It is important that in critical evaluation of Islamic banking and finance, both the perspective (economics or Shari’ah) must be clearly acknowledged and for evaluation from the Shari’ah perspective, the knowledge and comprehension gap is filled too for better mutual understanding and resolution of conflicting viewpoints.
When a common person tries to form an opinion about Islamic banking, he hears cliché sayings about Islamic banking, such as ‘Currently, Islamic banking and finance are not truly Islamic’, ‘It is only changing of conventional terms into Islamic terms’ and ‘Islamic banking is an oxymoron as banking cannot be Islamic’. This brief article discusses some points that will help in better understanding Islamic finance and Islamic banking in particular.
Inclusivity, equitable distribution of resources and socio-economic mobility do not determine Shari’ah compliance or validity. However, these visionary goals are the aspirations of many people in academics and public at large. The realists contend that the visionary objectives of equitable distribution of income will be taken care of in the long run by Islamic social finance institutions, such as Zakat and Waqf. Islamic banks as one part of Islamic finance ecosystem will continue to serve the short term financing requirements of clients and for which debt based Islamic modes of financing are the suitable options.