chapter  3
35 Pages

ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES

Some years before the Islamic Revolution in Iran, theoretical research on Islamic economics and the principles distinguishing it from capitalism and socialism had been commenced by a number of well-known scholars. For instance, Ayatullah Sayyid Mahmood T. a¯liqa¯ni wrote Ma¯likiyat dar Islam, Ima¯m Musa¯ S.adr published Iqtis. a¯d dar maktab-i Islam, Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Ba¯qir S.adr compiled Iqtis. a¯duna¯, while Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Beheshti established a clerical discussion group for analysing Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. In response to the question of why Mut.ahhari started work on economic studies, Ayatullah Mu¯savi Ardibili maintained that it was rather to be expected of him, as a distinguished Islamologist, to take this initiative and put to discussion a subject of such widespread interest as economics.1 Perhaps the visible lack of interest in the field of economic studies by the majority of the fuqaha¯ and ‘ulama¯ drove Mut.ahhari to do so. Or it might be more probably considered to be a part of his anti-Marxist academic activities. Katouzian, however, argued that because Marxism appeared to be the main alternative, Shi‘i writers developed a dual attitude toward it: on the one hand, they tended to argue their own case through refutations of Marxism, while, on the other, they tried to interpret Islamic laws and traditions as being no less revolutionary, just and so on, than Marxist ideals. In fact, even the attacks on capitalist economics seem to be part of the attempt to prove to the Marxists that Shi‘ism is not a capitalist system.2