Mauritius launches its first Islamic bank

Mauritius launches its first Islamic bank

By Jean Paul Arouff Available at: http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFJOE72U0KT20110331

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) – Mauritius’ first fully-fledged Islamic bank launched operations on Thursday, as the Indian Ocean island seeks to become a regional Islamic banking hub.

Mauritius wants to tap into the roughly $1 trillion Islamic finance industry, and the central bank also plans to offer sharia-compliant short-term liquidity tools.

Hesham Shokry, chairman of Century Bank said its first two to three years would focus on wholesale banking and treasury and wealth management. Wholesale banking, he said, would comprise debt and equity capital markets and fund management.

“Corporate or institutions will now have access to funding alternatives, not only because our offerings will only be Sharia compliant products, but also because wholesale banking is quite different to traditional banking products or services,” he said.

Qatari investors and British American Investment Group are providing the capital.

Developing an Islamic finance industry on the Indian Ocean island that has a buoyant offshore banking sector has been a pet project of Bank of Mauritius Governor Rundheersing Bheenick.

“We need to develop our own niche market and strive to become a regional hub for Islamic finance,” Bheenick told the bank’s launching ceremony late on Tuesday.

The palm-fringed island’s growing offshore financial sector pitches itself as a financial platform bridging Africa, the Indian sub-continent and Asia.

Best Regards
ZULKIFLI HASAN

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India/Islam-finance: India may get its 1st foreign Islamic Bank in Bank Asya

India/Islam-finance: India may get its 1st foreign Islamic Bank in Bank Asya

By IINA Available at: http://iina.me/wp_en/?p=1002034

NEW DELHI,23 Rabi 2/March 28 (IINA)-India may soon get its first foreign Islamic bank with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking government approval to allow Turkey’s Bank Asya to offer Shariah-compliant lending in the country. Shariah, or the Islamic law, bans interest on financing. Bank Asya is keen to start its Indian operations through a representative office in Mumbai. “So far the bank has only sought permission to open a representative office,” a finance ministry official said.”We are considering their application.”

RBI has requested the government to consider the Turkish bank’s application within 45 days. Launched in 1996, Bank Asya aims to develop interest-free banking products, according to its charter. It has 179 branches in Turkey. The current statutory and regulatory framework in India does not allow banks to undertake Islamic banking activities. But the Committee on Financial Sector Reforms, constituted by the Planning Commission, had in a report in 2008 recommended delivery of interest-free finance on a larger scale, including through the banking system. Last year during a visit to Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that he would ask RBI to look into the demand for establishing Islamic banking in India.

Bank Asya had in 2009 received clearance from Turkey’s banking regulator to open a representative office in India. Its proposal has been pending with RBI for over a year. “After the global economic crisis, RBI has been stringent with allowing foreign banks in the country,” the finance ministry official said. “As a part of its liberalised policy for foreign banks, it has now granted permission to Bank Asya.” Global financial centers, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Geneva, Zurich and London, have made changes in their regulations to accommodate Islamic finance industry that is now worth about $1 trillion.

The case for Islamic banking got a boost in India last month when the Kerala high court dismissed writ petitions challenging the government sanction for starting a nonbanking finance company by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, based on the Shariah. The petitioners had argued that the government sanction amounted to favouring Islam, and that setting up such a company with co-ownership of the state was antithetical to equal treatment for all religions. But the court said the petitioners could not demonstrate how the sanction had the effect of directly promoting a particular religion. India had committed to the World Trade Organization in 1997 to issue 12 new branch licenses to foreign banks every year, a number it has exceeded almost every year since. The finance ministry has said that there are 18 foreign banks, which are looking to set up their branches or representative offices in the country and their applications are at various stages of progress. At present, there are 32 foreign banks in the country.

Regards
ZULKIFLI HASAN

Islamic finance system lacks a comprehensive law

Islamic finance system lacks a comprehensive law: Expert

By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS Available at: http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article333631.ece

JEDDAH: Islamic banks and finance institutions should have a comprehensive law to regulate their activities, make their products Shariah-compliant and win investor confidence, according to a professor at the Department of Economics in the International Islamic University, Malaysia (IIUM).

