The Time Factor – Toshihiko Izutsu and Islamic Economic Tradition

  • Sami AL-DAGHISTANI Research Fellow at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo Research Scholar at the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, Columbia University
Keywords: Toshihiko Izutsu, time, money, Islamic economic thought


This paper interrogates the notions of time and money in Islamic (economic) tradition by applying Toshihiko Izutsu’s theory of the key terms of a worldview. A Japanese scholar of Islam, Toshihiko Izutsu (1914–1993), wrote extensively on Islamic studies, eastern mystical traditions, and Sufism. His theory of key ethical concepts in the Qur’an is a semantic analysis of an Islamic worldview, which can be applied also more specifically to economic thought in Islamic tradition. Applying Izutsu’s theory would shed light on the main ethico-economic concepts and postulates in Islamic intellectual history, such as the notions of time, money, and commodity purchases, as well as their relation to man as a time-contingent being. As well as the introduction and conclusion, this paper is divided into three main parts. In the first part, I introduce Izutsu’s life and his semantic theory. The second focuses on Islamic economics and its relation to Sharī‘a as a moral concept, whereas the third part inquires more specifically upon the notion of time and money in classical and contemporary Islamic economic thought.  


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Islamic Theory and Philosophy