Ramadan Mubarak!

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is one of the most important months of the year for Muslims. It is the month that Muslims the World over are enjoined to fast  from dusk until dawn, primarily to reaffirm their connection with their Creator and attain a higher awareness of life by detaching from the norms and cycle of daily life, as well as increase their empathy with those, for whom fasting is not a choice, but a necessity.

The month is a time for increased spiritual reflection and prayer, as well as to abstain from gossiping, lying, envy, greed and other bad traits of character. Muslims are also encouraged to be even more charitable than usual, and typically increase their charitable donations to help those less fortunate.

The Holy Quran describes Ramadan as:

“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”(Sūrah al-Baqarah, Chp2, v.185).

Muslims believe there are many benefits to this blessed Month. One such example given by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh):

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Every good deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied. He will receive ten-fold to seven-hundred-fold reward for a good deed. Allah the Glorious and Majestic has said ‘but fasting is exceptional, for it is done for Me [Allah] and I will give reward for it [Personally], since one abandons his passion and food for My sake. There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts, joy when he breaks it and joy when he meets his Lord; and the breath (of an observer of fast) is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.” (Related by AI-Bukhari and Muslim).

The UKIFC would like to take this opportunity to wish all people Ramadan Mubarak (Greetings) and a happy, healthy and prosperous month.

Thematic Workshop Showreel Launched

Thematic Workshop Showreel Launched

On 21 February 2018, a large London gathering of the Islamic finance and ethical finance communities took place. Over 140 bankers, financiers, academics and scholars considered the trend of positioning Islamic finance within the broader umbrella of ethical finance. Following Shariah principles, it is argued Islamic finance is seen to be intrinsically interwoven with ethical finance values and strategies. However, this view is not shared across the whole of the financial services industry and the Muslim community.

The event was organised by the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) and the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) and hosted by the Islamic finance practice of global law firm K&L Gates.

Our event showreel captures the spirit of what was a highly successful event.

UKIFC Senior Advisor Talks to CNBC Africa about Financial Inclusion

According to the World Bank around 2 billion people do not use formal financial services and more than 50% of adults in the world’s poorest households are unbanked. A number of factors significantly affect financial inclusion and through working with policymakers, regulators and development agencies across the globe over several years we at the UKIFC are acutely aware of these.

Financial inclusion typically relates to transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance products and services that facilitate day-to-day living, helping families and businesses plan for everything from long-term goals to unexpected emergencies. As account holders, people are more likely to use other financial services, such as credit and insurance, to start and expand businesses, invest in education or health, manage risk, and weather financial shocks, which can improve the overall quality of their lives.

UKIFC Senior Advisor, and financial inclusion expert, Modupe Ladipo joined CNBC Africa to discuss financial inclusion in Africa.

Please click on the link to watch the full interview - Keeping track of Nigeria’s financial inclusion strides

HH Emir Sanusi delivers keynote at Shared Values workshop

On the 28th of May 2016, the IFC together with the Church of Scotland held the first in its three part workshop series to identify a ethical finance shared values principles framework.

Held at the Dalmahoy Estate, the round table workshop bought together leading global theologians, scholars and practitioners and follows the joint venture announcement made earlier in the year (see FT / BBC coverage). The first workshop took a historical perspective to explore the events, people and ideas that have shaped faith discussions on ethical finance. Along with the key note from HH Emir Sanusi, presentations were made by , Rev. Richard Fraser, Sheikh Ruzwan, Prof. Robbie Mochrie and Dr Akram Laldin.

The content revolved around an enquiry on the following points:

  1. Theological perspectives on ethical finance and just economy.
  2. Philosophical underpinnings of ethical finance.
  3. The teleology of economy in Christianity and Islam.
  4. Mapping a history of the ethical finance movement in relation to the religious teachings that informed it.
  5. The socio-theological origins of Savings Banks movement in Scotland.
  6. Contextual factors to the rise of alternative financial models and the role of Christianity and Islam in facilitating such initiatives.

The next round table workshop is planned for later in the year in London. To find out more or to participate contact info@ukifc.com

Umer Suleman recognised as a ‘Rising Star of the City’

The Top 30 future leading figures in the City were recognised and celebrated in this years Brummell publication. A rigorous judging panel reviews nominations and this year Umer Suleman was successfully recognised for outperforming in his market and for giving back to make the world a better place.

As noted in Brummell, ‘Suleman is an experienced risk SME who has assumed various risk roles during his career. He co-heads HSBC’s Muslim Network and used his experience to run a workshop on leadership and creating effective networks for City employees. He is an executive manager for the Islamic Finance Council on a pro-bono basis and one of the founding partners of Affogato, an ethical artisanal coffee and gelato shop. He previously took a sabbatical to join the Mosaic charity, which helps people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

for more information click here

IFC welcomes new Board Member – Ajmal Bhatty

Continuing its strong growth the UKIFC takes on its first international Board Member.

Ajmal Bhatty is a thought leader and pioneer in takaful and ethical investment solutions, Ajmal has over 35 years of international experience (17 years at C-level) in financial services sectors. He has been instrumental in developing and managing insurance institutions in challenging environments. An actuary by profession, Ajmal has provided advisory and technical support to regulators and standard setting bodies on Takaful in several jurisdictions in the Middle East and Malaysia.

Tariq Masood, UKIFC Chairman, commented “Ajmal brings a wealth of experience in Takaful which  complements well the skill set of the existing Board. We are delighted to have Ajmal join the UKIFC which is fundamentally built on the goodwill and tireless efforts of our team.”

On joining the UKIFC Board, Ajmal commented, “UKIFC is one of the most effective platforms in the promotion and development of Islamic Finance and probably the only most active platform for identifying interfaith shared values with Islamic Finance; this is most commendable for the general awareness and promotion of Islamic Finance in the context of Ethical Finance.

Takaful and Micro-takaful have not had similar promotion and development in terms of customer recognition of their ethical dimensions when compared to their conventional counterparts. There is still a disconnect with takaful of the various areas of Islamic Finance such as project finance, long term sukuks and private equity initiatives. Takaful is perceived more as a product than a system. Whilst it is the industry itself that needs to address such issues, the platform of UKIFC can be a great catalyst in debating the issues and bringing about a change in the current status quo and in the mind set of regulators, entrepreneurs and practitioners.

As a member of the advisory board of UKIFC, I would address pertinent issues and areas that would enable it to support the promotion, growth and development of Takaful in areas and markets currently not yet developed, or where it is in initial stages of development. This would be the OIC markets as well as markets where Takaful should appeal to everyone on ethical grounds. Islamic micro-finance and micro-takaful are very much needed. Working with government bodies as well as the private sector, UKIFC can be instrumental in bringing micro-solutions to several Muslin countries by helping to develop specific regulations, guidelines, training programs and by mobilizing relevant resources through NGO’s and takaful companies in helping to develop viable propositions for financial inclusion and protection of the masses.