Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
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Islamic finance in terms of its original principles, and what it calls to, is absolute economic justice. Where were the people involved in Islamic finance when the financial crisis happen to say, actually, the alternative to the oppression within the conventional financial system is Islamic finance. And I think that actually people are at a space now where they say that actually Islamic finance needs a rebalancing.
And why do we because Islamic finance actually the products that we had mimicked conventional products, you can
use a mortgage to buy the house that you live in one house, and most people know that they say, well, as long as your residential, you ask them a little bit further about that. What does that mean? Money is like, you know, it's hard for you to buy a house that you're going to live in.
Worry about the conditions, and they don't realize actually, you're supposed to still interact with it in a way that you detest it. Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam ala Rasulillah Dear brothers and sisters salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. And welcome to this infeed podcast episode with me your host Fatima Baraka, Allah. Today I have a really special guest with me. I'm going to invite him into the studio and then I will introduce him. It's Brother, brother Omar Suleiman, Salaam Alaikum brother, while they come to Santa Monica like Ricardo says,
brother Omar has been actively involved in Islamic finance for the last decade, working with some of the most notable UK scholars or Lama on Sharia structuring and process reviews.
brother Omar currently is general manager for Wahid UK. He sits on the board of the UK IFC, which is an Islamic finance, I think, a regulating body is it.
Those people we work with the regulators, we work with governments, we kind of work to build capacity with the Islamic finance industry as a whole.
And we've been working more increasingly closely with the UN and various governments around ethical finance and sustainable development goals. But our inception was to help develop the industry
mashallah does account and I'm going to carry on with your intro so
he's an advisor for the finance arm of the Islamic Council of Europe, and his co founder of the national walk fund.
brother Omar was recognized for his work in 2016 as one to watch in the city by Brahmo. Magazine for not only his work in Islamic finance, but also his role as a member of the steer CO for the cube Network, an umbrella organization for professional corporate Muslim networks for the Omer is also a regular Khatib in the city and in his local masjid, and mashallah, he's a good friend of my husband's as well. So
rather, on my particular fee particular thesis design, mega these introduction sometimes and it's, and I go through the list, but I guess it's important to the audience knows, I suppose a little bit difficult to hear, you know, when people don't know, like, kind of saying what you're involved in. But yeah, but hamdulillah so I know. But mashallah, I think it's important because I think people might have heard that, you know, you you're your general manager of Wahid, but they might not really know much about your background, and mashallah, you've got both that kind of Islamic Studies, Sharia background as well as a very strong background in economics and finance. So I think it's really
important that people know that so that members of our community know
you know, who they are with and
authority that people have. But brother Omar, today, I just saw this amazing, something that you put out, I think we've learning routes. And it's this. It's like a an ebook, I think, right.
And it's called the Prophet usurps amazing investment, a child's first guide to Halal investing. And it's such an amazing little book,
getting children from a young age to start thinking about investing. And you know, it was really funny because when I read it, I thought, of course, the prophet user, right, like, one of the great things from his story is that whole the whole story of the
the seven years, right, the seven years when Yeah, when the people of Egypt would have a lot of crops, and then they should save
It would be in the dream, right where they should save it. And then for the seven years of famine,
I never thought of using that as a way to teach children about investing. But tell us a little bit about that, because it seems like something that seems to be really important to you is
financial literacy in the Muslim community. Yeah, definitely, if you look at
generally, the rates of financial literacy and their correlation with, I guess,
access to getting out of poverty, or rising up the social ladder, so to speak, and you can see there definitely, there's a direct correlation in terms of how people get into debt, how people get themselves into worse problems. And, you know, handle out from and Hamdulillah, I was quite fortunate this from my background, that I mean, I came from a very working class background, I was brought up by single parent, actually, for the earlier part of my life.
