Islamic Finance

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Islamic Finance

The range of financial transactions that conform to the sharia, or Islamic law. Islamic finance forbids investment in industries considered sinful, notably alcohol, pornography and armaments. Islamic law also forbids the payment or receipt of interest. This forces credit to be either interest-free, or, more commonly, to take the form of a partnership or joint venture. For example, a bank could buy an asset for cash and then re-sell it to the "borrower" for a profit such that the profit is the same as the bank would have made had it extended a regular loan.

Islamic finance also forbids speculation. Thus, futures contracts and options are not permissible. These restrictions have made Islamic finance rather risk averse; it has a tendency to invest in fixed assets with an intrinsic value apart from the transaction. Critics within Islam claim that Islamic finance imitates conventional finance and therefore is not truly "Islamic." However, it became a major growth sector within finance in the early 2000s. See also: Sukuk, Murabaha, Mudharaba, Musharika.
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