Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Is Bitcoin Sharia Compliant? Davi Barker

August 22, 2014 Leave a comment



This is intended for a Muslim audience but I will endeavor to make it accessible to a general audience. It is really an appeal to Muslims for a little monetary sanity.

I am  in the uncomfortable position of being the only person I know even remotely qualified to answer this question. There’s no pride in that claim, but despair for the lack of interest in this subject in the Muslim community.

The Muslim scholars I’ve asked don’t really understand what Bitcoin is, and the average Bitcoin enthusiast doesn’t know anything about what has become a relatively esoteric area of Islamic law. So, I may be the only bridge between these two communities. Read more…

Categories: Money

Sulaiman Al-Rajhi’s life a rags to riches story

September 4, 2013 Leave a comment



Saudi Arabia’s rags-to-riches billionaire Sulaiman Al-Rajhi is also a world-renowned philanthropist. He is the founder of Al-Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic bank in the world, and one of the largest companies in Saudi Arabia. As of 2011, his wealth was estimated by Forbes to be $7.7 billion, making him the 120th richest person in the world. His flagship SAAR Foundation is a leading charity organization in the Kingdom. The Al-Rajhi family is considered as one of the Kingdom’s wealthiest non-royals, and among the world’s leading philanthropists.
Al-Rajhi is a billionaire who chose last year to become a poor man at his own will without having any cash or real estates or stocks that he owned earlier. He became penniless after transferring all his assets among his children and set aside the rest for endowments. In recognition of his outstanding work to serve Islam, including his role in establishing the world’s largest Islamic bank and his regular contribution toward humanitarian efforts to fight poverty, Al-Rajhi was chosen for this year’s prestigious King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam.
In an interview with Muhammad Al-Harbi of Al-Eqtisadiah business daily, Al-Rajhi speaks about how he was able to succeed in convincing chiefs of the leading central banks in the world, including that of the Bank of England, nearly 30 years ago that interest is forbidden in both Islam and Christianity, and that the Islamic banking is the most effective solution to activate Islamic financing in the world and make it a real boost to the global economy.
The story of Al-Rajhi is that of a man who made his fortunes from scratch, relying on grit and determination. Al-Rajhi threw away his huge wealth through two windows — distributed a major part of his inheritance among his children and transferred another portion to endowments, which are regarded as the largest endowment in the history of the Islamic world. He had to fight poverty and suffering during his childhood before becoming a billionaire through hard work and relentless efforts, and then leaving all his fortunes to become penniless again.
Al-Rajhi is still very active and hardworking even in his 80s with youthful spirits. He begins his work daily after morning prayers and is active until Isha prayers before going to bed early. He is now fully concentrated on running the endowment project under his SAAR Foundation, and traveling various regions of the Kingdom managing activities related with it. He always carries a pocket diary containing his daily programs and activities and he is accustomed to stick on to the schedule he had prepared well in advance.
Al-Rajhi scored excellent performance results in almost all businesses in which he carved out a niche for himself. In addition to establishing the world’s largest Islamic bank, he founded the largest poultry farm in the Middle East. The credit of activating the organic farming experiment in the Kingdom mainly goes to him through launching a number of farming projects, including Al-Laith shrimp farming. He also established real estate and other investment projects.
Read more…

Islamic Microfinance: An Emerging Market Niche

May 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Islamic Microfinance: An Emerging Market Niche

[Click on the link to download the focus report]

An estimated 72 percent of people living in Muslim-majority countries do not use formal financial services (Honohon 2007). Even when financial services are available, some people view conventional products as incompatible with the financial principles set forth in Islamic law. In recent years, some microfinance institutions (MFIs) have stepped in to service low-income Muslim clients who demand products consistent with Islamic financial principles—leading to the emergence of Islamic microfinance as a new market niche.

Islamic microfinance represents the confluence of two rapidly growing industries: microfinance and Islamic finance. It has the potential to not only respond to unmet demand but also to combine the Islamic social principle of caring for the less fortunate with microfinance’s power to provide financial access to the poor. Unlocking this potential could be the key to providing financial access to millions of Muslim poor who currently reject microfinance products that do not comply with Islamic law. Islamic microfinance is still in its infancy, and business models are just emerging.

In a 2007 global survey on Islamic microfinance, CGAP collected information on over 125 institutions and contacted experts from 19 Muslim countries. The survey and a synthesis of other available data revealed that Islamic microfinance has a total estimated global outreach of only 380,000 customers and accounts for only an estimated one-half of one percent of total microfinance outreach.

The supply of Islamic microfinance is very concentrated in a few countries, with the top three countries (Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan) accounting for 80 percent of global outreach. Nevertheless, demand for Islamic microfinance products is strong. Surveys in Jordan, Algeria, and Syria, for example, revealed that 20–40 percent of respondents cite religious reasons for not accessing conventional microloans.

This Focus Note provides an overview of the current state of the Islamic microfinance sector and identifies possible challenges to its growth. It is intended as an introduction to Islamic microfinance primarily for the donor community and other potential entrants into the market.

