Keywords: Islamic banking, Islamic finance, riba', usury, gharar, maysir, hilah, sharia' compliance, socially responsible investment, bay al inah


The raison d'être of this article is to supply basic insights on the origin and characteristics of the Islamic Banking system, its distinguishing features, and related contentious issues that have remained the subject of on-going debates among Sharia' scholars and members of the academia. These were analysed by referring to the principles of Muammalat (Islamic economic transaction), which are derived from the Holy Quran, Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.), and Ijma’ (consensus) of prominent Sharia' scholars. Contrary to the conventional banks, Islamic banks are required to operate according to the principles of Muammalat, which are identified as the avoidance of Riba’, Gharar, Maysir, Hilah, and the promotion of ethical business practices such as justice, fairness and transparency. The 2008 global financial meltdown has created a unique awareness among banking consumers on the need of an alternative to complement the conventional banking system, which was viewed by financial scholars as suffering from a crisis of failed morality as a result of greed, exploitation, and corruption. Likewise, many may viewed that the Islamic Banking system is merely another attempt to capitalise on the pulling power of religion towards people, yet there are a number of interestingly unique features that accentuate it from the other banking alternatives. In essence, it is aspired that this article may assist fellow readers, especially those who are still new to this alternative financial system, in understanding and appreciating its unique features, and further stimulate future research in this field. Insha’Allah (God’s willing).

Author Biography



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