“At present there is no law defining what is Islamic banking and finance. We need a complete set of rules and regulations. In the absence of such a law, discrepancies will continue,” Muhammad Yousuf Saleem told Arab News.

A comprehensive law would bring about dramatic improvement in the quality of Islamic banking and finance services, he said. There are now thousands of Islamic banks and financial institutions across the world, dealing with more than $1 trillion in deposits and assets. “These institutions are in need of a substantial law defining Islamic banking products and banking activities,” said Saleem, who holds a doctorate degree in law from IIUM.

He added that many Muslim scholars are not happy with the present Islamic banking system due to the absence of a comprehensive law. The law would create public confidence in the system and encourage more Muslims and non-Muslims to deal with it. “Islamic banks should prove that they are totally different from conventional ones to attract faithful Muslims,” he pointed out.

Saleem said Islamic banks should invest in real economy such as industries and agriculture to boost the development of countries and create more job opportunities. “They should take care of not only the interests of shareholders, but also those of common people,” he said. He attributed the progress of the Islamic banking sector in Malaysia to strong central bank control.

The IIUM professor demands greater independence for Shariah boards that monitor the activities of Islamic banks and financial institutions. “At present, the board members are appointed and paid by the banks where they work. This is one of the weaknesses of the present system. The power of appointing and removing a board member should be vested in the central bank.”

Saleem does not favor the opening of Islamic finance windows at conventional banks. “We can only approve these windows as a transitional step, not as a permanent system, because we don’t know how they separate their transactions and use their funds. Traditional banks should open separate branches for Islamic banking to avoid mixing of funds,” he explained.

Professor Saleem is optimistic about the future of Islamic banking in the world. “There is a good future for Islamic banks, provided they improve services and focus on real economy, infrastructures and SMEs, and do not invest in credit cards and derivatives,” Saleem said. “Conventional banks encourage people to spend more. Islamic banks can put a break on this negative trend,” he added.

Best Regards
ZULKIFLI HASAN

Outdated laws hold back growth in Islamic banking

Outdated laws hold back growth in Islamic banking

By Morris Aron Available at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000032068&cid=14&j=&m=&d=

The slow rate of reforms on laws governing Islamic banking is holding back the sector’s growth potential in the region and its contribution to the economy, a leading Islamic banking specialist has said.

And as a result, Kenya risks losing investment to Uganda that has fully revised its banking rules and regulations to cater for Islamic financial institution needs.

The country has attracted the attention of investors from as far as the Middle East who are now eyeing establishing banks in the neighbouring country.

Gulf African Bank building in Nairobi. Key among challenges that Islamic banks face include the inability to invest in Government bonds.

Mr Mohamed Haris, head of corporate banking at Gulf Bank — the pioneer fully Islamic bank in the region — is now calling for a wholesome review of the laws to allow for growth of the Islamic banking model just as their conventional counterparts in the industry.

“Kenya is a regional financial hub and should take the lead in financial reforms after having taken the lead in introducing the banking model in the region,” said Haris.

Key among the challenges that Islamic banks face include the inability to invest in Government bonds as they are currently structured.

Instead, Islamic banks deposit 20 per cent of their liquidity through other commercial banks — a move that is cumbersome and blocks them from reaping returns from their investment.

Re-training staff

Islamic banks also do not have a ready pool of bankers who understand their operation mode and have to use a lot of resources in re-training staff.

Islamic banking specialists are now calling on the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and other players to review laws to allow such institutions to issue Shariah compliant bonds among other investment instruments.

There is also the need for universities and colleges to review their curriculum to allow for the teaching of Islamic banking principles.

Islamic banks also have to put in extra effort in marketing their products. Though it has been slowly coming, CBK has in the past undertaken a number of reforms to allow Islamic banks to operate.

Key among them include an exception in the regulatory framework where the Prudential Guidelines were relaxed to allow Islamic banks undertake financing transactions without charging interest rates.

“There is need for a much more enabling environment to allow us compete on equal footing,” said Haris.

