Authors Joseph DiVanna and Antoine Sreih believe that Islamic Finance (also known as ‘Shariah Compliant Financial Services’) is not a passing fad but that its growth in this last decade represents a new dawn.
The co-authors have written this book to explain the mysteries of this new movement. The book draws from theology, ethics and finance to provide practical handles for people in business and examples of innovative financial systems and products that are coming on to the market.
Extensive research by the authors illustrates how significant the growth of Islamic Finance is becoming, not only for Muslims but for business people beyond Islam who are looking for ethical investments and financial services. This move beyond the followers of Islam is opening up new markets and leading to a more inclusive rebranding of Islamic banks and banking services.
DiVanna and Sreih have published this book at a time of deep crisis in the global markets but they contend that while Islamic finance has not been immune to the storms its banking principles and financial models have built in stabilizers. Furthermore they urge their readers to discover ways that the global recession might serve as a seedbed for growing markets and developing a range of new products.
In addition to providing information on the principles of Islamic Finance, A New Financial Dawn urges business people and bankers to be innovative and to seize the opportunities to create Shariah-compliant products. In their enthusiasm, however, the authors lack a critical edge in their discussion of Islamic Finance. They do not elaborate on the downside of Islamic banking, especially on such tasks as getting authority and agreement from Shariah scholars who may differ in their ruling of how theological law governs banking and influences financial services.
The authors in pointing up the distinctives of Islamic banking sometimes appear to be simplistic in contrasting it with ‘conventional banking’ and portraying the latter as being monochrome and having no theological or ethical principles. Herein lies the challenge for Islamic Finance when the dawn turns to the midday heat—how this financial movement might stay genuinely connected to its theological and ethical foundations.
This book provides a readable introduction to the subject of Islamic Finance and while it will be of general interest it should be required reading for anyone employed in business and banking.
Joseph DiVanna & Antoine Sreih, A New Financial Dawn: The Rise of Islamic Finance London: Leonardo and Francis Press Ltd., 2009.
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Image: Front cover of A New Financial Dawn.