High-profile Islamic finance firm Dar Al Istithmar closes

High-profile Islamic finance firm Dar Al Istithmar closes

By Anjuli Davies Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/29/islamic-finance-dar-idUSL5N0AYD5C20130129

Jan 29 (Reuters) – One of the most high-profile advisory firms in Islamic finance, Dar Al Istithmar, which advised Goldman Sachs on a controversial $2 billion sukuk programme, has closed down with most of its staff moving to another company, sources told Reuters.

Dar, which had offices in London and Dubai, was set up in 2004 as a joint venture between Deutsche Bank, which subsequently pulled out, and financial firms Russell Wood Ltd and Oxford Islamic Finance Ltd.

It has now been shut after most of its personnel moved to Khalij Islamic, another investment and advisory firm with offices in London and Dubai, said the sources, who are familiar with the matter.

Officials at companies involved declined to speak publicly and it was not clear why Dar had closed down.

Dar’s former chief executive, Geert Bossuyt, who previously worked at Deutsche Bank, now holds the same position at Khalij, while former Dar managing director Asim Khan has also moved to Khalij, according to the Khalij website.

The sharia board of Khalij lists former sharia scholars at Dar, Hussain Hamed Hassan, Ali Al Qaradaghi and Aznan Hassan, who are some of the world’s most sought-after scholars. Sharia boards rule on whether companies’ products and activities comply with Islamic principles.

Dar did not make a public announcement on its closure, but its website is now out of service and a telephone number listed for it by the Dubai International Financial Centre website is incorrect. The website lists Dar as inactive with its Dubai Financial Services Authority licence revoked.

One of Dar’s most prominent clients was Goldman, whose plan to become one of the first Western banks to raise money through Islamic bonds, announced in October 2011, ignited a controversy in the Islamic finance community over whether the sukuk structure was valid and how the money would be used.

Goldman has said the sukuk met all necessary standards but publicly at least, the bank has not proceeded with the plan.

Some clients of Dar have also moved to Khalij with the management team, one source told Reuters

Regards
Zulkifli Hasan
060420095111
With Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar in Dubai.

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How Islamic finance and a more ethical capitalism go hand-in-hand

How Islamic finance and a more ethical capitalism go hand-in-hand

Sheeza Ahmad Available at: http://socialenterprise.guardian.co.uk/social-enterprise-network/2013/jan/24/islamic-finance-ethical-capitalism-social-enterprise

The Qur’an’s teachings around business chime with the objectives of the worldwide social enterprise movement.

Though wealth creation is the primary goal taught by top businessmen, social impact is considered to be a more fulfilling outcome for others. Money is not timeless, but what you do with that money can be. The light you instil in the uneducated, the medicine you provide to the ill, or the food and water you provide to the malnourished is far more enduring than the car you drive or the house you buy. Most advocates of social entrepreneurship believe that creating a business with a social impact leaves much more than just a humble footprint behind.

The concept of social entrepreneurship however is not new despite the recent rise in press coverage. It has existed since the 6th century and one particular group was taught the importance of such business: Muslims.

Muslims live their lives in accordance to the teachings of their founder, Muhammad, who led his life as a humble merchant and was the “trustworthy one” by all those who knew him. His teachings and examples of business dealings were strongly linked to humanitarian values where the poor, the sick and orphans took precedence. He acknowledged the suffering of people in surrounding environments and continually created solutions for them while creating a system that would ensure their care long after his passing.

The mention of Muhammad is significant to understand how today’s Muslims are encouraged to create wealth; supporting the notion of an existing relationship between Islamic business and social enterprise.

According to Sir Zafrullah Khan, the former Pakistani politician and diplomat, the Holy Qur’an states (59:8), “the object of the Islamic economic system is to secure the widest and most beneficent distribution of wealth through institutions set up by it and through moral exhortation. Wealth must remain in constant circulation among all sections of the community and should not become the monopoly of the right.”

