The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) / Dr Mohammad Nejatullah Siddiqi
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has decided to begin a course on ‘Islamic Banking and Finance’, the first such course in India. The “interest free banking course” is to be based upon the norms of ‘Shariah’ (Islamic rules on transaction).
A three-member committee has been formed under Dr Mohammad Nejatullah Siddiqi, a retired AMU professor of Economics and Islamic Studies. Besides holding experience of teaching Islamic Finance in various countries including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, he has been a consultant to a Los Angeles-based private firm, American Islamic Finance.
The Central Board of Secondary Education(CBSE) had recently asked the university to start an undergraduate programme in marketing and finance.
Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Abdul Aziz, told The Indian Express: “Indian banking system is gradually becoming aware of the Islamic banking. Indian students should be exposed to the topic that holds considerable potential. We hope to begin the course in the next academic session.”
Islamic law prohibits interest on both loans and deposits, as both profit and risk are shared together by the borrower and the lender. As a result, the depositor, who does not bear risk in other banking systems, has to equally share the risk with the bank in Islamic banking. Owner of the capital, however, is allowed to have a share in the surplus.
Though there isn’t any Islamic bank in India, there exist a few non-banking cooperatives like Al Ameen Islamic Financial & Investment Corporation Ltd in Karnataka and Mumbai-based Al-Barr Finance House Limited, which has branches in cities like Aligarh and Chennai. There are also some popular investment companies like Parsoli Corporation Ltd that claim to invest money as per the Islamic laws.
Experts feel that following a drift in US and European markets, India is seen as a potential place for the Islamic banking, which can also attract NRI investors. “Some of the top Indian companies are looking forward to launch Islamic financial products in the country,” said Dr Siddiqi.
He said: “There lies a huge job opportunity in Islamic financing in India. Some private institutions provide a few short-term courses, but the programme at the AMU will be totally different.”
Maulshree Seth, ExpressIndia.com May 22, 2008