I commonly get requested by individuals interested in learning more about contemporary Islamic economics/finance to recommend some books that they can read in order to increase their knowledge and exposure to this interesting topic.
Due to this, Insha Allah, I will try to recommend, on an on-going basis and in no particular order, books & papers (English & Arabic) that I deem to be beneficial for anyone interested in this particular area.
For anyone who is really serious about learning the various Shariah opinions on contemporary financial issues, one of the best books (if not the best) for them to read would be the Shariah standards published by AAOIFI. For someone with no background in the subject matter, either academically or practically, reading and understanding the AAOIFI standards might be challenging but not impossible.
AAOIFI is a standard setting body for the Islamic finance industry and its Shariah board(s) consists of prominent Shariah scholars, who are experts in the field of Islamic economics & finance. These scholars, after much deliberation, have come up with numerous Shariah standards on the most pertinent and pressing Shariah issues facing the Islamic finance industry. There are a number of standards which have been published by AAOIFI, and these are being constantly revised. Furthermore, new standards are always in the pipeline.
The Shariah standards issued by AAOIFI, are meant to act as a recommended guide for Islamic financial institutions, hence they are essential reading for all stakeholders. In fact, in some countries, the AAOIFI Shariah standards are now binding on the Islamic financial institutions operating within the country.
For those interesting in reading these Shariah standards, the good news is that both the hard copy version (USD35) as well as the downloadable PDF version (Free) are available online from the AAOIFI website (links below) in the following languages: Arabic, English, French & Russian. Furthermore, an Urdu version has been developed, although not yet on the AAOIFI website. However, for anyone who is proficient in Arabic, I recommend they stick to it as it is the original language of the Shariah standards and not a translation.
Disclaimer – There maybe Shariah opinions within the Islamic finance industry as well as out of it, that are different to the opinions mentioned in the AAOIFI Shariah standards, however, as previously mentioned, these are the Shariah standards which are predominately followed by Islamic financial institutions operating within the industry.
To read the next post (#2) in this series, please click the link below: