Islamic banks have withstood the recent turmoil in the global banking industry triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis because their rules do not allow dealings in products like derivatives, options or papers that caused the meltdown.
While financial institutions in the developed world lined up for huge state assistance, the few Islamic banking institutions in these countries like the European Islamic Bank in the United Kingdom emerged unscathed from the crisis.
“The recent financial crisis exposed the flaws in the western banking system and proved that Islamic banks are safe which do not offer any risky product in line with the injunctions of Islam,” said Al-baraka Islamic Bank Country Head Shafqat Ahmad. He said the French president had appreciated the modes of financing offered by Islamic banks and expressed willingness to allow the setting up of these banks in France.
Shafqat said Shariah experts ensured that Islamic banks operated strictly according to the Islamic financial laws. “These banks do give profit to their depositors but it is based on the true principle of profit and loss. This is the reason that profits on savings in Islamic banks are not pre-determined.” However, “Islamic banks generally distribute more profit to their depositors than conventional banks.”
An Islamic Shariah expert said majority of the credit provided by Islamic banks was under the Morahaba mode (sale-purchase agreement). Explaining, he said “an Islamic bank purchases an item, for instance cotton, on behalf of the client (in fact the client selects the quality and quantity of cotton and the bank makes the payment) and the client agrees to the date when the amount will be returned. The Islamic bank charges certain profit on the purchased cotton that the client has to pay along with the principal amount.”