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Selasa, 06 April 2010


Professor Masudul Alam Choudhury
Department of Economics and Finance
Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman
International Chair
Postgraduate Program in Islamic Economics & Finance
Trisakti University, Jakarta, Indonesia


Islam has a unique dispensation on the theme of wealth, its ownership, distribution and social relationship. The principal objective of this paper is to show how such a dispensation relates to the central message of the Qur’an, the Unity of God or unity of the divine law, termed as Tawhid. The Tawhidi methodology is applied to the study of wealth according to the immanent systemic worldview of causality that derives from and regenerates in perpetuity the sustainable unity of learning between the critical domains − the Moral Law (Islamic Law); the World-System (Individual vis-à-vis Society, Economy and Polity); and Sustainability. The learning process so engendered continues (or ‘perpetuates itself’) until the event of the Hereafter. The Hereafter is used here in the Qur’anic sense of the Great Event wherein the fullness and purity of divine knowledge is revealed and Truth is perfectly distinguished from Falsehood (Qur’an, 78: 1-5).
The model that results from the methodology of unity of knowledge (Tawhid) demonstrates the interactive, integrative and evolutionary learning experience arising from the interrelations between the critical domains. In this context, various issues on the dispensation of wealth in Islam are examined in the light of the social and economic instruments that enable the attainment of the objectives of wealth within the Tawhidi methodology.
The theme of Islamic dispensation of wealth is thus treated as a deeply moral study of self and society. The contrary kinds of material ownership are termed as wealth that cannot be accepted in positive Islamic valuation. The true nature of wealth in the light of the Islamic Law thus requires social preferences and market exchange mechanisms that are ethicized by human consciousness of the Moral Law.
The paper concludes by showing how the Tawhidi (oneness of God = unity of the divine law) methodology and its application to the theme of wealth is universal and unique in the light of the Qur’an. The general system underlying the Tawhidi worldview of unity of knowledge is then diagrammatically summarized in the context of wealth creation.

What is wealth in Islam?

The Qur’anic verses (2:86, 3:14, 3:117, 104:1 – 9) explain that all of life’s acquisitions existing in material form and having value, comprise wealth. However, the verses also give precise moral injunctions as to what are, and are not acceptable kinds of wealth. They point out how individual preferences on wealth formation ought to be utilized within the social meaning.
In each of the verses, recommended or permissible wealth is premised on the Moral Law. Thereby, unity of the divine law (Tawhid = Oneness of God) becomes the endogenously inducing factor of learning and moral consciousness in the acquisition of wealth. Consequently, recognition of the divine law underlying the acquisition of all material things indicates the criteria for permissible wealth. Moreover, conscious or unconscious avoidance of the Moral Law when acquiring wealth is judged by the same criteria.
In Islam the meaning of wealth as both an individually demanded artifact and a social artifact is inextricably intertwined in circular causality. Thus Islamic law impinges on Private Wealth and Social Wealth in the same way as it impinges on the individual and society, thereby characterizing what is, and what is not recommended wealth (Choudhury, 2003).
Likewise, wealth is explained by a system of interrelationships between the tenets of justice, equitable distribution and fairness, and limits of ownership, all governed by the tenets of the Moral Law. The example, interpreted in terms of its extensive meaning, represents sons, women, gold and silver, horses and mules, land and power and many more that are legitimated as wealth by the Islamic Law. This is allegorical reference, meant to encompass all material assets that appear to be of absolute value to man’s ego to acquire. Therefore at the same time, the same principles are ascribed for individual and social treatment of these material ownerships. It is not tenable for the same things to be held as manifestations of social and individual ego and power above moral consciousness and service to God (Islamic Law). Note in the Qur’an, the contrary was the case of the Pharaoh. While to Moses was bestowed God-consciousness and just power, Pharaoh’s power from the magicians’ wand as material artifact was weak. The Qur’an declares (Qur’an 20, 69): “Throw (Moses) that which is in your right hand: Quickly will it swallow up that which they (Pharaoh) have faked….”. Interpret Moses’ wand as the wealth artifact endowed with moral power. It was divinely purposive. Such a moral power overwhelmed the sheer material power of Pharaoh’s illegitimate wealth.

