Group roots for deepening of Islamic finance

NAIROBI, KENYA: A lobby group has called for the review of regulations governing Islamic banking and Sharia'h compliant products offered by conventional banks so as to resolve the issue of interest rates which is prohibited in Islam.

The group, Bayt-ul-Maal Kenya, led by a Muslim scholar Sheikh Abdul Walid Ahmed, say they are currently collecting signatures from faithful to petition the Muslim leadership in the country to support the idea.

In a statement the group said “we estimate that by the end of the holy month of Ramadhan they will have collected 18,000 signatures to petition the Kenya Muslims to create the system that will enhance Islamic financial sector in Kenya.”

 “The Constitution protects the rights of Muslims under the Bill of Rights and also enables them to craft a financial system that allows them to practice their faith in respect of financial matters, and also streamline Islamic financing in the country,” explained Ahmed.

He said that Bayt-ul-Maal group has commenced gathering signatures to petition Kenyan Muslims scholars to deliberate and craft a modern day Bayt-ul-Maal (Islamic Treasury) catering for the needs of Muslims.

The group has commenced collecting signatures at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadhan. They embarked on a door-door campaign sensitizing the Muslims community on the importance of Bayt-ul-Maal.

The group claims that since February, this year, debate has raged concerning the validity, in Sharia’h terms, of Islamic banking and Sharia'h Compliant windows, as offered by some conventional banks.  The debate has been bolstered by the rulings of five eminent scholars seeking to find real solutions to the problem of interest (Riba) which is strictly prohibited in Islam.