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…

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

Text analysis may be useful, for instance, for a waqf organization to know what the neighborhood feels about the public goods (education, healthcare, orphan care etc.) it provides. An association of zakat organizations in a country concerned about a high rate of “donor attrition” may feel the need for a “feel-good analysis” of donors. A…

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

Algorithms are essential building blocks of AI. In this blog I introduce the notions of data, algorithms and machine learning against the backdrop of the zakat and Islamic micro finance sectors. A few responses to my introductory blog on AI seemed to suggest a good-natured attempt to confer human-ness on Sophia. Some wondered (in a…

Fighting Covid-19 with Sadaqah & Faith

The numbers are scary. As we write this, there are four and a quarter hundred thousand humans reported to be affected by the pandemic Covind-19. The number of deaths are fast approaching the twenty-thousand figure world-wide. No one can predict where these numbers are headed. Mankind has never faced a challenge of this magnitude during…

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…

The Issue of Anonymity in Digital Zakat

Identity brings in many benefits in the context of zakat distribution (as underlined in my earlier blog). Lack of identity or anonymity on the part of the beneficiaries is certainly not desirable. It should be obvious that a digital environment makes it possible for the zakat organization to collect many types of personal data. Zakat…

The Issue of Identity in Digital Distribution of Zakat

My last blog ended on a note that digitizing zakat payments to beneficiaries would be more efficient, as compared to payments involving hard cash or in-kind payments, by avoiding costs related to leakages, fraud and ensuring greater accountability. This comes with a few qualifiers, however. We assume that the technology and infrastructure is there. And…

Making Sense of Digital Distribution of Zakat

Zakat may be paid out by an individual muzakki (zakat payer) directly to an individual mustahiq (zakat beneficiary). This is the practice in countries where there is no organized or institutional mobilization and disbursement of zakat. Arguably, organized zakat management has many positives. Available evidence suggests that organized zakat management may be more efficient in…

Micro Waqf Banks: A New Breed of IF Providers for Indonesian Poor

I deem Indonesia, my new home, as the University of Islamic Microfinance. And I have good reasons for the same. If you exclude the replications of conventional microfinance models, most of the indigenous Islamic microfinance experiments owe their origin to creative Indonesian minds. The famous Baitul-Maal-wat-Tamweels (BMTs) continue to engage the Islamic finance community for…

The Sustainable Development Goals from a Shariah Perspective – V

Since the religion of Islam sets the agenda for development in predominantly Muslim societies, it is interesting to examine to what extent the SDGs conform to the Islamic vision of development. In order to explain the Islamic vision of development, Islamic scholars have come up with a broad framework rooted in what are called, the…