The Possibility or Impossibility of Islamization of Knowledge in a Neoliberal Market Order

Omar Javaid, Wahab Suri
Published Online: June 2020

This paper argues that the project of the Islamization of Knowledge (IoK) has overlooked the role of a neoliberal politicoeconomic order in the knowledge production along with the relation between knowledge and the market established by economic liberalization. So the resulting discourse perhaps inadequately explains the incapacity of contemporary application of Islamic economics and finance to provide a viable alternative to western economic systems, let alone solve socioeconomic problems in Muslim countries. This paper will attempt to cover this inadequacy by explaining the relation between mind, knowledge and market as theorized by Hayek, along with Foucault’s perspective power-knowledge nexus. The Hayek’s and Foucault’s perspective on the relation between state, market, mind and knowledge creates an interesting challenge for IoK because it is not only the issue of reconciliation of the spheres of knowledge, rather free unhampered flow of market is also presumably necessary for the growth of human mind and consequently human knowledge as argued by Hayek and Foucault. The neoliberal-state allows free unhampered flow of the market, subsequently creating knowledge in pursuit of continuous capital accumulation. Production of knowledge, therefore, becomes a mechanism to maintain the hegemony of the neoliberal-state and market, while establishing authority of capital on ontological position of man and society. In this context any intervention in the process of IoK under religious obligation is not just an epistemological, rather a moral impossibility within capitalist discourse. The relationship between the neoliberal-state, market and production of knowledge will enable the scholars of Islamic economics and finance to reassess their strategies pertaining to IoK.


Islamization of Knowledge, Power-Knowledge Nexus, Political Economy, Epistemological Antagonism, Division of labor.