Showing posts from January, 2010

Views: Islamic Banking

I wanted to write the first blog of the year about a banking practice that is based on ethics. About 8 years back I had first heard about Islamic banking from Mr. Srinivasan, then the vice president at i-flex. He described Islamic banking as 'Allah gives and Allah takes', an interest free banking practice. For a long time it stayed in my mind as a funny cultural and unsustainable practice that was funded by the crazy oil rich Middle Eastern states. But, since my interactions with banks in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, etc I started to better understand the underlying principles of Islamic banking. According to the holy Koran, the Shariah is what is acceptable to Islam. There are a set of Islamic values that are in general applicable to all practices of trade and also applied to the banking practices. Shariah prohibits interest or a time value for money. Money as such is not a marketable commodity, but an instrument that can be only put into productive use based on the value…