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ISSN 2412-3218(Print)
International Scholar Journal of Accounting and
Finance,Volume-1, No.1(2015) 33-40

International
Scholar Journal of
Accounting and
Finance

Islamic Banking: A True Alternative to Interest-Based


Conventional Banking
S. M. Faridul Islam*
* Assistant Professor, Dept. of Business Administration, Khwaja Yunus Ali University,
Sirajgonj, Bangladesh
ABSTRACT
Smooth financial operations are quite impossible without banking and interest is the
pivotal element of conventional banking activities which is strictly prohibited in Islam. So,
to avoid interest as well as to meet banking needs, the Muslim requires such a banking
system that avoids interest and in compliance with the 'Shariah'; commonly known as
Islamic banking. The study shows that the Islamic banking is not only a substitute to
interest-based conventional banking, but also a real alternative to the Muslim. There are so
many differences between the two systems and generally should not be compared with each
other as they are operated under the different set of thoughts; values and rules-regulations.
In spite of that, a large number of people are using Islamic Banking as an alternative to the
interest-based conventional banking. This paper is aimed at discussing and sharing
knowledge on Islamic banking by understanding the concept of Islamic banking; origin of
Islamic banking; principles of Islamic banking; deposit mobilization and fund utilization
mechanisms of Islamic banking; welfare activities of Islamic banking and the regulatory
framework of Islamic banking.
Copyright 2015, Scholar Journals. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Islamic Banking, Interest-free Banking, Riba-free Banking, Shariah-based
Banking, Halal Banking, Muslim's Banking, PLS Mechanisms.
JEL Classications: G21, R15
1. INTRODUCTION
Bank and banking have become an integral part of our modern life. The living is not
possible without financial transactions, and smooth or systematic financial activities
require a suitable banking system. Today's economy and civilization are depending on
banks to a great extent. Nowadays banking activities are not limited only with the
mobilization of deposits, using that in a convenient manner and giving back that to
depositors' on demand; but also handling thousand of works in exchange of interests, fees
or commissions. But interest is clearly as well as strictly prohibited in Islamic Shariah, i.e.,
for Shariah restrictions interest related activities are not acceptable to the Muslims (Rufai,
2014). As a result, the Muslim needs a unique banking system based on Islamic values and
principles, commonly known as 'Islamic Banking'(Rahman & Rahman, 2007). Islamic
banking has made it possible to keep the people away from the interest as well as to
address all the banking needs simultaneously and has become an ideal alternative to the
interest-based conventional banking worldwide.

* Corresponding author. Mob.:+8801916-868585;


E-mail address: faridasia@gmail.com
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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2699451

