SPEECH MADE BY ASH-SHAIKH H. ABDUL NAZAR
ON THE OCCASION OF LAUNCHING OF
PEOPLE’S LEASING - ISLAMIC FINANCIAL SERVICES IN KANDY
AT QUEENS HOTEL ON 12.01.2008
It gives me immense pleasure to be with you in this
pleasant evening. The organizers of this memorable event insisted that I
also share some of my thoughts with the distinguished invitees.
Man is not only mortal but also erring. His knowledge and power of judgment are also limited. He, therefore, needs guidance. Guidance may come from man or the supernatural. Guidance from man of restricted power or resources is bound to be limited and imperfect. Only the guidance from the sovereign eternal power is reliable, perfect and truthful. Allah, the sovereign Lord guides mankind through his books and prophets for their benefit. This guidance came through the first man Prophet Adam (Alaihis salaatu wassalaam) and continued through other prophets, and the message of guidance was completed and given a final shape for entire humankind with the last Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in the final book, the Holy Qur’an. This fact is proclaimed in the following verse of Al-Qur’an:
“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion.” (05 : 03)
This divine guidance is Islam. So, Islam is a code of life based on creator – creation relationship, and it guides and motivates man to do the good and avoid the evil. Allah Ta’ala says:
“Verily this Qur’an doth guide to that which is most right.” (17 : 09)
Islam is an Arabic term that means submission and obedience. It is complete submission to the will of Allah. The Almighty says:
“O ye who believe! Enter into Islam perfectly, and follow not the footsteps of Satan.” (02 : 208)
This complete and all-embracing divine code of life cannot be confined to certain rites or rituals performed in places of worship alone. In Islam’s view, worship includes not only prayers but all activities as a good person, as a loving member of the family and as a dutiful citizen of the society at large. Islam establishes brotherhood of humanity for peace and harmony. It touches every aspect of man’s life – personal, family and social.
To put it in a nutshell, Islam is the moral kingdom of Allah for one brotherhood of mankind to establish peace and tranquility in this world and hereafter. It is the religion of worship of one creator practiced in good deeds and piety.
As a religion encompassing all aspects of man’s life, it guides him in terms of earning and spending. It has laid down very clear ground rules and ethics for trade, commerce, finance, and all other money and commodity related activities. Today the much talked about Islamic Banking and Finance even is not a new theory. It is as old as Islam. Just because Muslims failed to practice Islamic Banking and Finance to the letter in some ages or places, it should not be construed that it is a set of mere rules and regulations made by Islamic scholars in the recent past.
To put the record straight, Islamic Banking and Finance is an integral part of Islam which every Muslim is expected to practice. Meanwhile, it is not confined to Muslims; but open to non-Muslims too. It is so open that one is not to be considered a convert to Islam just because he practices Islamic Banking and Finance.
There was a time when the colonists imposed on all the people irrespective of faith their own man-made economic theories which are devoid of equity and fair play and involve interest, injustice and uncertainty. As a result, Muslims who were under imperialism were indeed unable to carry out their business activities, standing within the ambit of Islamic Shari’ah. Just after World War II when a large number of Muslim countries gained independence from colonial rule, the Muslim scholars started contemplating independent Islamic Economics in a bid to ensure that the Muslims are on the right track again in terms of trade, commerce, banking and finance.
Consequently the world has once again got the chance of witnessing the Islamic Banking and Finance in practice in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike. It is of course noteworthy that Muslims and non-Muslims both benefit enormously from this infallible economic system.
Islam in general does not lay down the rules alone; but it formulates a framework for their application. This framework requires inter alia application of rules and ethics both side by side. Islamic Banking and Finance is not an exemption. Its structure is complete with application of regulations and etiquette, good governance, professionalism and efficient service. This is all termed ‘Shari’ah Compliance’.
Since Islamic Banking and Finance is directly connected to Islamic Shari’ah and Shari’ah compliance is first and foremost in the whole operation of the companies that offer this service, it is natural that it has to be continuously monitored by Islamic scholars. For this obvious reason, the regulators have made it compulsory for each institution of this nature to have a comprehensive Shari’ah supervisory board. So, the Board of Directors is responsible for running the establishment in accordance with Shari’ah principles and values and the Shari’ah Supervisory Board is responsible for ensuring that the operation is in line with Shari’ah. This is where complete transparency is badly needed.
Shari’ah is in everything and for everything. The entire operation must conform to Shari’ah. Showing Shari’ah in front and face and ignoring it behind the curtain is violation of Shari’ah and taking people especially the investors for a ride. It should, also, be noted that Shari’ah compliance is not complete by mere paperwork only. It needs physical application to be completed.
All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama which has undertaken in the interests of Islam and general public to play the role of regulators, has recently introduced a new set of guide-lines for the firms engaged in Islamic Banking and Finance. All such companies are duty-bound to abide by them.
From time to time whenever opportunities come to assemble those of us who are in the field academically and practically, we exchange our views and thoughts particularly on urgency of legislation to allow fully-fledged Islamic banks to operate in the country. But no concerted effort has so far been made to convince the Central Bank. Our blessed motherland has potential to be a hub of Islamic Banking in South Asia and is lucky enough to have people with wisdom, know-how, skills, expertise, etc. to help formulation of a framework for fully-fledged Islamic Banking practice. The present Islamic banking institutions have already proved that the Islamic Banking Industry is highly practicable. By and large, it is our duty to make a collective attempt to persuade the Central Bank to take the initiative with regard to bringing necessary legislation.
Thanks to Almighty Allah. Hitherto we, Shari’ah Supervisory Board, see People’s Leasing – Islamic Financial Services Unit running the show in conformity with Shari’ah. We conduct Shari’ah audit biannually and issue an audit report based on our independent opinion formed from the audit.
In spreading its wings, People’s Leasing – Islamic Financial Services Unit has identified first Kandy, a historical city of the Island as potential place next to Colombo. We ardently hope that the Company and the clientele both will benefit from each other, a win-win situation Islam emphasizes.
Thank you. “Jazaakumullahu khaira”.