The ultimate phenomenological model of unity of knowledge
derived from the Qur’an: wealth creation

As mentioned above, the subject of wealth and its dispensation in Islam follows from the central theme of unification between the social and economic domains in terms of the Moral Law. This approach involves the understanding of the general phenomenological model of unity of knowledge in the Qur’an.
An explanation of Figure 1 is in place. The domain of Tawhidi purity and completeness of the divine unity of knowledge is treated as super-cardinal topology (Maddox, 1970). This premise remains primordial in knowledge formation and its induction of the socioeconomic artifacts, causing thereby, the diverse domains and their representative variables to be interdependent. The emergent interrelationships between systemic entities convey the meaning of learning according to circular causation between both -- the set of state variables and the set of policy and institutional variables, including the preferences and technology underlying the market mechanism and choices by which wealth is formed, exchanged and transferred intertemporally. See Choudhury (2006) on the Qur’anic idea of circular causation.
Figure 1 depicts an elementary part of the ultimate phenomenological model of unity of knowledge (Tawhid). Basic understanding of Tawhid, coming from the study of the Qu’ran, leads us to understand that Private Wealth and Social Wealth are not separate. They are both subjected to ethical considerations that raise further understanding as to how they can best be used to serve Allah’s purpose in earth.
Phase 1 in Figure 1 shows that the Moral Law impinges upon Private and Social Wealth in an interconnected way shown by two-way arrows. Such relations starting from the epistemological origin (, S) are well-defined (implied by the f-functions). In Phase 2 the same experience of Phase 1 is repeated but now with evolutionary learning according to unity of knowledge, i.e. [(, S)] … Such learning processes combining Phase 1 and Phase 2 continue on in perpetuity.

Figure 1: Elementary circular causality between embedded wealth concepts induced by the Moral Law and its evolution

Formal description of the Qur’anic phenomenological model: wealth creation

The totality of the Moral Law comprising the super-cardinal topology is the origin of the theory of knowledge in Islam conveying the unity of the worlds in the light of Tawhid (). The transmission of  in bits takes place through the guidance given to the Prophet Muhammad (S). S is therefore the transmission mechanism, without which, comprehension of the sudden entirety of  would be impossible. The universe could not hold such an entirety (Qur’an, 42:52,53; 59:21). Therefore, the primal origin is combined with the ontological mapping of S to bring bits of  into the world-system.
The world-system, here specified to the theme of wealth, is spanned by the totality of the market variables, social variables, institutional variables and policy and development financing instruments affecting wealth creation. All of these are taken up in the light of simulating a wellbeing objective criterion. The wellbeing criterion measures the degree of unity of the system attained by learning processes between the variables. This is shown in Figure 1. Simulation of the wellbeing criterion is necessarily subject to the principle of pervasive complementarities between the diverse system-variables. The estimated wellbeing function and circular causation relations undergo improvements to reflect higher levels of unification of learning relationships between the variables, their agencies and the relational causality.
Since the functional realization of unity of knowledge is premised on both (, S) and encompasses all systems, therefore, (, S) is the unique and universal epistemology of the Islamic universe (Choudhury, forthcoming).
From this topological space arise specific relations denoted by fi. fi conveys the ith relationship connecting the consciousness of (, S) in the formation of ith form of wealth, i = 1 (Private), 2 (Social), as shown in Figure 1.
fij, i,j = 1,2 denote the causal relationships between Private and Social variables of wealth. The components of wealth formation are denoted by (X1(), X2()).
Since the Moral Law is unique to both components of wealth and their systemic interrelationships, therefore, a common knowledge-flow () is derived from a set of discoursed values. -values represent know-how and ways and means of bringing about complementary relationships between the private and social kinds of wealth, i.e. in terms of their variables.
A common -value is thereby developed discursively by means of interaction and integration (consensus) between the entities involved in the discourse and by noting the ontological relations of the complementarities formed by the selected wealth and wealth-related variables that play critical role in wealth creation according to the general system of ethical causality between the variables. Thus the consensual (integrated) -value denotes the limiting value of many discursive -values over learning spaces by interaction, on the issues at hand. The formation of such a limiting -value also determines simultaneously the corresponding X()-vector. We then have the tuple of the world-system pertaining to the theme of wealth. With X() = (X1(), X2()) and -value we denote the learning tuple by Z() = (, X()).
In Islam, the discourse medium is referred to as the Shura. The ontological insight for understanding the unity of knowledge in the study of pervasively complementary variables is known as Tasbih. Degrees of Tasbih inculcated represent the worshipping consciousness in all things, including man who searches for it. Tasbih is the attribute of knowledge. It enables the worshipping and ontological potential of moral becoming in the unified world-systems. The Shura (thus, ) induced by Tasbih (T), that is the formation of (T), leads to the determination of ways and means, the policy-instruments and moral guidance according to the divine law of unity of knowledge gained from (, S).
By combining the elements of the Tawhidi epistemology we obtain the following primal relationships. The entire system of interrelations shown here is also referred to as the Tawhidi String Relations (TSR).