In Islamic law, the principal economic obligation is the payment of the capital levy called the zakat (Holy Qur’an, 22:79), which is “a levy imposed upon the well-to-do which is returned to the poorer sections of people”. This law applies to both individual and business wealth. In the wealth that is produced, three parties are entitled to share: the working man, the person supplying the capital, and the community as representing mankind. According to Khan, “The community’s share in produced wealth is called the zakat. After this has been set aside for the benefit of the community, the rest is ‘purified’ and may be divided between the remaining parties that are entitled to share in it.”Though zakat is imposed only as a small percentage on one’s actual assets, Islamic teachings encourage the injection of wealth into communities where support is small or absent. Wealth is encouraged to be in constant circulation, either into the business, or into local communities to ensure the poor and sick are consistently attended to.

Comparatively, a social enterprise is an organisation, which focuses on environmental, social and economical well-being with a profit-making business model. The primary aim of a commercial business is to maximise shareholder wealth whereas the primary aim of a social enterprise is to maximise social value. Simply put, it is the bridge between non-profit organisations and commercial businesses.

Many examples can be found when exploring the Muslim world of social entrepreneurs who have values rooted in Islamic teachings. One notable organisation is the Grameen Foundation, which provides financial services, life-changing information and unique income-generating opportunities to improve the lives of the poor. In the last 15 years, the foundation and its partners have helped 9.4 million of the world’s poor.

Similarly, Net Impact Saudi Arabia (NISA) strives to make a positive impact in society by assisting social entrepreneurs with the provision of education, equipment and inspiration to aid with the growth of their business. NISA has successfully supported 10,000 business owners.

In relation to the business model followed by Muslims, equity holders and communities share both Islamic wealth and social enterprise-related wealth.

These two types of businesses have community interests in common and are also faced with similar issues, a major one being reduced assets as money is constantly being circulated either for the purpose of business expansion or for community support. Some would argue that this makes sustaining a social enterprise business model much more difficult in comparison to other enterprises purely because their products and services focus on something more than just increasing profits: social value.

Consumer trends have shifted towards investment in products that come attached with an individual and social benefit, which is why the successes shared by many social enterprises have been profound. Muslims and social enterprise owners pursuing businesses based on either of the two models discussed are keen to accept the challenges ahead of them as they find solace in making a difference on a social level. To them and the consumer, this holds far greater value than the accumulated wealth itself.

Regards
Zulkifli Hasan
P1040383
Oslo, Norway

Malaysia is on the way to becoming the Switzerland of Islamic banking.

The Malaysian star!

By HUSSEIN SHOBOKSHI Available at: http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2013/01/21/261608.html

While conventional banking continues to make headlines mainly for scandals, huge pay offs and bonuses, Islamic finance is growing by amazing 20 percent annually. It manages to attract non-Muslims worldwide as well as many countries have adopted and accepted this financial model. This phenomenon is also known to the people in the industry as “faith in finances”.

With this enormous potential, it is clear that there is a huge economic benefit to be sought from it. Out of all the Muslim countries that tried to chase this market, Malaysia seems to lead the way in Islamic finance by leaps and bounds. More than one-fifth of its entire banking structure is in fact Shariah-compliant that in itself is quiet an important statement. Just to note and compare that the average for other Muslim countries is barely 12 percent and many times much less.

Shariah complaint
Malaysia is, single handedly, responsible for the insurance of more than three-quarters of the global insurance with a value exceeding $80.5 billion
Hussein Shobokshi
Malaysia excelled in providing the markets with innovative financial products which are Shariah-compliant. It came up with the world’s first-sought Islamic bonds known as “sukuk” when these were issued in 2002. Malaysia is, single handedly, responsible for the insurance of more than three-quarters of the global insurance with a value exceeding $80.5 billion. This dominant position made the Malaysians think deeply on how they can capitalize on this chance and expand in their position so they created the Islamic Financial Services Board which serves as the industry’s standard-setting body.

Malaysia is far ahead of other competitors who were — and still are —involved with Islamic Finance like Turkey, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Malaysia, however, dealt with this matter in a very strategic way for a relatively small country. It has a population that barely exceeds 30 million people with Muslims making up 60 percent of that number. The comparison with its large neighboring country, Indonesia, is fascinating. Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country with a population exceeding 220 million people, has only 4 percent of its financial products that ware Shariah-compliant.

