Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiya (661/1263-728/1328) was one of the most outstanding figures that Muslim history has ever produced. A man of sublime character and towering scholarship, a hafiz of the Quran and an authority on hadith literature, he is acknowledged as one of the greatest thinkers in Islamic history. Although a Hanbali theologian and jurisconsult, his influence is not confined to any one school of Islamic thought. He is therefore accepted as an authentic spokesman of Islam and has been one of the chief sources of inspiration for revivalist thought and movements during the last seven hundred years.
Al-Hisba fi al-Islam is one of his scores of writings which is presented here in English translation by Muhtar Holland, presently Director of the Translation and Islamic Center, Nur al-Islam, based in New York. Before taking this responsibility, he was Senior Research Fellow at the Islamic Foundation. He has a distinguished academic career and has lectured in Arabic, Turkish, and Near Eastern History at the University of Toronto, in Islamic Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and has taught classical Arabic and Greek Philosophy at the Institute of Malay Language, University of Malaysia. He embraced Islam in 1969.
The economic challenge of Islamic resurgence has many ramifications: one of them is to develop Islamic guidelines for economic management and policy making in a contemporary Muslim society. Public Duties in Islam: The Institution of the Hisba being an English translation of al-Hisba fi al-Islam by Ibn Taymiya is the exposition of the theory of hisba in the wider context of a just society and an efficient market economy. Al-Hisba is a moral as well as a socio-economic institution in Islam through which public life is regulated in such a way that a high degree of public morality is attained and the society is protected from bad workmanship, fraud, extortion and exploitation. The book spells out the different stipulations of the Quranic command of amr bi'l-ma'ruf wa-n-nahi 'anil-munkar in lucid terms and is justifiably a treatise on sociology, political science and economics. It presents a wealth of material with penetrating insights for laymen as well as modern economists and policy makers.
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