Febryan Mujahid Panatagama, IPIEF student


One thing that almost being forgotten by majority of Muslim society nowadays is that Islam ever became a world leader with its well developed civilization and its noble thoughts. Islam has its golden era of glory, thousand years ago before Renaissance up today when, the development of rational science (al-‘ulum al-‘aliyyah) almost developed and introduced by the western scientists and scholars. But how we as Muslim stand on this factual glory of Islam in the previous era? This writing is supposed to give some motivations to Muslim to be aware of it own rich of knowledge and it’s noble thoughts not to be a merely reflection or remaining history of Islamic glories. This short informative writing will be limited to explore only on the economic lines. How were the Islamic thoughts transformed to be a western science; its history and its development phases? [1]

Keywords: noble thought, Renaissance


Ir. H. Adiwarman A. Karim on his book “Ekonomi Islam” a contemporary’s studies (2001, p.11) defines that Islamic Economic is actually not a new discipline of science and also not a merely derivative of the existing conventional economic science is undoubted today. According to him the history has proved that the former Islamic scholars are the inventor of all basic sciences including an economic science.

The Muslim economist have admitted that they were read and being influenced by the Aristotle’s writings (367-322 BC) as a philosopher that wrote more on economic issues beside, Qur’an and Prophetic traditions as their main sources. Joseph Schumperter mentioned two major contributions of Scholastic economist, first the founding Aristotle’s writings on economics and towering achievement of St. Thomas Aquinas. J. Schamperter only wrote three lines on his footnote the name of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) on the transmission phases of Aristotle’s thoughts to St. Thomas.

St. Thomas itself thought extremely contradicts the church’s dogmas in term of economic. Therefore the majority of history’s experts claimed that Thomas stole a lot of Muslim scholars’ ideas on various ways; those stealing will be discussed on the next chapter of this writing.

  1. I. Channels of Influence

According to Syarif, Muslim philosophy has influenced Medieval Europe in the following ways: It initiated humanistic movement, introduced the historical sciences and the scientific methods. Helped the Western scholastics in harmonizing philosophy with faith, stimulated Western mysticism, laid the foundation of the Italian Renaissance and to a degree molded the modern European thought down to the time of Immanuel Kant in certain directions even later. (Sharif, M.M. (ed.), 1966, A History of Muslim Philosophy, Vol. 2, p. 1349).

Literally, the meaning of Influence Channels here is the ways how the existing conventional economics overlapped the value of Islamic thoughts. Base in Syarif Muslim notions before, the existing conventional economics overlapped some Islamic economics’ thoughts troughs some translations, oral transmission, trade and commerce, crusades, travelers and explorers, diplomatic channel, and pilgrimage.

  1. I. A. In Term of Translation and Oral Transmission

On the 11th and 12th century, some of western scholars such as Constantine the African, Adelard of Bath explored toward some Middle East regions. They studied Arabic language and brought back some new disciplines of science to the European world. Leonardo Fibonancci or Leonardo of Pisa learnt in Bougie, Aljazair on 12th century. He learnt there arithmetic and Kawarizm Math and wrote Liber Abaci on 1220 as soon after his returning.

Raymond lily (1223-1215) has visited the Arabian countries and formed five universities that learn about the Arabic language where after then, translated many of Islamic economics works. Some of those translator were Adelard of Bath, Constantine the African, Michael Scol, Hermaan the German, Dominic Gundisvli, jhon of Serville, Plato of Tivoli, William of Luna, Robert Chester, Gerard of Cremona, Theodorus of Antioch, Alfred of Sareshel, Berenger of Valencia and Mathew of Aquasparta. And from the Jewish translator were Jacob of Anatolio, Jacob ben Macher Ibn Tibbon, Kalanymus ben Kalonymus, Moses ben Solomonof Solon, Shem-Tob ben Isaac of Tortosa, Solomon Ibn Ayyub, Todros Todrosi, Zerahiah Gracian, Farej ben Salim, and Yaqub ben Abbob Marie. Where the Islamic Economics works that have been translated were the works’ of Islamic Economist such as al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd, al-Khawarizmi, Ibn Haitham, Ibn Hazm, Jabir Ibn Hayyan, Ibn Bajja, and ar-Razi. Some of the Islamic financial institution also being duplicated ny the western world such as syirkah (corporation), suftaja (bills of exchange), hiwala (letter of credit), dar-ut Tiraz (Government manufacturing) and Ma’una (a kind of private Bank) Adiwarman A Karim (2001, p.12)

