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Monday, 22 July 2013

Time Management in the light of Islamic teaching …

Islam means “submission to the Will of God.” In its moral sagacity Islam signifies “striving after the ideal”. A Muslim is one who submits to the will of God. “Islam” and “Muslim” derive from the same word as the Arabic for “PEACE”. The traditional Muslim greeting is “Peace be unto you”. Islam recommends hope for salvation to the righteous and God-fearing of all religions. Muslims believe in the Divine Revelation of all prophets including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. The Quran is God’s Word and Final Revelation to Prophet Muhammad revealed over a period of twenty-three years. The Muslims has certain obligations towards Allah, himself and society. They involve knowledge, work and acts of worship. Their proper expulsion demands that each of them be allocated its due amount of time. No duty should intrude on the time allocated to other duties; otherwise, there may not be adequate time to fulfill any of them. Islamic teaches for the appropriate management and investment of time, and so does contemporary administrative thought. Time is widely portrayed as gold. In reality, it is more precious than gold, for it is inestimable. Time characterizes an exceedingly important resource in life, if it is not efficiently utilized, so much will be lost. Time gone will be intricate to make up for; once it passes, it never comes back. It is not easy to give a perfect description of time but, by reflecting on the evolution of life and historical events, certain characteristics can be identified. Since long, scientists have observed that time passes at a fixed and invariable speed and every second, every minute and every hour is similar to all other seconds, minutes and hours. Time passes in a straight forward movement in accordance with an inimitably controlled system, which cannot be changed, stopped, increased or re-constructed. In consequence, the constant forward movement of time is neither fast nor slow, and it cannot be accumulated, altered, cancelled, replaced or stopped. The Holy Quran stresses the worth of time in a multiple ways and contexts, in relation, to deeds and their means, to administration and organization, to the universe and creation, and to God-man relationship with view to faith and worship.
Allah says in Holy Quran, “and He it is Who hath appointed night and day in succession, for him who desireth to remember, or desireth thankfulness”. (Al-Furqan – 62).
At another place Allah says, “… Worship at fixed hours hath been enjoined on the believers”. (An-Nisa’ – 103).
Furthermore, in Surra Ar-Rum Almighty Allah declares, “So glory be to Allah when ye enter the night and when ye enter the morning. Unto Him be praise in the heavens and the earth – and at the sun’s decline and in the noonday”. (Ar-Rum –17, 18).
One of the famous Hadith calling for grabbing the opportunity for investing time is the one narrated by Ibn-Abbas; the Prophet said, “Grab five things before five others: your youth before your decrepitude, your health before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, your leisure before your work, and your life before your death”.
Islam encourages Muslims to care for time, to exploit it and not to misuse it. Moreover, it embraces them accountable for their time. An essential obligation for Muslim’s life is to be cautious about time, to devote it sensibly and to benefit from it. In this regard, Ibn-Al-Qayyim says, “The highest, most creditable and most valuable of reflection is what is intended for Allah and the Hereafter. There are various forms of reflection intended for Allah. One of them is reflecting on time duty and function and focusing entirely on it, for the knowledgeable one is the breed of his time. If he wastes it, all his interests are wasted, for all interests arise from time. If he wastes his time, he can never regain it”. Also, Imam Shafi’i said, “Out of my company with Sufis, I benefited only two things, one of which is their saying: like a sword, time will cut you if you do not cut it…” In other words, if you do not spend time doing something useful, you are the loser by wasting it. It is exceptionally crucial for Muslims to be careful about time, the Muslims are required to consume and spend their time in what benefits them in this world and the Hereafter. In this regard, he can follow the good example set by the Righteous Salaf (predecessor). They were so cautious that in less than a century they were competent to make drastic changes in the societies into which they introduced Islam. The honorable Salaf made sure that no time passed without doing something useful, such as acquiring useful knowledge, doing good deeds, helping others and serving or advising nation (Ummah).
Calling on Muslims to utilize their time, to benefit from it and not to waste it, the Prophet said, “On the Day of Resurrection the feet of the son of Adam will not move away till he is questioned about four matters: how he spent his lifetime, how he spent his youth; from where he acquired his wealth and how he spent it, and what he did with his knowledge.
(The News Tribe / 22 July 2013)

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Islamic financing rises 27% to USD1.1trn in 1 year

JEDDAH - Islamic banking sector would witness an increasing demand as Islamic financing jumped 27 percent in one year to $1.1 trillion from $800 billion, said Adil Dahlawi, CEO and Managing Director of Itqan Capital, at the recently held Al Baraka 34th symposium for Islamic Economic.

He noted that the fact that countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation possess an impressive 98 percent share of the global Islamic finance assets, necessitates the development of solutions that "commensurate with this increase and steady growth."
Moreover, Dahlawi said "this years' 34th Symposium on Islamic Economics has connected jurisprudence with contemporary economic issues to find solutions to challenges faced by the Islamic banking industry." He said one of the most prominent topics discussed was zakat on debt, especially with the widespread presence of financial institutions specialized in financing from private companies and banks, in addition to the increase in demand for private and public financing, whose notable effects are apparent on the financial statements of various companies and institutions."

