4th International Ibn Khaldun Symposium

Ibn Haldın and the Idea od a Free Market: Evidence from Ibn Taymiyya and Ghazali


Ali Gökhan Gölçek, Mustafa Alpin Gülşen

Last modified: 14-06-2017

Abstract (400-500 words)


The macroeconomic policies preferred in the Islamic societies of today are considered to be well behind the modern Islamic understanding of economy arising particularly in the early Islamic societies. This understanding predominantly suggests creation of demand and supply according to the price signals determined in the market; and this makes emphasis on the regulatory and observatory role of the public segment in the case a situation that disrupts this signal mechanism arises in the market. Within this framework Gazali asserted that each entrepreneur motivated by the principles of profit maximization would like to tend towards capital accumulation modestly in conformity with the definition of rational individual. Consequently Gazali does not suggest very clear opinions on modern supply and demand whereas he gives ideas about how those powers affect the market prices and profits. On the other hand İbn-i Teymiyye has carried on more comprehensive analytical discussions on the issues in question. In this context, the basis of economic opinions of Ibn Khaldun who interprets the historical and social conditions adding them into his analysis differently from the economic analysis methods of Gazali and Ibn Teymiyye consists of the concepts of individual freedom, property and justice. Ibn Khaldun made certain detections on free market on the basis of the concept of state in his work titled Muqaddimah where he observed the environment and the period he lives in and made socioeconomic detections. Ibn Khaldun objected to the public sector to hold the entire power in his work although state analysis was performed and stated that the mechanism that could balance the state would be the free market. Ibn Khaldun diverges definitely from Ibn Teymiyye with this opinion while he relatively resembles to Gazali. It is targeted at enlightening the Islamic states of today and the early Islamic economic opinions. In this context, it is considered in the study that Gazali, Ibn Teymiyye and Ibn Khaldun who are among the influential thinkers of the period represent three different economic opinions. The idea of free market in Islamic communities which makes up the original aspect of the study were suggested through the opinions of those three Islam thinkers.