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Bottleneck of growth.

The argument goes that, for too long, Islamic finance practitioners have used the industry's embroyonic stage of development as an excuse to justify certain questionable practices far removed from the norms of equitable, asset-backed productive investment. This argument presupposes two important assumptions: that Islamic finance is expected to and has the capability to alleviate the socio-economic problems that face the world; and that Islamic finance practitioners are not doing anything about this challenge and that, even if they are, it is not enough.

With respect to the first issue, it is recognised as not only a matter of commonsense but also as a matter of religious jurisprudence that Islamic finance cannot be expected wholly to alleviate the socio-economic challenges affecting the world, let alone their constituencies. This is because Islamic banks and financial institutions are established by profit-seeking individuals looking to earn a legitimate return on their investment.

The question of what is legitimate depends on who you are speaking to. Some suggest that Islamic finance should invest in economic development and should be a tool to alleviate poverty, while others suggest that legitimate implies following God's divine commandments relating to commercial activities and its related interpretation by scholars.

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Publication:Islamic Banking & Finance
Date:Feb 20, 2011
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