Economics - Research Publications
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ItemIndonesian Islamic banking in historical and legal contextSAEED, ABDULLAH ; Lindsey, Professor Timothy (The Federation Press, 1999)Since its emergence in the 1960s, Islamic banking has emerged as a new trend in the field of international finance. Despite its popularity throughout the Muslim world, many are still unsure as to what exactly Islamic banking involves. This article from the book Law and Society in Indonesia explores critical questions such as who the Muslim thinkers and movements are that have influenced the development of Islamic banking as we know it today, with its strong emphasis on interest-free banking; when Islamic banks first started to appear in the modern era; and how it was that the Islamic concept of riba (usury) came to be understood as interest, thus providing the raison d’être for much of today’s Islamic banking industry. It also explores the theory of profit and loss sharing as the basis of Islamic banking, and the aspects of this theory which are put into practice in the day-to-day reality of Islamic commercial banking. Using the case study of Bank Muamalat Indonesia (BMI), Indonesia's first major Islamic bank, this article also examines the rise of Islamic banking in Indonesia. In particular, it discusses BMI’s rise and establishment as a competitive player in Indonesia's commercial sector. The case of BMI is explored in the light of earlier discussions of the broader historical and legal context of Islamic thinking and the rise of modern theories of ‘Islamic banking’.
ItemIslamic religious education and the debate on itsreform post-September 11SAEED, ABDULLAH (University of New South Wales Press, 2005)The place of Islam and Muslims in the West has been a source of much debate in the post-September 11 era, not least in the area of Islamic education – an area seen by some Western commentators as a major source of anti-Western attitudes, and a breeding ground for terrorism. Such simplistic views of Islamic religious educational systems and institutions ignore the complex history of Islamic education and the diverse forms that it has taken across different times, places and cultures. This chapter from the book Islam and the West: Reflections from Australia explores the development of Islamic religious education over time, tracing its growth and decline in the pre-modern period and moves towards reform in the modern era. This is followed by a discussion of the generally simplistic perception, held particularly among Western commentators post-September 11, 2001, that Islamic religious education is closely linked to terrorism. Saeed notes that the hijackers involved in the 2001 attacks were not graduates of traditional Islamic education, a fact overlooked by many commentators. Although many prominent Muslim academics and scholars have been working to reform Islamic education over the past century, Saeed argues that these efforts may well have been hindered rather than helped by the authoritarian and coercive forms of reform which are being called for by some commentators in the West. In fact, the war on terror may well be the biggest stumbling block to the reform of Islamic religious education.
ItemCreating a culture of human rights from a Muslim perspectiveSAEED, ABDULLAH (Multi-Faith Centre, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 2006)In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, issues of human rights have drawn an increasing amount of international attention. Some people view traditional understandings of Islamic law, particularly in areas such as gender rights and freedom of religion, as contradicting values accepted by many today as universal human rights. In response to this view, Abdullah Saeed examines the ideas of human dignity and the importance of context in understanding Islamic law as it relates to the creation of a culture of human rights from a Muslim perspective. This paper, presented in 2005 at the international symposium Cultivating Wisdom, Harvesting Peace at Griffith University, Brisbane, argues that it is necessary to recognize and highlight the fact that many human rights, which are seen today as universal, may well be supported by the foundation texts of Islam. Saeed explores the importance of contextualizing Islamic laws in order to understand their intended meaning; the need to reinterpret traditional understandings which appear to conflict with today’s human rights; and the interpretative and practical possibilities found in foundational texts and the tradition of Islamic thought which can be drawn on to formulate a philosophy of human rights in the modern period.
