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     Question Forum :  Islamic Banks Date Posted:  07 -May  -  2002




Since there is interest in eliminating the usury system among Muslims why can we not start an Islamic bank in a co-op style? Each person interested will bank his money with this bank. People are not making any profit investing their money in the RIBA system. We should not expect making any profit banking with this new co-op until our Muslim economist brothers figured out a way to expand this bank. Allah (SWT) will guide our economists in way's to invest our savings and may be exchange our mortgages in the future with more Islamic way's. Is this plausible?

It is possible and there are, in fact, a number of schemes operating. Mostly these are local or regional schemes involving people who know each other sufficiently to trust each other, because there will be no protection against somebody who defaults on their commitment. This type of self-help group cannot be official as then it is regulated by the state, and so the various existing schemes are not big enough to tackle mortgages, but there are lending pools for business people to help them through with cash flow problems, and save-and-finance programmes operated by local or mosque communities. To extend the benefit of such schemes to a wider public, there will need to be a political change in what kind of financial set-ups are permitted by law. At the moment, no lending institution may altogether bypass the charging of at least the base rate set by the national bank.

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