Figure 2: Continuous learning processes in the Tawhidi
phenomenological model of unity of knowledge

Recalling (,S) in continuum

{[ S]  (T)}  Z() Phase 2 , Fig 1 and many more learning processes (1)
(,S) by recalling (,S) across continuums
[Moral Law]
{Islamic Law} Unified World-System  learning continuums
according to the (T)  (,S)
induced variables

In the case of wealth creation we need to study the specific interrelations between selected policy and development financing instruments that together play key roles in bringing about complementarities between the variables of various learning relations.

Preference formation, market mechanism and instruments
of wealth creation in Islam

Having explained the meaning of wealth in Islam and its pervasively complementary relations in the Private and Social domains according to the Moral Law, next we examine the methods by which wealth is generated using expression (1) in the light of Figure 1. The vector Z() is now extended with more interaction involving limiting {}-values (= ) pertaining to the individual components of Z(). These additional entries denote complementary socioeconomic variables and development-financing instruments for wealth creation.
In this wider description of

Z() = (, X1, X2, P1, P2, P3, P4, M1, M2, M3)[] (2)

the following extra variables are defined:
P1 denotes trade. P2 denotes spending in the good things of life. P3 denotes charity. P4 denotes the inversion of the rate of interest towards zero, resulting from the exercise of participatory development-financing instruments. M1 denotes Profit-sharing, cost-sharing financing contract. M2 denotes equity-participation. M3denotes trade financing and cost-plus financing contracts. M4 denotes secondary Islamic financing instruments, e.g. unit trust shareholding. The appearance of [] outside the bracket means that each of the inner variables is induced by the limiting -value derived from the Moral Law of unity of knowledge through Shura discourse.
The systemic interrelationships between the components of the extended Z()-vector establish the pervasively complementary and hence symbiotic learning system. The model of this complementary, and hence participatory learning system, is derived from the Qur’an within expression (1) in light of Figure 1.
We refer here to the verses of the Qur’an (2: 161 – 175). A summary of the socioeconomic general ethico-economic model in respect of wealth formation as derived from these verses is provided in Figure 3. The complex nature of joint and compounding relations among the socioeconomic variables and the financing instruments are represented by the functions gijkl, g’ijkl, hijkl, h’ijkl, qijkl, q’ijkl, tijkl, t’ijkl, wijkl, w’ijkl; i,j,k,l = P-vector, M-vector as shown in Figure 2. These relations are logically interconnected by compound maps. The result is decreasing interest rates ‘i’. The learning processes continue.
Figure 3 points out the compound effect of the socioeconomic variables supporting wealth creation and complementarities in the Private and Social domains. Such extensive complementarities are established by applying the development-financing instruments as mentioned above. These together, through their participatory nature, help to mobilize financial resources, as by the P-vector, into the real economy rather than being held-up in savings. Deepening linkages between money, participatory financing instruments and the real economy present the sure way of reducing interest rates toward zero, while increasing the productive and morally mandated use of financial resources into cooperative ventures.

Figure 3: Extending the learning relations of wealth creation

P1  P2  P3  P4 
g’ijkl gijkl
 i  continuity
hijkl q’ijkl

w’ijkl wijkl
M1 M2  M3  M4 

The continuously learning processes of Figures 1 and 2 combine with the choice of dynamic basic-needs regimes to set up the development model of the Islamic socioeconomic order. In it, individuals and socioeconomic entities play their conformal roles in Islamic transformation. It is logical that with heightened resource mobilization the circular causation between increasingly spending in the good things of life, trade, charity and the dynamic basic-needs regimes of development will militate against interest rate. Interest rate is thus phased out in the above-mentioned ethico-economic general equilibrium system according to a learning process.
Wealth is thus created by productive transformation in an extensively participatory economy with pervasive complementarities. The latter characteristics signify systemic unity of knowledge caused by interrelations. This is the result of the Tawhidi unity of knowledge in the organization of economic, financial and social sectors with complementary linkages between them. The rate of return on spending in the good things of life represents the productive growth factor that accumulates wealth. Mobilizing money into the real economy in view of the extensively participatory, productive and ethical consequences of the general system of interrelationships bring about accumulation of capital. Thus wealth accumulates thereon once it is formed by means of enhancing the learning linkages between socioeconomic and policy instruments that promote systemic unification over subsequent phases of learning. The formulas for wealth creation, accumulation and evaluation are given below.

