By Hicham El Moussaoui

Several studies show the strong positive correlation between market economy and development. Unfortunately, in Muslim countries have no real free market economies. And often when we analyze the causes of economic stagnation in Muslim countries, we sustain the incompatibility of the slam with the market economy. This supposed incompatibility is designed as responsible of economic stagnation experienced by Muslim countries. This interpretation does not withstand scrutiny neither the history of the world nor teachings and traditions of Islam. In this paper I argue that if the market economy is not developed in Muslim countries it is not because Islam has been applied, but on the contrary, it is because Muslims went away from the teachings and tradition free market economy oriented of Islam, at least during its early stage. A deviation which is explained by several factors, including the blockading of jurisprudence, the collusion between politicians and clergy, colonization, socialism and the misapplication of liberal policies. All factors completely unrelated to the original principles of Islam even if his rhetoric was manipulated to justify many of these deviations by using irrelevant interpretations. Therefore, to rehabilitate the market economy in Muslim countries, it is imperative to establish the bridge with the liberal heritage of Islam. This requires recovering the centrality of the trade behind the development of Islamic civilization. Islam was born in a merchant environment and has allowed the emergence of a market economy by providing institutions to expand trade. Thus, by creating a global free trade area between the Muslim countries we could hope to duplicate the original dynamic that will motivate Muslim leaders to implement the necessary reforms favorable to the market economy.

Dr Hicham El Moussaoui  is an economist at Sultan Moulay Slimane University in Béni-Mellal, Morocco, and an analyst for UnMondeLibre.org, the French-speaking project of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

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