Islam
2. CONCEPT OF ISLAMIC BANKING
The term 'Islamic Banking' implies a banking system which is operated as well as
controlled under Shariah guidelines and completely free from non-Islamic elements, like
interest, Gharar, etc. Islamic banking is, ... a form of modern banking based on Islamic
legal concepts developed in the first centuries of Islam, using risk-sharing as its main
method and excluding financing based on a fixed, pre-determined return. (Schaik, 2001).
In lending money, Shariah prohibits interest; commonly known as usury or Riba in
Islamic disclosure. Islamic banking, unlike conventional banks, is based on risk sharing
mechanism which is a vital component of business rather risk transferring which is
commonly seen in conventional banking (Usmani,1998).
3. METHODOLOGY
This study is qualitative in nature and do not use any quantitative tool to analyze the
data. It is conducted on the basis of the prior literatures and secondary information.
There are various research papers, articles, working paper and different books have been
used for the study.
4. HISTORY AND GROWTH OF ISLAMIC BANKING
Theoretical works for Islamic banking began in the 1940s and the experimental work
regarding Islamic banking first start at 1963 when 'Mit-Ghamr Islamic Savings Bank' (MISB)
established, as a pioneer experiment, in Egypt and this bank is regarded as the first Islamic
bank in the world (The Financial Express, 2015). In 1963, 'Pilgrims Fund Corporation'
(Tebung Haji) is established in Malaysia to support Malay Muslims for the expenditure during
Hajj. In 1973, the 'Philippine Amanah Bank' was also established to meet the Muslims
financial needs avoiding interest or Riba. In 1973, the 'Islamic Development Bank' (IDB) is
also founded and begins its activities in 1975. In 1975, 'Dubai Islamic Bank', the first private
commercial Islamic bank was established by the Muslim businessmen from several countries.
In 1977, the 'Faisal Islamic Bank' was established in Egypt and Sudan. In the same year,
'Kuwait Finance House' was set up by the Kuwait Government. Within the 10 years since the
establishment of 'Dubai Islamic Bank', 50 plus Islamic banks started their operations and
even some of those are in Europe countries.
5. PRINCIPLES OF ISLAMIC BANKING
A set of Islamic principles has made the Islamic banking unique from the interest-based
conventional banking. These are as followsProhibition of Riba: Islamic banking prohibits Riba (Usury) or any other addition like
this as it is not permissible in Shariah (Ahmad et al., 2011). Riba is forbidden because it
(a) corrupts society, (b) implies improper appropriation of other people's property, (c) acts
such a way which ultimate effect is negative growth, (d) demeans and diminishes human
personality, and (e) is unjust (Siddiqi, 2004).
Profit-loss sharing (PLS) mechanism: Islamic banks use profit-loss sharing mechanism
in mobilizing as well as in investing the fund.
Excessive risk is forbidden: Islamic banks do not allow or assist in any excessive risky
work like 'Gharar' or 'Mysir' as they are not Shariah compliant and forbidden in Islam for
their excessive risk or absolute uncertainty (Arman, 2013).
Money is a potential capital: In Islamic financing, the money is considered as a
potential capital -which will be actual capital only when it joins hands with other
resources to undertake a productive activity. In Islam, money is not considered as a
product also, it is just a medium of exchanging goods and services, (Akkas et al., 2008).
Unethical businesses are forbidden: Islamic banks do not operate, finance or support
any business engaged in 'Haraam' activities, such as wine business. Basically, all the
'Haraam' activities must be avoided as these are unlawful, injustice or harmful for the
human being and contradictory to the Islamic values.
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International Scholar Journal of Accounting and Finance, 1(1), 2015, 33-40


Following Shariah regulations: Islamic banks operate its activities in accordance with
the Shariah rules, known as Fiqh-al Muamalat (Islamic rules on transactions).
The consensus of Islamic banking to that of conventional banking is only to the extent
that banks are financial intermediaries mobilizing savings and channelizing the resources
towards productive investments (Nihar & Subramanyam, 2011).
6. DEPOSIT MOBILIZATION FRAMEWORK OF ISLAMIC BANKS
Islamic Bank mobilizes of savings from the common people in accordance with the
Islamic Shariah and must not be on the basis of any pre-agreed return which is very
much common in conventional banking. Some common fund mobilization techniques of
Islamic Banks are as follows6.1 Al-Wadiah Current Account: Al-Wadiah Current Account is such an account where
an Islamic Bank allows its client to deposit money and claim the fund, up to the available
balance, at any time. Here the bank act as a safe keeper of the fund deposited. In the
case of Al-Wadiah account, an Islamic Bank can use or invest a depositor's fund, but the
depositor does not bear any risk of losses, if any, and the bank has to incur that. As the
depositor does not bear any risk, he is not entitled to the profit also.
6.2 Mudaraba Savings Account: In a Mudaraba Saving Account an Islamic Bank takes
deposit with a condition that the bank will invest or use the fund deposited by the
depositor and the profit, if earned, will be distributed on the basis of pre-agreed
proportion. But the losses, if any, will be incurred by the fund owner/ depositor. In
practice an Islamic bank generally maintains three types of Mudaraba Account, which
are:
General Mudarabah Account: A general Mudarabah Account is nothing but the
ordinary form of Mudarabah account which does not possess any other specialty, but
the basic features of a Mudarabah account, i.e., the account holder, known as 'Rabbulmal' or 'Sahib-al-mal', provides the capital and the bank manages the fund deposited.
Profits or losses are incurred by the bank and the depositor as per Mudarabah rules as
stated earlier.
Term Mudarabah Account: An Account in which Islamic banks receive deposits from
their clients for a fixed period is known as 'Term Mudarabah Account'. The banks invest
the deposited funds and share the profit earned with the depositor on the basis of a preagreed ratio settled at the time of the contract, instead of a fixed rate contract on deposit
in relation to time which is very common in traditional banks. And the loss, if any, is
incurred by the depositors in proportion to their deposit. Therefore, at the end of the term
a depositor gets the amount deposited, plus any profit earned or minus any loss incurred
from the investment. The Islamic banks generally offer a comparatively higher rate of
profit to their term Mudarbah deposit than the general Mudarabah deposit. The basic
difference between a general Mudarbah account and a term Mudarabah account is, a
general Mudarabah account has no specific time limit, but a term Mudarabah account,
on the contrary, has such specific time duration.
Special Mudarabah Account: In these types of account the Islamic Banks receive
deposits from their clients to serve some special and specific purposes. The special
purpose can be a specific business like, for instance, salt business, oil business, spice
business, and so on; or a project like real state or shipping; or a specific sector like textile
or agriculture. Profit earned from these types of activities is shared between the bank and
depositors on the basis of a previously agreed percentage and in the case of a loss, the
depositors will bear the all in proportion to their deposits in the Special Mudarabah
Account.