And you kind of see, you know, when you're growing out of that, how you make ends meet how difficult things were, then Hamdulillah, his grace, I managed to obviously go University, I went to private school, got a scholarship at that time, and you kind of see how the other half level, the other 10%, maybe, and then working in the city, etc. And you get to realize that actually, a lot of it comes down to how people understand money and how they use it. And so for me, it was a really big thing about educating our community from understanding money conventionally, but also when you layer in the Islamic importance of it, because truly when you understand the prohibition of riba and the
rules that we have, you know, it has a detrimental effect on society. And sometimes we don't connect the two, you know, like Riba, we will just see, okay, maybe we're not supposed to get involved in it. But we don't see the pervasive impact it has on society as a whole. So for me, it's really important I look, first stage is actually educating people about how they understand wealth. And then it just opens up everything. I mean, Muslims, genuinely like mashallah, we're known to be generous, but I think our focus is often on the charity element, which can be 2.5% minimum. And unfortunately, our maximum seems to be about 5% When I speak to charities that they save at least
50% Or you know, sometimes more of their income is from Zipcar, which means that the rest of it is probably just set up. So that means maybe two and a half center, maybe 5% of our money is through we deal with is related charity, but the vast majority, the 95% About of the Muslim economy, we don't really talk about much, you know, actually and so we've had this real focus on the charity but element and I think that we kind of whilst we understand charity, this role, we need to think about the other mechanisms and our relationship with money actually, which helps society and that comes through education and that's why the financial literacy and the story of use of Le Salaam is there
and it's the same thing for me triggered it for seven years and the importance of saving we hear it I mean, my parents my dad always said look if you want to buy something safe right now, you know maybe later this Buy now pay later now he was saved now and buy later was the house it was cool, isn't it?
And so this year, the story comes across from that and has a lot of education and it's done in a fun way. Hats off completely to the heat and the term that the team at learning routes, mashallah for taking the concept and really delivering it well.
Yeah, I love the sort of delayed gratification section because that's a general thing that we would want our kids to learn right like Yeah, and it's not just about money actually. It's about exercise healthy eating, you know, complete any area where you've got to do something now to benefit in the future right? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So
as well sorry lessons there for adults as well not just yes definitely definitely.
So by the way, how could How could people get a copy of this because I'm sure that people are listening to this and thinking were relatable for everyone this is the link you put your name and address in and then you will be sent the download a PDF version of it and I can give it to you you can share it out with the with this podcast and fella to help Okay, so we'll put the link in the in the description inshallah.
Brother Alright, so where are you? What do you always like, as a child, when did you first become conscious of money and, like, interested in the topic of economics and money? Because
I must admit, like, I grew up in a council flat in Hackney, okay. And maybe because we were a traditional family, and
I, I must admit, I never thought about money. Like I literally never
I got a job when I was like 16 my first job because I was interested in
because I wanted to buy things, right. They were things that I wanted to buy. So I thought, Well, my parents don't really give me enough pocket money. So best ways for me to get a basic job. So I've always been savvy in that way. But I mean, in terms of,
you know, like long term and really, I think maybe I've had the luxury of having a father and then a husband is was provided for me. So in that sense, I would say it's only really recently that I've even started thinking properly about things like my own personal finances and I think a lot of people can probably
identify with that especially women like okay, we get given a dowry we get given, you know, like, gold usually if you're Asian, right.
And you kind of forget about it, sometimes, you know,
I don't know what about you like how did you first get interested in the topic of money because you don't seem like you came from a background? Where well I don't know what kind of background Did you No, no, no, you're right. That that question could have gone off I
don't know you come from money. No, sir. No, I didn't come. Like I said earlier my I was brought up by my father till I was around eight. So from working class background
Yeah, so we didn't have money my father used to work very hard. I see this enemies very, very hard. But even to this day, probably one of the most hardest working people I know. Even at this age, he still mashallah working really hard. But I saw when I was growing up,
you don't really think about money when you're a kid, as a as a child, you don't really think you know,
you know, where money comes from, or anything like that. You kind of think what you want, and then you ask for it. And as you have that kind of relationship, I guess, I first kind of really became aware of
money or not having it in in that sense, cuz guess was that late end of my primary school? You know, when have you don't wear the brands? Everyone else wears?
So yeah, and then I guess when I went to secondary school, which is a private school is people with a lot of wealth.
