Islamic finance has recently attracted a lot of attention both in the oil-rich Middle East and in some Western countries with a significant Muslim minority. The alleged inconsistency between the western finance and Islamic law has given rise to an increasing number of sharia-compliant hedge funds. While Muslims constitute some 20% of the world’s population, Islamic finance accounts for only 1% of the globe’s finance, hence a big room for Islamic finance to grow. But things are not that simple. Different interpretations of sharia prevail in different Islamic societies, and there are few scholars familiar enough with both sharia law and western finance that can give expert advice on the issue to Islamic banks. It remains to be seen whether Islamic finance can both serve God and make money. Read full story in The Economist.
Islam in the Age of Globalization
By Bruce Lawrence
Vol.3, May 2008