Commercial Banks have been established in a context different from Islamic context, with different founding principles and paradigm.For this reason, those banks havenot been widely accepted by most Muslims. The urgent need continued for financial institutions delivering banking solutions and services compliant with “Shari’a” regulations. In mid 1970s, some Islamic financial institutions have been introduced. Kuwait Finance House was one of the pioneers as it was established in 1977 due to a noble will of His Highness late Shaikh Jaber Al ahmad Al Jaber Al Subah.
1. Holy Quran
Scholars identify Holy Quran as follows "It’s the words of Allah revealed to his prophet Mohammad (PBUH), which reading is an act of worship, begins with Surat Al-Fatiha and ends with Surat Al-Nas.
2. Prophetic Narrations (Sunnah)
“Sunnah” is every act, saying and tacit approval of the prophet Mohammad (PBUH). “Sunnah” is considered and primary source of legislation due to instructions of Holy Quran. Many Verses commanded Muslims to follow the Prophet (PBUH) guidance such as in Suart Al Hashr, Verse 7: “So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear Allah, for Allah is strict in punishment”. “Sunnah” is divided into three divisions:
- The Prophet's Sayings.
- The Prophet Acts.
- The Prophet acceptance of others' a sayings or acts.
3. “Ejma’” (Consensus)
The consent of Muslim Jurists on a specific issue in a specific time, such as “Taraweeh” Prayer in a congregation (Jama'a). Although it’s difficult to achieve “Ejma’”, the modern jurisprudential academies are playing important role in this regard.
4. “Qiyas” (Analogy)
In modern issues, of non-equivalence in the past, Muslim scholars in such case, seek for a common similarity between the discussed matter and similar matter that its provision in “Shari’a” is known. Should such a case be found, then, the modern issue gets the same provision. Drugs is a clear example of “Qiyas”, since it share the same mental effect with alcohol, and since alcohol drinking is strictly forbidden in “Shari’a”, then drugs is also forbidden (Haram).
“Shari’a” depends on group of principles and regulations to organize the life of individuals in two directions; their relation with Allah and their relations with others. “Fiqh” (Jurisprudence) is considered as a part of whole named “Shari’a”. “Fiqh” is divided into two main divisions:
- “Ibadat” meaning worship acts: Addresses Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, Hajj and related Purity.
- “Mu'amalat” meaning transactions: Addresses financial transactions, personal issues, inheritance and sanctions.
“Shari’a” provisions are five: “Wajeb” (duty), “Mustahab” (desirable), “Mobah” (permissible), “Makrooh” (disgraceful) and “Haram” (forbidden). Muslim jurists studied the Quran Texts and Sunnah and concluded that the main purpose of Islam regulations and “Shari’a” Provisions is to protect religion, self, lineage, brain and property. These are called the five assets.
The Islamic Financial System can be easily understood when understanding Islam point of view toward money and understanding main Taboos of Islamic Financial System.
The prohibitions in Islamic Financial Transactions:
- All types of “Usury” (designated increase for one party of the contract with no corresponding from the other party).
- “Gharar” (Uncertainty): ambiguity in one or all of the contract terms which leads to conflict. In other words, it is what cannot be expected or evaluated or properly described.
- Selling or purchasing forbidden goods and assets.
Islam perception of money:
Islam in its primary sources express its unique and original perception of money as:
- It belongs to Allah, and human is a trustee.
- It is a tool to evaluate goods and assets.
- It is an intermediate to exchange goods and assets between people.
Accordingly, money is not a mean to generate profit from itself. The profit can be generated by selling and purchasing goods and assets using money.
Time Value in Islamic Financial System
Islamic Financial System recognized the time value for money. This is clear in Credit Sales. Goods can be sold for a specific cash value, and for higher value for credit. Although, paying any amount of money for extending loan repayment period for a due loan is considered as a forbidden “usury”.