Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Philosophy of Islamic Banking and Finance

Al-Jarhi, Mabid (2004): The Philosophy of Islamic Banking and Finance. Published in: Salman Syed Ali & Ausaf Ahmad, eds., Islamic Banking and Finance: Fundamentals and Contemporary Issues, No. Research & Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank, 2007. (2007): pp. 1-24.

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Abstract

Islamic banking and finance can be described as a system through which finance is provided in the form of money in return for either equity or rights to share in future business profits, or in the form of goods and services delivered in return for a commitment to repay their value at a future date. By now, a good deal of intellectual effort has been undertaken by a number of specialists in Islamic economics to explore different aspects of Islamic banking and finance. Even some conventional economists, intentionally or unintentionally, have dealt with the subjects, which may be considered closely akin to it. It is an undeniable fact that Islamic financial institutions have had only a marginal existence during the last 300 years. They did not get the same chance as western financial institutions to gradually evolve their institutional structure, tools and modus operandi to their full potential. Therefore, such evolutionary process of Islamic banking and finance must be done through serious intellectual work by economists rather than observing institutions at work. However, Islamic banking and finance has now been in the arena for more than a quarter of a century. It has taken a contemporary shape. Whether it has sufficiently approached the Islamic paradigm par excellence or not, is a different question. The philosophy of Islamic banking and finance is a set of theories and ideas related to its understanding.1 In this regard, we must first start with the rules of Islamic Shari[ah from which the very idea of Islamic banking has been drawn. Second, monetary and macro theory is required to explain why Islam considers dealing through the rate of interest as totally unacceptable, and the economy-wide consequences of such practice. Third, banking theory itself would be necessary to figure out the behavior of Islamic banking and finance as well as to assess its comparative performance.

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