and community structures.

Al-Sadr also criticises the Marxist theory of materialism in his book, claiming that it is founded on a flawed understanding of human nature and the place of religion in society. He claims that the Islamic idea of tawhid (the oneness of God) offers a more thorough and integrated framework for comprehending how the material and spiritual aspects of human existence interact, and that this framework is crucial for the creation of a truly holistic economic system.

Legacy

In general, Iqtisaduna is a significant contribution to the field of Islamic economics and has had a significant influence on the growth of this field. It offers a different perspective on economic development that is based on Islamic values and principles as well as a thorough and integrated framework for comprehending the connection between economic theory, ethics, and social and political objectives.

The legacy of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr continues to motivate and direct Muslims all over the world. His ideas and contributions to Islamic scholarship, economics, and social justice have had a profound impact on the Muslim world, and his vision for an Islamic economic system based on social justice and compassion is as relevant today as when he first articulated it.

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was a pioneer of Islamic economics and social justice, as evidenced by his contributions to these fields. His contributions to Islamic scholarship, economics, and social justice continue to motivate and guide Muslims all over the world, and his idea for a more just and equitable society is still as relevant today as it was then.

As we face the challenges of poverty, inequality, and injustice in our world today, we would do well to remember the legacy of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and to continue working towards a more just and compassionate society, guided by the principles of Islamic ethics and social justice.


Reference

  1. Muhammad Baqir ul Sadr, Iqtisaduna (Our Economics) Volume One and Two [ISBN 10: 1956276130  ISBN 13: 9781956276138. Publisher: Al-Burāq Publications, 2022
  1. Iqtisaduna-our-economics-volume-1-part-1-sayyid-muhammad-baqir-al-sadr
  2. Iqtisaduna-our-economics-volume-2-part-2-sayyid-muhammad-baqir-al-sadr
  3. Muhammad_Baqir_As_Sadr_Iqtisaduna_Our_Economics_Volume_01_I

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