Yes, probably when you became much more aware of it? Yeah. But I wasn't aware of it in the sense that, oh, I need it. I just became aware of, okay, people who have money and when you don't, and for me, it was I'm gonna film 100 I guess I didn't I may Allah protect us from this kind of coveting money for the sake of money? Yeah, there are a few things that happened in my life, I guess, my father's early connection with the masjid. And that really kind of helped, I saw that, despite looking after two children on his own, having jobs, etc. He's still involved in the masjid in sha Allah hamdulillah sorry. And he was involved from a point of if there was any disputes, or the
machine was running properly, you know, he didn't take a backseat user is very proactive, in terms of getting involved in the masjid to set, right what what was perceived as a wrong. And I saw that when I was a young child kind of seeing why is my dad getting involved, because he saw something wrong and he wanted to change it.
Then when I went to secondary school 100, I was very fortunate at the secondary school I went to there was a number of older Muslims that went there, mashallah, who went on to become very active in our communities that left a lasting impression on me, you know, I went to the same school as Barber.
Barber, and it was It wasn't just barber from the law, there was a number of other Muslims as well. Most of his, he was a mom of Dublin, when not become, he was at the school as well. There's a number of people that and we had this, you know,
kind of tradition of, we do join our main hall, our assembly hall, and I kind of saw that, you know, Muslims, that young Muslims themselves getting involved and having a library day and being organized. And then I became connected, I guess, through that to not just living an ordinary life, but having it connected to something bigger. And I came from the older people from the law, you know, like some of the names I mentioned.
So yeah, going through school, kind of seeing that but being disconnected the wealth, because at that time, also, I guess, as I was coming towards, I guess, just before Jesus sees that the whole Bosnia conflict happened,
you know, and so then is that connection to well, there's an injustice being committed, you know, and then kind of the earlier things I saw my dad standing up for justice, etc. And I thought, okay, look, you know, the state of the Muslims, we need to do something about this, and kind of constantly having that so I thought, well, what is it that we need?
to do to kind of help Muslims worldwide or globally or the Ummah, you know, and for me, it was the angle of finance, just because I just thought that whoever owns the money controls the situation. So I thought, let me start looking into how Muslims can become self, self independent, and so on and so forth. That was the early kind of
My Journey to Understanding finance. And then when I was reinforced, bylaws, grace through just random conversations, this, you know, like, meet someone and say something. And then it's kind of reinforced there. And then I chose my degree topics, sorry, university subjects based on trying to understand finance more in economics and management in university to kind of really get a deeper understanding. Someone who is really pivotal in my understanding, though, was tidy, can deewani
article the morning? Yeah.
Tell our listeners a little bit about
those who aren't really technical, Guatemala, bless him. He's kind of taken a step back from, I guess, the Islamic finance space. But he wrote a book called a problem with interest. Yeah. And he really broke down how how banks work and how fractional reserve banking works. And he wasn't sure he really broke it down him then he left a really successful career in the city. You know, like he actually had a really successful career in the city. He wasn't someone who's speaking about it from the outside. He took that step to move away from it. And I know that he's been tested that through a life though difficult situation as often it happens for many people who, who make these moves in the
Janita Eliza region. But you know, I, I listened for maybe 20 odd years, maybe more than 25 years ago. And Lucia masjid, he came and gave a talk about banking and fractional reserve banking. And I really left an impression upon me and then
reading some articles from himself and the chair Haytham about interest
and kind of just kind of, uh, well, I I need to get involved in this space. And that that was the biggest, and then I sought out getting experience and working within Islamic finance.
Mashallah, you know, I had a discussion with my dad, my father is involved in Islamic finance, and has been for a number of years. And but before that, before he was involved in Islamic finance, some, you know, he used to teach us very much about how people who are from a scholarly background
because he was real real Zahid himself, you know, he's like, he's the sort of person who believes that Allah will always provide for him, you know, and of course, that's true. But I mean, like, an extra level of that, in the sense that he didn't really encourage us to,
especially if we were studying Deen, etc, to,
to really pursue money in that sense, right.
But I remember I was having a debate with him when I was younger, because I, I discovered that Imam Abu Hanifa
was, of course, he's one of like, the greatest scholars right from the street. And he was he was a businessman. Yeah. And so I was like, saying to Dad, dad, you can do both, you know, like, a person can do both if they if they want and doesn't, one doesn't necessarily contradict or undermine the other, because I found that mumble Hanifa because he was wealthy.
