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                                                                          DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

                                                                            Copyright © 2004 International Development Options

                                                                                               All Rights Reserved



Volume Three                                                                    Winter 2003-Spring 2004                                                        Numbers 3-4.




  Yusuf M. Sidani

  Suliman S. Olayan School of Business

  American University of Beirut

  Bliss Street – Ras Beirut

  Beirut, Lebanon

  Published online: February 10, 2017



This article critically evaluates the conflicting propositions brought for­ward regarding the link between Islam and underdevelopment in Mus­lim societies.  One proposition contends that Islam cannot be blamed for the economic problems that exist in Muslim societies since these problems should be attributed to a host of other factors.  Another view asserts that Islam has traditionally produced, among other things, a sys­tem that is anti-market and accordingly does not lend itself to economic growth.   The article draws on Weber’s analysis to uncover the potential relationship between economic ethics and economic development rela­tive to Muslim societies. The article presents an understanding of eco­nomic development that traces the potential historical areas where Mus­lim societies were not able to develop.  It is suggested that there are indeed severe drawbacks in the existing value system that may impede development.  But while differences in state assets, human resources, technology, knowledge and a capital investment cannot alone explain the observed variations in economic prosperity of different societies, framing economic underdevelopment in a form of discrepancy in values does not work, either.  Rather than blaming Islam itself, a worthwhile effort lies in assessing the existing social structures and developing them where needed.


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