Valuation of wealth according to the Tawhidi worldview

The accumulative valuation formula for wealth in Islamic perspective is,

W(, t) = I0,ijkl t[(1+rijkl)[t]]t (3)
t is time period at the time financial returns are declared.

Expression (3) is a simplified form of a single rate of return across i,j,k,l kinds of investments and resource mobilization outlets using the complementary financing means.
When the rate of return is variable according to time-dependent t-values then with the net-of-deduction rate, dt, the wealth valuation formula is,

W(, t) = I0,ijkl t[t(1+rijkl)[t]](1-dt) (4)

Other specific formulas can be constructed. The important point to note is that rijkl is a profit-sharing rate in the case of individual shareholders of Islamic wealth creation outlets, such as Islamic banks. In the case of Social Wealth, rijkl denotes profit rate. But since Private and Social Wealth are complementary entities under the Tawhidi worldview, therefore, the profit-sharing rate must be a definite function of the profit rate. This is shown as follows:
Let  denote total profit over all complementary projects (i,j,k,l) attained by resource mobilization.

ijkl denotes total profit in any one set of (i,j,k,l) compounded project.
ijklI denotes ijkl for the Ith individual.
ijklI denotes the Ith individual’s share of .

By definition ijklI = ijklI . 

Thereby, rijklI = dijklI/ijklI = r + dijklI/ijklI.

r denotes the profit rate (d/); dijklI/ijklI denotes rate of change in the profit- sharing ratio over (i,j,k,l)-compounded projects for Ith individual.
Furthermore, if the rates are summed over all individual, the result is over (i,j,k,l) complementary, that is interlinked projects:

rijkl = n.r + dijkl/ijkl, n being the total number of individuals.

In other words, average rate of return for each individual over the (i,j,k,l) compounded projects is given by,

rijkl/n = r + (1/n).(dijkl/ijkl) (5)

(1/n).(dijkl/ijkl) denotes the average rate of change in the profit-sharing ratio. This is the case of variable type M1, M2, M3, M4 mentioned earlier.

A further note on the categories of wealth in Islam

Zakat, wealth-tax

Expression (2) can be expanded by including more of the important socioeconomic, policy and financing variables and policy instruments according to the Islamic Law. An important one among these additional variables is the instrument of Zakat, which is wealth tax. Its purpose is to establish social security in the Islamic community. An important objective of Zakat is alleviation of hardcore poverty by raising social and economic productivity at this grassroots level. Here we cannot talk about wealth as riches only. Dispensation of wealth in the comprehensive Islamic sense now includes entitlement and empowerment of the hardcore poor at the grassroots. Such a grassroots wealth for the very poor comprises the assets at their disposal, such as human resource development programs and assets of microenterprises by and for the poor.

Islamic Law of Inheritance

Another very important form of Private Wealth creation occurs through the Qur’anic Law of Inheritance. When the distribution of assets among family members are introduced as additional variables in expression (2), the participatory cooperative mechanism is activated with the distributed inheritances. The male and female portions of the family inheritance along with its charitable component comprise Private and Social Wealth flowing into participatory Islamic financing outlets. Thereby, males and females combine and share in the returns of joint ventures such as of M1, M2 and M3. In a caring and sharing Islamic society it becomes the responsibility of men and women to cooperate. This is the social duty that emanates from the Qur’anic Law of Inheritance.

State wealth

The state can also generate wealth by holding on to natural resources, such as oil and gas, minerals, agriculture, water resource, education and the like, for the sake of wellbeing for all, humans and ecology. Yet the Government is encouraged to enter into private sector cooperation according to the meaning conveyed by Figures 1, 2 and 3. According to the Islamic law, the Central Government can retain up to one-third of the use-value of natural resources for charitable use while rendering the remaining two-thirds into joint ventures between the Government, public and private sectors domestically and internationally for the common wellbeing.