Competition
Although size matters, and Gulf states — Saudi Arabia in particular — have huge Islamic banking portfolios, it is Malaysia by far which is the leader in the center of thoughts in Islamic finance. Malaysia realized early on that it cannot keep on competing strictly as an industrial hub with the strong competition from China, Korea and Vietnam so it decided to become a serious player in the financial-services sector, particular in Islamic Finance.

Its central bank set up two institutions which played a huge role to impose a Malaysian dominance in this field. The first one is the International Centre for education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF). With its student body exceeding 2,000 and with a good experience collected over the years since it was established in 2005, it is today the world’s leading university for the study of Islamic Finance. It houses the international Shariah Research Academy, a very dynamic body producing progressive opinions. The second institution is the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM) which focuses on vocational training.

Malaysia is on the way to becoming the Switzerland of Islamic banking. It is a new star to watch.

Regards
Zulkifli Hasan
swiss 1
Top of Europe, Switzerland

Time ripe for Muslim TED Talks

Time ripe for Muslim TED Talks

Rushdi Siddiqui Available at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/litee/opinion/article/time-ripe-for-muslim-ted-talks/

“A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

A close friend suggested that I present something on Islamic finance and the halal sector on TED Talks, and my immediate reaction was, “Huh, what’s the story?”

Background: I gave a presentation on Islamic finance at Bold Talks in Dubai in 2011, and Islamic finance cannot (today) compete for an audience’s sustained attention (not for long at least) when competing against presentations from an ex-prisoner and ex-guard from Guantanamo Bay, or facing the challenges of getting photos of environmental damage from the BP oil spill, or the battle of evil and good forces highlighted in the Stanford Prison Experiment, and other inspiring and insightful human stories.

Islamic finance may be about ethics, financial inclusion, equitable treatment, etc., but it has not resulted in a compelling human interest story yet. It has not changed disasters into happy or humane endings. It has not delinked from being “curious or press release news” to being part of the business section in newspapers.

Today, people ask, which Muslim country has eradicated poverty? Has it financed healthcare to reduce deaths of infants, increasing mortality rates and saving mothers in labour, say in African/Asian countries? Has it help finance a knowledge-based economy (via venture capital)? Has it rescued conventionally indebted people from foreclosure, fines or debtor’s incarceration? Has it financed to save the environment or even saved those affected from environmental disasters?

The answers to these questions are an article for another day.

After my presentation, no, it was not on prohibition against interest and pork, halal certification or the length of a scholar’s beard (before someone decides to comment that this is a rant on halal and being too Islamic), I got the customary polite golf clap, and left the stage feeling empty.

So, a re-do is not on the cards for TED Talks. But, there is a potentially more interesting angle and story for the TED Talks platform.

TED

The TED website states: “TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to ideas worth spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference, bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.” It goes on to say:

“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world …. building a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.’

There are number of TEDs:

● TEDActive for community building

● TEDGlobal is the summer conference held in places like Oxford, Tanzania, and now its permanent home in Scotland.

● TEDIndia was about hosting events in countries that could lead regions.

● TEDWomen asking question on how girls and women ae reshaping the future.

What about TEDOIC

OIC stands for Organisation of the Islamic Conference, 57 in all and with a total population of 1.8 billion-plus and combined GDP (at purchasing power parity, PPP) of US$7,740 billion (RM23,220 billion).

So why isn’t there a TEDOiC for the “man on the street” as an alternative to the glitz and glamour of the Swiss-based World Economic Forum (WEF), often held in places like Sharm el-Shaik, Egypt and Petra, Jordan. The OIC, as a whole, has yet to unleash its true potential as a “regional” bloc of countries or have a far-reaching impact globally. It has not been taken seriously by the world at large as well as in many parts of the Muslim world as they feel it has yet to deliver meaningful solutions for its constituents’ many unending challenges. Today, many of the Muslim countries are often the source of today’s many challenges.

This said, these challenges are really disguised opportunities, and when you bring the “world’s most inspired thinkers” onto one platform and give them 18 minutes to present not many audience members will leave early.

Imagine the world’s leading and respected thinkers congregating and doing mini-presentations on not the problems in the OIC, but possible ways forward? What a world of solutions we could congregate! If nothing else, it’s an approach that has yet to be tried, so we only have everything to gain and the status quo to lose.

