This book provides an overview of the practice of Islamic finance and the historical roots that define its modes of operation. The focus of the book is analytical and forward-looking. It shows that Islamic finance exists mainly as a form of rent-seeking legal-arbitrage. In every aspect of finance - from personal loans to investment banking, and from market structure to corporate governance - Islamic finance aims to replicate in Islamic forms the substantive functions of contemporary financial instruments, markets, and institutions. By attempting to replicate the substance of contemporary financial practice using pre-modern contract forms, Islamic finance has arguably failed to serve the objectives of Islamic law. This book proposes refocusing Islamic finance on substance rather than form. This approach would entail abandoning the paradigm of 'Islamization' of every financial practice. It would also entail reorienting the brand-name of Islamic finance to emphasize issues of community banking, micro-finance, and socially responsible investment.
• Accessible analytical exposition by internationally renowned author on Islamic financial practice and its historical, religious and legal roots • Focuses on economic substance rather than religious and historical forms • Studies religious injunctions as regulatory mechanisms, in the tradition of 'law and economics'
1. Introduction; 2. Jurisprudence and arbitrage; 3. Two major prohibitions: Riba and Gharar; 4. Sale-based Islamic finance; 5. Derivative-like sales: Salam, Istisma' and 'Urbun; 6. Leasing, securitization and Sukuk; 7. Partnerships and equity investment; 8. Islamic financial institutions; 9. Governance and regulatory solutions in mutuality; 10. Beyond Shari'a arbitrage; Conclusion.
'This book is by far one of the best that has been published on the topic of Islamic finance and banking.' Choice Magazine, Outstanding Academic Title, 2007
'Islamic Finance is a fine work of scholarship. It will be controversial. It exposes the irrationality and inefficiency of Shari'a arbitrating prevalent in 'Islamic finance' and proposes a fundamental reform in Islamic financial practices. This book is also a valuable manual for those who need to understand the intricacies of Islamic financial practices and the Islamic jurisprudential justifications for them. This book is an important contribution to the modern understanding of Islam.' Sohrab Behdad, Denison University
'Professor El-Gamal's book contains a comprehensive and thought-provoking discussion of the evolution of the practice of 'Islamic finance.' His call for substituting the 're-engineering' financial mindset with a more forward-looking one is provocative, well researched, and likely to stimulate many debates in academic and financial circles.' Mohamed El-Erian, Harvard Management Company,
'Islamic Finance: Law, Economics, and Practice is a landmark in our understanding of the origin, implications, and future of Islamic finance. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the institutional roots of economic outcomes in the Muslim world, why they persist, and how these outcomes can be improved upon in a manner consistent with Islam.' Avner Greif, Stanford University
'Over the past half-century the 'Islamic finance' sector has generally aimed to replicate the functions of secular financial institutions through contractual forms identified with medieval Islam. In this elegant book, which combines deep historical erudition with analytical sophistication, Mahmoud El-Gamal offers an alternative to the established form-oriented approach. The book's readers will come away with a new and refined understanding of the constraints that Islam imposes on financial relations.' Timur Kuran, University of Southern California
'The first book on Islamic finance written in the law and economics tradition, Professor El-Gamal's contribution adds a new dimension to the ongoing debate on the future of the Islamic financial industry. Whatever the reader's judgment, the gain in insight is certain, and that matters most. Those eager to see the full potential of Islamic finance realized, and the provisions in classical Islamic jurisprudence relating to finance given new interpretations that help universalize them, can hardly miss reading this book.' Mohammed Nejatullah Siddiqi, Former Director, Institute of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University