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

We underline some data privacy related guidelines and principles that do not violate the basic beliefs and culture of Islamic societies. They merit serious consideration by zakat and Islamic non-profit organizations, especially that have gone digital, where the beneficiary is usually in a weak bargaining position. The narrative “data is new oil”, is frequently used…

Turning to Islamic Finance for Meeting Development Goals – III

I take pride in being from the academia. In the world of Islamic economics and finance, the sense of pride is more intense. I am a witness to how seminal articles, papers and books authored by scholars have given a shape to the Islamic financial services sector, unlike many other fields where theoretical work by…

Turning to Islamic Finance for Meeting Development Goals – II

The DEEP project was a trailblazer in many ways. The program was initiated at a time and in a region where two-third of population (according to World Bank estimates) was below the poverty line and not a single MFI was operating on a sustainable basis. With (a) the delivery of financial and promotional safety net…

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…

Growing Potatoes on the Shores of Nile: A Successful Experiment in Islamic Microfinance

An abundance of fertile arable land, water resources on the shores of Nile and the presence of a hardworking farming community in the region have led a Sudanese microfinance outfit, the Al-Anaam Microfinance Company to partner with several financial institutions, e.g. the Bank of Sudan, the Islamic Development Bank, the Farmers’ Bank, the Investment Bank…

Salam-Based Microfinance by BoK ? III

Salam has traditionally been understood as a mode of agricultural finance. Indeed, as scholars point out, one of the reasons why salam is admissible as an Islamic mode, even while violating the basic Shariah rule of “do not sell what you do not have”, is because of its economic significance.  It provides a mechanism to…

Islamic Participatory Microfinance by BoK ? II (Abu Halima)

The Abu-Halima Greenhouses Project of IRADA, designed in 2011, uses a composite model of intervention that combines several “smart” factors and is designed to address several critical social issues including lack of food security, unemployment and poverty. It aims to open new economic opportunities for young university graduates with formal education in agriculture. The project…

Islamic Participatory Microfinance by Bank of Khartoum

The name is now familiar among Sudan’s poor, unemployed and recent pass-outs from universities. The Irada program of Bank of Khartoum is experimenting with new and innvovative models of intervention to make a dent on chronic social problems, such as, poverty and unemployment. As part of the Sudanese economic system, it operates as a Shariah…

Ensuring Shariah Compliance in Microfinance with New Modes: Case of Istijrar

About a decade ago, I came across a financial mechanism being used by Muslim Commercial Bank of Pakistan for financing cotton purchases. The New Horizon magazine had carried a 50-words brief write-up on it as an example of a new financial instrument. However, the brief description of the instrument was enough to whet my appetite…