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Islam
7. FUND UTILIZATION MECHANISM OF ISLAMIC BANKS
Fund utilization mechanisms of Islamic bank are typically different from those of the
conventional banking as it does not use its fund as loans on the basis of pre-determined
rates; rather devise suitable Shariah compliance devices. A wide range of fund investment
mechanisms, classified into three groups to choose from, are as follows:
7.1 Profit-Loss Sharing (Pls) Mechanism
Mudarabah: Mudarabah reflects such an agreement between two parties where one
party provides the capital, known as 'Sahebul Maal' for a business and the another
carries out the business, known as 'Mudarib' or the entrepreneur, on the condition that
the expected profit will be distributed between them on the basis of pre-agreed
proportion. And the loss, if any, will be incurred by the capital provider solely. One party
may not be experienced enough or may have no much time to carry out a business, but
the required capital. And the other party, on the contrary, may not have adequate capital,
but the time and expertise required for running the business properly (Mannan, 2012). In
a Mudaraba, the Sahebul Maal doesn't participate in the business directly, but he may
supervise and give necessary suggestions as well as instructions for the betterment of the
business.
Musharaka: Musharaka indicates a contract between two or more individuals or bodies
where all the parties provide capital for a business; participate in management; share the
profit earned as per previously agreed ratio or incur the loss, if any, in proportion to their
capital or equity ratio.
7.2 Ijarah/Lease-Based Mechanism
Ijarah or Lease or Hire agreement: In an Ijarah mode, an Islamic bank purchases a
real asset as specified by the prospective client, and leases it to the client. Duration of the
leased asset depends upon mutual agreement and the nature of the asset. During the
lease period, the lessee possesses the leased asset physically and enjoys the right of
using that; though the bank holds the ownership of the asset. On expiry of the lease
period, the lessee returns the asset to its owner. The bank and the lessee draw a lease
payment schedule based on the hiring amount, lease period and conditions applicable to
the lease agreement. During the lease period, as per Shariah, maintenance of the leased
asset should be incurred by the owner of the asset.
Ijarah Muntahia bil Tamlik or Hire Purchase: Under this mechanism an Islamic bank
and a customer agreed upon a contract that includes (i) a unilateral understanding of a
bank to buy an asset specified by a customer; (ii) Leasing out the asset to the customer;
and finally, (iii) transferring the ownership of the asset to the client, either as a gift or a
sale; at a nominal or at prevailing market price. In this mode, the bank possesses the
ownership initially and the customer only uses that on rental basis for a specified period
of time and later on, at the end of the rental period, the ownership of the asset goes to the
customer when the asset is sold or gifted to him (Aris et al., 2013). In selling, the sale
should be ensured by a separate sale contract. This mechanism is also known as Ijarawa-iqtina.
Hire purchase under Shirkatul milk: Hire purchase under Shirkatul milk is a special
type of contracts that integrates three Shariah approved transaction mechanisms; viz,
Shirkat, Ijarah and Bai (sale). (i) Under Shirkatul Milk, the bank and the client provide
equity, equally or unequally, for purchasing a real asset and take joint ownership in
proportion to their contribution. (ii) Under Ijara contract, the part of the asset owned by
the bank leased out to the client partner for a specified period, and finally (iii) Under Bai
contract, the bank transfers its share to the partner client in exchange of an agreed
amount of money consideration, that can be made either in installment over the lease
period or in a lump sum after expiry of the hire agreements.
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International Scholar Journal of Accounting and Finance, 1(1), 2015, 33-40


