The Islamic Economy and its Connection with the Project of Civilizational Islam: The Malaysian Experience
Author : Dr. Safwan Odaybat
Date Added : 29-01-2023

The Islamic Economy and its Connection with the Project of Civilizational Islam: The Malaysian Experience


Islam is the seal of religions and Allah sent Prophet Mohammad, blessings and peace be upon him, to give the good news of the arrival of this religion, which fits in every time and place. Almighty Allah says {What means}: "We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not." {Saba`/28} and He, The Most Exalted Said (What means): "Say: "O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Apostle of God," {Al-`Araf/158}. The Glorious Quran came in perfect harmony with the nature of this divine religion, which is characterized as comprehensive, balanced, and realistic. Allah The Almighty Says {What means}: "One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims." {An-Nahil/89}.


The Quran`s comprehensiveness of the religious, political, economic, and social aspects of life stands out via its total and partial provisions. Some rulings that aren`t affected by change in time, place, and individuals are shown in a detailed manner not amenable to nullification nor change, as reflected in provisions concerning inheritance and prescribed penalties. As for the general issues, which change with change in time, place, and individuals, general criteria and total controllers were formulated to regulate how they are applied and acted upon, as in financial transactions, economic as well as political issues. This is confirmed and explained in detail by the Prophetic Sunnah. In addition, the Prophetic guidance on dealing with various political, economic, and social issues represents a flexible and balanced Islamic approach and a role model in dealing with life affairs in light of constants and variables. 


Islam came to establish a civilizational project that aims to build, not destroy; unite, not divide; urbanize, not backward. However, it respects human mind, grants it freedom, but regulates the latter with the teachings of the religion, code of ethics, and values.


The civilized models of different countries where complete integration and blind imitation have taken place along with divesting from the fundamentals of the Islamic civilization in all aspects of life, may give future generations the impression that our religion is unfit for establishing an advanced urban civilization and that it is merely a set of religious rites, hymns and songs. In the labyrinth of this darkness and loss, we are in need for a contemporary experiment that annuls this understanding and proves, through practical application, Islam`s ability to advance human civilization in light of respecting other civilizations through science, work, and values.


The Malaysian Prime Minister, Ahmad Badawi, has submitted the project, (Civilizational Islam), in 2003, to make the Malaysian society return to the truth and essence of Islam, focus on the moral and social values and employ them in developing the human capital to arrive at sustainable development in the state of Malaysia. This is knowing that the spirit of this project was acted upon since the fifties; immediately (1) after the independence.


The Malaysian experience provided conclusive evidence for the need to link between the aspects of culture and value on the one hand and any civilizational developmental political, economic or social projects on the other.


Malaysia used to suffer from enormous problems concerning the intellectual and civilizational construction, multi ethnicity, how to manage them as well as the economic and political aspects. Therefore, the Malaysian society was restructured via plans and strategies to reduce the ethnic gaps between its members. Moreover, Islamic values were translated into a roadmap to elevate the Malaysian society to the rank of societies that respect time, appreciate its value, and work with integrity and honesty to form a nucleus of a strong state competitive in all fields.


In addition, the Islamic economy was restructured in Malaysia through its management and the employment of Islamic values to form a positive motivation to advance the Malaysian society. As a result, the Hajj Fund, which is considered one of the most successful cooperative institutions of Malaysia, was established forming an investment opportunity for the state of Malaysia. Afterwards, Islamic economic institutions were established in simulation of Islamic values. Amongst the most important of these institutions are (BERD) and (IIUM). (2) 


Briefly, the project, Civilizational Islam, is beautifully expressed by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Badawi, who said: "Civilizational Islam isn`t  a new religion or school of Islamic law; rather, it is an attempt and a vision to bring the nation back to the foundations of rue Islam, which emanate from the Quran and the Sunnah. If these are translated and understood correctly and clearly, Muslims will never deviate from the straight path…Civilizational Islam came to advance Muslims in the third millennium and help integrate them into modern economy. Civilizational Islam fits to be the cure for extremism and exaggeration in religion since it encourages tolerance, understanding, moderation, and peace….." (3)











(1) The Democratic Arab Centre for Strategic, Political & Economic Studies; Berlin, Germany, 2019, published an authoritative book entitled: "The Dimensions of the Malaysian Experiment: An Analytical Study on the Backgrounds, Foundations, and Horizons." The book contained a set of valuable research papers that clearly unveiled the Malaysian experiment in development and indicated the key of the economic, political, and social renaissance in Malaysia and its reliance on the project of Civilizational Islam.


(2) Adapted from the research entitled: "The Project of Civilizational Islam and the Malaysian Experiment: A Study on the Role of Islamic Values in Development." This research was conducted by Bin Hittah Elias, University of Algeria, from a series of the research papers of the authoritative book issued by The Democratic Arab Centre for Strategic, Political & Economic Studies; Berlin. First Edition, 2019.


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Summarized Fatawaa

What is the ruling on staring at the Holy Ka'abah?

Staring/looking at the Holy Ka'abah is an act of worship even if this took place while performing a prayer, since Al-Baihaqee stated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: " Staring at the Holy Ka'abah is an act of devotion." [Sho'aab Al-Imaan]. And Allah Knows Best.


Is it permissible to watch soap operas during leisure time?

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.
The answer depends on what is shown in them. If they include what is forbidden to see or hear then they aren`t permissible to watch. And Allah The Almighty Knows Best.

Is it incumbent on a wife whose husband hasn`t gone to bed with her(for sexual intercourse) for many years to observe `Iddah(waiting period) upon his death?

Upon the death of the husband, a wife is obliged to observe the `Iddah even if he hadn`t slept with her because she inherits him.

I`m married to an American citizen who used to be married to a man in Mexico and filed for divorce there. It is worth pointing that in America she isn`t registered as married. When she arrived in Jordan, her lawyer called and told her that she got the divorce, and based on this we got married in Jordan. What is the ruling of Sharia on this?

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of The Worlds. May His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.
You haven`t mentioned whether this woman has converted to Islam or not. If she had embraced Islam and three menstrual cycles passed, but her first husband hasn`t converted to Islam, then her relationship with him is over. If you married her after this (Passing of three menstrual cycles and first husband not having embraced Islam) then your marriage is valid. However, if she didn`t convert to Islam then your marriage contract with her is invalid and you have to wait until she gets divorced by her first husband and observes Iddah, which is three menstrual cycles. Afterwards, you can conclude the marriage contract. We pray that Allah doesn`t hold you to account for what you have done because you thought she was divorced. We recommend that you seek Allah`s forgiveness as much as you can and do righteous deeds. We also advise you to marry a Muslim woman to preserve your and your children`s religion since Almighty Allah Says (What means): "Wed not idolatresses till they believe…" [Al-Baqarah/ 221]. It is true that marrying a Kitabi (One who believes in a book of sacred scriptures and with whom a Muslim may marry in what is deemed a lawful marriage) is permissible, it involves great risks, as stated in the aforementioned verse. And Allah The Almighty Knows Best.