Mashallah, I think he used to have like, he used to sell cloth. While he was in the kind of textile industry. One of the things that he was able to do was when students came to him and really intelligent students, who basically would not be able to spend all their time studying with him, unless they were financially supported. He would basically give them scholarships and, and fund them and say, Look, I want you to be free for study. And he would literally be able to fund some of the greatest orlimar right, the future and so my thing was to my dad.
Isn't that way more powerful if you're a person of Taqwa? Yep. And you've got money. You could use that amazing work. Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, Imam Abu Hanifa. Love is so many examples that he says so. And when people used to come to him, and he would say, don't buy from me buy from the person next to me or a couple of places down because he hasn't had any business today. Can you imagine in today's world, someone doing that, from the lie that he knew he was satisfied by he still had that concern for for those around him? He's amazing, his life like that. And you're absolutely right, even even amongst the Sahaba from the 10. promised paradise, how many of them are
millionaires by today's standards on Allah? So it's right it's not
seeking more for the sake of wealth itself? Well, what enables you to do, there's definitely something that I think should should be encouraged. And I'm not, I guess, when I speak is, I don't think we should say that Muslims should be poor or anything like that. This is for understanding Islamic finance, and how money
has its role within Islam. It's understanding that the money doesn't own you, you own the money. It's most simple. You own wealth in your hands and on your hearts. And what you can do with that wealth? You know, I guess that's what people struggle with, isn't it? Like?
Either you feel that, you know, you might get attached to money or you see your child, your own children, especially like now, we're not the migrant generation, right? Our parents were the migrant generation, this new generation? They haven't, most of them haven't really had the kind of
poverty if you like, right, our generation did. Yeah. And so I guess, sometimes we worry that are we getting them to, into money? You know, how do you think people can strike? You know, honestly, this is, just before I say that, I actually want to say, you know, I think you kind of just introduced your father, but your father, mashallah is one of the pioneers of Islamic finance. In the UK, people won't know this. But most importantly, your father is like, he's one of the top three scholars in the UK, when it comes to Islamic finance. I've had the pleasure of working with him, and you know, a lot of discussions on Islamic finance with him. And, you know, Allah preserve him, because it was on
the shoulders of that people like your father and others, that we were able to discuss having things like Islamic finance, and how Islamic is it? And all the different products that we're doing today, and people may not know, you know, so I think it's important that we make dua for all of them, all of the all of the scholars in the our predecessors, those who have those who have passed away who worked in this space for us. And so yeah, this point, I mean, I was discussing with a friend and I say, Look, you know, I obviously had a bit of a tough upbringing, I was working when I was 13, to find myself and all of these types of things. And I know that it had an impact in terms of drive or
myself, etc. But I wouldn't want my kids to do that. And I'm worried that if they don't do that, it'll make them soft. Yeah. So naturally, we want to give our children as much as we can.
But it's difficult. It really is difficult, like, you know, Do do you want them to work. I mean, the high streets did now anyway, so I don't know if those opportunities are available there in the same way. But um, I do think there's something needs to be something needs to be done in terms of how children access and the delayed gratification is the big one, to be honest, because we live in everything. Everything is instant. You know, if you want something you don't even need to go out anymore. You'll come to your door. You want some food or come to your door, you're mine. It's crazy. It's crazy.
Yeah, so So do you think it's gonna be that they gonna have to learn that the hard way? themselves? Because sometimes I think that's what it is. Because there's so much you can say to somebody, you can lecture them you can, but sometimes, it's actually life experience that is the best teacher right? Yeah, definitely. I think life experience is and whilst we don't ask for hardship, I think look, ultimately, I believe was only ever in two states several shocker. And if we're not in a state where we need to have silver, then I think we really need to teach our children sugar. And this is something I used to do with my kids is that when I've roasted drop them in the morning, I'd ask them
every morning as to my my older daughters.
