Pioneers of Islamic Finance

Since long Muslim scholars are trying to work out Islamic financial model to drop Riba (interest) from Islamic society. These efforts are date back to the rise of Western capital market concept when ‘riba’ became the part of global economy and banking systems. Since 1970 with the inception of first Islamic bank and hence the initiation of Islamic banking was the beginning of an era which forms modern day Islamic banking institution who could fulfill Muslims financial and banking needs without the mixing of ‘Riba.’ Many Muslim personalities have worked out various Islamic financial & banking models with some differences. This page has been developed to account the services of Muslim scholars in the field of Islamic finance and banking.

1. DR MUHAMMAD HAMIDULLAH

He was the first scholar in early 40s who initiated writing about zakat and the economic system of Islam in his famous writing, ‘The Introduction to Islam‘ after late Shah Wali ullah, the most famous personality of sub-continent. At its initial stage, Dr. Hamidullah was invited to help write the constitution of newly formed Islamic republic of Pakistan. Later he was awarded highest civilian award Hilal e Imtiaz in 1985. He was remembered by many of his students and lovers in Turkey and others.

Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah, was born on February 9, 1908, in the state of Hyderabad Deccan in the Indian subcontinent. He was the youngest of 3 brothers and 5 sisters. In Hyderabad, Dr. Hamidullah was educated at Darul-Uloom secondary school, Nizam College and Osmania University from where he obtained his MA and LLB degree in International Law. From 1933-35 he studied at several universities in Europe and obtained a doctorate from Bonn University in Germany. In 1936, he obtained a degree from the Sorbonne University, France. From 1936-46 he served on the faculty of Osmania University teaching International Law.

In 1946, he was appointed as member of the delegation sent by the Nizam of Hyderabad at the League of the Nations. After the 1948 invasion of Hyderabad by the Indian army, Hamidullah chose to live in exile in France. In 1948, he founded the Hyderabad Liberation Society to get Hyderabad recognized as an independent state. He decided to stay as a stateless person as long as the question of Hyderabad was still open in the United Nations.

In 1985, he was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award of Pakistan that includes a substantial monetary amount. He donated the award money to Islamic Research Academy, Islamabad. He stayed in France till 1996, when he was forced to move to the USA because of illness. The professor never married. During the last few years of his life, he was being taken care of by the grand daughter of his brother, sister Sadida who left her job to devote herself to his care.

Professor Hamidullah’s scholarship is unparalleled in the last century. He was fluent in 22 languages including Urdu, Arabic, French, English, etc. He learned Thai at the age of 84. He translated the Qur’an in French and many other languages. He also translated a number of other important Islamic books in many European languages. He gave lectures in various universities around the world, some of which have been published. His works on Islamic science, history and culture number more than 250. His books have been translated in many languages.

Some of his most famous books include “Introduction to Islam”, “Muhammad Rasulullah”, “The Battlefields of Prophet Muhammad”, “The Muslim Conduct of State”, and “The First Written Constitution.”

The publication of Sahifa Hammam bin Munabbah proved, as has always been held, that the earliest manuscripts had been absorbed in the later compilations.

One of his great contributions to the hadith literature was the discovery of Sahifa Hammam bin Munabbah, the earliest hadith manuscript still extant today. Two copies of it were discovered; one in a Damascus library and the other in a library in Berlin. Dr. Hamidullah published it after carefully comparing the two manuscripts. This was an important discovery for the hadith scholars. It also proved, as has always been held, that the earliest manuscripts had been absorbed in the much bigger later compilations. Hammam bin Munabbah was a disciple of Syedna Abu Huraira, Radi-Allahu unhu. It was generally known that Sahifah Hammam bin Munabah had been completely included in the Musnad Ahmed. After the publication of the Sahifah by Dr. Hamidullah, hadith scholars searched Musnad Ahmed for the presence of the ahadith from the Sahifah. They found all 138 ahadith of the Sahifah in the Musnad. There was not the slightest discrepancy in any of them!

He wrote several researched treatise on the early life of Muslims. Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah was well known for the great quality and high caliber of his research in Islamic Law and history. He was recognized as one of the most authoritative scholars in Islamic International Law and Islamic Constitutional aw. At its initial stages, he was invited by the government of Pakistan to help draft the constitution of Pakistan. This great scholar led a life of simplicity, patience and humility. He passed away in his sleep on December 17, 2002 at the age of 95 in Jacksonville, Florida.

