An Enhanced Islamic Index of Well-Being (IWI 2.0-2021) for Muslim Countries
Keywords:Keywords: Indonesia, Islamic Well-Being Index, Lebanon, Maqasid al-Shari‘ah, Muslim countries, Tunisia.
This is a revised version of an assessment of the Islamic Well-Being Index (IWI) of Muslim majority countries, first published by this author in 2013 (IWI 1.0). It uses an improved, updated methodology and reflects the essential maqasid al-shari‘ah (Higher Objectives of Islamic Law) developed by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. The IWI provides practical insights for countries that aspire to move to a higher state. Leading countries in the maqasid fields could serve as role models for lagging counties. More specifically, IWI indicators provide a way to spot problems, set targets, track trends, and identify best practice policies. This 2021 assessment adds four more countries to the 27 ranked previously. The method incorporates insights from leading Islamic scholars who have developed a ‘maqasid index of governance’ for Muslim countries. The top three countries listed in the Index are (first to third): Indonesia, Tunisia and Malaysia. Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country with a successful democracy, experienced an Islamic resurgence, which is reflected in its citizens’ moderate values and practices. Leading countries within the maqasid fields are (first, second): Religion – Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria; Life – UAE, Brunei; Intellect - Albania, Kyrgyzstan; Family – Morocco, Tunisia; and Wealth – Malaysia, UAE. Countries showing greatest improvement in IWI rankings are Lebanon and Turkey. Those that significantly worsened are Afghanistan, Nigeria, Chad and Iraq. To expand the applicability of this index, governments in Muslim majority countries need to facilitate assessment. In particular, religiosity surveys should be expanded and periodic surveys are required to fill other data gaps. The IWI Index and its highlights should be prepared and published annually.
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