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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Muhammed-Shahid Ebrahim

Ebrahim, M. Shahid & Sheikh, Mustapha (2018). The Political Economy and Underdevelopment of the Muslim World: A Juridico-Philosophical Perspective. Arab Law Quarterly 32(4): 385-412.

Author(s) from Durham


This article studies the relation between Islam and economic development from a
juridico-philosophical perspective. A fresh review of this issue is timely, because of the
ongoing laggardness of Arab and Muslim economies due to decades of Pareto-inferior
poverty traps. We disentangle the viewpoints on the Islamic-economic nexus and determine
that the backwardness of Muslim countries’ economies is primarily due to
the retrograde outlook of the jurists ( fuqahāʾ). Flawed jurisprudential reasoning is instrumental
in the paucity of financial instruments, markets, and institutional development.
We also scrutinise the jurists’ co-option by the ruling elite, which legitimises the
elite’s autocracy. We conclude by recommending a salient strategy critical to fostering
economic development and growth.