SUSTAINABLE ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT: RECOGNIZING THE PRIMACY OF TRUST, IMAN AND INSTITUTIONS
Modern socio-economic writings on trust have contributed much to its understanding as an important element in studying human behavior in society. Recent literature on development studies has highlighted social capital as a term, which incorporates ideas of value and benefit embedded in social networking, while others have demonstrated trust to be very significant when studying the development of society and institutions. This paper will identify some fundamental assumptions of modernity which prevent the better understanding of trust as a human entity and consequently propose that Islamic ontology, not confined by any such assumptions, provides a greater understanding of the role of trust in society through the concept of iman. Analyzing qualitatively, through textual and contextual study of authentic Islamic ontological and epistemological foundations, the concept and the social functions of the essence of iman, with its relation to the human developmental paradigm of Islam, a dual phase model of Islamic development methodology is proposed. This model seeks to elaborate the multiple functions of iman at the individual, societal and institutional levels and then compare these with those of trust and social capital in modern thought. Hence the dynamic and interdependent nature of the Islamic development methodology will be highlighted and the function of trust will be located within the Islam-Iman-Ihsan paradigm. This sequential approach indicates the primacy of iman as both the foundation and the continuing core of all Islamic development upon which frameworks and institutions are to be built. As such iman is shown to provide the bonding fabric, which subsequently organically spawns Islamic institutions and which, in turn, bolster the level of iman in the society. Hence using this model, the reasons for failure of Islamic development can be located at both the foundational level and the institutional level in terms of failures of iman.