An integrative view of wealth creation according to the Tawhidi worldview

Extension to the wealth vector of the form in expression (2) now results in a further development of Figures 1, 2 and 3. The resulting complete picture incorporates growing interaction between the elements of the wealth vector. According to the Qur’anic phenomenological model, Interactions (I) lead into socioeconomic complementarities. Such an attained complementary state is referred to as Integration (I). Interaction leading to Integration (thus II) in learning processes yields co-Evolution (E) of similar II-processes across expanding ranges of the learning relations between knowledge-induced variables in the wealth-vector (Sztompka, 1991). Hence the learning phases shown in Figures 1 and 2 are characterized by the IIE-processes of learning in unity of divine knowledge in the light of the Qur’an. Now the entire wealth creation phenomenon is shown to be induced by the epistemology of Tawhidi unity of knowledge as described above.
This paper refers to such a complete relational learning model as the phenomenological model of unity of knowledge. It is universal and unique in nature. It is distinct from all received citations in the literature. The distinctiveness is particularly due to the primal epistemological string relation, [(,S) ]  {(T)}, which is permanently ‘recalled’ in every social action and response across evolutionary learning processes. Subsequent to this epistemology, the problems of social equity, distribution and participation by sharing among all are addressed in the light of Tawhid in reference to the phenomenological model.
Figure 4 shows that between phases of learning in continuum there is socio-scientific evaluation of the degree of unification of knowledge that was realized in the previous phase of learning. The evolutionary processes chart out how one level of learning in unity of knowledge (complementarities) can be further improved by considering fresh socioeconomic variables, policy variables and development-financing instruments according to their relational specifications. The objective criterion is called the Social Wellbeing Function of the common good in the light of the Qur’an. Shatibi (trans. Draz, undated; Biraima, 1998/1999) wrote on such an Al-Maslaha wa al-Istihsan Function.
In this way, wealth creation becomes a simulation exercise. It shows how wealth, seen as all possible material acquisitions with value, is utilized for the common good according to the Islamic Law, and is generated by means of complementary relations expressed by circular causation between the critical variables. The knowledge-induced simulation proceeds on repeatedly across IIE-phases of learning along the TSR from the beginning to the end. The Qur’an declares (92:13): “To Him belongs the End and the Beginning”. An interpretation of this is the closure of the TSR as the representation of a complex topology of continuous relations (Maddox, 1970).
In the case of wealth creation the simulation model of Social Wellbeing Function (SWF) is formalized as:

Figure 4: Simulation of Social Wellbeing Function subject to circular causation

Here the (Xq, Ps, Mu)-variables denote specific variables of the corresponding vectors. (X’, P’, M’) denotes the wealth-vector less (Xq, Ps, Mu) as mandated by the estimable equations of the simulation system with circular causation between the variables in the wealth-vector.

Conclusion: The complete Tawhidi phenomenological model
of unity of Qur’anic knowledge in wealth creation

In light of the building blocks of the Qur’anic phenomenological model, Figure 5 delineates that model as applied to wealth creation in the light of the foregoing discussions. Figure 5 is understood as a combination of previous figures.

Figure 5: The comprehensive TSR as the Qur’anic
Phenomenological Model with Wealth Creation


Biraima, A.H. 1998/1999, “From rationalities to righteousness: a universal theory of action”,
Humanomics, Vol. 14, No. 4 and Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 207-63.

Choudhury, M.A. 2003, “Wealth and Knowledge”, Chapter 14 of Explaining the Qur’an, a
Socio-Scientific Inquiry, Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press.

Choudhury, M.A. 2006, Circular Causation Model in the Koran, Lewiston, New York: The
Edwin Mellen Press.

Choudhury, M.A. forthcoming, The Universal Paradigm and the Islamic Socio-Scientific System,
Singapore: World Scientific Publication.

Maddox, I.J. 1970, Elements of Functional Analysis, Cambridge, Eng: Cambridge University

Shatibi, Imam, trans. Abdallah Draz, undated, Al-Muwafaqat Fi-Usul Al-Shari’ah, Cairo, Egypt:
Al-Maktabah Al-Tijariyah Al-Kubra.

Sztompka, P. 1991, Society in Action, The Theory of Social Becoming, Chicago, IL: The
University of Chicago Press.

The translation of Qur’anic verses are from A. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary.

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