Islam and contemporary view of Development (part II)

In Part I of this feature, evolution of relationship between Islam and present-day view of development was corroborated. In this Part, the question “how then religious doctrine can be mingled into evaluation and practice of modern view of development” is addressed. For this purpose it is analyzed that how Islam can help to achieve some of the Millenium Development Goals.

Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger has been on the pinnacle in development schema for many years. Efforts went fruitless for long as poverty was only calculated in materialistic term. Islam’s first step to heal poverty is to scrutinize it in spiritual, economic and social aspects.

Spiritual poverty is lack of believe and certainty about one’s place in the world and meaning in life. It adversely affects the mental health and causes greater sufferings than physical deprivation. It further leads to war, conflicts and material poverty. Islam assigns some basic obligation to each individual, thus resolves the problem of futility. By stressing on interaction and communication among individuals it promote well-being and prevent conflict at individual and national level. The end result is the elimination of physical poverty as well.

Disparities between rich and poor cropping from the concentrated wealth, biased or corrupted taxation policies, poor management of resources, racial and gender discriminations are the imperative causes of economic poverty.

Islam deals with all these causes of poverty with various tools. It removes inequalities in various systematic steps. It strengthens the supervisory role of government which in turn provides the individual with various opportunities and encourages them to use their own potentials and correct their participation. In case of individual failures, it coerces the government to fulfill their needs with social securities and financial aid in the form of recommended payments.

On other hand it promotes values such as collaboration, forfeit and clemency in a society, which further help in congealing social foundations and this issue will be effective in solving some problems related to poverty. Acts such as charity, alms, and interest free loans to fellow individuals, endowments, etc lead to the balancing of wealth in the society.

In order to cease deprivation arising from poor policies it stresses to avoid extravagancy, hoarding, wasting public property and oppose to hand over the property or state to uninformed and non-professional personals. By recognizing public, private and state ownership rights, it on one hand prevents the complete monopolizing of resources and on the other hand allows individual to enjoy freedom of choice. Thus removes the social causes of poverty too.

In addition to poverty, illiteracy is also considered a major blockade in the way of development. Education at all levels — primary, secondary and higher — and of all types –formal, non-formal and informal — is fundamental to contour the values, attitudes and skills necessary to function properly in this exceedingly intergrated world. Islam does not hop this indisputable constituent of development in any way.

Islam’s concern to educate man is depicted from the fact that pursuing knowledge is given obligatory importance. It laid the foundation of inductive knowledge and introduced three stages of education. First, acquiring of knowledge, secondly, practicing that knowledge and third is preaching. Thus fulfilling the goal of development, that is, generation and application of knowledge in an other way.

Modern education systems are supposed to achieve three types of goals–moral, material and social. Islamic education system facilitates these requirements exclusively. In order to achieve moral ends it make ‘virtues’ the basic purpose of education. Any edification, which does not lead to intendment of goodness and sincerity toward the world, is asked to abolish in Islam.

On other hand, by intriguing man to explore the universe and instructing him to utilize the resources available to him to earn a respectable livelihood, it helps to pursue material goal of education. Moreover, by promoting equality of rights, respecting others rights and authenticating the esprit of familiarity among people, it fulfils the social purposes of modern education system.

Environmental sustainability is one of the critical issues in world development policy. Islam is a staunch advocator of environmentalism. It develops harmony between nature and man by declaring him vicegerent and giving all resources in his control as trust. Nature is considered living thing and given proper rights as a distinct creature of God. For protecting nature from pollution it bounds cleanliness with faith.

Gender equality, is an intrinsic part or religious practices. Religion equates both sexes in three arguments; accountability, independence and freedom of choice. A person having freedom of choice would be independent in his/her conduct and thus accountable for it. This simple channel assures gender equality that today’s developing world is seeking to achieve.

It is indubitable that religious values can ultimately fulfill the goals, devised in order to make this world a better place for living. These values have flexibility to be patterned according to ongoing view of development. The only condition for fruition is the righteous and abstemious practices of these values.


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