Module I discusses the need for, basis and overall structure of Islamic economics, presenting a framework under which the Islamic financial system is supposed to work. It explains the philosophy and the main features of Islamic finance that form the basis of operations for Islamic financial institutions (IFIs). The major prohibitions that IFIs are required to observe are also discussed in this part. As the prohibition of Riba is the least controversial issue, more emphasis in discussion has been given to the connotation of the term Riba and how it encompasses various forms of present-day business and finance.
Module II provides an overview of the Islamic law of contracts and elaborates upon basic requirements of various transactions to be undertaken by IFIs, enabling students to understand what the nature of various contracts is. While conventional banks’ main function is loaning, Islamic banks’ activities pertain to trading, leasing and other real sector business through a number of business structures. Rules of trading and loans and debts are, therefore, crucial for Islamic banking practitioners. Spanning three Units, this part explains the components of major contracts like those of sale, loans and debts and some related subcontracts like Hawalah (assignment of debt) Kafalah (guarantee/surety) and Rahn (pledge).
Module III, the most strategic part, gives an overview of financial products in conventional and Islamic perspectives and discusses the main Islamic modes of business and investment and how they have to be used by IFIs as modes of financing. Explanations of the concepts of credit and forward sales (Murabaha–Mu’ajjal, Salam and Istisna’a), leasing of assets and services (Ijarah), partnership-based modes like Musharakah, Mudarabah and Diminishing Musharakah are followed by the procedures that IFIs could adopt for respective modes to facilitate a variety of clients, ensuring Sharı´ah compliance.
Unit 13 discusses some accessory contracts that could be used by IFIs (along with other main contracts) like Wakalah (agency), Tawarruq (acquiring cash through trade activities), Ju’alah (stipend or reward for doing any defined job) and Istijrar (repeat sale/purchase or supply contract).
Unit 14 contains some guiding principles on the application of the system on both the deposit and the asset sides, the issues involved in product development, deposit management and financing of specific areas.
Unit 15 discusses the most vital and recently emerging topics in Islamic finance – Sukuk and securitization, elaborating upon the concepts and discussing the procedures. It explains how the concept of Sukuk can be used to realize the huge potential of Islamic finance.
Unit 16 is devoted to the concept, practice and potential of Takaful – the Islamic alternative to insurance – the development of which is necessary to complete the cycle of Islamic banking and finance.
Islamic banking theory, as well as practice, is subject to a large number of objections and criticism, not only by those who have doubts about the prohibition of modern commercial interest, but also by those who visualize an ideal and absolutely “pure” system having socio-economic benefits within a given time-frame. Unit 17 is devoted to the appraisal of such criticism.
Unit 18 – The Way Forward – concludes the Course by discussing the prospects, issues and challenges facing the Islamic finance movement and how and to what extent it can play its role for the socio-economic development of societies.