Islam: Questions And Answers - Jurisprudence and Islamic Rulings: Transactions

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Such decisions by the Boards are called fatwas. The function of a Shari'ah Supervisory Board is of a very delicate nature.

On the one hand, they are meant to abide strictly by Islamic principles, and on the other they have to fulfill the requirements of the constantly emerging needs of the contemporary marketplace. The task entrusted to the Shari'ah boards is indeed a difficult one; because when we claim that Islam provides solutions to the problems of every time and place, it does not mean that Islam has given a specific rule for each and every minute detail of every transaction.

In fact, the sacred sources of the Shari' ah, the Qur'an and the Sunnah, have provided Muslims with a set of eternal principles, but their application to the practical situations of each age requires the exercise of ijtihad. This means consultations in which the individual deliberations of many scholars play a vital role in reaching many firm conclusions.

Islam: Questions and Answers - Jurisprudence and Islamic Rulings: Transactions - Part 8 (Paperback)

This exercise sometimes brings different answers from different Shari'ah Supervisory Boards with regard to the same question. The Shari' ah Supervisory Boards, being comprised of a number of Islamic scholars, decide the matter placed before them after mutual deliberations, which is tantamount to collective ijtihad.

The Islamic Fiqh Academy, constituted under the auspices of the Organization of the Islamic Conference OIC represented by all its member countries, in its Second Session held at Jeddah during December , adopted a resolution which, inter alia, provided:. Extract from Translator's Introduction - Volume I If the numbers indicate anything about Islamic banking, it is that an exciting chapter in the religious, cultural, and intellectual life of Muslims is opening.

The relatively new field of Islamic economics and banking is particularly challenging for the reason that it brings together scholarship from jurists and economists. Realistically speaking, however, there is much about this novel interdisciplinary field that is not well understood, even at the conceptual level; and a great deal of groundwork still needs to be done. The problem at the present time, if we seek to reduce the matter to its lowest common denominator, is that scholars from both fields bring their own intellectual and disciplinary predilections to their understanding of the new phenomenon, and these are often at ideological and even paradigmatic loggerheads with one another.

For example, many Muslim jurists are reluctant to exercise any sort of independent thinking on economic issues, preferring instead to rely on the scholarship of past ages. At a very fundamental level, they would endow homo Islamicus with the same traits as the neoclassical homo economicus whose primary motivation is utility and precious little else.

In modern times the appearance of serious thought, from an Islamic perspective, on the subject of economics coincided closely with the emergence of Muslim nation states following the colonial experience, at a time when Muslims sought not only to repair their ailing economies, but to reestablish their cultural and religious identities.

The success of the first handful of Islamic banks, particularly in the decade of the seventies, led to the growth in the next decade of Islamic banks and banking all over the Muslim world. Today western economists are busy studying the potential impact of Islamic banking on economic relationships, as well as some of those aspects of Islamic banking which have met with success and show promise as profitable alternatives to established norms.

In the coming stages the work of economic historians will become increasingly important as their studies begin to inform the thinking of both Muslim economists and jurists, further increasing the complexity of the interdisciplinary mix, and further emphasizing the inadequacy of present classifications to encompass this fascinating new field.

No doubt, the economic history of Muslims is fraught with lacunae; and there is much in our past that may be of relevance to the economic activity of our future. In particular, the ways in which Muslim scholars, especially the jurists among them, wrestled with problems of credit, trade, and production in the centuries prior to the depredations of the colonial powers may have much to tell us about how these issues may be dealt with today. Until recently, this has been a subject that failed to gain the attention of modern Muslim jurists, owing perhaps to their preoccupation with the classical period and its texts, so that many legal scholars remain in the dark with regard to the practices and strategies developed in the recent legal past.

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Indeed, the point has been made, and it seems a valid one, that we are dealing with an interrupted process. The areas of chief concern in the operations of Islamic Banks at present have been identified as trade financing and participatory or investment financing; the fatawa relevant to the three particularly Islamic modes of finance which represent the basis for, and majority of, operations within Islamic Banks are murabaha, mudarabah, and musharakah, each of which is used for investing. Murabaha, a form of trade financing, represents the most widely used of the three, yet the most suspect from an Islamic legal perspective.

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The other two operations are in no wise controversial, and musharakah may be understood to correspond to private investment funds, and mudarabah to public joint investment funds. Moreover, ijarah, like its three uniquely Islamic counterparts, murabaha, mudarabah, and musharakah, is essentially a contract developed in the classical period i.

With the passage of time, however, and the changing of circumstances, these contracts have taken on refinements as Muslim scholars and investors have found ways to expand the utility of the contracts. It can never be emphasized enough that Islamic law or fiqh is a process and not a code.