“While establishing ourselves in the Kenyan market, sceptics argued that financial systems based on religious tenets were unlikely to succeed, yet, three years down the line, our continued growing strength is a clear indication that there has been a shift in perception as more Kenyans embrace Islamic finance,” said Gulf African Bank CEO Najmul Hassan.

Regards
ZULKIFLI HASAN

Has Islamic finance contributed to the public good?

Has Islamic finance contributed to the public good?

By MUSHTAK PARKER | ARAB NEWS Available at: http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article323928.ece

OXFORD: In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, one of the major criticisms has been the disconnection between banking and the real economy. One perceived manifestation is the single-minded pursuit of shareholder value and individual enrichment driven by a culture of wanton greed, instead of the traditional function of banking as financing entrepreneurial projects for the good of the real economy.

At the stately surroundings of Ditchley House in Oxford in England last week, the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC), the securities regulator and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS), organized a timely roundtable on “Islamic Finance and the Public Good,” which given the faith ethos of Islamic finance should be a common feature on the conference circuit purporting to serve the industry instead of the gratuitous marketing platforms which they often offer in return for sponsorship.

The roundtable was by invitation only and gathered some of the top thinkers and market players in global Islamic finance. They included Nik Ramlah, managing director, Securities Commission Malaysia; Nazir Razak, group CEO, CIMB Group, one of Malaysia’s largest banking groups; Farhan Nizami, director, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies; Ann Pettifor, executive director, Advocacy International; Mukhtar Hussein, Global CEO, HSBC Amanah; Mohd Daud Bakar, a prominent Shariah adviser who serves on several boards; Muhammad Faiz Azmi, global head Islamic finance, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Qudeer Latif, partner Clifford Chance, LLP; David Vicary, chairman, Global Islamic Finance Group, Deloitte; Nicholas Foster, senior lecturer in Islamic commercial law, SOAS, London University; Rafe Haneef, CEO, HSBC Amanah Malaysia; Iqbal Khan, CEO, Fajr Capital; Professors Volker Nienhaus and Simon Archer of Reading University; and Professor Hashim Kamali of the International Institute of advanced Islamic studies.

In his special address, Raja Nazrin Shah, the crown prince of Perak State in Malaysia and ambassador-at-large of the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC), reminded that in Islamic finance, consideration of the public good is inherent in the Maqasid Shariah (the objectives of the Shariah). “The Shariah seeks to establish justice, eliminate prejudice and alleviate hardship. The prohibition of riba (interest), for instance, serves to ensure that Islamic financial transactions promote real, as opposed to artificial, wealth creation. Therefore, it serves the public good. On the other hand, the artificial creation and transfer of wealth through so-called ‘toxic products’ do not serve the public good. Such activity can have catastrophic consequences as demonstrated during the financial crisis,” he explained.

The concept of Maslaha (the public good) is another testament of the close link between Islamic finance, fiqh (jurisprudence) and the public good, and partly based on the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that “no harm should be caused to another nor shall any harm be caused in return for harm.”

In her opening speech, Zarinah Anwar, chairman of the Securities Commission Malaysia, reminded that Islamic finance like any other industry must create a distinctive value proposition that meets the needs of its customers. To a certain extent, Islamic finance has managed to transcend religious, political and geographical boundaries and today serves not only the needs of Muslims but is also gaining the interest and acceptance of non-Muslims.

She warned that there are challenges that could pose threats to the entire value chain. Islamic finance products have had universal appeal due to its ability to replicate its conventional counterparts. But replication has its dangers. “Replicating the conventional banking products means that the industry is importing the same issues and concerns faced by conventional finance. Conventional finance recognizes debt as the basis of all financing structures whilst Islamic finance has risk participation as its cornerstone. Blending the two, which has been the popular practice, has to some extent diminished the value and the spirit of the Shariah. As a consequence, we see increasing legal uncertainties and concerns over investor protection. But there is also a school of thought that says a close resemblance is permissible,” she explained.