7.3 Bai-Mechanism
Bai-Muajjal or deferred or credit sales: Under Bai-Mechanism, Islamic bank contracts
with its client to sell specified goods, as per client order, at an agreed price payable in
lump sum or in installment within a fixed period of time. In this mode, ownership of the
goods is transferred to the client with the delivery of the goods, but the payment of that is
deferred by the client for a specified period. In a Bai-Muajjal contract, it is permitted to
charge a higher price than the prevailing market price. And the bank, however, is not
required to disclose the cost of the goods and the profit markup separately.
Bai-Murabaha: Bai-Murabaha is a sale agreement where Islamic bank sales a Shariah
permissible goods to a bank's client at cost, plus an agreed profit. The profit margin may
be a percentage of the cost or a lump sum and the buyer may pay the price in cash or
within a fixed period as a lump sum or in installments. In a Bai-Murabaha agreement
cost of the goods and the amount of the profit therewith have to be mentioned separately
and clearly. And the price once fixed can't be increased for the cause of unexpected
deferred payment, i.e. the amount of profit has, under any circumstances, no relationship
with the time period.
Bai-Salam: Bai-Salam is a contract between a buyer and a seller where a seller sales a
Shariah compliant commodity in advance at an agreed price which is fully payable on
execution of the said contract, though the commodity will be supplied at a certain future
time and at a particular place, as per specification like size; color; quantity; etc. By
following this, an Islamic bank can pre-purchase the future output of a firm at an agreed
price, specifying the product details along with the delivery time and place. Sometimes
Islamic bank pays on behalf of an importer or wholesaler, for such a forward purchase,
who agrees to repay the bank after reselling the goods.
Bai-Istisna: Bai-Istisna is a sale contract between a seller and a buyer where the seller
undertakes an order to have manufactured or acquired something for the buyer as
specified and sales it at an agreed price. The buyer may pay the price in advance or, on
the basis of an agreement, it can be deferred. However, the payment can also be paid as a
lump sum or in installments over a specified period. In the absence of any restriction by
the buyer, a seller can use a third party to get the work done or the product ready.
Bai-Istijrar (Supply Sale): Bai-Istijrar is such a contract where the supplier of a product
supplies to its clients on a regular basis and at an agreed price or mode of payment.
Bai-Inah: Bai-Inah is an agreement where an asset is sold at an agreed price and
brought back again at a higher price, normally, than the previous sale price. In a Baiinah agreement, both the sell and buy contracts will be independent and separate; and
one must not be made as a condition of another.
Bai-Musawama: Bai-Musawama is a sale contract where commodities are bought and
sold for a lump sum price without any reference to the cost.
Juala: Juala is an agreement for buying and selling services in exchange of some
commission or fees.
8. NON-INVESTMENT AND WELFARE SERVICES OF ISLAMIC BANKS
Account opening and maintenance: Account opening is the first step of establishing a
relationship between a bank and a client. A variety of banking activities take place with
the help of this bank account viz., receiving deposit; payment of checks drawn on the
account; execution of bank transfers and orders and so on. Some of these services
rendered by the Islamic banks are for commission or fees, whereas some of those are
absolutely free of cost.
Safe custody: Islamic Banks, like conventional banks, also offer safe custody services to
its clients. The main purpose of this type of service is to serve the clients more. Islamic
banks take a comparatively small charge against rendering this service.
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Islam
Money Transfer: Islamic Banks render this service by transferring money in behalf of its
client to another person's account or to another place, as per the instructions, through
Mail Transfer (MT); Demand Draft (DD); Telephonic Transfer (TT); Pay Order (PO) or any
other services like these.
Settlement of transactions: Islamic Bank pays cash against bill-of-exchange; check or
so on of their clients to settle transactions with the other parties.
Opening of L/C: Islamic bank issues letter-of-credit (L/C) on behalf of its clients for the
purpose of domestic and international trade and business.
Providing bank guarantee: A bank guarantee is a written agreement that guarantees
the payment of a debt by the bank, on behalf of its clients, to a third party. If the
customer or importer, under this agreement, fails to pay his debt the bank is responsible
for paying the debt.
Collection of negotiable instruments: To serve its clients an Islamic bank takes
possession of negotiable instruments of its customer and hold them till maturity and
collect the amount from the debtor on behalf of the bank's clients.
Providing Qard-al-Hasana: Quard-al-Hasana is a benevolent or virtuous loan given by
the bank to its special types of clients without any interest, profit or any other collateral
on the principal amount. It is one of the special non-income generating activities by the
Islamic banks.
Mobilizing and distributing of Zakah: Zakah is a 'Farj' (obligatory) obligation for the
rich Muslims by the Shariah. The rich Muslims, as per Shariah rules, donate a specific
quantity of their asset, known as Zakah, to the poor. An Islamic bank accumulates Zakah
to its Zakah fund and distributes, later on, among the poor as per Shariah rules.
There are some other services like factoring, school banking, issuing of travelers checks,
issuing a solvency certificate, etc. are provided by the Islamic banks as well.
9. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK OF ISLAMIC BANKING
The regulatory framework of Islamic banking can be categorized into two types on the
basis of their priority and those are primary and secondary framework.
9.1 Primary Framework
The Holy 'Quran': The Holy 'Quran' is the complete code of life and the Muslim beliefs
that till to the last day of the universe no update is required in it. All the aspects of the
human being are present here, including economic and financial activities. So, guidelines
and instructions regarding financial transactions in the Holy 'Quran' are the first and
foremost considerations for conducting Islamic banking.
Hadith: Sayings, practices and permission, which can be explicit or implicit, of doing
something by the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) are known as 'Hadith'. Basically 'Hadith' is
the illustrations and explanations of the issues, by the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W),
which are already in the Holy 'Quran'. He showed to the Shahabas (R.) that how to deal
with financial activities practically. The position of "Hadith" in Islam is just after the Holy
'Quran'. So, 'Hadith' is also another most important consideration for conducting Islamic
banking.
9.2 Secondary Framework
The secondary regulatory framework of Islamic banking consists of various sets of rules;
regulations; acts; guidelines and instructions by the various Islamic organizations. These
rules and regulations are basically on the basis of the Holy 'Quran' and 'Hadith'. Some
well-known organizations, among them, are Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institution (AAOIFI)
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International Scholar Journal of Accounting and Finance, 1(1), 2015, 33-40


