This illuminating and thought-provoking book questions whether classical Islamic capitalism, which has served Muslims so well for centuries, can provide a viable alternative world economic system. In the current recession - the worst since 1929 - this is surely a provocative question. But if Islamic capitalism is to emerge as a viable alternative, its nature and systems must be well understood. Murat Cizakca explores key issues within Islamic capitalism and finance, shedding light on whether the Islamic system can indeed be called 'capitalist', the principles on which the system was built, the institutions that were consequently developed, how they function and have evolved, and, perhaps, most importantly, whether they can be modernized to meet today's needs. Against the backdrop of rapid change in the Middle East, this book gives a solid background to the economic systems that will emerge in the world of Islam. An essential guide to the past, present and future of Islamic economy and finance, this compelling book will prove to be of particular interest to academics and researchers of economics, finance, economic and financial history and political science.