Islamic Economics and Finance
Published: March 2008
This article provides an introduction to key concepts and methods involved in an Islamic approach to business, investment, risk taking and insurance. The prohibition of riba (interest or usury) profoundly influences the way business transactions and investments are made and financial contracts must comply with Islamic law or shariah. Underlying all economic and financial transactions from an Islamic perspective is a moral dimension, with the authoritative source of guidance being the Holy Quran, the revealed word of Allah, and the Hadith, the sayings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions, referred to as the Sunnah. Notably there is a concern about the justice of outcomes for individuals. A valuable contribution of the Islamic finance industry-with over one trillion dollars’ worth of assets designated as shariah compliant-is the issues it raises about morality and social accountability in financial dealings and the challenge it poses to conventional assumptions.