Chairman Zarinah called for the virtues of Islamic finance to be unlocked further. Public good, ethics, shared values, governance, real and tangible contributions to the economy hold the key to innovation and growth. “Profits involving a higher social purpose and objective,” she maintained, “represent values that will create not just economic returns but also comply with universal ethical standards. Putting all these in place will strengthen the universality and acceptability of Islamic Finance, enabling it to offer a distinctive value proposition.”

Professor Kamali explained that Islamic finance has provided sufficient evidence that the Shariah has enormous potential to contribute to the public good. One manifestation is the proscription on investments in speculative derivatives and transactions such as CDOs, which were the bane of market capitalism in the recent financial crisis. The concept of Maslaha, he added, is not confined to Islamic finance per se, but also to wider governance, governments and public life, although the application of Maslaha must be genuine, all-inclusive and have no conflicts with Shariah injunctions.

Professor Nienhaus raised some searching questions relating to what Maslaha or the concept of public good actually means in practice, especially in the context of Islamic finance. He noted that Islamic banking follows the conventional structure of fractional reserve banking (FRB) which implies that banks guarantee the nominal value of deposits and keep only a fractional reserve and use the rest for financing etc.

This, he lamented, is a pity because the world in the aftermath of the financial crisis is looking for a system that is more stable, sustainable and efficient.

He alluded to the changing concept of investment from involvement in entrepreneurial projects in the real economy to the contemporary placement of funds in the financial sector. This has diverted liquidity from the real sector and has earned the financial sector huge profits, disturbingly not by financing the real economy.

Professor Nienhaus warned that Islamic finance and the academic debate should also be in a socio-economic context. In this respect, there should be better communication between Shariah scholars and Islamic economists, especially in the context of the debate on Maslaha. He warned that there are too many replications of conventional financial instruments which have serve to undermine the very ethos of Islamic finance. Even the document on the Islamic equivalent to repurchase contracts (Repos) issued for public consultation by the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) in Bahrain, talks about this as a functional equivalent of Riba (interest). This cannot be appropriate for the Islamic finance industry to move in the right direction.

It was refreshing to see Islamic bankers on the roundtable acknowledge that there is huge dissatisfaction with the performance of the Islamic finance industry. The industry, they contended, started as a Shariah-compliant one with the hope that it would progress to a Shariah-based industry. This unfortunately has not happened.

Some of the bankers called for a reversion to the Glass-Steagalls era when we had the separation of the commercial banks from the investment banks/asset management companies. Perhaps, the future concentration could be on a much more defined asset management mutual fund model. For instance there could be dedicated Mudarabas for agriculture, infrastructure, education etc. This will help the Islamic finance industry to achieve Maqasid Al-Shariah (the objectives of the Shariah) in a much more reasonable way. However, others maintained that Islamic finance cannot compete with conventional finance in the provision of cheap credit and leveraging. As such, there is no future for the Islamic finance industry model as long as this persists. Another stressed that it is the very nature of the banking model that chases shareholder value that has led to certain behavior, which in turn has given rise to expectations. As such, the public good needs to be defined by and in terms of these expectations.

Ann Pettifor stressed that public good is not an abstract concept. The banking system, in fact, is a public good just as clean water is. Public good is steeped in socio-economic evolution, and the price that has been paid in its name is colossal. She suggested that society has to claim back the banking system as a public good especially in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Although how we practically can do this is open to debate. The contention is that society has allowed bankers to hijack the public good for personal private gain and greed.

But who are the guardians of the public good? The bankers seem to suggest that it is the regulators. This suggestion may be flawed. If we consider the maxim that it is financial engineering that drives innovation, and innovation that drives regulation, then the responsibilities of bankers become self-evident. In the recent global financial crisis, for instance, regulators had no idea about the complexities of the credit debt obligations (CDOs) and the complex derivatives, that nearly brought about the collapse of the global financial system, let alone how to regulate them.

Best Regards
ZULKIFLI HASAN

The Reconstruction of Islamic Thought: Syikwah and Jawab Syikwah by Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Dear Myweblog readers,

I take this opportunity to share with you these amazing pieces by Sir Muhammad Iqbal. They are very inspirational and thought provoking. Perhaps,these poetries will be good entertainment for us and at the same time able to stimulate our thought with the reality of the muslims world today. I dedicate this new post to all my fellow Muslims brothers and sisters. Enjoy reading, watching and listening!!!!

