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The income of merchants, for example, increases continually as a result of price increases. For Al-Maqrizi, money is, and must remain, a commodity money; he is also aware that the advent of the copper coin represents a move towards the dematerialization of money and announces considerable harm for society.

For Al-Maqrizi, the growth of corruption and venal interests is responsible for pushing governors to modify the monetary system Allouche, , 15; Chapra, When money is issued for the wrong reasons, as was the case at the beginning of the 15th century, with the aim of financing luxury and corruption with counterfeit money, the distribution mechanism is altered and an unjust system results. The answer Al-Maqrizi suggests to deal with this precarious situation is based solely on the control of the monetary aggregate; the specific nature of such a remedy can be considered a limitation of his proposal for economic policy.

Islahi , a, b has recently brought back the 15th century works of al-Asadi into focus, underlining their considerable relevance; indeed, al-Asadi made a very important contribution to monetary policy, especially regarding the fight against inflation.

Medieval Islamic Economic Thought: Filling the Great Gap in European Economics (Islamic Studies)

Islahi points out that Al-Asadi thought along the same lines with a more accurate understanding of the phenomenon of inflation. He therefore proposed a monetary system based on four silver coins and built in such a way as to avoid any differences between their respective face-value and intrinsic value. In case of discrepancy between these two values, they could be readjusted to the same level by State intervention.

He proposed a number of different measures, unlike Al-Maqrizi who, in spite of indicating a variety of causes, only underlined the need for monetary measures. In this sense, without crediting these scholars of having had a role as forerunners of modern theoretical developments, it might be said that al-Maqrizi, unlike Al-Asadi, came close to a monetarist vision.

Islamic monetary analysis, like other investigations on economic profiles, is characterized by the particular importance of the ethico-religious dimension, which is also true of thought processes developing in the Christian world. The main focus of these Scholastics, Arab-Islamic and Latin-Christian was not the domain of economic aspects of life—economics remained merely an appendage to philosophy, ethics, and jurisprudence. One chiefly encounters theological-philosophical ratiocination in their treatises, and not economic content as we now know the subject.

Within the religious ethical system of Scholastic jurisprudence, which called for divine, scriptural prescriptions as guides to human affairs, the overriding assumption was always that all behaviour, including economic activity, is teleological Ghazanfar, b, This is a precious and very modern contribution in the light of the recent economic and financial crisis. If Al-Ghazali has given us a description of the origin and function of money, subsequent authors have underlined its importance in an economic context characterized by a rapid development of the system of exchange.

Ibn Taymiya highlighted the social dimension of money in a perspective which includes State intervention in many contexts for the good of collective society. In a context where social cohesion and State intervention both play an essential role, money becomes a fundamental instrument. Al-Maqrizi also noted that inflation lead to redistribution in a society like that of Egypt in the 15th century, characterized by the presence of classes variously affected by price dynamics.

The interpretation of the process of inflation, as Al-Maqrizi and Al-Asadi repeated, cannot be separated from the events which had a negative impact on social structure, so that the degeneration of the economic system is the result of both economic and ethical factors. The author is grateful to the three anonymous referees as well as Giuseppe Fontana, Guglielmo Forges Davanzati, Andrea Pacella and Rosario Patalano for their comments on earlier versions of this work.

The usual disclaimer applies. Abdul-Qadir, Muhammad. The Economic Ideas of Ibn Khaldun. Indian Journal of Economics , 22 : Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid. Urdu Bazar, Karachi: Darul-Ishaat. Silvestre de Sacy.

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