Think of one thing that you want to thank Allah for for today. And so every morning, they kind of thought about color for our family, or we think a lot for our phones or our books or our room or, and then they start thinking they start thinking a little bit more Bay for our, our extended family, for our rooms for our bunk bed, and it's just getting them into the habit of being grateful.
If you don't, then they won't even notice that those things are special. Right. Exactly, exactly. So it is difficult actually because generally, those of us who push not to be in a state of of cyber, you know, even though we may think we are genuinely humbled, I think we're okay
so we really have to instill in our children sugar to be grateful and know that actually you're not LaserJet can take it way any moment. And if Allah is testing us then you know may allows them to make it easy for those people are going through that I think the naturally they're going to learn how to how to have patience.
So brother Omar, Islamic finance.
I only really got I knew that my dad was involved in Islamic finance for a long time, but
I got into involved or interested in Islamic finance at university I started my ma we did you know, before that in Ireland, Mia we did Qatar boo boo, you know from the various smother herb, etc. But obviously that's kind of like a historical look, you know, it's more like historical look, and then coming to uni. So as we had a module, the law of Islamic finance with a non Muslim, Jewish American
teacher, right. And so, and this guy is really passionate about Islamic finance. And so I was really intrigued, just from like a slightly dour perspective even like, How come you there's so many non Muslims are interested in Islamic finance. And what I found is that, mashallah, not only was it so eye opening, because Islamic fight of all the areas of Islamic law, I would say Islamic finance is probably having the greatest sort of global impact, if you like, or at least attention, right.
That's one thing. Another thing is that a lot of people are seeing it as ethical finance. So yeah, not necessarily Islamic, just ethical, just more ethical, you know, the fact that,
you know, isn't a debt based, it's not supposed to be a debt based?
You see, I use my words carefully. Yeah. It's not supposed to be a debt based system. It's about shared risk. It's about you know, the wealth really?
Yeah. Yeah. And it's also about not investing in things like, you know, alcohol, pornography, all sorts of social ills, right? That's correct. That should that should be attractive to, you know, anyone who's kind of conscious of
kind of social matters, right.
So I could see what a huge impact and potential that it has. But at the same time, I know that there are discussions, you know, in Islamic finance, there are those who see it as like, you know, the Islamic economy, and they really want to
ideal economic system. But then there are those who are much more skeptical. And they're like, Well, you know, the reason why all the big corporate banks and you know, on this bandwagon is because they're just trying to manipulate it and turn it into Islamic by name, but capitalists by nature. So what do you say to people, first of all, when you want to introduce them to Islamic finance, and secondly,
Muslims, when they're skeptical of it,
right, so I guess, if we start at Islamic finance, from what it should be, and then we'll get that I think that's a good place to start. So Islamic finance, in terms of its original principles, and what it calls to, is absolute economic justice. And it helps foster and create an environment for economic prosperity in I guess, in a fair way. This is really important the principles that we have, Davis, remember, I gave a speech once on cannon Muslims benefit from Islamic finance, and hams, I got a standing ovation from the majority of the non non Muslim crowd. Because when you explain the principles, forget the terms, when you explain the principles, they all get it, when you talk about
there has to be real economic activity, you're not selling nothing but something you're you're you have risk and reward is shared. Okay, this is like, you know, irrespective of your economic background, you're both treated fairly in a transaction based on what you put into that transaction. Not like today, where if you're a huge super corporate conglomerate, and there's an individual person on the other side, they get dwarfed individual that their their rights don't matter. The big company matters. And you can see this when companies go bankrupt, who the first people to get their money back. It's the large companies, why not the individuals. And then obviously, all of the the
net negative things in society, the social ills that used to be cloud not investing in pornography, in gambling, in alcohol, you know, there's got to be some real trade something real of real value that's being exchanged in this.
