Tarique Anwar, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: Soon after getting the Kerala High Court’s go ahead to establish Islamic banking, Mumbai-based Pragmatic Wealth Management Private Limited is going to set up an academy to give guidance to Muslims on how to make investments in various financial sectors, including stock exchange, capital market and banking in accordance to the principals of sharia ( Islamic law).
The proposed academy will encourage educated youth to seek employment and do business in the financial sector where at present the participation of Muslims is extremely low. The institution claims that its experts and faculty will impart education to Muslim youth on the Sharia-compliant companies where investment can be done.
Pragmatic Wealth Management Managing Director Imtiaz Merchant told BeyondHeadlines: “We are in the process of finalizing the feasibility of such a project.”
The institution recently held a meeting prominent Muslim scholars and established Islamic Investment and Finance Board (IIFB), whose members include Maulana Wali Rahmani, member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani and others. The IIFB allowed Muslims to invest in stock market, an area most Muslims keep themselves away from. The clerics said that share trading was closer to Sharia than banking and insurance system. Sharia prohibits Muslims to invest in any venture, which deals with haram (not permissible) items like liquor, usury and interest. Sharia-compliant companies can be avenues for not just investment, but even seeking employment for Muslims.
A major judicial hurdle was removed for establishing the country’s first Islamic bank, which is based on the principle of profit sharing rather than charging interest, when the Kerala High Court on February 3 dismissed Janata Party leader Subramaniyam Swamy’s plea challenging the state government’s decision to start the country’s first Islamic bank.
The petitioner contended the idea of the state setting up a bank based on a religion would go against the principles of secularism enshrined in the constitution.
The state had floated the idea of an Islamic bank two years ago and it was registered under the name Al-Barka Financial Services, to be based in Kochi. The government-run Kerala State Industries Development Corporation held an 11 percent stake in the bank. But the plan soon ran into rough weather after the RBI objected to it saying current laws do not permit such banks.