What was dubbed a « utopian dream » over two decades ago has become a reality in this short period. Islamic banking today is accepted worldwide as an ethical and a viable financial system. It is presently managing funds of over two hundred billion dollars. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
Islamic banking does not only consist of Islamic bodies. Major international financial organisations also are involved. This has led to an active interaction between the two, which is a good omen.
Islamic banking was pioneered with the setting up of two conglomerates:
Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami (DMI) and Al-Baraka. The DMI with its headquarters in Geneva, and Al-Baraka with its headquarters in Jeddah. Prince Mohammad Al-Faisal was the chairman of the DMI group and Muazzam Ali its vice-chairman.
Ali took up development of Islamic Banking as a mission and remained associated with DMI for 19 years. Last year he withdrew from it to concentrate exclusively on the development of the Islamic financial system along scientific lines.
Appreciating that the system could develop and progress only if supported by well-qualified personnel, Ali set up the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance in London in 1991.
The Institute has come a long way. It is the only organisation of its kind in the west, and has made a significant contribution to the education and training of people in Islamic banking and Insurance through a post-graduate diploma course, publications, lectures, seminars, workshops, research, Shariah advisory services and a highly informative user-friendly web site. The Institute is intending to introduce other courses by distance-learning in 2007, such as a Certificate for beginners and two Graduate Diplomas.
-A distance learning Post-Graduate Diploma in Islamic banking and insurance.
-Publication of a monthly journal: New Horizon.
-A program of monthly lectures.
-An Executive Development Program for middle and senior level banking executives.
-Endorsing, co-operating and participating in international conferences organised by other bodies in various countries.
-Publication of books, including an encyclopedia and directories on Islamic finance.
-Advising and assisting students pursuing Master’s and doctoral study programs in Islamic banking and finance.
-Membership of the Institute at various grades.
-Promotion of research and development in the field of Islamic finance.
-Monitoring developments in information technology, especially relating to finance.
-Producing an Islamic banking databank on CD-ROM.
-Answering queries and responding to various inquiries concerning Islamic finance.
-Serving as a professional club.