PurposeThis paper aims to compare free market capitalism and Islamic moral economy in terms of corresponding means and ends for a happy life. The paper reveals that global consumer culture is the inevitable outcome of secularization. As people pursue fulfillment with worldly possession, position and pleasure, they mistakenly think that higher material consumption would result in higher subjective wellbeing. Muslims are increasingly joining consumer culture because they are affected by global consumerism. The paper attempts to show that Islam has a potential to curb unsustainable consumer culture.Design/methodology/approachThe paper explores a relationship between consumer culture and free market capitalism. It presents Islamic way of happiness as an alternative to hedonic happiness which is promoted by global consumer culture. It defines happiness as fulfillment in life through the realization of God and pursuit of His pleasure by finding transcendental meaning for having, being and doing.FindingsThe paper concludes that the Islamic way to happiness is different from hedonic happiness which leads to conspicuous consumption. It argues that once internalized, Islamic worldview would make possible to achieve a higher level of happiness without engaging in higher material consumption. It maintains that authentic happiness from an Islamic perspective is not the maximization of pleasure through indulging in consumer culture. Rather it is the fulfillment of heart and other faculties through remembrance (seeing the transcendental reality of the universe and the self) of God. Submission to God and living to gain His pleasure are the logical implications of such realization.Originality/valueThe paper reveals how consumer culture brings less happiness through more consumption, while Islam offers more happiness through less consumption.
Humanomics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 14, 2017