Saturday, May 20, 2006

Peddling Religion Hits the Big Time

In today's Financial Times article on so-called Shari`a advisors, the inflation of fees paid for certifications of Islamicity is attributed to shortage in "Islamic Scholars Versed in Finance":

The fees charged for shariah advice are a closely guarded secret, and much of what is received is reportedly paid to charity. However some investment banks say they have paid up to $500,000 for advice on large capital markets transactions, a dramatic increase from the levels seen a few years ago.

The shortage, of course, is in the market for individuals who can market themselves as "Islamic scholars", and who know how to "play ball" with the bankers and lawyers offering "Islamic financial" products.

What a mockery of Islam this has become.


Blogger heraish said...

Insight of a Muslim Judge

A man came to Iyas Ibn Mu'awiyah, a Muslim judge famous for his wisdom and the following conversation took place between them:

Man: What is the Islamic ruling regarding wine?

Judge: It is Haram (Forbidden).

Man: How about water?

Judge: It is Halal (Permissible).

Man: How about dates and grapes?

Judge: They are Halal.

Man: Why is it that all these ingredients are halal, and yet when you combine them, they become haram?

The judge looked at the man and said: If I hit you with this handful of dirt, do you think it would hurt you?

Man: It would not.

Judge: How about if I hit you with this handful of straw?

Man: It would not hurt me.

Judge: How about a handful of water?

Man: It surely would not hurt me.

Judge: How about if I MIX them, and let them DRY to become a BRICK, and then hit you with it, would it hurt you?

Man: It would hurt me and might even kill me!

Judge: The same reasoning applies to what you asked me!!


9:58 PM  
Blogger ney_reed said...

the banks clearly are not as transparent and sincere as they should be in this process. at the very most they only put a "Shariah board" together and put their names and pictures on the brochures and websites.
i was involved seeing a private consultancy company assisting banks. their process of putting together a Shariah board was so questionable. it was not about how qualified and credible they are but instead how qualified and credible will customers view them. hence as long as they market this board in such a way to the customer, they are contented about it. they easily get around it by putting one big name and a few no namers. there really is no universal standards set till now on how a shariah compliancy board should be like and what should be their terms of reference etc. banks just try to do their best to convince their customers their products are islamic. its just a marketing campaign. interesting not everyone who is involved in the process is trying to exploit. ironically many muslim bankers with really derail the worth of the actions of these muslim bankers into mere exploitation is the wrong approach they take. what they try to do with islamic banking is pure purifying of conventional banking. this sense and method of puritanism is contrary to the traditional approach of Muslim societies which is perfectionism. Hence in this process of purifying banking from riba etc, they fail to uphold other Islamic principles. for instance like in above case they purify the banking of riba but they compromise on setting up a credible shariah board who has the capacity to check the bank's excesses should it arise in Islamic banking practices.

Should they instead adopt the approach of perfectionism, they will trod the road of perfecting riba(by undoing it) and also perfecting other areas using the perfected principles of the deen (deenul haqq).

here again we see how we cannot solve an economic problem in periphery and isolation as its so interconnected with other issues. we need to adopt a worldview just like traditional Muslims.

9:05 PM  

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