Khurshid Ahmad (scholar)

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Khurshid Ahmad
Born (1932-03-23) 23 March 1932 (age 86)
Delhi, British Indian Empire
Nationality Pakistan
Institution Karachi University
University of Leicester
Institute of Policy Studies
Planning Commission
Field Islamic economics
School or tradition
Islamic economic jurisprudence
Alma mater Government College University
University of Leicester
International Islamic University
Influences Capitalism
Perspectives on capitalism
Influenced Islamic economics in the world
Contributions Islamic economics and conservatism
Awards King Faisal International Prize for Science

Khurshīd Ahmad (Urdu: خورشید احمد; born 23 March 1932) is a Pakistani economist and Islamic activist who earned fame in his pioneering development of Islamic economic jurisprudence as an academic principle.

A senior and known ultraconservative figure, he has been long-standing member of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), and successfully contested in 2002 general elections for a technocrat seat on a platform of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)—an alliance of rightist parties. Previously, he had served as the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission in a military government of President General Zia-ul-Haq, where he played an influential role in Islamization of the country's national economy in the 1970s. Ahmad is cited as the father of modern Islamic economics and Islamic capitalism, and is considered one of the influential thinkers in the field of Islamic economics.[1]


Ahmad was born into a religiously firmed family on 23 March 1932 in Delhi (now part of Republic of India and state capital as well), former British Indian Empire. His family had a deep ultraconservative background with Islamic teachings and practices were strictly followed.[1] After being home schooled and gaining traditional Islamic education, Ahmad entered in Anglo-Arabic higher secondary school in Delhi where he excelled with good marks and standings.[1] In 1947, his family moved to newly established state, Pakistan, and settled in Lahore, Punjab Province.[1] In 1949, Ahmad enrolled in Government College University (GCU) where he studied commerce and economics where he gained first position in his courses.[1] It was his years at the GCU where he developed serious interest and interaction between Capitalism and Islam, the twin passions of much of his life work. The same year, he became active Islamic activist and subsequently joined the Jamaat-e-Islami.

In 1949, Ahmad published his first English article on Muslim Economist, where he commentated and proposed ideas on First Five-Year Plans for the national economy of Pakistan.[1] In 1952, Ahmad earned BA with First Class Honours in Economics and Commerce, and graduated with top standing in his batch of graduating class of 1952 of the GCU.[1] He entered in GCU's law college the same year and earned LLB with emphasis in Islamic Law and jurisprudence.[2] During this time, he became an active member of JeI and continued his passion for teaching Islamic studies in Lahore. As an aftermath of 1953 riots in Lahore and massive arrests of JeI activists, Ahmad moved to Karachi, Sindh and enrolled in Karachi University for his higher education. At Karachi University, Ahmad earned MSc with Hons in Economics where his master's thesis contained the work on fundamental concepts of Adam Smith's pioneering work on Capitalism.[2]

In 1964, Ahmad earned MA with First Class Honours from Karachi University in Islamic Studies. In 1965, Ahmad went to United Kingdom where he enrolled at the University of Leicester for his doctoral studies and was conferred with doctorate in Economics.[2] His doctoral works contains the fundamental work on Islamic economic jurisprudence principle which he successfully defended after submitting briefed and discussed thesis to the university. In the 1970s, the Leiceter University awarded Ahmad with honorary doctorate in Education.[2] Professor Khurshid Ahmad is a renowned scholar, economist and Islamic activist. He is the founder chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad. He has written/edited/translated more than 70 books in English and Urdu, many of which have been translated in other European and oriental languages. He has also contributed profoundly through numerous articles, seminar papers and lectures. His in-depth comparative study of the oriental as well as occidental philosophies in religion, academics, economics, constitutional matters and his commitment to the cause of humanity has led him to be entrusted with key positions in the national as well as international organizations on these socioeconomic and other multidimensional disciplines. He has also been awarded with three honorary degrees of PhD in education, literature and Islamic economics by universities of Malaysia and Loughborough, UK. He has formerly held the portfolio of Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Statistics in the Government of Pakistan and has also served as Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission. He was also thrice elected as member of the Senate of Pakistan in 1985, 1997 and 2002 and remained Chairman of the Standing Committee for Economic Development and Planning. In view of his pioneering work and contributions towards the development of Islamic Economics as an academic discipline, he was awarded the First Islamic Development Bank Award for Economics in 1988. He was awarded King Faisal Prize for service to Islam in 1990. It was in 1998 that he was awarded the prestigious La-Riba Prize in Islamic Finance by American Finance House. Thus, he is the first and only Muslim who has been awarded with the three most prestigious international Islamic prizes.[3]

