Economics and Business

Works on public finance by the sixteenth century Muslim scholars

Abstract: The subject of public finance and taxation marked the beginning of systematic and rather exclusive writing on economic issues in Islamic scholarship in its earliest period. Within a few centuries, a large number of works came out on the subject. This trend continued in the later centuries but with a difference in quantity, quality and style. Their number decreased, coverage contracted and they increasingly tended to deal with specific issues. Writings in the later centuries were characterized by imitation and repetition. In the sixteenth century the major works on the subject included the works of al-Balatunusi "Tahrir al-Maqal Fi mal Yahull wa yahr m min Bayt al-Mal" and Ibn Nujaym's "Risalah fi'l-kharaj" and "Fi Mas'alat al-Jibayah wa'l-Ratibat wa'l-Mu'sharat al-Diwaniyyah." From the Persian speaking East, Fadl-Allah Khunji discussed the Islamic provision of public finance in much detail in his work Sul’k al-Mul’k, a very comprehensive treatment of the subject in that period. In Safawid Iran the issue of kharaj was a very controversial topic and centered on whether the acceptance of a stipend from kharaj income was permissible for religious scholars.

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