Yes, it’s acknowledged, we have the important World Economic Islamic Forum (WEIF) and the OIC Forum, however, TED Talks is not an Islamic/Muslim platform, hence, the neutral credibility.

Ideas as change agent

TED is owned by Sapling Foundation, a non-profit entity. The goal of the foundation is “… a belief that there is no greater force for changing the world than a powerful idea.” It goes on to say, “… An idea can be created out of nothing except an inspired imagination … weighs nothing … transferred across world at speed of light at virtually zero cost … when received by prepared mind, can have extraordinary impact … of the world … alter behaviour … and cause the mind to pass other ideas…”

The Muslim world is not in need of ideas, as there are many brilliant Muslims, young, old, men and women all included. What is needed is a neutral platform (in the tribal Muslim world) that sparks ideas into viable plans that get funded and eventually executed without pilferages, we hope!

The facilitators are the needed sparks and the TED platform can be the credible foundation to start this. But, the platform has to be hosted, akin to having a TED franchise in the first Muslim country (I believe).

TEDMalaysia?

Among the 57 Muslim countries, having visited about 20 of them, the time is right for TED Talks in Dubai or Malaysia. Malaysia, a multi-cultural, ethnic and religious society with a robust and vociferous (online) media, could be a better launch pad. There is a correlation between ideas and a “multi-party” democracy generating quality of life ideas and ensuing ideals.

This is an election year in Malaysia. Elections used to be about slogans in the early years, but now they are about the market place of ideas.

What a great opportunity to have global thinkers including those from Malaysia come to Malaysia and present blueprint ideas that build Malaysia, specifically, and the OIC, generally.

Conclusion

Shall I make the initial call to the good folks at TED Talks about Malaysia?

The second call is for a Malaysian thinker or friends of Malaysia (FoM) to join the TED Talks Brain Trust, to be with the likes of the founders of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, chancellor of Kabul University, and others.

Finally, in the words of William James:

“A new idea is first condemned as ridiculous and then dismissed as trivial, until finally, it becomes what everybody knows.”

Regards
Zulkifli Hasan
tariq ramadhan
With Professor Tariq Ramadan

MENEKUNI DAN MENGHAYATI SIRAH RASULULLAH SEMPENA MAULID AL RASUL

MENEKUNI DAN MENGHAYATI SIRAH RASULULLAH SEMPENA MAULID AL RASUL

Setiap tahun bersamaan dengan 12 Rabiulawal 1433H/2012M seperti kebiasaannya umat Islam akan menyambut maulidur Rasul bersempena memperingati kelahiran Nabi Muhammad Sallallahualaihiwasallam yang kita kasihi. Mungkin ada yang tidak tahu bahawa tarikh kewafatan Rasululullah juga berlaku pada 12 Rabiulawal iaitu pada 11 Hijrah/632M seperti yang diriwayatkan oleh sebahagian besar ahli sejarah. Manfaat juga untuk dikongsikan di sini bahawasanya kebanyakan ahli sejarah pada zaman sahabat dan tabiin yang meriwayatkan kisah dan kehidupan Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam merupakan pakar dalam ilmu hadith.

Merenung kepada perdebatan dan perbincangan mengenai sambutan Maulidur Rasul pada setiap tahun yang kadangkala menimbulkan perselisihan dikalangan masyarakat, penulis mengambil kesempatan ini untuk berkongsi pandangan mengenai isu ini. Pada masa yang sama, penulis tidak berhasrat untuk membincangkan hukum sambutan Maulidur Rasul ini secara mendalam kerana ia telah diperdebatkan secara panjang lebar oleh fuqaha terdahulu. Apa yang lebih penting ialah untuk umat Islam mengenali dan menghayati kehidupan Rasulullah dan ini hanya akan dapat dilakukan melalui pembacaan dan penelitian pada sirah baginda. Sehubungan dengan itu, penulis membincangkan secara ringkas literatur sirah Rasulullah yang sepatunya dimiliki oleh setiap umat Islam.

