Title

Islamic Finance

Details

Question:

Assalamualaikum,

Your team is doing an amazing work providing guidance and assistance to the ummah. But one issue bothers me a lot.

Why Mufti Ebrahim Desai sb has a strict approach towards many Islamic financing products which are approved by other scholars?

Shouldn’t the muftis be flexible considering the challenges being faced by the community? JazakALLAH.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

JazakAllahu khayra for your compliments. Make dua Allah grants us Ikhlaas. There are other Muftis and Ulama with great talents that make far greater sacrifices than us. We are nothing compared to them.

It would be easier and practical for us to comment on the issue in reference if you would have referred to any particular finance or product. Nevertheless, Mufti Ebrahim Desai Sahib adopts a principled and practical approach to Islamic Finance.

Mufti Sahib understands the need to promote “Islamic Finance and Shariah Compliant” products. If an investment scheme is presented to him and he does not agree with the product, then if the disagreement is of academic nature where it could be facilitated, then he respects such disagreements. He does not insist on his opinion.

If the disagreement is beyond that and it is not just an academic difference, rather it is a clear violation of Shariah, then he would look into “halal” alternative ways to make it Shariah Compliant. He does not have a dogmatic approach to declare the product impermissible without attempting to make it Shariah Compliant. There are many banks and companies who consult Mufti Sahib to assist and guide them. They even request Mufti Sahib to maintain confidentiality in the process. Mufti Sahib respects the confidentiality and assists to the best of his ability. Lastly, if it is not possible to adjust the product and make it Shariah Compliant, then Mufti Sahib adopts the principle approach that the product is not Shariah Compliant.

We acknowledge the need to be flexible within the parameters of Shariah and not beyond that. Any flexibility beyond Shariah is overstepping the Shariah and is regarded as trespassing the Shariah which is a major sin.

We should also bear in mind that there are some Non-Shariah products labelled as “Shariah Compliant”. To equate a Non-Shariah product to a Shariah Compliant product is a great disservice to Shariah. That approach compromises and dilutes Shariah. Such products are promoted to advance commercial gains in the name of Shariah. In this approach, one does not serve the Shariah, rather Shariah is used to serve one’s commercial gains.

Furthermore, Non-Muslims compare such products with conventional products and they do not see any real difference between the two. Such un-Islamic products are used as a yardstick to classify other similar products as Shariah Compliant.

If there are basic and clear violations of Shariah in so called “Islamic Finance Product”, then it cannot be Shariah Compliant. If such a product is labelled as Shariah Compliant, then it will be misinterpretation of Shariah. Such a product cannot be considered as Shariah Compliant just because it is certified by some.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Anas Sharieff Qasmi.

Student Darul Iftaa

Hyderabad, India.

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.