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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Islamic finance makes its mark in banking

Muscat: Islamic finance industry is making mark in the world and it is a good sign as it presents an opportunity for people to apply the true tenets of Islam to their present-day economic needs, Dr Ali Mohiyuddin Al Quradaghi, chairman, Shariah Supervisory Board of Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services, ahlibank Oman, and the Secretary-General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars said. 

Shaikh Ahmed bin Saud Al Siyabi, the Secretary-General of the ifta’a office 
(Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs), graced the occasion as chief guest. Addressing academicians and students at the Sultan Qaboos University premises at a seminar on ‘Islamic Banking, Best Practices and Development’ hosted by ahlibank and the SQU yesterday, Dr Al Quradaghi  asserted that Islamic finance should be made a part  of one’s life   because it is based on Islamic  Shariah.  

Scores  of Islamic banks 
“There are scores  of Islamic banks working to achieve the goals it has set in and Al Hilal Islamic Banking services of ahlibank is one of them.  There are number of Islamic financial tools like mudaraba, musharaka  on the liabilities front  while on the assets side, there are around 60 such instruments. So you have plenty of options to work upon the principles based on Shariah,” he said. 

The Shariah scholar called upon the countries to adopt more to using Islamic finance in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and stressed that the industry is here to stay and definitely has a future in the global financial system. 

Dr  Ali Al Quradaghi reiterated the commitment of Al Hilal Islamic banking to provide innovative products and services to all ahlibank customers, in compliance with the Shariah laws. 

He added that ahlibank’s Al Hilal Islamic banking services will continue working towards promoting Islamic finance understanding within the Omani community. 

Sheikh Aflah Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalili, member, Shariah Supervisory Board of Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services, Ahlibank Oman and the Head of Research and Studies at the Institute of Fatwa in the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, pointed out that ahlibank owns a unique distinction and exposure of Islamic banking and finance which it obtains through the presence of its strategic partner Ahli United Bank with its presence in several countries. 

Shariah-compliant products 
“Al Hilal Islamic banking will provide Shariah-compliant products and services and in no way will enter into any Shariah-repugnant and interest-based transactions. We are truly committed to truth and transparency in banking,” he added. 

Dr Humayon Dar, chairman and CEO of Edbiz Consulting, a London-based Islamic Financial Consultancy Firm,  said that riba has been  misunderstood. It is actually an exchange of likes for likes in unequal quantities and it refers to amount/quantity rather than the value.  

Prof. Dar urged Oman to incorporate social responsibility element in implementing Islamic finance as it will serve the needs of society based on Islamic principles. 

Dr Nasser al Mawali, assistant professor of economics, Sultan Qaboos University, debunked some of the myths surrounding the Islamic finance. This seminar is one of the steps taken by ahlibank to educate the general public about the merits and strengths of Islamic banking.

(Times Of Oman / 03 April 2012)

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