The Islamic Economics Workshop

The Basic Idea

The ongoing studies of the past few years have been debating systems that can be an alternative to the capitalist economic system. Aside from the ideas that emerged as a result of these discussions in the direction of completely changing the system, approaching the solution through changes in the system is also being considered. Islamic Economics studies can be defined as the entirety of studies performed in this area by Muslim thinkers for searching for an alternative system and market. Just having financial studies is not enough for healing today’s economic system; the need for theoretical studies to increase in speed is also an undeniable fact. For this reason, the İLKE Foundation of Science, Culture, and Education; the İLEM Association of Scientific Studies; and the İGİAD Turkish Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics Association, each doing important studies in their own field and representing a dimension in the workshop, have jointly organized the Islamic Economics Workshop with civil and public institutions closely related to the issue. The annually held Islamic Economics Workshop aims to organize around a topic playing a key role in the regulation and development of Islamic Economics in a way that will address the issue from a different dimension each year. Forming the necessary environment of discussion for the participants and report owners and strengthening inter-communications among academicians who perform, research, and are interested in scientific production related to Islamic Economics are also among the goals in the Islamic Economics Workshop. In this understanding, contributions are found through a great number of academic presentations and discussions from various countries to studies organized for considering how the economic lifestyle, which affects every area of life, needs to be shaped within the framework of Islamic rules by contributing to the effort the Islamic world has shown for bringing Islamic Civilization to a strong position in the face of the capitalist Western Civilization by getting rid of the economic and political constrictions have existed in the Islamic world for the past few centuries. The workshop will not just conduct studies for the purpose of notifying papers but also to conduct long-term sessions that allow for being able to deeply discuss the topics academicians from Turkey and other countries address in their studies in the field of economics. Thus it intends to also discuss through different dimensions what types of studies need to be done in the future for bringing a universal system into existence.

Islamic Economics Workshop I: Basic Concepts and Ideas

The “Islamic Economics Workshop I: Basic Concepts and Ideas,” being the first of the Islamic Economics workshops, was organized on March 13, 2013 in partnership with the Turkish Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics Association (İGİAD), the Foundation of Science, Culture, and Education (İLKE), and the Association of Science Studies (İLEM). Academicians who have done studies  in the field of Islamic Economics from many countries, such as Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia, Britain, Pakistan, the United States, and Indonesia, were allowed to participate in the workshop, which had been organized for the purpose of determining the framework, sub-headings, and main topics in the light of the research performed in the field of Islamic Economics; this platform led to the sharing and discussing of various studies. In addition, outlining the framework for future studies was aimed at through these meetings by considering the different aspects of Islamic economics apart from the financial system.

Islamic Economics Workshop II: Islamic Economics and the Market

The institutions and organizations revealed in the Islamic world by the capitalist economy, which has dominated the era in which we live, is constantly on the agenda of Muslims. The search for an alternative system day after day becomes more a focus of interest, and studies are increasing on this topic. These studies are not just in Muslim circles; at the same time, academic interest also is present in the Western world and studies are being performed. When comparing Islamic Economics with the today’s current economic system, Islamic Economics is a system that has its own distinctive features. For a fairer system, one should first know our own system; if necessary it should be brought to light and rebuilt. In this context, no obstacle is found in front of organizing the market according to Islamic rules and regulations.

As a result of this search, the second Islamic Economics Workshop was held on April 5-6, 2014; Istanbul Şehir University hosted the workshop, which was organized jointly by the Turkish Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics Association (İGİAD), the Foundation of Science, Culture, and Education (İLKE), and the Association of Science Studies (İLEM). The market place and its meaning in Islamic Economics were discussed in the workshop organized under the title “Islamic Economics and the Market.” The papers scientists had researched in this area and their negotiations shed light on the different aspects of the issue. Emphasis in the workshop was made on the need to readdress the market from the perspective of Islamic Economics for a more just world with more sharing. A close relationship exists between a market shaped according to Islamic values and development. Theoretical and historical practices form the serious groundwork on this issue. After making introductions, new steps began to be taken in this area on identifying a market with respect to Islamic Economics. By looking at applications in the workshop, various considerations were made on what the many local and foreign academicians who were there would discuss about whether or not an Islamic Economy would re-emerge and upon which foundations.

Islamic Economics Workshop III: Islamic Economics and Labor

Labor is one of the most important concepts of economic theory and history. The patterns of production, distribution, change, and redistribution are not possible without the factor of labor. For this reason, the science of economics evaluates the factor of production as labor, capital, natural resources, and lastly entrepreneurs; it views labor as the most important of these. This position labor possesses has been the main starting point for Marxist and Capitalist economic theorists. The third workshop performed on Islamic Economics was held on April 4-5, 2015 under the title “Islamic Economics Workshop: Islamic Economics and Labor”; it was hosted by Istanbul Commerce University and organized jointly by the Turkish Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics Association (İGİAD), the Foundation of Science, Culture, and Education (İLKE), and the Association of Science Studies (İLEM).

Since the birth of classical economics theory, using labor in the sense that it exceeds physical power and encompasses mental activities in parallel with technological developments has diversified today’s discussions on the topic. With this in mind, the discussions, which were also the subject of the workshop, occurred in many areas. A comparison of the Marxist and capitalist systems was made using the Islamic conceptualization of labor and the concept of labor was interpreted in terms of the global markets; searching for the answers to many questions like this was attempted. These discussions were made together by the participants from Turkey and abroad on the issue of importance and flexibility given to labor in the free market economy, worker-employee relations, justice on the issue regarding the rights given to labor, the approach on a humanitarian wage, and many other issues.

Islamic Economics Workshop IV: Social Justice from the Perspective of Islamic Economics

Income injustice increases with each passing day; poverty has become a worldwide problem. The striking social injustices in Muslim countries additionally draw attention. Whereas the religion of Islam from day one has encouraged social justice and even preserved the rights of non-Muslims to ensure social justice and let Muslim oppression of non-Muslims stop. In this context, Muslims need to act in accordance with the principles of Islam and have a system of understanding and life that rests on fairness.

The Islamic Economics Workshop IV was held in Istanbul on April 2-3, 2016 with the title “Social Justice from the Perspective of Islamic Economics” and was organized by the Turkish Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics Association (İGİAD), the Foundation of Science, Culture, and Education (İLKE), and the Association of Science Studies (İLEM). Papers addressing the topics of social justice and related issues were primarily included in the workshop, which was hosted by Istanbul University’s Department of Islamic Economics and Finance.

Many topics were investigated in terms of economics and Islamic Economics, from income inequality to zakat, while examining the workshop Social Justice from the Perspective of Islamic Economics; putting forth suggestions for solutions to the essential flaws of the system was attempted. In addition to the existing examples being applied currently in the world, negotiations were held on how systems can be produced as alternatives, on the various papers regarding this, and on improving ideas.

Through the Islamic Economic Workshop IV, discussions were conducted that addressed the issues surrounding the title of social justice from the perspective of Islamic Economics. Thus by bringing academicians together from all corners of the globe, they were allowed to examine actual social and economic injustices in depth and exchange ideas on how to form the theoretical groundwork of an understanding of social justice based on Islamic principles and which alternative systems could be offered. Additionally, discussions were held on which practices had been done in the past and present within the framework of this issue. Various conclusions were reached about issues that would significantly decrease the social injustice and related problems that have emerged in the world and especially Muslim countries if the principles, theories, and practices of Islamic Economics are taken into consideration and the issues that scientists, politicians, and non-governmental organizations need to place emphasis upon in the following periods.

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