A fast growing industry estimated to already be worth over approximately $1 Trillion in total global assets, is one which requires much closer examination as to its actual workings and what the real differences are with so-called ‘conventional’ finance practices (ie overtly interest based financing).

A long standing prominent expert in this area is Tarek El Diwany, and I highly recommend his website as an excellent introduction and beyond, into this fraternity;

I would note a number of articles which make for valuable reading from someone who has had an intimate insight into the workings of the industry. Tarek’s knowledge of both theory (Fiqh) and practice ensure his opinions are well founded and concrete.

Tarek has also prepared a short online course which is covers a number of key areas of the industry, details are on the site.

Recently, Tarek appeared on the mainstream news channel Al-Jazeera, with his opinions on conventional/islamic finance;

My brief comment; One must always consider the macro view of this or any other industry/system, in order to place it into context. Can two competing and divergent systems of ‘Islamic Economics’ and Capitalism co-exist, or is one being co-opted and submerged to fit into the other? Which is prevailing and dominant?

All money is created as interest bearing debt – this is an established fact. Any business venture or activity is always assessed by interest based criteria such as the cost of capital or inflation adjusted returns, the time value of money is prevalent, therefore interest based factors are implicit in all the operations of ‘money’ based activity and especially money services such as any form of banking.

Given the above, how can this industry be an alternative to interest based finance when all the services are modeled on existing concepts and practices. I believe it is simply alternative based interest.

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