Tatkala sebahagian umat Islam sibuk membuat persiapan menyambut maulidur Rasul dengan pelbagai aktiviti, ada juga yang mempertikaikan usaha ini dan melabelkannya sebagai bidaah. Dalam kekhilafan ini, penulis memilih pendekatan sederhana untuk bersama-sama Imam Jalaluddin Sayuti, Sayid Ahmad bin Zaini Dahlan, Syeikh Yusuf Qaradhawi dan fuqaha yang lain untuk mengharuskan sambutan Maulidur Rasul dengan syarat ia tidak mencampur adukkan perkara yang dilarang oleh Islam. Dalam merungkai permasalahan ini, penulis ingin menukilkan kata-kata Hasan Al Banna menasihati umat Islam dalam masalah ini seperti yang diungkapkan oleh Yusuf Qaradhawi di dalam Fiqh Awlawiyat, halaman 266-267 yang bermaksud:

“Wahai saudara-saudaraku, aku amat mengetahui bahawa saudara yang bertanya tadi, termasuk juga ramai di kalangan kalian, tidak bermaksud daripada soalan seumpama itu melainkan hanya ingin mengetahui, daripada kumpulan manakah pengajar baru ini? Adakah daripada kumpulan Syeikh Musa atau daripada kumpulan Syeikh Abdul Sami’?! Sesungguhnya pengetahuan ini tidak memberikan apa-apa manfaat kepada kamu, sedangkan kamu telah menghabiskan masa dalam keadaan fitnah selama lapan tahun dan cukuplah sekadar itu. Kesemua masalah-masalah itu telah diperselisihkan oleh umat Islam sejak ratusan tahun dan mereka masih terus berselisih pendapat sehingga ke hari ini, namun Allah Subhanahuwataala redha kepada kita untuk berkasih sayang dan bersatu padu serta membenci untuk kita berselisihan dan berpecah-belah. Maka aku ingin mengajak kamu semua berjanji dengan Allah Subhanahuwataala untuk meninggalkan semua perkara-perkara ini sekarang, dan bersungguh-sungguh untuk mempelajari asas-asas agama dan kaedah-kaedahnya, beramal dengan akhlaknya, kelebihan-kelebihannya yang umum dan petunjuk-petunjuknya yang disepakati. Dan mendirikan segala kewajipan dan sunat serta meninggalkan sikap memberat-beratkan dan terlalu rigid supaya hati menjadi suci. Dan supaya menjadi tujuan kita semua hanya untuk mengetahui kebenaran, bukan hanya kerana sekadar mahu memenangkan satu pandangan. Ketika itu, kita mempelajari kesemua ini bersama dalam keadaan kasih sayang, kepercayaan, kesatuan dan keikhlasan. Aku berharap kamu terimalah pandanganku ini dan agar ia menjadi perjanjian sesame kita untuk berbuat demikian”

Berdasarkan kepada peringatan penting Hasan Al Banna di atas, sudah pasti isu sambutan maulidur Rasul ini tidak akan menjadi punca perselisihan dan perpecahan umat Islam sekiranya maksud sebenar sambutan seumpama ini dihayati. Jika ditinjau sejarah, C. Cherfils di dalam bukunya ‘Napoleon And Islam’ menukilkan bahawa Napoleon Bonaparte juga telah menganjurkan upacara besar-besaran menyambut maulidur Rasul di atas kekagumannya terhadap Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam. Hingga ada yang mengatakan dengan yakin berdasarkan beberapa dokumen sahih bahawa Napoleon diakhir hayatnya adalah seorang Muslim dengan nama Muhammad Ali Bonaparte.

Namun harus diingat, pada masa umat Islam beriya-beriya untuk menjayakan sambutan Maulidur Rasul dengan pelbagai program dan aktiviti di setiap pelusuk negara, sememangnya tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa masih ramai yang tidak mengenali Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam sama ada dari aspek pemikiran, peribadi, akhlak, pendekatan dan keseluruhan cara hidup baginda. Penulis mengambil kesempatan ini untuk berkongsi sedikit pengetahuan untuk membicarakan literatur mengenai Sirah Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam dengan harapan ia akan dapat menjadi panduan dan rujukan selepas ini.

