Setting a Maqasid-Driven Development Agenda for Islamic Finance – II

If we want to juxtapose Maqasid-driven actions along with SDG-driven actions in the same two-dimensional space, a realistic approach would be to use spiritual gains and moral or ethical gains interchangeably. In this second part of the series on Setting a Maqasid-Driven Development Agenda for Islamic Finance, we continue our discussion on material gains versus…

Setting a Maqasid-Driven Development Agenda for Islamic Finance – I

With an expanded scope we propose to examine the alignment or misalignment between MaS and SDGs further down the hierarchy of goals. Highlighting areas of alignment are no less important than areas of misalignment. Our last publication on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a Shariah Perspective was motivated by the observed reluctance of Islamic financial…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the Lens of Islamic Economics – V

We can take comfort with the forecast that AI will firmly stay within human control and conveniently, trash the forecast of some that machines will become incomprehensibly smarter than humans with artificial super intelligence (ASI). However, in the event ASI materializes, it will be beyond our control. We can only hope that, before the inevitable…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the Lens of Islamic Economics – I

Intelligence, intellect, rationality may be subsumed under the notion of Aql in Islamic economics. However, when intelligence is artificial, it raises new issues and challenges. This is the first in a series of blogs that touches upon this issue and sets the stage for further discussion on application of AI in Islamic finance. Let me…

Kafalah (Guarantee) for Shariah-compliant SMEs in the UK

Kafalah (guarantee) is assurance, its original meaning relates to joining and commitment. Technically Muslim jurists differed about the definition of guarantee. The majority of Hanafis defined it as joining the debts or material assets. The second definition of theirs: joining the liability of the warrant or to the liability of the principal for a debt.…

Blockchains through the Lens of Islamic Economics

Verifiability, traceability, immutability, validation through consensus, sharing through network, inter-generational distribution - attributes and concepts common to block chain methodology have a root in Islamic scholarship. The “chain” played a significant role in shaping the contours of Islamic economics, by creating the authenticated and tamper-proof records of the words of God and the words and…

Enhancing Islamicity with Fintech: Case of the Investment Account Platform (IAP) – II

The Investment Account Platform (IAP) is an internet-based multibank platform. It provides for an engine for efficient mobilization of funds. It offers new risk-reward concepts that is expected to benefit investors and entrepreneurs. So far, IAP has 7 partner banks, and has raised over USD 50 million from 300 plus investors for 13 projects. The…

Do Muslim Poor Self-Exclude Them from the Financial System for Reasons of Faith?

In a 2007 study “Islamic Microfinance Development: Challenges and Initiatives” undertaken by the Islamic Research and Training Institute, we observed that most of the member countries of the OIC with significant Muslim population had high and rising poverty levels. Just five of them – Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt accounted for over half a billion (528 million) of…

Making Sense of Onion Economics in India: Can Islamic Finance Help?

I was motivated to write this piece by the story of a poor farmer in India. The story of this 48-year old farmer Devidas Parvane from the Rasai village of Pune in Maharashtra state in India as reported in the mainstream media captures a classic unresolved problem of agricultural finance in India. The farmer brought…

Islamic Finance in India: A New Beginning?

It was an Indian scholar, Dr Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi who provided the first theoretical model for an Islamic bank in his celebrated book "Banking without Interest" in the 1960s. He went on to contribute immensely to the development of Islamic economics as a discipline. Way back in 1996, the Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar, India…