The epoch of 20th century has ended with new-fangled dynamism in Islamic intellectualism. The imprint of its impact could be seen even in the academic references of the economic and financial studies. With the start of 21th century, Muslim experts felt the need to comprehend and foretell over a variety of socio-economic issues that Muslim societies confront in modern times. To overcome these challenges, the Muslim intellectuals, especially the finance experts, thought of representing Shariah-based instruments as the auxiliary vehicles for promotion of the financial activity. These instruments, if adopted in the financial sector, can cultivate a welfare society devoid of unapproved elements and practices. The current trends in Islamic studies focus on the relevance of the Islamic value system and its appliance into socio-economic directions. The extensive field of finance and investment has also been core concern and challenge to the Muslim academia in the present century.
In the realm of Islamic economic and financial studies, the thrust has been to look into the possibilities that can promote Islamic equity models in the present day finance industry. As a result, scholars involved in the cavernous study of Islamic financial jurisprudence (Fiqh al-Mamalat) came with the hope of possibility of banking, investment as well as corporate options within the Shariah procedures. This process has been a landmark in the economy of Muslim countries to identify Shariah approved finance for the community development. Hence post 2001, Muslim jurists and the finance experts made a restart to represent Islamic finance in the corporate sector as well as in the world academia. The Shariah approved finance modes and instruments were brought to light for the research purpose and their application in current geo-economic situations. As early as 1965, the academic expertise of the Muslim intellectuals had already opened a debate over the possibility of ‘Islamic finance and investment’ resulting in a massive contribution to the literature of Islamic financial studies.
In the current geo-economic challenges, Islamic finance has to contribute for a welfare society and to represent Islamic corporate model as much efficient and protected than the interest-based mechanism. The discipline of Islamic finance is being researched and professionalized upon new dynamism in Egypt, Malaysia and Sudan. Since 2005, world has witnessed a number of changes that ultimately resulted in reinterpretation as well as in the reorganization of the social discourse. The last quarter of the 20th century witnessed the absolute failure of the Marxist Societal-plan as well as the adverse effects of capitalism over the word economies.
Islamic commercial directives caught attention even of the Europe’s top economies to be debated and researched as substitute to the conventional instruments. Islamic economic and financial studies has emerged as a special concern for researchers in the Middle-East, Europe, Southeast Asia, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, North America, Iran and Turkey. The contemporary Muslim jurists and scholars have been in touch with the current geo-economic scenario making tremendous efforts to reorient the workability of equity instruments (Usul al-Shirkah al-Anan) for banking and investment sector. The studies, apart from the academic dimension, will enhance the scope for moral development together with the concerns for individual’s social upliftment. The literature reiterated for attainment of socio-economic justice illustrated the relevance of Islamic finance and cultivated for the establishment of a welfare society.
(The author is In charge and Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Studies, IUST.)