Thursday, May 26, 2005

Piety vs. bias

This is my first posting to initiate this blog, containing my thoughts on Islam, Muslims and economics. The main problem I have seen in other Muslims' approaches to this class of topics is confusion between piety and bias. While many Muslims can make perfect sense to non-Muslims when they speak "from a secular viewpoint", they make much less sense once they talk about Islam, Muslim societies, and issues related to economics and finance. I do not accept the paradigm that piety precludes making sense to others.

Since I am an economist by training and profession, I shall post periodic thoughts to this blog, mainly as responses to news about latest developments in Muslim societies, and especially in the area of Islamic finance -- where much fanfare has become the norm. This blog clearly cannot be a substitute for serious academic research on the topic. For my academic writings, consult my CV, posted to my website. A number of papers and powerpoint presentations are also posted on the website.

7 Comments:

Blogger Javed said...

Good idea to start this blog. Your credentials speak for themselves however those whom you critize have equally outstanding credentials. So it is a safe assumption that the switching of term hedging with hedge fund does not have any mal intentions. However just for those who could not make it to the forum you mentioned would you mind first clarifying the difference in "layman's terms" and then perhaps commenting on why this widely held belief that hedge funds and hedging are the same animal?

4:14 AM  
Blogger Mahmoud El-Gamal said...

First of all, I did not criticize individuals: I only criticized their actions and their decisions. One of the problems in Islamic discourse is that criticism of a person's conduct or opinions is transformed into personal criticism.

Second, I do not accept the appeal to authority argument: Neither my credentials nor anyone else's determine the credibility or validity of the argument or opinion. That is another problem in Islamic finance, where the "sacred authority" argument has taken over good sense.

Let's forget who's making which argument, and simply address the arguments and opinions based on their respective merits.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Javed said...

How about commenting on the more important part i.e "However just for those who could not make it to the forum you mentioned would you mind first clarifying the difference in "layman's terms" and then perhaps commenting on why this widely held belief that hedge funds and hedging are the same animal?"
Thanks

12:27 AM  
Blogger Mahmoud El-Gamal said...

That part is addressed in the powerpoint presentation to which I included a link in the posting on hedge funds.

7:56 AM  
Blogger sajid said...

It's great to see a muslim intellectual adopting such a "hip" thing as blogging to express his thoughts.

Are you aware of any other such blogs?

Perhaps you could announce your blog at an upcoming ISNA meeting and encourage other speakers and audience members to participate in this medium.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Elmi Nur said...

Thanks professor Al-gammal for your well thought observations. I appreciate your good contributions and really enjoy to read. I agree with you the need for critical look into the concepts of Islamic finance and basic causes of this widening gap between envisaged theory and its current practices.

This calls not repeating the opinions and understandings of certain fiqh scholars in their time only but for reinterpretations of its revealed facts to the economic context of of our time. I believe that these given hardcore facts are primarily economic principles beneficial for humanity at large and applicable to any economic context in any time. It is only our wrong understanding that is serving as barrier in front of their designed objective.

This may not be direct comments on your present posting but my reflection your on the subject under discussion.

7:05 PM  
Blogger heraish said...

Jazakallah kheir for opening the debate. We need the Islamic scholars and academics to innovate products. Not just make hiyal.

2:43 PM  

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