Differences within and between legal schools of thought are often the blocks upon which lasting edifices may be built. In the short run, however, such differences may appear to represent serious obstacles to progress. The encouraging thing about contemporary Islamic banking and finance is that the will exists to overcome all such obstacles.

Thus, today religious scholars, bankers, economists, lawyers, and financial experts are working together to develop products and services that both satisfy the needs of their clients and institutions, and at the same time comply with the moral and legal teachings of the Islamic faith. Perhaps even more encouraging is the interest and cooperation of experts who may not necessarily profess the Muslim faith, but whose efforts and diligence for the success of the new Islamic financial enterprise are equalled only by the most zealous of Muslims.

Several of the fatwas are quite innovative in their treatment of questions and to deal with the problem at hand in light of the changed circumstances, this is a situation that was not imagined in the experience of the classical jurists.

This and several other such fatwas are indicative of an acceptance on the part of Shari'ah Supervisory Boards of new realities in the marketplace and of their willingness to understand and work with these to the extent that Islamic religious and legal principles will allow. These fatwas will probably mean little to those who have not previously acquainted themselves with the basic principles of the contracts represented. For many the treatment of the subject matter of riba presents a real challenge on both a theoretical and a practical level.

The concept requires a greater understanding and appreciation of riba as a prohibited element in Shari'ah compliant contracts and exchanges, as well as on Leasing and Exchange. Indeed, while Islamic banking has enjoyed considerable growth and success, there are several sectors into which new Islamic financial alternatives have only now begun to make inroads. Of key importance to any new undertaking is the matter of consumer trust. This is especially true in regard to Islamic financial products and needs bearing in mind by every Islamic financial operation.

This is especially important for [Islamic] banks in relation to the accounts they hold because their business is directly related to the need for trust, and because they must dispel ambiguity for everyone concerned. Back to Top Rules of Islamic Finance The rules of Islamic finance adhere to the broad principles of avoiding Maysir and Qimar which are gambling and speculation along with Gharar which is uncertainty coupled with exploitation and unfairness. These instruments serve as the basic building blocks for developing a wide array of more complex financial instruments, suggesting that there is great potential for financial innovation and expansion in Islamic financial markets The Islamic scholars and Shari'ah Supervisory Boards of different Islamic financial institutions have passed a large number of resolutions through collective ijtihad interpreting the basic principles underlying Islamic transactions and the requirements of the Shari'ah with regard to different modes of financing, as well as some details of their practical implementation.

He said, There are a number of issues that we need to address. These are: Interest of the community takes precedence over the interests of the individual; Relieving hardship takes precedence over promoting benefit; A bigger loss cannot be prescribed to alleviate a smaller loss and a bigger benefit takes precedence over a smaller one. Conversely a smaller harm can be prescribed to avoid a bigger harm and a smaller benefit canbe dispensed with in preference to a bigger one. The decisions of those who describe themselves as Islamic jurists in this country show the problems life in the United States poses for devout Muslims.

One Muslim asked a jurist whether it is permissible to dance with a member of the opposite sex no, was the answer, unless the dance partners are married. Another asked whether Muslim men in the United States should shave their armpits recommended but not obligatory. Parents asked whether they could give an adopted boy their last name no, the boy must retain the name of his biological father.

One complication for many Muslims has been that, unlike the courts of some Muslim countries, American courts have refused to defer to Islamic law in some important areas. American courts, for example, have consistently declined to accept a divorce procedure acceptable under Islamic law, which permits a husband to divorce his wife simply by announcing the divorce three times.

Another problem has been that many of those who issue opinions in the United States lack the scholarly training common in Islamic countries, said Azizah Y. For this reason, many of them are ill-equipped for the challenge of interpreting an ancient religion for a modern society.

And if you don't have the tools to go back to the fundamentals, you're in trouble. One group that is trying to present authoritative interpretations is a panel that currently has 12 volunteer members, including professors and directors of Islamic centers. It calls itself the Fiqh Council of North America.

Jurisprudence and Islamic Rulings Transactions Part 5 Islam Questions And Answers Book 26

Members of the council said ''fiqh'' can be roughly translated as efforts at understanding the law. The council's opinions are not binding.

Islam: Questions And Answers - Jurisprudence and Islamic Rulings: Transactions

The panel is needed because ''jurists in the Muslim world would not have an understanding of American life and could not give opinions that fit the American context,'' said one member, Abd Al Hakim Jackson, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Michigan. One of the council's rulings was that it is permissible for a Muslim to attend a Thanksgiving celebration.

Taha said that view would be rejected by traditionalists in the United States and by many jurists in Muslim countries. But Dr.

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Taha said the council takes the view that Muslims in the United States ''must be part of the American community,'' adding, ''They must share some of the acceptable culture. The council has its critics. In part, he said, that was because it is known for analyzing Islamic law for the American military and media and other non-Muslim organizations rather than responding to the needs of Muslims.