The Complaint (Syikwah)

Why should I abet the loss, why forget the gain,
Why forfiet the future, bemoan the past in vain?

Hear the wail of nightingal, and remain unstirred,
Am I a flower insensate that will not say a word?

The power of speech emboldens me to speak out my heart,
I’ll sure be damned, I know, if fault my God.

Hear, O Lord, from the faithful ones this sad lament,
From those used to hymn a praise, a word of discontent.

Enternally were you present, Lord, eternally omniscent,
The flower hung upon the tree, but without incense.

Be Thou fair, tell us true, O fountsinhead of grace,
How could the scent spread withoutthe breeze apace?

The world presented a queer sight ere we took the stage,
Stones and plants in your stead were worshipped in that age.

Man, being inured to senses, couldn’t accept a thing unseen,
How could a formless God impress his senses keen?

Tell me, Lord, if anyone ever invoked Thy name,
The strength of Muslim arm alone restored Thy fame.

There was no dearth of peoples on this earth before,
Turkish tribes and Persian clans lived in days of yore;

The Greeks and the Chinese both bred and throve,
Christians as well as the Jews on this planet roved.

But who in Thy holy name raised his valiant sword,
Who set the things right, resolved the rigmarole?

We were the warrior bands battling for Thy cause,
Now on land, now on water, we the crusades fought.

Now in Europe’s synods did we loudly pray,
Now in African deserts made a bold foray.

Not for territorial greed did we wield the sword,
Not for pelf and power did we suffer the blows.

Had we been temped by the greed of glittering gold,
Instead of breaking idols, would have idols sold.

We impressed on every heart the oneness of our mighty Lord,
Even under the threat of sword, bold and clever was our call.

Who conquered, tell us Thou, the fearful Khyber pass?
Who vanquished the Imperial Rome, who made it fall?

Who broke the idols of the primitive folks?
Who fought the kafirs, massacred their hordes?

If the prayer time arrived right amid the war,
With their faces turned to Kaaba, knelt down the brave Hejaz.

Mahmud and Ayaz stood together in the same flank,
The ruler and the ruled forget the difference in their rank.

The rich and poor, Lord and slave, all were levelled down,
All became brethern in love, with Thy grace crowned.

We roamed the world through, visited every place,
Did our rounds like the cup, serving sacred ale.

Forget about the forests, we spared not the seas,
Into the dark, unfathomed ocean, we pushed our steeds.

We removed falsehood from the earth’s face,
We broke the shackles of the human race.

We reclaimed your Kaaba with our kneeling brows,
We pressed the sacred Quran to our heart and soul.

Even then you grumble, we are false, untrue,
If you call us faithless, tell us what are you?

You reserve your favours for men of other shades,
While you hurl your bolts on the Muslim race.

This is not our complaint that such alone are blesse,
Who do not know the etiquette, nor even can converse.

The tragedy is while kafirs are with houries actually blest,
On vague hopes of houries in heaven the Muslim race is made to rest!

Poverty, taunts, ignominy stare us in the face,
Is humiliation the sole reward of our suffering race?

To perpetuate Thy name is our sole concern,
Deprived of the saqi’s aid can the cup revolve and turn?

Gone is your assemblage, off your lovers have sailed,
The midnight sights are no more heard, nor the morning wails;

They pledged their hearts to you, what is their return?
Hardly had they stepped inside, when they were externed.

Thy lovers came and went away, fed on hopes of future grace,
Search them now with the lamp of your glowing face.

Unassuaged is Laila’s ache, unquenched is Qais’s thirst,
In the wilderness of Nejd, the wild deer are still berserk.

The same passion thrills the hearts, enchanting still is beauty’s gaze,
You are the same as before, same too is the Prophet’s race.

Why then this indifference, without a cause or fault?
Why with your threatening looks dost thou break our heart?

Accepted that the flame of love burneth low and dim,
We do not, as in your, dance attendance on your whims;

But you too, pardon us, possess a coquettish heart,
Now on us, now on others, alight your amorous darts.

