As the Holy Quran enjoins profit creation via trading and commercial transactions (al-bay') while forbidding profit earned from loans (riba), increasing Islamic consciousness among the Muslims today has opened up new business opportunities in Islamic finance, financial planning and wealth management.
The Shariah not only condone interest as riba, but prohibits elements of gambling (maisir) in financial transactions. Ambiguities (gharar) in contractual agreements must be avoided at all cost while companies seeking Islamic capital must not engage with prohibited goods such as alcoholic beverages, pork and pornographic material. But current practices although unintentionally seem to out focus the real Quranic agenda for wealth creation and management. The Quranic alternative to riba is trade and commerce (al-bay'). The essence of trade and commerce is profit creation that implicates risk-taking (ghorm) and value-addition (kasb). Doing so promotes fairness and equitable transactions ('adl) and thus putting ethics and morality (akhlak) into the limelight of corporate business today. This book has attempted to venture into several issues of Islamic finance that incorporates the Quranic conception of trading and commerce (al-bay'). Profit created from financial instruments devoid of risk-taking (ghorm) and value addition (kasb) does not fit into the Quran's outlook of al-bay'. It critically examines current Islamic financial products offered by banks, mutual funds and insurance companies and help guide prospective customers to understand the underlying Shariah principles on which these products are structured. Products ranging from bank deposits/assets and capital market instruments are discussed based on prevailing practical experience in Malaysia as well as other Muslim countries.
Divergent Shariah opinions on sale-buyback (bay' al-'inah) and debt trading (bay'al-dayn) are discussed with good intentions to harmonize global Islamic financial transactions. Of most significant is the push for equity financing (musyarakah/mudarabah) in the banking business with proper application of salam and istisna' contract as well. Widespread use of murabahah and al-bai-bithaman ajil (credit sale) contracts in Islamic finance is a worrying trend. This book tries to explore the place of Islamic financial contracts in modern financial markets, whether Islamic financial instruments actually reflect true label. Implication of trading (al-bay') is expected to invite venture capital application in Islamic banking and rationalizes universal banking model for Islamic banks. This book serves to guide banking customers, practitioners and investors over the range of Shariah products available in Malaysia's financial market and help impress how these products can impact their earnings and business.