Merujuk kepada sejarah penulisan Sirah Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam, ia telah pun dimulakan oleh para sahabat seperti Abu Rafi Mawla yang telah menulis tentang sifat solat dan ibadah baginda. Ini termasuk Sahl b. Abi Hathmah al-Madani al-‘Ansari dan ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Amru b. al-‘As b. Wa’il b. Hashim. Penulisan sirah Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam secara sistematik telah dimulakan oleh para Muhaddithun yang juga ahli sejarah seperti Sa`id b. al-Musayyib al-Makhzumi, ‘Urwah b. al-Zubayr b. al-‘Awwam and Abu Fadalah ‘Abd Allah b. Ka’b b. Malik al-Ansari.

Penulisan sirah Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam kemudiannya kian popular ketika zaman Muhammad b. Ishaq yang telah menulis kitab Kitab al-Mubtada’ wa al-Mab`ath wa al-Maghazi iaitu buku yang membincangkan secara terperinci kehidupan baginda bermula kelahiran hingga kewafatan. Ini diikuti oleh Muhammad b. ‘Umar al-Waqidi yang menulis Kitab Azwaj al-Nabiyy, Kitab al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi wa al-Mab`ath and Kitab Wafat al-Nabiyy and Kitab al-Maghazi. Kitab Sirah yang menjadi rujukan utama hingga kini telah ditulis oleh ‘Abd al-Malik b. Hisham melalui karyanya yang masyhur iaitu Kitab al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah.

Kitab-kitab sirah di atas walaubagaimanapun ditulis di dalam bahasa Arab dan mungkin ini menimbulkan kesulitan sesetengah pihak untuk memahami dan merujuk isi kandungannya. Ini sebenarnya tidak menjadi halangan bagi tujuan untuk memahami kehidupan Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam kerana terdapat banyak buku-buku kontemporari yang ditulis oleh sejarawan Islam mahupun dalam bentuk terjemahan. Sebagai contoh buku “Life of the Prophet Muhammad: Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya” oleh Ibn Kathir dan juga “The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq: Sirat Rasul Allah” telah diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Inggeris yang boleh dijadikan sebagai rujukan.

Selain daripada itu, buku-buku lain yang boleh dirujuk adalah seperti “Prophet Muḣammad and His mission” oleh S. Athar Husain, “Muhammad, the messenger of Islam: His Life and Prophecy” oleh Hajjah Amina Adil, “Mohammed and the Rise of Islam” oleh D. S. Margoliouth, “The Great Prophet a Short Life of the Founder of Islam” oleh F. K. Khan Durrani, “The Messenger of God Muhammad: An Analysis of the Prophet’s life” oleh M. Fethullah Gulen, “Prophet Muhammad(s) and His Family: A Sociological Perspective” oleh Shamim Aleem, “The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography” oleh Barnaby Rogerson, “Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman” oleh William Montgomery Watt, “Muhammad: Prophet for Our Time (Eminent Lives)” and “Muhammad: Western Attempt to Understand Islam” oleh Karen Armstrong, “Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources” oleh Martin Lings, “Introducing Muhammad” oleh Ziauddin Sardar, “Prophet Muhammad and His Miracles” oleh Bediuzzaman Said Nursi dan “Atlas on the Prophets Biography: Places, Nations and Landmarks oleh Shawqi Abu Khalil. Karya Safiur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri yang bertajuk Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum atau terjemahannya “The Sealed Nectar” juga merupakan sumbangan yang penting mengenai sejarah hidup Rasulullah. Buku ini telah memenangi hadiah pertama dalam pertandingan menulis biografi Rasulullah yang dianjurkan oleh Liga Muslim Sedunia di Madinah pada tahun 1979. Antara buku kontemporari yang amat baik mengenai kehidupan Rasulullah ialah karya Tariq Ramadan bertajuk In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad. Karya Tariq Ramadan ini membicarakan pengajaran daripada kehidupan Rasulullah melalui analisis dan pemerhatian yang lebih segar dan kontemporari. Di samping itu, terdapat juga koleksi rujukan dalam bentuk cakera padat seperti “The Life of the Last Prophet”, sebuah audio biografi oleh Yusuf Islam.

