Abluted Capitalism: Ali Shariati’s Critique of Capitalism in His Reading of Islamic Economy

Studies in Christian Ethics 28 (4):431-446 (2015)

Islamic sociologist Ali Shariati is a leading figure of the reconstruction of religious thought in the Islamic world known especially for his anti-capitalist stance and leftist reading of Islamic history. In the philosophy of history that he developed, he classified religions as religions of tawheed and religions of shirk. According to this new reading of history, the main struggle is not between religion and secularism but between religions of tawheed and of sheerk. The issue of the gaining and the distribution of the property is central to his classification. Shariati argued that followers of tawheed and of sheerk can be found in all religions including Islam. To support his argument Shariati explored how capitalistic understanding of Islam has been developed and legalised while anti-capitalist messages and orders of Islam were marginalised and illegalised just after the death of the Prophet Mohammed. He analysed the rivalry between his close companions over the content of a proper Islamic economic order and how this rivalry gave way to two contradicting understanding of Islam, marks of which can be seen today in the contemporary Muslim world. He coined the term ‘abluted capitalism’ to define the economic policies of Muslim sovereigns to make Islam compatible with capitalist economic principles
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DOI 10.1177/0953946814565982
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