Islam and political activism

In 1949, after publishing first article on economics, Ahmad began studying the teachings of Abul Ala Maududi. He came to know Maududi as a frequent visitor in his father's house; it was only in 1949 that he encountered Maududi as the religious scholar for the first time. In particular, he was impressed with Maududi's discussion of both Islamic and Western thought and the conflict between Western civilisation and Islam.

Ahmad is the leader of JeI and has been behind the right-wing conservative politics in Pakistan. In 1977, he campaign in 1977 general elections for a technocratic seat, and secured the appointment of deputy chairman of Planning Commission where he would played a drafting role in the nation's Islamization in 1978. In 1979, Ahmad founded the institute Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and has been its chairman since 1979.

Ahmad became a member of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) in 1949 and was elected as the Nazim-e-A'la (President) of the same organisation in 1953. He formally joined Jama'at-e-Islami Pakistan in 1956 and is at present Naib Ameer (Vice-President) of the organisation. Besides several other responsibilities, he is presently also the editor of the seminal Tarjuman al-Quran, a monthly publication launched by Sayyid Maududi in May 1933.


His comparative study of the oriental as well as occidental philosophies in religion, academics, economics, constitutional matters and commitment for Islam has led him to be entrusted with key positions in the national as well as international organisations on these socio-economic and other multi-dimensional disciplines. Throughout his life, he has held the following positions:

  • Member of Senate of Pakistan (2003 to 2012).[4]
  • Vice-President Jama'at e islami Pakistan.
  • Federal Minister of Planning and Development and has been Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Govt of Pakistan (1978–79).
  • Professor at the Karachi University (1955–68).
  • Research scholar at the University of Leicester, UK.
  • Chairman, International Institute of Islamic Economics, International Islamic University, Islamabad (1983–87).
  • President, International Association of Islamic Economics, Leicester, UK (1984–92).
  • Member, Supreme Advisory Council, International Center for Research and Islamic Economics, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah (1979–83).
  • Vice-President, Standing Conference on Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe, Berlin and London (1974–78).
  • Member, Advisory Council, Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, UK (1976–78).
  • Member, National Hijra Committee, Govt of Pakistan (1978–83).
  • Member, Committee of Jurists to Evaluate Islamic Laws in Sudan (1986–87).
  • Member, International Review Committee, Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah(1988–89).
  • Member of Senate of Pakistan for two terms (1985–1997) and Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning.
  • Founder and Chairman of both the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad and The Islamic Foundation, Leicester.
  • Member, Boards of Trustees of Islamic Centre, Zaria (Nigeria); International Islamic University, Islamabad; Foundation Council, Royal Academy for Islamic Civilization, Amman (Jordan).
  • Vice-President of Islamic Research Academy, Karachi and Lahore.
  • The Harvard University, USA presented him an honorary doctorate (PhD) most recently.


In recognition of his contribution during the process of formulation of 18th and 19th constitutional amendments of the constitution of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Prof Khurshid Ahmad was awarded the highest civil award, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz on 23 March 2011.[5]

In recognition of his services in Islamic Economics & Finance, he was given 5th Annual Prize of American Finance House, LaRiba, US in July 1998.

His contributions to the Islamic cause were also recognised in the form of King Faisal International Prize in 1990, which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the Muslim World.

In view of his contributions towards the development of Islamic Economics as an academic discipline, he was awarded the First Islamic Development Bank Award for Economics in 1988.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Musaji, Imran. "Ahmad, Khurshid". The American Muslim. The American Muslim. Retrieved 2 August 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Senate of Pakistan. "Educational background of Professor Khurshid Ahmad". Pakistan Government. Pakistan Senate. Retrieved 2 August 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Hathaway, Robert M.; Lee, Wilson; Husain, Ishrat (2004). Islamization and the Pakistani economy. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. p. 141. Retrieved 5 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links