FARD ‘AYN COMPONENT
MOHAMED ASLAM HANEEF
Since the mid-1970s, there has been a lot of interest in Islamic economics, banking and finance. The establishment of the OIC in 1969 and The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in 1975 proved to be historic landmarks in the contemporary history of the Muslim ummah. These two institutions clearly provided an avenue for the revitalization of the ummah’s hopes and aspirations. In 1976, the First International Conference on Islamic Economics was held in Makkah al-Mukarramah, bringing together economists, jurists and scholars of other related disciplines for the first time to discuss issues of concern to the Muslim ummah, leading eventually to the birth of the discipline of Islamic Economics. Since 1976, six other conferences have been held: in Islamabad (1983), Kuala Lumpur (1993), Loughborough (2000), Bahrain (2003), Jakarta (2005) and Jeddah (2008).
In addition many other international and national conferences, workshops, symposiums and seminars have been organized all over the world attempting to discuss economic issues and its related disciplines from Islamic perspectives. Thousands of articles, books and seminar papers have been written, numerous Islamic economic research and teaching institutions have been set up, while many universities and institutions of higher learning have introduced courses/programs on Islamic economics and its related fields. At the governmental level, a few Muslim countries, Malaysia at the forefront, have attempted to introduce Islamic banking and finance reforms in their economies.
Official contemporary writings place the genesis of Islamic economic institutions in Malaysia in the 1960s, with the establishment of Tabung Haji or Pilgrim’s Fund in 1963. However, the present writer is more inclined to view actual planned Islamic economic reforms as having started in the 1980s. Unlike before, the leadership of that period decided to utilize Islam as a positive ingredient in the development of the nation and its peoples, especially the Malays. The role of Islam, at the state level, went beyond ceremonial purposes. Besides the Inculcation of Islamic Values Policy in 1981, various institutions, both in the economic and non-economic spheres were established to help generate positive inputs to the development of Muslims in Malaysia. Many reforms were also undertaken in the legal and education spheres to provide the support needed to sustain these Islamic economic efforts.
While acknowledging the events over the last 30 years both internationally and in Malaysia, this paper wants to focus on an area that somehow has been overlooked. Despite the active interest in the area of Islamic banking and finance, one is still faced with the fact that research in Islamic economics has declined, the enthusiasm of the late
1970s and 1980s has waned, the growth rate of people still actively working in Islamic economics has declined and the second/third generation of Islamic economists have become quite a rare breed. This is why this 3rd Islamic Economics Congress and the effort by the organizers to focus on strategic areas for the future of the ummah are greatly welcome. The paper will try to argue that we must devote sufficient resources, both financial and human, to do research in what is called the ‘missing fard ‘ayn’ component
in Islamic economics, banking and finance, i.e. the foundations or usul of Islamic