Human Development in Islam

“We have bestowed dignity on the progeny of Adam […] and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of Our creation” (Qur’an, 17:70) 

Author: Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano
Country: International
Category: Human Development & Poverty, Faith Perspectives

This paper relies on the primary sources of knowledge in Islam, the Qur’an and the Sunnah (practice and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad: PBUH), to identify the key principles and core values that underpin Islamic views on development, poverty reduction, human rights and advocacy. The central argument in the paper is that development is primarily about safeguarding and enhancing the dignity of human beings. Human dignity originates from God who has singled out humankind from other creations and favoured it in several ways.

The majority of Muslim academics are of the view that in Islam, the basic goal of development is to create an environment that enables people to enjoy spiritual, moral and socio-economic well-being in this world and success in the Hereafter. In defining the core dimensions of well-being, the paper agrees with the view of scholars of the objectives of Islamic ethics and law (maqasid al-shari’ah) that there are five essential dimensions of human development, namely; spiritual (faith), human (life), educational (intellect), social (posterity) and economic (wealth). It therefore adopts the maqasid as an Islamic framework for development.

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