The spring has now taken leave, broken lies the lyre string,
The birds that chirped among the leaves have also taken wing;

A single nightingale is left singing on the tree,
A flood of song in her breast is longing for release.

From atop the firs and pines the doves have flown away,
The floral petals lie scattered all along the way.

Desolate lie the garden paths, once dressed and neat,
Leafless hang the branches on the naked trees.

The nightingale is unconcerned with the season’s range,
Would that someone in the grove appreciates her wail.

May the nightingale’s wail pierce the listeners’ hearts,
May the clinking caravan awaken slumbering thoughts!

Let the hearts pledge anew their faith to you, O Lord,
Let’s re-charge our cups from the taverns of the past.

Through I hold a Persian cup, the wine is pureHejaz,
Thought I sing an Indian song, the turn is of the Arabian cast.

The Answer (Jawab Syikwah)

JAWAB E SHIKWA

The word springing from the heart surely carries weight,
Though notendowed with wings, it yet can fly in space.

Pureand spiritual in its essence, it pegs its gaze on high,
Rising from the lowly dust, grazes past the skies.

Keen, defiant, and querulous was my passion crazed,
It pierced through the skies, my audacious wail.

“Someone is there,” thus spoke the heaven’s warder old,
the planets said, “From above proceeds this voice so bold.”

“No, no,” the moon said,” “tis someone on the earth below,”
Butted in the milky way: “The voice is hereabouts, I trow.”

Ruzwan alone, if at all, understood aright,
He knew it was the man, from heaven once exiled.

Even the angles wondered who raised this cry,
All the celestial denizens looked about surprised.

Does man possess the might to scale empyreal heights?
Has this mere pinch of dust learnt the knack to fly?

What are these earthly folks? Careless of all respect,
How bold and impudent, the lowly dwellers of the earth!

Extremely rude and insolent, cross even with God,
Is it the same Adam whom angels once did laud?

Steeped in bliss, man is of wisdom’s lore possessed,
Nonetheless, he’s alien to humility’s sterling worth.

Man feels proud of the power of his speech,
But the fool doesn’tknow how and what to speak.

You narrate a woeful tale, thus the voice arose,
Your heart is boiling overwith tears uncontrolled.

You have delivered your plaint with perfect skill and art,
You have brought the humans in contact with God.

We are inclined to grant, but none deserves our grace,
None treads the righteous path, whom to show the way?

Our school is open to all, but talent there is none,
Where is that soil fertile to breed the human gems?

We reward the deserving folks with splendid meed,
We grant newer worlds to those who strive and seek.

Arms have been drained of strength, hearts have gone astray,
The Muslim race is a blot on the Prophet’s face.

Idol-breakers have left the scene, idol-makers remain,
Aazar has inheritedAbraham’s glorious name.

Wine, flask,and drinkers-all arenew and changed,
A differentKaaba, different idols now your worship claim.

Therewas a time when you were respected far and wide,
Once this desert bloom was the season’s wealth and pride.

Every Muslim then was a lover profound of God,
Your sole beloved once was the all-embracing Lord.

Who removed falsehood from the earth’s face?
Who broke the shackles of the human race?

Who reclaimed our Kaaba with their kneeling brows?
Who presses the sacred Quran to their heart and soul?

True, they were your forbears, but what are you, I say?
Idle sitting, statue-like you dream away your days.

What did you say? Muslims are with hopes of houries consoled,
Even if your plaint is false, your words should be controlled.

Justice is the law supreme, operative on this globe,
Muslims can’t expect the houries, if they follow the kafir’s code.

None of you is,infact,deservingof the”hoor”,
A Moses is but hard to fin,burneth still the Tur.

Common to the race entire is their gain or loss,
Common is their faith and creed, common too the Rasul of God;

One Kaaba, one Allah, and one Quran inspire their heart,
Why can’t the Muslims then behave like a single lot?

Cast, creed and factions have disjointed this race,
Is this way to forge ahead, to flourish in the present age?

It’s the poor who visit the mosque, join the kneeling rows,
The poor alone observe the fasts, practise self-control.