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2. SYED ABUL ALA MAUDUDI

He was one of the first sub-continent scholar/writer who wrote in detail about Interest, economic system of Islam, capitalism and socialism. To know more about his life and work, Pakistan’s Geo TV network has prerpared a documentary about him:

His books such as Sood (Interest)’, ‘Hurmat e sood (Why Interest prohibited)’, ‘Maasheiyat e Islam (economics of Islam)’, Íslam aur jadeed maashee nazeryat (Islam and new economics views)’ played vital role in understanding Islamic economics in early 20th century.

For his life and work, a web site is established Maududi.org. He has founded a political party to promote Islam and Islamic ideology in Pakistan. Jamaat e Islami views about interest are well known and its efforts are widely acknowledged.

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3. JUSTICE(R) MUFTI TAQI USMANI

One of the living legend of modern day interest-free banking history, his work and achievements are countless in the field of modern Islamic economics and today’s Islamic banking.

He has served as a judge in 1982 and later given a remarkable judgment regarding the prohibition of Riba (interest) in Pakistan and its elimination from the interest based economy. His book Íslamic Finance is widely accepted as a text book for Islamic bankers.

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4. MAULANA SALEEM ULLAH KHAN

Though, he does not like to be in the lime light of flamboyant world of media, but his services (to disagree with Mufti Taqi Usmani and his Islamic banking approach – having a Shariah advisor even in a Conventional bank and who looks after the whole process of investment & product development making it free from conventional interest or riba) such as failure of Islamic banking approach, hidden facts about today’s Islamic banking, and how International Conventional Banks hijacked the concept of Islamic banking, all are thought provoking and need attention. His fatwa against the Islamic banking is available under Urdu title Murawwajah Islamic Bankari at https://sites.google.com/site/zamanislamicecon/critiques-of-islamic-economics/saleemullah

He is the President of Karachi based, Islamic seminary Jamiah Farooqia and also the teacher of Mufti Taqi Usmani. His fatwa and related replies from Mufti Taqi Usmani could be seen here at web site http://www.deeneislam.com/articles_list.php?rParent=19&rChild=22

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5. DR MOHAMMED UMER CHAPRA

Dr. M. Umer Chapra is currently serving as Research Advisor at the Islamic Research & Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

Before joining IRTI in 1999, he worked as Senior Economic Advisor at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) from where he retired after a long service of 35 years. Dr. Chapra taught in the United States at the Universities of Wisconsin and Kentucky and worked in Pakistan at the Institute of Development Economics and the Islamic Research Institute.

He has made seminal contributions to Islamic Economics and Finance over more than three decades in the form of ten books and monographs and more than seventy papers and book reviews. He has received a number of awards, including the Islamic Development Bank Award for Islamic Economics, and the King Faisal International Award for Islamic Studies, both in 1989.

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6. DR NEJATULLAH SIDDIQI

Dr Mohammad Nejatullah Siddiqi was born in India in 1931, educated at Aligarh Muslim University and Sanvi Darsgah Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Rampur, he also studied at Madrasatul Islah, Saraimir, Azamgarh. Prof. Siddiqi served as Associate Professor of Economics and Professor of Islamic Studies at the Aligarh University and as Professor of Economics at the King Abdulaziz University Jeddah, in its Center for Research in Islamic Economics. Later, he was a Fellow at the Center for Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and after that a Visiting Scholar at the Islamic Research & Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah. During his long academic career, he has supervised a number of Ph.D. theses in the universities in India, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

Among the several works of Dr. Siddiqi are: Recent Theories of Profit: A Critical Examination (1971); Economic Enterprise in Islam (1972); Muslim Economic Thinking (1981); Banking Without Interest (1983); Insurance in an Islamic Economy (1985); Teaching Economics in Islamic Perspective (1996); Role of State in Islamic Economy (1996) and Dialogue in Islamic Economics (2002). For his contributions to Islamic Economics, he was awarded the Shah Waliullah Award in New Delhi (2003).

A prolific writer in Urdu on subjects as Islami Adab (1960), Muslim Personal Law (1971), and Islamic Movement in Modern Times (1995), Siddiqi has also translated Abu Yusuf’s Kitab al Kharaj (1966). He has a comprehensive work on Islam’s View on Property (1969). Several of his works have been translated into Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Indonesian, Malaysian, etc. A list of his works and some of his recent papers are available on his website: (http://www.siddiqi.com/mns).