Kesemua koleksi sirah Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam di atas diterbitkan dalam bahasa Inggeris dan faktor ini boleh menjadi penghalang sesetengah individu untuk memahami buku-buku tersebut. Sebenarnya terdapat buku-buku dalam bahasa melayu telah diterbitkan seperti “Biografi Muhammad bin Abdullah” oleh Zulkifli Mohd Yusoff dan Noor Naemah Abdul Rahman termasuk buku terjemahan seperti Fiqh al-Sirah oleh Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, “Sejarah kehidupan Nabi Muhammad” oleh Muhammad Hussein Haykal dan “Sirah Nabi Muhammad Sallallahualaihiwasallam: Pengajaran dan Pedoman” oleh Mustafa as-Shibaie. Buku bertajuk “Biografi Agung Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam” karya Rusydi Ramli al Jauhari juga amat sesuai untuk koleksi keluarga kerana ia ditulis dalam gaya penulisan yang santai disertakan dengan gambar-gambar yang menarik berkaitan dengan sejarah Rasululullah. Berdasarkan senarai rujukan tertera di atas, penulis menganjurkan agar setiap umat Islam untuk memiliki sekurang-kurangnya senaskhah sirah Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam sebagai koleksi peribadi.

Memahami dan meneladani Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam merupakan suatu kewajipan bagi semua umat Islam. Perkara ini tidak akan dapat dicapai melainkan melalui proses pencarian ilmu. Dalam aspek ini, sememangnya kita telah disajikan dengan pelbagai koleksi rujukan mengenai kehidupan Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam. Hanya tinggal kini ialah kemahuan, keazaman, keiltizaman diri untuk belajar memahami dan meneladani seterusnya mendidik jiwa dan rohani untuk mengasihi Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam.

Rujukan

Abu Halil, Shawqi. (2004). Atlas on the Prophets Biography: Places, Nations and Landmarks. Riyadh:Darussalam.
Al Jauhari, Rusydi Ramli. (2012). Biografi Agung Rasulullah Sallallahualaihiwasallam. Kuala Lumpur: Must Read Sdn. Bhd.
Al Buti, Muhammad Sa’id Ramadhan. (1983). Fiqh Al-Sirah. Terjemahan Mohamed Darus Sanawi. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Pustaka Fajar.
Abdul Rahman Rukaini. (1992). Riwayat Hidup Nabi Muhammad. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
Afzalur Rahman, Muhammad. Blessing for Mankind. London: The Muslim Schools Trust London.
Cherfils, Christian. (1999). Napoleon and Islam. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications.
Haykal, Muhammad Hussein. (2008). The Life of Muhammad. Petaling Jaya: Islamic Book Trust.
Lings, Martin. (1983). Muhammad: His Life Based on Earliest Sources. Rochester Vermon: Inner Traditions International.
Noor Naemah Abdul Rahman dan Zulkifli Hj. Mohd. Yusoff. 2007). Biografi Muhammad bin Abdullah. Kuala Lumpur: PTS Publication.
Siddiqi, Muhammad Zubair. Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development and Features. London: Islamic Text Society.
Siddiqui, Abdul Hamid. (1975). The Life of Muhammad. Beirut: Dar al Fatah.

Regards
Zulkifli Hasan
P1150849
Masjid al Nabawi, Madinah al Munawwarah.

Islamic finance future brighter than ever

Islamic finance future brighter than ever

Available at: http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/1/16/business/12581158&sec=business

KUALA LUMPUR: The future of Islamic finance following the global financial crisis in 2008 is even “brighter than before”, said the Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah.

The industry has expanded by 15% to 20% per annum since the 1990s and now amounts to over US$1.2 trillion (RM3.61 trillion) globally, said Nazrin, who is also the Financial Ambassador of Malaysia’s International Islamic Financial Centre.

“While this is less than 1% of global financial assets, it is expected to quadruple in the next decade,” he told participants at the launch of a book co-authored by lawyers from the ZICOlaw network entitled An Introduction to Islamic and Conventional Corporate Finance.

“Whereas before, oil-rich countries had few avenues to invest their surpluses in Islamic instruments, today, these are a distinct and rapidly growing asset class.

“At present, there are more than 300 Islamic financial institutions worldwide operating in more than 75 Muslim and non-Muslim countries.”

Nazrin added that the demand for syariah-compliant financial instruments among religiously-observant households, while the amount of global liquidity being mediated through Islamic finance was also growing.

