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This editorial seeks to identify the missing dimensions of Islamic economics
and the Islamic dimensions of East Asian economies. In doing so,
it advances a critical review of the present discourse on Islamic economics
and highlights some of its oversights. At the outset, it must be clearly
understood that I am not critical of the very idea of an Islamic economics.
I think that at a time when global intellectual leadership has been usurped
by those who consciously subvert the idea of the divine and the role of
divine mandates in the organization and governance of human affairs,
Islamic economics, like Islamic philosophy and Islamic social sciences, has
succeeded in at least presenting a paradigmatic alternative that still maintaines
the centrality of transcendence in human existence.
While I am all for sustaining the resistance to secularization of all knowledges,
I am critical of the current discourse on Islamic economics because
of its disconnection between theory and practice and because, for reasons
that have not been explored systematically but are intuitively discernable,
it has made Islamic economics synonymous with' interest-free banking.
Many important elements of Islamic economics are completely ignored or
even suppressed. Perhaps this may be a reason why Islamic economies
have not really materialized. The importance of these less studied principles
can be discerned by studying how they have played a cardinal role in
the world's fastest growing region, East Asia. I intend to show how East
Asian economies have institutionalized Islamic principles in their contemporary
economic practices and are harvesting great benefits. It is ironic that ...