Dr. Siddiqi has been and continues to be associated with a number of academic journals as editor or advisor. He has served on numerous committees and participated in many conferences in various parts of the world. Presently, he lives in California with his children.

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7.PROFESSOR KHURSHID AHMED

Prof Khurshīd Ahmad is a scholar, economist, writer, and Islamic activist. He holds Bachelors degrees in Law and Jurisprudence, Masters degrees in Economics and Islamic Studies, and an Honorary Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Education, and an Honorary Doctorate (Ph.D) in Islamic Economics conferred by the International Islamic University Malaysia IIUM. Khurshid Ahmad is a prolific writer with numerous books, articles, seminar papers and translations to his name.

Prof Ahmad has been editing a number of ideologically oriented magazines and periodicals. He has authored and edited about 70 books in English and Urdu combined and contributed to a large number of magazines. He has so far participated in over 100 international conferences and seminars in personal as well as representative capacities.

In view of his pioneering work and contributions towards the development of Islamic Economics as an academic discipline, he was awarded the First Islamic Development Bank Award for Economics in 1988. His contributions to the Islamic cause were also recognized in the form of King Faisal International Prize,1990, which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the Muslim World. In recognition of his services in Islamic Economics & Finance, he was given 5th Annual Prize of American Finance House, LaRiba, USA in July 1998.

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8. DR MONZER KAHF

Dr Monzer Kahf is a Syrian – American Islamic scholar who has written in the field of Islamic economics, finance, and banking. Currently he is an independent Islamic consultant & lives in California.

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9. DR ABBAS MIRAKHOR

Abbas Mirakhor received PhD from Kansas State University in the USA. From 1968-1984 he taught in various universities after which he joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where he remained until retirement in 2008 serving as staff, an Executive Director and the Dean of the Board of that institution.

Mirakhor has worked as a Professor of Economics at the University of Alabama, AlabamaA&MUniversity, and the Florida Institute of Technology. In 1984, he joined the IMF in WashingtonDC as an economist. He spent 24 years with the IMF, serving as the organisation’s Executive Director and Dean of the Executive Board, retiring in 2008.

Mirakhor was conferred the “Order of Companion of Volta” for service to Ghana by the President of Ghana in 2005. In 2003, he received the Islamic Development Bank Annual Prize for Research in Islamic Economics, which he shared with Dr Mohsin Khan, another well-known economist at IMF. The President of Pakistan conferred him the “Quaid-e Azam” star for service to Pakistan in 1997.

He has published books, papers and research articles on a wide range of areas including microeconomic theory, mathematical economics and Islamic economics. His latest publications are “Islam and Development: The Institutional Framework” which was coauthored with Dr. Idris Samawi Hamid, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University, USA; and “Globalisation and Islamic Finance: Convergence, Prospects and Challenges” co-authored with Prof. Hossein Askari of the George Washington University and Dr. Zamir Iqbal of the World Bank.

  • Risk Sharing in Finance: The Islamic Finance Alternative, Zamir Iqbal, Abbas Mirakhor, Hossein Askari, Noureddine Krichene, 2011
  • An Introduction to Islamic Finance: Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition, Zamir Iqbal, Abbas Mirakhor, 2011
  • The Stability of Islamic Finance: Creating a Resilient Financial Environment for a Secure Future, Hossein Askari, Zamir Iqbal, Noureddine Krichenne, Abbas Mirakhor, 2010
  • Globalization & Islamic Finance: Converge, Prospects & Challenges, Hossein Askari, Zamir Iqbal, Abbas Mirakhor, 2009
  • New Issues in Islamic Finance and Economics: Progress and Challenges, Hossein Askari, Zamir Iqbal, Abbas Mirakhor, 2009
  • An Introduction to Islamic Finance: Theory and Practice, Abbas Mirakhor, Zamir Iqbal, 2006
  • Theoretical Studies in Islamic Banking and Finance, Abbas Mirakhor(Editor), Mohsin S. Khan, 2005
  • Theoretical Studies in Islamic Banking and Finance (1st Edition), Abbas Mirakhor (Editor), Mohsin S. Khan, 1988
  • Islamic Banking, Abbas Mirakhor, Zubair Iqbal, 1987

