ABOUT THE COURSE
The Islamic Economics and Finance Certificate Course is a free distance learning program of the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation. Organised under the auspices of its Islamic Finance Talent Development Program (IF-TDP) it is intended to develop the talents of fresh university graduates and other mid-level professionals who have the interest and passion to pursue a meaningful Islamic finance professional career.
This course deliberates upon the principles and the practices of Islamic finance. A financial system provides operating tools and instruments to an economic system, on the basis of which it tends to achieve its objectives. Likewise, Islamic finance is only one, but the most effective part of the overall Islamic economic system and not the all-conclusive part. Its importance as the most effective part, however, has to be recognized because the flow of money, and thus transfer of resources, to various segments in a society is controlled by the banking and financial system, which, at its current stage of development, works like the blood circulating in the human body.
As regards the interpretation of the tenets of the Sharia, the course represents the main-stream view of Islamic finance for the reason of its recognition at a wider scale and also because it is the basis for Islamic banking practices in the Middle East and other parts of the world. The Sharia principles, accounting, risk management and other performance standards as being developed by the standard-setting institutions like the AAOIFI and the IFSB, are also based on the mainstream view. This should not be taken as a big problem for students or the system, as practices based on the minority view in respect of a few concepts are in the process of transformation to make them compatible with the mainstream view and philosophy.
The challenges facing Islamic finance include educating and creating awareness among the stakeholders on a large scale and convincing people that the theory of Islamic finance is workable on a sustainable basis. A number of myths occupy peoples’ minds about the Islamic financial system. Removing those myths and promoting Research & Development is crucial in promoting the system. Policymakers, bankers, the business community, industrialists, Sharia scholars, students of business schools and the people at large need to know what Islamic finance is, what its features and philosophy are and how it works. In particular, the product developers, those responsible for implementation and also the financial experts need to be familiar with the essential requirements of different Islamic modes of business, enabling them to provide financial services relating to retail, corporate and government sectors ensuring Sharia compliance and the best operating procedures. This Course is an effort to providing for students, bankers, the business community and the general public a sound understanding about the principles of Islamic finance and how they work to form a viable system.
The nature, scope, objectives and main features of the Islamic economic system are discussed briefly, just to lay a foundation for discussion while studying and understanding the Islamic financial system. The main body of the Course is devoted to explaining the philosophy and concepts of Islamic finance, how it has to be applied at the micro-level and what its prospects and challenges are. The Course comprises three modules, each part spanning a number of Units.