Citing the Jan 5 issue of The Economist, which acknowledged Malaysia as “the world’s most important Islamic finance centre” and the first-ever issuer of sovereign sukuk in 2002, he said other countries, including non-Muslim ones, have followed in Malaysia’s footsteps.

“Since that time, other countries have started issuing Islamic bonds but Malaysia has remained the market leader. In the first three quarters of 2012, we were responsible for 80% of global sukuk issuances.”

However, he warned that the industry should not rest on its laurels.

“The nature of success is that one has to be constantly on the move, constantly thinking, planning and innovating, and constantly improving against a rising tide of competition.

“Indeed, success is something that is better seen in the rearview mirror just in case it blocks our view of the road ahead.

“We should not forget that although we have made a very strong start, the Islamic financial system is still a work-in-progress.”

Some areas for improvement, he said, included the liquidity of secondary markets and developing longer-term debt maturities so it can be a viable alternative to conventional finance.

Regards
Photo-0001
With Dato’ Dr Nik Norzrul Thani, Chairman of ZICO Law and Dr Suhaimi, Former Director General of JAWHAR in Dubai

Banking on the ummah: Malaysia leads the charge in Islamic finance

Banking on the ummah: Malaysia leads the charge in Islamic finance

Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21569050-malaysia-leads-charge-islamic-finance-banking-ummah

OF MALAYSIA’S claims to fame, leadership in financial services is not an obvious one. Yet in some ways the country is the world’s most important Islamic-finance centre. Just over a fifth of the country’s banking system, by assets, is sharia-compliant; the average for Muslim countries is more like 12%, and often a lot less. Malaysia dominates the global market for sukuk, or Islamic bonds. The country issued the world’s first sovereign sukuk in 2002; in the first three quarters of 2012 it was responsible for almost three-quarters of total global issuance (see chart). Malaysia is also home to the Islamic Financial Services Board, an international standard-setting body.

These are big achievements for a relatively small country of just 30m people, of whom only about 60% are Muslim. In neighbouring Indonesia, which is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, only about 4% of the financial sector is sharia-compliant. Although the much richer Gulf states and Saudi Arabia have bigger Islamic banks, it is Malaysia, argues Iqbal Khan of Dubai’s Fajr Capital investment fund, that is the centre “for thought leadership in Islamic finance”.

How did the country carve out this niche? Malaysia’s Muslim heritage, outward-looking nature and links with financial hubs like Britain and Singapore made the place a natural candidate to bridge the worlds of religion and capitalism. The central bank, the Bank Negara Malaysia, is also supportive.

Two institutions in particular, both set up by the central bank, have contributed to Malaysia’s pre-eminence in the field. The first is the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF). Established in 2005 and boasting about 2,000 students, INCEIF is the world’s leading university for the study of Islamic finance. The International Sharia Research Academy, housed within INCEIF, brings together scholars to produce an internationally acceptable rule-book for Islamic finance.

The second institution is the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM). It concentrates on vocational training, offering a variety of certificates in Islamic finance. IBFIM also acts as a consultancy to banks and firms that want to become sharia-compliant.

Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the head of the central bank, says that these bodies are the “pipeline to provide the banks with talent”. And not just in Malaysia. There are currently students from 80 countries at INCEIF; and IBFIM has taught people from Afghanistan, Nigeria, Palestine and elsewhere.

All of which gives Malaysia greater status within the ummah, the global Islamic community, important to a country that often feels on the periphery of the Muslim world. There are more tangible benefits, too. The Islamic subsidiary of Maybank, a big local lender, already accounts for about half of the group’s customers and is expanding abroad: it set up a subsidiary in Singapore 18 months ago and has also moved into Indonesia.

Ms Zeti argues that sharia-compliant banks are inherently more stable than conventional peers. Speculation is forbidden, and because charging interest is prohibited under sharia law, returns are based on profit-sharing. Perhaps. Islamic finance is hardly foolproof: Dubai’s debt crisis in 2009 showed that sukuk can help to inflate debt to unsustainable levels. But whatever its pros and cons, Malaysia will provide much of the evidence either way.

Regards
Zulkifli Hasan
02032009400
Dubai International Financial Centre