An increasing awareness and understanding that every obligation attached to one’s wealth needs to be fulfilled in the proper manner is spurring a local boom in demand for alternative financial products and services from Islamic financial services providers.

The Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) said at its first Islamic Finance Conference in September last year that the fundamental tenets of Islamic banking – fairness, transparency, risk-sharing and socio-economic responsibility- can offer great help in addressing the country’s economic challenges .

According to BASA, the value of Islamic financial services products grew strongly, with deposits reaching R37 billion (2019: R35 billion) and advances amounting to R14.6 billion (2019: R12.4 billion) in the year to the end of June 2020. Globally, Shari’ah-compliant financial assets are now worth $2 trillion.

According to Naeem Ebrahim, Head of Retail at FNB Islamic Banking, Islamic banking is increasingly adopted as a credible alternative to conventional banking for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

He says Shari’ah-compliant investment products are underpinned by several principles established through Islamic Commercial Law.

These principles include but, are not limited to the prohibition of dealing in interest, the avoidance of investing in companies that deal in impermissible industries, and ensuring complete transparency as well as the exclusion of excessive uncertainty when contracting.

“Investors, irrespective of their religious conviction, are assured that their money is not invested in any companies that engage in morally questionable activities and actions that cause social harm. At FNB Islamic Banking, customers are also guaranteed that all deposits placed, or funds advanced to finance the purchase of an asset, are managed within a separate, ring-fenced treasury,” says Ebrahim.

On top of that, investors over the age of 55 qualify for preferential profit rates on the bank’s Islamic Term Deposit.

Ziyaad Khan, Head of Commercial at FNB Islamic Banking, says the key difference between conventional and Islamic banking is in the relationship that the bank has with its customer and the contracts that govern and manage that relationship.


Source Pakistan Observer