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Islamic vs conventional Human Development Index: empirical evidence from ten Muslim countries

Necati Aydin (Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 4 December 2017




Given the fact that the Islamic economic paradigm differs from the secular capitalist paradigm in terms of its emphasis on morality and spirituality, the author thinks that the current Human Development Index (HDI) does not capture human development from an Islamic perspective. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to provide a paradigmatic, theoretical, and conceptual model for the suggested Islamic HDI (iHDI) and second, to present several proxy variables for multi-dimensional iHDI and test the proposed index through empirical data for ten Muslim countries.


The author developed eight-dimensional composite iHDIs based on the understanding of human nature from the Tawhidi anthropology. These dimensions included physical, reasoning, spiritual, ethical, animal, social, deciding, and oppressive selves. The author measured them using nine different indices, three of which came from the conventional HDI (cHDI). The author then compared the rankings of those Muslim countries in iHDI to those in cHDI.


The iHDI rankings for all Muslim countries except two differed from those in cHDI. The difference was more substantial for countries with higher economic development. Thus, improved cHDI rankings for Muslim countries based on their economic development do not necessarily mean that they move toward ideal human development. This finding confirms the need for an alternative human development indexing approach from an Islamic perspective.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is likely to initiate movement to develop an alternative HDI from Islamic perspective.

Practical implications

The paper findings have important policy implications for Muslim countries.


It is the first empirical paper showing how to develop an alternative HDI from an Islamic perspective.



Aydin, N. (2017), "Islamic vs conventional Human Development Index: empirical evidence from ten Muslim countries", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 44 No. 12, pp. 1562-1583.



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