  1. I. B. Trade and Commerce

The turning paradigms of Medieval Christianity’s trading outlook are highly influenced by the Muslim scholar’s trading activities. According to Cook (1974, p. 238), “The beginnings of the commenda as an accepted legal category in the Italian mercantile cities may have arisen from an acquaintance with the commercial practice of the Arabs”. Enough evidences are available that trade was conducted from Arab world though Russia to Poland, the shores of Baltic seas to Scandinavia, to north central Europe. ‘Series of hoards, containing many thousands of Muslim silver dirhams that have been found in the countries around Baltic’ (Lewis, 1970, p.85) are proving the vast trading network with Muslim countries. According to Bernard Lewis: ‘Italian and Spanish archives contain many documents relating commerce, including a number in Arabic” (Ibid, 1970, p. 81).

  1. I. C. Crusade, Travelers and Explorers, Diplomatic Channel and Pilgrimage.

Literally, any Crusades will automatically provide the direct or indirect interaction between West and East, it lets Western communities to adopt or initiated some ideas and institutions of the Muslim East. Langholm says: “The Crusades had opened up the world; towns and markets were expanding with the growing economies, new commercial techniques were being introduced.” (Longholm, 1987, p. 115)

The basic human nature which is “curiosity” to know and explore something new have become powerful force to travel, analyze, study, and adopt other nations system to be applied in their own countries. In case it could become an obligatory for some peoples. Starting from this point it stimulates some diplomatic relationship among countries and on the highest level of conduct could be the application of religious obligatory likes “Pilgrimage” for Muslim, Christianity or the Jewish.



  1. II. Contribution of Muslim Scholars from Part of the Family Tree of Economics.

To understand easily about this chapter, let we pay attention on this following Samuelson’s Family Trees of Economics Thought including Islam.









Fig. 1.1: Family Tree of Economics (Samuelson, 1976)

Samuelson’s Economics, one of the best textbooks is published in 1948. It have up to 11 editions an drawn a family tree that shown Aristotle and Bible as the originating point from whom schoolmen were created; St. Tomas acquired the ‘respective personality, that created mercantilists and physiocrats. Mercantilists were also rooted in earlier practitioners. Both Physiocrcy and Mercantilism ended in Adam Smith.

Bell shows many contributory currents in the development of economic thought. From Biblical times up to Adam Smith, main stream passed though middle ages comprising the church, Aquinas, Scholasticism which had direct relationship with Greek Philosophers and Roman law-givers. The other points mainstream are ‘rise of national satates’, ‘beginning of modern capitalism’ (to which are related French Colbertism and German Cameralism), English physiocrats, all constitute various elements of Mercantilsm as may be testified by all textbooks of Economics’ Thought.













Fig. 1.2: Contributory Currents in the Development of Economic Thought. (Bell, 1967, p.9.)

Contributions of Muslim scholars come after Greek in the family tree of economic. They were the main cause, not only, of the birth of scholastic economic ideas but for the rise mercantilism also shown there. Scholastic ideas stand nowhere in quantity, quality and originality as compared to Islamic tradition in economic thought. About St. Tomas Aquinas who is considered the most outstanding scholastic scholar, Copleston, a historian of medieval philosophy observes: “The fact that Aquinas derived ideas and stimulus from a variety of sources tent to suggest both that he was an eclectic and less of originality.” (Copleston, 1972, p. 181, quoted by Mirakhor. 1987, p. 249)


















Figure 1.3: Development Chart of Islamic Economics (Abdul Azmi Islahi, 2005, p. 97.)