ItemRethinking citizenship rights of non-Muslims in an Islamic state: Rashid al-Ghannushi's contribution to the evolving debateSAEED, ABDULLAH ( 1999)Of interest to Islamists of the twentieth century has been the question of minority rights in an Islamic state and of how non-Muslim minorities should be treated: in particular, should they enjoy equal citizenship rights and responsibilities with Muslims? Traditional Islamic law did not accord equal rights to non-Muslim protected minorities (ahl al-dhimma), placing Muslims above them in several key areas. Notwithstanding the law, however, early Muslim rulers exercised some pragmatic discretion according to the imperatives of their day. With the Islamic revival of the twentieth century, the traditional view has been adopted by several Muslim thinkers and leaders, though the traditional view is at odds with the concept of the nation-state. The nation-state is built on a secular premise, with no single religious group favoured over another. Within this context, a number of Muslim thinkers have attempted to reinterpret the traditionally held view of ‘citizenship rights’. This article will focus on the contribution of one such thinker, the Tunisian Islamist Rashid al-Ghannushi, who espouses somewhat ‘liberal’ views on the issue and argues for rethinking on a number of related aspects. Commencing with some background to the problem, the article explores the issue of citizenship rights as espoused by Ghannushi and notes the key importance of the concept of justice as their basis, in his view. Specific rights examined are: freedom of belief, including for Muslims who wish to change their religion; the holding of public office by non-Muslims; equal treatment for Muslims and non-Muslims in terms of fiscal duties and benefits. Throughout his arguments, Ghannushi emphasizes justice as central to the issue, and as the basis of interpreting and developing related rules and laws. Although Ghannushi’s views are not entirely new, he goes well beyond what has been acceptable in Islamic law, and his contribution should be considered important in the efforts at rethinking Islamic law in this area.
ItemThe need to rethink apostasy lawsSAEED, ABDULLAH ; Saeed, Hassan (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2004)Recent high-profile cases and a number of Muslim scholars affirming the death penalty for apostasy have brought the issue of the pre-modern Islamic law of apostasy (riddah) back to the fore. Once largely ignored, apostasy is today vigorously debated among Muslims. The Qur’anic concept of non-coercion in religion was interpreted narrowly by pre-modern Islamic scholars, and excluded the right to convert away from Islam. In this chapter from the book Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam, Saeed observes that this was a reasonable conclusion in the pre-modern context, when religious identity was enmeshed with political affiliation, and a person’s rights flowed from their membership of the religio-political entity. In the modern world, however, the author argues that there is ample reason to re-think these conclusions. Today, most Muslim nation-states recognize equal citizenship regardless of religion and are highly diverse. Large numbers of Muslims live as minorities in non-Muslim countries. Further, the death penalty for apostasy has weak textual support in the classical sources. The reaffirmation of pre-modern laws developed for different circumstances is unhelpful in the modern period. Pre-modern formulations of apostasy are particularly open to abuse in states which are authoritarian in nature, a feature of many Muslim states today. Moreover, the phenomenon of globalisation will mean more intensive linkages and mixes of people from different backgrounds. There is a need for an idea of religious freedom in Islam that accords with modern realities. Saeed argues that the weak textual basis of the law of apostasy and the greatly differing religio-political context of modern period are strong justifications for embarking on the task of reforming this law.
ItemIjtihad and innovation in neo-Modernist Islamic thought in IndonesiaSAEED, ABDULLAH ( 1997)This article briefly explores three models of ijtihad (independent reasoning in Islamic jurisprudence) followed in contemporary Islam: text-based, eclectic and context-based ijtihad, and attempts to sketch the features of the environment within which each model functions. The key aim of the article, however, is to examine the context-based model of ijtihad which is utilized by neo-Modernist Muslims in Indonesia, to identify a number of their major concerns and to highlight the nature of the reform agenda the neo-Modernists are pursuing. Though this agenda may be seen by many Muslims to be problematic and even dangerous, it is gaining ground in Indonesia, particularly within the younger generation who have had the opportunity of combining traditional Islamic scholarship with modern Western education. The article examines these issues of interest on the basis of interviews conducted during 1995 in Jakarta with two leading Muslim intellectuals: Nurcholish Majid, the leading neo-Modernist thinker, and Abdurrahman Wahid, the leader of the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama.