Monday, October 03, 2005

(2) FNB launches bank for Muslims!?

I am seriously concerned about the following and hope that an someone is able to respond:

-By whom has this product been certified 'Shariah Compliant'?
-Can a conventional bank ever be accepted by Shariah?
-Will a bank/institution that is totally based on Islamic principles, ever be able to be established and sustained if Muslims believe that 'Shariah Compliant' products offered by conventional banks are acceptable?
-How long will it be before all other conventional banks jump onto the bandwagon and start offering 'Shariah Compliant' products, thereby obliterating any chance of a truly Islamic solution to the economic and social ills caused by the current economic system?

While it make sense that Muslims need to always opt for the 'lesser of two evils' and that initiatives like this do create awareness in the minds of many Muslims with regard to need of following the framework of Quran and Sunnah, if we become complacent and recognize this as being totally acceptable, don't we face the danger of never being able to change things for the better?

What is the reason interest is totally forbidden in the Quran? Is it because an economic system based on interest, in theory, makes the rich richer and poor poorer? Is it because an economic system based on interest, in theory, is unjust and oppressive and Muslims are supposed to be against all oppression and any injustices?

Besides the persons paying and receiving interest, is not any other person involved in the transaction, from the witness to the scribe, also equally cursed? Does the same apply to, not a single transaction, but an entire system of transactions based on interest?

Can a Muslim work in a job or hold a position that directly or indirectly assists and ensures the progress of the current economic system that is based on everything that Muslims are fundamentally against? Can I work as accountant and justify my work as not being directly involved in interest?

If all Muslims that are part of this countries economy decide to educate themselves on the principles of Quran and Sunnah, and then whenever given the opportunity to make a decision, or enforce a policy, or do whatever there jobs entail, they take the action that would in their understanding best lead towards a 'more Islamic' system; if we do this, is it possible that sometime in the future we can have a 'more Islamic' economic system than any 'Muslim' country?

Do you have to change something from the inside or must we just carry on with our lives and wait for someone to change it from the outside?

Can the Shariah be reduced to check list that is ticked off to see whether some product is acceptable or not, or is it necessary to look at the background, essence and take into account future effects of said product?

Is the Shariah a set of laws, similar to tax laws, which can be circumvented by looking for and using 'loopholes'?

Looking forward to some answers, thoughts or comments...


FNB launches bank for Muslims

FIRST National Bank is to offer Shari'ah compliant banking facilities through its IslamicFinance bank accounts. According to Ebi Patel, CEO of Wesbank Islamic Finance at FNB, banking services have traditionally been out of the reach of devout Muslims.

"The rules and regulations laid out in the Shari'ah prevent Muslims from dealings that involve the payment or receipt of interest. And as local banking operations are reliant on gains from interest, banking services designed specifically for the Islamic market have largely been regarded as untenable," Ebi says.

Understanding the importance of Shari'ah compliance to the Islamic community, FNB has developed its IslamicFinance account to meet the requirements of Shari'ah compliance.

"To date, South African Muslims have been forced to avoid the offerings from local financial institutions. Nevertheless, like all other South Africans, local Muslims require the services of a secure, customer focused financial institution and we are proud to be the first major bank to offer services which meet the specific needs of this market," says Ebi.

Shari'ah compliant IslamicFinance bank accounts are available at any of the more than 650 FNB branches around the country and meet the needs of youth, sole proprietors and business customers.


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