Abdul Azmi mentioned there that Islamic Economic thought drawn beautifully rise from beginning up to its modern development. The present philosophy provides an explanation up to 1500 A.D. Period after remained unexplored at all. In the Modern economics today, Islamic economics thought come as a response of Marxism and capitalism.


  1. Place of Muslim in the Family Tree of Mainstream Economics.

According to Abdul Azmi, the fact that scholastic scholars could possibly get Greek ideas though the medium of Muslim scholars and based their ideas on Greek philosophy and its commentary presented by Muslim philosophers, and the fact that mercantilism came as a result of Muslim influence, the contributions of Muslim scholars deserve as place in development of mainstream economics. And they must be rehabilitated for the sake of doctrinal continuity and objectivity, academic honesty and justice. (Abdul A. Islahi, 2009, Contribution of Muslim Scholars to Economic Thought and Analysis, p. 98)









Figure 1.4: Place of Muslim scholars in the family tree of Mainstream Economics.

  1. IV. Stealing

According to Adiwarman, A. Karim, there are many of modern economic theory that actually originated and invented based on Islamic scholars’ thoughts. Those scholastic philosophers stole that Islamic thought in various ways such as removing of Muslim scholar’s names and siscarding their citation and adopted it by its own name. Simply we could say that there should be a closed relationship among the Christian Scholastics, Ideas of Muslim Scholars and Greek Philosophy due for those discussed courses before.

Here is some stealing by the scholastic scholar on Muslim heritages:

  • Pareto Optimum theory was taken from Nahjul Balaghah by Imam Ali.
  • Martini from Spanish Dominical Ordos copied many chapters of Tahafut al-Falasifa, Maqasid al-Falasifa, al-Munqid, Mishkat al-Anwar, and Ihya Ulumuddin.
  • Bar Hebraeus, the priest of Syriac Jacobite Church copied several chapters of Ihya Ulumuddin by al-Ghazali.
  • St. Thomas copied many chapters of Al-Farabi (St. Thomas is a student of Bar Hebraeus and Martini that adopted more from al-Ghazali)
  • Adam Smith (the farther of western economy) on his Wealth of Nation (1776) claimed to take without acknowledgment many ideas of al-Amwal by Abu Ubaid (838)


  1. V. Conclusion

After these brief reviews on some references on the originality’s ideas of Islamic Thought particularly in term of Economics and the bad historical academicals crimes conducted by Christian Scholastics scholars that removed the original resource on their works is being a shamed facts that should be known by all Muslim generation. Due to these facts Muslim people in term of studying an economic science should really concern and act with their right proportion and capacity. Not all of western economic science that developed by western scholars should be eliminated because of its originality of Islamic thoughts there; and also should be insisted that not all of those science is totally acceptable due to several western philosophical developing influences on it. As a Muslim we should examine the right permitted original ideas of Muslims’ thoughts on some economics theory from the conventional economic science existing today that also already getting weak and weak after US’s economic crisis and the revival of Islamic Economic system all over the world.







Islahi Abdul Azim, Contribution of Muslim Scholars to Economic Thought and Analisis (Jeddah: Scientife Publishing Center King Abdul Aziz University, 2005)

Karim Adiwarman A, Ekonomi Islam Suatu Kajian Kontemporer (Jakarta: Gema Insani, 2001)

Muhammad Umar Chapra, An Introduction to Islamic Finance (Kuala Lumpur: Quill Publishers, 1992)

Wahbah Zuhaili, Fiqh Muamalah Perbankan Syariah, (Team Counterpart Bank Muamalat Indonesia, 1999)

Majalah Pendidikan dan Peradaban Islam Islamia, (Jakarta: Thn I No. 6, Juli-September, 2005)


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[1] The paper is presented to fulfill the final midterm academic assessment on the major of “History of Western Economic Thoughts” under the guidance of honored Lecturer: Mr. Hudiyanto, Drs.