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Islamic Banking
Islamic banking is a new way of financial intermediation and investment manageme
nt that has emerged and gained a sizeable share of the market in its home base,
the Persian Gulf countries. Islamic banking has popularised itself in Malaysia,
Indonesia and the Americas, and a number of Muslim countries have adopted the ne
w system at the state level. Healy Consultants believes that Islamic banking bri
ngs forth many advantages and thus provides Islamic banking services. Below are
listed the advantages and disadvantages of Islamic banking:
Advantages of Islamic Banking
Islamic banking is becoming a very popular amongst international investors. Havi
ng committed itself to a text accessable to all and Prophetic precedents availab
le easily, Islamic banking is open to any innovations that are in congruence wit
h its fundamentals. It is not a closed system. It has no regional, ethnic or cla
ss affiliations.
In Islam banking, only one kind of loan and that is qard-el-hassan (literally go
od loan) whereby the lender does not charge any interest or additional amount ov
er the money lent.
In Wadiah (safekeeping), a bank is deemed as a keeper and trustee of funds. A pe
rson deposits funds in the bank and the bank guarantees refund of the entire amo
unt of the deposit, or any part of the outstanding amount, when the depositor de
mands it.
Islamic banking is more efficient in that it allocates investable funds on the b
asis of the expected value productivity of projects rather than on the criterion
of the creditworthiness of those who own the projects, which is the case in deb
t-based finance.
Islamic banking is less prone to inflation and less vulnerable to speculation, w
hich are currently being fueled by the presence of huge quantities of debt instr
uments in the market.
Islam encourages people to invest their money and to become partners in order to
share profits and risks in the business instead of becoming creditors. As defin
ed in the Shari'ah, or Islamic law, Islamic finance is based on the belief that
the provider of capital and the user of capital should equally share the risk of
business ventures, whether those are industries, farms, service companies or si
mple trade deals.
Disadvantages of Islamic Banking
Investments should only support practices or products that are not forbidden or
considered unlawful, or haraam, by Islamic law. Trade in alcohol, for example wo
uld not be financed by an Islamic bank; a real-estate loan could not be made for
the construction of a casino; and the bank could not lend money to other banks
at interest.
Money is only a medium of exchange, a way of defining the value of a thing; it h
as no value in itself, and therefore should not be allowed to give rise to more
money, via fixed interest payments, simply by being put in a bank or lent to som
eone else.