"Recently, the Islamic banking sector has been witnessing a remarkable growth, with an increase in Islamic financing by 27 percent in one year from $800 billion to $1.1 trillion," he pointed out.

He noted that global Islamic financing centers are mostly concentrated in the Middle East, including Iran, whose share is estimated at 35.7 percent of the total Islamic financial assets, followed by Saudi Arabia with 13.9 percent, the United Arab Emirates with 8.7 percent, Kuwait with 7.3 percent, Bahrain with 5.3 percent, Qatar with 4.8 percent, and Malaysia with a 12.3 percent share.

Dahlawi further said the Islamic banking sector would witness an increasing demand, "especially with the expected solutions and outcomes of Islamic banking and financing specialized seminars such as this one." 

Standard & Poor's earlier forecast that sukuk sales are to double and reach $3 trillion by 2015 in light of companies which are working to capitalize on this growing and promising market. 

itqan Capital, a member of Al Baraka Banking Group, and one of the leaders in providing investment offerings and opportunities to high net worth individuals in Saudi Arabia, participated in the recently held Al Baraka 34th symposium for Islamic Economic. The two-day symposium, held under the patronage of Al Baraka Banking Group's Chairman Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, highlighted and discussed a number of emerging banking and financial themes.

The 34th symposium in Jeddah was attended by a number of Itqan Capital's top clients, who were attentive to the lively discussions on various Islamic financing and economic topics, with the participation of a large number of global experts and scholars specialized in the Islamic banking and financing sectors.

(Zawya / 21 July 2013)

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Pakistan: Major Islamic finance push is launched

KARACHI: Pakistan's central bank has launched a mass media campaign to raise awareness and acceptance of Islamic finance among consumers in the world's second most populous Muslim country.
This is part of an overhaul of Islamic finance activities in Pakistan, which also includes the establishment of a country-level Sharia board and new rules for Sharia-compliant financial products.
The central bank is rolling out a five-year plan for Pakistan's Islamic banking sector, which follows religious principles such as ban on interest and pure monetary speculation.
"There still prevails a significant population that is either unaware of Islamic banking or have confusions and misconceptions about its current paradigm," said central bank governor Yaseen Anwar at the launch of the campaign.
The country's Islamic banking industry includes five full-fledged Islamic banks and five takaful (Islamic insurance) firms, with an additional 12 conventional banks offering services through Islamic windows.
(Gulf Daily News / 20 July 2013)

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Islamic finance and Malaysia’s assertive role

In this interview, Ashar Nazim extrapolates on the role of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM), the need for Malaysia to be more aggressive in pushing Islamic banking globally and the need for global connectivity in the sector.

Ashar said establishing Malaysia as a market place for businesses to raise funds was definitely a niche which Malaysia has to capitalise upon and Islamic banking units should be empowered to take strategic decisions to drive its own fate.

Ashar Nazim, a partner of Ernst & Young and head of its Islamic banking excellence centre, spoke to The Malaysian Reserve at the sidelines of an event in Kuala Lumpur, recently.

How can Malaysia enhance its global presence in the regional I slamic banking sector?

A: In the case of global connectivity, Malaysia must give importance to the knowledge ecosystem.

More collaboration is needed among standard setting bodies, whereas research and development is very important and there is a need to fund education which is even more compelling in the sector. Attracting foreign specialists, that is the best of minds, to help develop the markets is necessary.

There are several new market players like Libya, Egypt, Turkey and Oman opening up to Islamic finance for the first time. Now is the time to influence these new markets with the framework and the standards already in use in Malaysia in order to get them to adopt these principles.

What are the solutions you propose to achieve the regional influence?

A: Today the situation demands that the Islamic banking units should be empowered to take strategic decisions, should be capitalised to pursue those growth and opportunities and should have the talent, the technology to drive its own fate and not be dependent on a hybrid structure.

Maybe it is time, and this is a caution that we put out to the industry, for the industry to re-look at the business model of a hybrid institution towards an Islamic bank because once you’ve got stand alone banks, you’ve got a much more powerful brand in the market. This will allow them to go regional and subsequently international.

Are Malaysian institutions ready to go regional, global? 

A: From a talent perspective we see them challenged. They are stretched due to lack of talent but collaborations and joint ventures, taking a more balanced view between a shortterm commercial viability in the domestic market versus a strategic medium-term view, could be the answer.

Does this call for consolidations among Islamic banks? 

A: Consolidation should be one of the options and the reason is today among the top five Islamic banks, by the assets or by capital, none are Malaysia. If we are talking about global leadership, then we need to have institutions that can become global leaders.

What about the delays that has bogged down the IILM? 

A: IILM has an important role to play in the development of the Islamic capital market. It had a couple of relaunches and change of management team. Maybe it is time to carefully evaluate the business model and the leadership in order to ensure the purpose, but the demand is definitely there.

In the capital markets, the biggest demand today is access to capital and a market place that has the confidence of the investors.

Establishing Malaysia as a market place for businesses to raise funds is definitely a niche which Malaysia has to capitalise upon. But it should not just be limited to IILM. There are other initiatives and institutions that should be created to compliment IILM’s role to complete the cycle.

(The Malaysian reserve / 22 July 2013)

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