ISLAM AND MODERN SOCIAL ECONOMIC PROBLEMS
BY HENRY E. ALLEN
I WOULD have preferred to limit the subject of my paper to a single Moslem country, such as Turkey, rather than to attempt to deal with the whole complex Islamic world. Unfortunately, I am not permitted thus to limit my field.
Before we discuss the social and economic problems which today confront the Moslem world, it might be well to refresh our minds for a moment regarding the chief characteristics of the Islamic social system, and then, with this as a background, we may be better able to understand and evaluate the significance of some of the current trends.
Of Moslem society in an unspoiled state, whether it be in savage Africa or sophisticated India, one can say that it is extraordinarily God-conscious, that it is permeated, as are few other social systems, by a religious control which extends into every area of conduct. For the bona fide Moslem community laws are not made by congressmen, M.P.'s, or commissars whose authority is granted by their fellow- citizens; the great law or Shari'a of Islam rests upon sacred foundations, the Holy Koran, which is regarded as God's ultimate revelation to His people. Never is the Moslem permitted to forget his religion and his God. Allah is everywhere, and one must pray to Him five times daily--and without the intervention of a priest. There is one day a week upon which special prayers are offered, but this does not cause the Moslem to shower his adulations on God that one day, Friday, and forget Him the rest of the week. In