The Ethical, Social, Political, and Economic Views of al-Mawardî
After a brief presentation of his biography and a cursory introduction to his works, this paper explores the ethical, social, political and economic views of al-Mâwardî (364-450/974-1058), known especially for his political and ethical theories, with special reference to his four books, namely Adab al-dunyâ wa al-dîn, al-Ahkâm al-sultâniyya, Qawânîn al-wizâra and Tashîl al-nazar, all dedicated to the above subjects. Since his opinions discussed under several titles below cannot be duly grasped without contemplating his worldview-oriented holism, it is inevitable to touch upon the ontological, epistemological and axiological cohesion reflected in his relevant discussions. Besides, some of his invaluable views are evaluated. For example, a philosophizing jurist-theologian, he reconciled reason and revelation, a different formulation from the modern rationalism. A theorizing diplomat, he tried to synthesize Islamic political ideals, norms and empirical realities of the time by systematizing an ontologically legitimate and accountable virtuous caliphate with delegatory power as a universal constitutional government and nomocratic rule in order to avoid political atomization. A social observer, he theologically highlighted the “necessity doctrine” of social association as well as the causes of dissociation. A moderate moralist, he attempted to harmonize the two extremes, quietism and materialism, by his very interesting discussion on individual “extensive expectation” as the central factor in welfare and development. A political economist, he declared the famous principle: “Bad money drives out good money,” known in the West as Gresham's Law after the Mercantilist economist Sir Thomas Gresham (d. 1579).
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