Muhammad Yunus: The Founding of Grameen Bank

May 27, 2013 Leave a comment

[From Youtube]

Published on 1 Jun 2012

On April 19, 2012, sponsored by the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative, Harvard innovation lab, HBS Healthcare Initiative, Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus came to Harvard Business School campus to speak. This is an exerpt.

Social Business—New Models for Providing Sustainable Services to the Poor
Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Professor Muhammad Yunus is widely known for his work in establishing the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983. Join us for a discussion regarding his recent efforts that focus on building social businesses and healthcare initiatives in Bangladesh. Professor Yunus is the author of Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, Creating a World without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, and Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs.

Egypt and the IMF – An Economic Struggle for the Future of the New Middle East

April 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Egypt and the IMF – An Economic Struggle for the Future of the New Middle East

By Younus Abdullah Muhammad


In the 2 years since the Arab Uprisings turned over the geopolitics of the Middle East, coherent outcomes have escaped concrete formulation. Debate amongst policymakers in the West tends to split analysis down traditional realist and liberal lines, but most insight has failed to acknowledge that political outcomes will ultimately be shaped by underlying economic decisions. Those decisions will have serious implications, not only for region, but for the future make-up of the global economy. Consequentially, the derivative political outcome may prove to determine whether the current unipolar order perpetuates or transitions into a balance of power system. In reality, the economic path chosen by Egyptians will largely determine the outcome of the Arab Spring and will resonate to affect the entire geopolitical order. imf

Egypt is the most influential country in the new Middle East. With the Arab world’s most populous nation and a political-economy in rapid deterioration, meeting the aspirations that propelled initial uprisings will depend largely on the ultimate formation of economic structures in the country. A milestone related to Egypt’s economic underbelly may have occurred recently. Almost 2 years after President Obama pledged $1 billion in debt relief and assistance, his newly appointed secretary of state, John Kerry pledged to release $250 million in aid contingent on President Morsi’s pursuit of the conditionalities necessary to secure an IMF loan. The decisions, if fulfilled, would not only cement ties between the American hegemon and the Muslim Brotherhood but would sustain and extend Egypt’s participation in an unstable and uncertain international financial order. There are substantial risks for both sides. In releasing aid now, the U.S. is essentially accepting a role for political Islam. In agreeing to IMF dictate, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi would essentially be accepting participation with an economic order many Egyptians view as contrary to their independent interests.  In reality, if economic principles endorsed by both Western and Islamic systems were advocated a great deal of cooperation and prosperity would ensue and an effective step toward an inevitable, multipolar order would be taken.  Read more…

Categories: Money, Politics Tags: , , , , ,

There are alternatives to free market capitalism!

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

There are alternatives to free market capitalism!

Publication time: 14 October 2008, 19:19 

By Adnan Khan

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 was heralded as a landmark event in history; it was considered the wholesale rejection of a way of life and end of Communism. The post – WW2 world was dominated by the competition between the Capitalist free market led by the US and state intervention led by the Soviet Union. Francis Fukuyama considered one of the most important living public intellectuals considered the development of ideas to have ended in his ‘end of history’ thesis as there was no meaningful debate left between Marxism and the market.


The Global credit crunch more then a year on shows no sign of slowing down and has now reached boiling point due to the number of banks that continue to collapse. Comparisons continue to be made with the great depression of the 1930’s, as many of the conditions present in the current crisis were also present on the eve of the great depression.


Prior to the collapse of many of Wall streets titans in September 2008 various thinkers and free market ideologues continued to argue just as their free market ancestors did in the 1930’s and against mounting evidence to the contrary, that time and nature would restore prosperity if governments refrained from manipulating the economy. Western governments have been forced to throw their Capitalist free market blueprint out of the window and intervene in the economy like never before. Over $ 5 trillion in total market capitalisation has been wiped out since October 2007, with over a trillion of this accounted for by the unravelling of Wall Street’s financial titans.


This crisis is much more then a financial crisis, this has now been accepted by free market ideologues that played down the prospects of a recession and labelled those who did as doomsayers, talking themselves into a recession. Such thinkers are now in hiding with very few economists prepared to remind the world of Capitalisms principled argument, as the Economist reminded us all: “excess and calamity are part of the package of Western finance. And still it is worth it.” With consumer deposits, savings and jobs all at stake this crisis has well and truly brought into question the suitability of the free market and as one geopolitical expert put it: “as the details of the present crisis reveal, there are huge ideological fault lines making for chaos and a potential meltdown of the Laissez Faire financial system.”


There are three reasons why the credit crunch crisis occurred:


1. The financial industry created complex financial contracts like derivatives that would securitize and make money from all forms of risk, this included exotic instruments such as credit default swaps and subprime loans. Banks continued to sell debt to customers with little ability to repay them, August 2007 was the point when such debt reached bursting point.


2. The speculative frenzy that gripped both the American market as well as Europe in the purchase of real estate which continued to send real estate prices to astronomical levels.


3. Greed played a direct role in the crisis as it led to predatory lending to people that had little means to make repayments. It also led to credit ratings agencies to rate investments less risky than they really were.

Read more…

Interview – Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Money, Politics Tags: , , , , , ,
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