Islamic Financial Standard Board (IFSB)
International Association of Islamic Banks (IAIB)
Islamic Foundation UK
International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)
Additionally, respective bank's 'Shariah supervisory board' observes whether all the
banking operations of the banks are in accordance with the 'Shariah' guidelines or not
and takes necessary steps if needed.
10. CONCLUSION
Though interest has an endless negative impact on society -like financial injustice;
improper appropriation of property; negative financial growth and so on, it is still the key
factor acting as the foundation of the conventional banking system. Interest-free Islamic
banking, on the contrary, is as complete as a client expects and has the positive impacts
only. Moreover, it offers the Muslim a great opportunity to abide by the principles of
Shariah. In a real sense, Islamic banking is much better compared to the conventional
banking as it performs well and addresses all the banking needs of its clients.
Additionally, It has an exclusive beauty and fragrance as it is based on a universally
acknowledged principles of equity, honesty, fairness, piousness, as well as on PLS
mechanism and free from all Haraam activities or unwelcome elements like speculation
or Gharar. So Islamic banking is considered as a blessing for all, irrespective of religion,
as it ensures and brings welfare and peace for the society.
NOTES
Conventional Banking: General banking system where interest is the pivotal element
and very much common in our society.
Shariah: Islamic rules and regulation for the Muslim, supported by the Holy 'Quran' and
'Hadith'.
Riba: Unjustified increment on the lending money, irrespective as a condition of the
lender or voluntarily by the borrower. The term 'interest' and 'Usury' are commonly used
instead of the term 'Riba'.
Halal: Complied with the Islamic Shariah. It simply means that something is lawful or
permitted for the Muslim.
Haraam: Activities which are sinful, unlawful and prohibited by the Shariah.
Farj: Activities, for the Muslim, which are obligatory by the Shariah.
Sahaba: Muslim companions as well as followers of the last prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).
Gharar: Absolute or excessive uncertainty of a contract.
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