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10. HOSSEIN ASKARI

Hossein Askari was born in Iran and received his elementary and secondary education in the United Kingdom. He then came to the United States where he earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering, attended the MIT Sloan School of Management, and received his Ph.D. in Economics, all at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was an instructor at MIT, and started his academic career at the age of twenty-three as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Tufts University, becoming an Associate Professor at Wayne State University, and Professor of International Business and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 1978, before coming to George Washington University (GW) in 1982, where he has served as Chairman of the International Business Department and as Director of the Institute of Global Management and Research and is now the Iran Professor of International Business and Professor of International Affairs.

He served for two and a half years on the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund and was Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia; in this capacity he frequently spoke for Saudi Arabia at the IMF Executive Board; he developed the idea for a special Quota increase for Saudi Arabia, giving Saudi Arabia an effective permanent seat on the Board; and he assisted in the negotiations of a $10 billion loan to the IMF. During the mid-1980s he directed an international team that developed the first comprehensive domestic, regional and international energy models and plan for Saudi Arabia.

During 1990-1991 he was asked by the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia to act as an intermediary to restore diplomatic relations; and in 1992 he was asked by the Emir of Kuwait to mediate with Iran. He has written on economic development in the Middle East, Islamic economics and finance, international trade and finance, agricultural economics, oil economics and on economic sanctions. [1][2]

  • Conflicts in the Persian Gulf: Origins and Evolution (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2013)
  • Collaborative Colonialism: The Political Economy of Oil in the Persian Gulf (Palgrave MacMillian, September 2013)
  • Conflicts and Wars: Their Fallout and Prevention (Palgrave Macmillan, July 2012)
  • Risk Sharing in Finance: The Islamic Finance Alternative (John Wiley and Sons, December 2011), co-authored with Zamir Iqbal, Noureddine Krichene and Abbas Mirakhor
  • Islam and the Path to Human and Economic Development (Palgrave Macmillan, August 2010), co-authored with Abbas Mirakhor
  • The Stability of Islamic Finance (John Wiley, January 2010), co-authored with Zamir Iqbal, Noureddine Krichene and Abbas Mirakhor
  • Corruption and its Manifestation in the Persian Gulf (Edward Elgar, August 2010), co-authored with Scheherazade Rehman and Noora Arfaa
  • Globalization and Islamic Finance: Convergence, Prospects, and Challenges (John Wiley, 2009), co-authored with Zamir Iqbal and Abbas Mirakhor
  • New Issues in Islamic Finance: Progress and Challenges (John Wiley, September 2008), co-authored with Zamir Iqbal and Abbas Mirakhor
  • The Militarization of the Persian Gulf (Edward Elgar, December 2009), co-authored with Amin Mohseni and Shahrzad Daneshvar
  • The Middle East Exporters: What Happened to Economic Development? (Edward Elgar, December 2006)
  • Economic Sanctions: Examining Their Philosophy and Efficacy (Praeger Publishers, 2003) co-authored with John Forrer, Hildy Teegen and Jiawen Yang
  • Case Studies of U.S. Economic Sanctions: The Chinese, Cuban and Iranian Experience (Praeger Publishers, 2003) co-authored with John Forrer, Hildy Teegen and Jiawen Yang
  • Economic Development in the Countries of the GCC: The Curse and Blessing of Oil (JAI Press, 1997), co-authored with Vahid Nowshirvani and Mohamed Jaber
  • Third World Debt And Financial Innovation: The Experiences of Chile and Mexico and Innovation Financiere et Dette du Tiers-Monde: Le Cas du Chili et du Mexique (OECD, 1991)
  • Saudi Arabia: Oil and the Search for Economic Development (JAI Press, 1990)
  • Taxation and Tax Policies in the Middle East (Butterworth Publishers, 1982), co-authored with John Cummings and Michael Glover
  • Oil, OECD and the Third World: A Vicious Triangle (The University of Texas Press, 1978), co-authored with John Cummings
  • Agricultural Supply Response: A Survey of the Econometric Evidence (Praeger, 1976), co-authored with John Cummings
  • The Economies of the Middle East in the 1970s: A Comparative Approach (Praeger, 1976), co-authored with John Cummings