If someone repeats our name, it’s the poor again,
The devout poor hide your sins, preserve your vaunted name.

Drunk with the wine of wealth, the rich are unconcerned with God,
The Muslim race owes its life to the poor, indigent lot.

“Muslims have vanished from earth,” this is what we hear,
but we ask, ” Were the Muslims ever the Jewish sects.

You are Nisars by your looks, but Hindus by conduct,
Your culture puts to shame even the Jewish sects.

If the son is alien to his learned father’s traits,
How can he then claim his father’s heritage?

All of you love to lead a soft, luxurious life,
Are you a Muslim indeed? Is this the Muslim style?

All of you desire to be invested with the crown,
You should first produce a heart worthy of renown.

The new age is the lighting blast, it will set your barns on fire,
It can’t produce in groves or deserts the Old Sinai’s burning spire.

The new fire consumes for fuel the blood of nations old,
The clothes of the Prophet’s race are incinerated in its folds.

Don’t be depressed, gardener, by the present scene,
The starry buds are about to burst with a brilliant sheen.

The garden will soon be rid of its thorns and weeds,
The martyr’s blood will bring to bloom all the dormant seeds.

Mark how the sky reflects its orange purple hues,
The rising sun will flush the sky with its rays anew.

Islamic tree exemplifies cultivation long and hard,
A fruit of arduous gardening over centuries past.

Your caraven needn’t fear the perils of the path,
But for the call ofbells you own no wealth at all.

You are the plant of light, the burning wick that never fails,
With the power of your thought you can incinerate the veil.

We’ll love you as our own, if you follow the Prophet’s ways,
The world is but a paltry thing, you’ll command the pen and page.

Best Regards
ZULKIFLI HASAN

My Thought: Could Dinar and Dirham Make a Comeback?

Dear My Weblog Readers,

I am very pleased to share with you my recent paper presentation on the issue of Dinar and Dirham as the ideal currency held on 19th March 2011 at the University of Manchester. Considering to numerous pros and cons views and opinions about the practicality and viability of dinar and dirham in the current monetary system, I employ an integrated approach to briefly analyse the inherent issues by discussing them from various perspectives i.e. legal, Shari’ah, economy and politics. Enjoy reading?…

Krisis kewangan yang melanda melibatkan kerugian dahsyat yang pernah direkodkan dalam sejarah dunia. Pasaran Modal dianggarkan kerugian sebanyak USD30-35 trilion, sektor hartanah, USD60 trilion dan sektor kewangan, USD3 trilion. Kos untuk menampung bencana alam seperti gempa bumi, tsunami, taufan dan sebagainya dari tahun 1970-2007 hanya memerlukan USD745 billion. Michael Spence pemegang Anugerah Nobel Ekonomi dan Muhammad Umer Chapra pemegang Anugerah Ekonomi Islam menyatakan faktor utama krisis kewangan dunia adalah disebabkan instrumen derivative dan sekuriti. Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi pemenang Anugerah Antarabangsa Raja Faisal bersependapat bahawa eksploitasi pasaran dan instrumen kewangan melibatkan hutang berlebihan menyumbang kepada krisis kewangan. Sekumpulan ilmuan yang digelar “Dinarist” menarik perhatian dunia apabila mengkritik hebat sistem matawang fiat diamalkan yang dilihat sebagai punca sebenar krisis yang melanda dunia. “Dinarist” berpandangan bahawa dinar dan dirham yang telah diamalkan ribuan tahun dalam sejarah dunia merupakan sistem matawang yang ideal dan mampu mengelak krisis ekonomi pada masa akan datang. Di kala “dinarist” teruja dengan idea ini, ramai cendiakawan mempersoalkan kewajaran dan keberkesanan dinar dan dirham sebagai matawang dalam konteks sistem sedia ada. Kertas kerja ini akan cuba membicarakan isu dinar dan dirham dan merungkai serta menjawab beberapa persoalan yang masih menjadi dilema sehingga kini. (Zulkifli Hasan, 2011)

For further reading, click here: Dinar and Dirham: Strength and Practicality

Best Regards
ZULKIFLI HASAN