And then, you know, if you look at all of these principles, actually 100 they get it they understand, but then also the approach, Islams approach to money isn't that you? You know, value is so much more than just money. And it's getting people to understand this when we look we think okay, value in a capital
The system is that you've got to make more money than you made the previous yet. And if you don't make more money than you made the previous year, and the company hasn't done well, but maybe you employ 200 more people, maybe you employed, I haven't heard more people. And that's 500 More families that are now being fed because of you. But we don't look at those metrics, we just look at bottom line return. So yes, so this is what we need to do is have this discussion around value. So if Islamic finance actually calls to actually moving away from any type of debt based investment, okay, so where one party, they're, all of their rights are protected, their risk is protected,
they're guaranteed a return and they get an increase on it. This is fundamentally what revise it is fundamentally revised, rather than saying, Listen, if you're going to give money to someone, you lend them a no profit. And this is hugely rewarding Islamically, your gift is charitable, or you invest in risk and reward is shared. The reason that the high street is it I know a lot of people look at the high street and say the high streets dead loads of shops have closed as because people aren't going out shopping anymore. As part of the reason for actually another one of the most significant reasons is a lot of these companies were bought out, they were heavily leveraged. All of
these companies, they took all of their money out of these companies that lent them money. And so these companies are left with debt, when they invest, they're not investing their own money is based on debt. And so these companies can't service this their debt. From a debt perspective, there's this the other element of debt, is that what it does, it forces companies to become over productive, and this has a complete adverse impact on the environment. People don't think about it right. And because people are very conscious right now about climate change and the environment. Absolutely. Sometimes, sometimes the link isn't made that this system the kind of capitalist desire to
constantly over produce exactly and use the word world's resources, no matter what
the cost is, is what's causing the harm here completely, that the net present value versus the future discounted value of something. So if you have farmland that if you were to do it in a sustainable way, it will give you crop until eternity inshallah. But now, if you do the intensive farming on it very quickly, and yes, he can't produce any more crop. But that's the attitude that people have in finance. So Islamic finance, when you apply the principles, it always looks at the collective good hamdulillah Islam is so balanced like that between communism socialism, capitalism, slumps, it's really the middle it says that you can make money there's no barriers you to making
money actually seek to get involved in the marketplace like that, that people are happy unless it's there's a need a communal need. But Islam allows you to kind of the area of Mohammed make money how you want, however, you shouldn't transgress anyone's rights, those kind of obvious and those which aren't obvious in making that money.
Right, that's, that's a really simple thing, actually. But it's really profound. You know, that definitely make money, but look at the rights of those that you're going to transgress in pursuing making that money. And then on top of that, that's just the first element. The second one is, if you make that money, what do you then do with it?
Or to give charity, and most people know that the longest I in the Quran is to do with river. The longest I in the Quran is to do with river. But actually when you look at shorter Bukhara, the verse is preceding the verses of Riba and the prohibition of riba is about 20 of verses that all pork about your relationship with wealth and about giving charity, and ever since, like, how do you approach the topic? That it is our goal, that okay, look, you know, understand wealth has a part to play by giving wealth away, etc. So you kind of come into it that, okay, we're going to make money, but actually, this thing shouldn't consume me. And if I do make me, then look, these are the rules,
but don't get attached to it. Give it away. I guess so. So I guess what you're pointing to is that the entire philosophy, Islamic philosophy behind wealth, and I think that's really in and of itself, game changing, right? The idea that Allah the Creator, actually owns all wealth, right? Like, wealth has been given by him. And then we are like, caretakers, almost right. We are stewards. And so we're going to be answerable for that wealth. So I think right from the beginning, if you have that mindset, it changes the way you you completely approach money, right. And also, I think, another thing that you've reminded me of is that
I think most people in society are kept financially illiterate, like, just just think about school, like, we didn't learn anything, unless you took economics and that's probably a level right?
You didn't learn anything about what what actually is a bank, you know, like what actually is an
account a bank account? What actually happens? What are the inner workings of that? Well, the first you probably hear about money is when you're 18. And you get like a credit card in the post, right? Like some company has figured out that you're 18 sends your credit card in the post, encouraging you basically to get into debt. Right? And that is such such an irresponsible way
to or maybe it's deliberate. You know, maybe it's a deliberate, deliberate way to get people to just sleep, walk into debt, and never question the system. There's no other way that people have ever been told that there could be the economy could be its financial slavery system. Admin, like his financial slavery, you get caught up in a system. And you know, you see now you want to buy something that maybe you can afford it but still tells you split the payments, by now pay later, like the throwing data at you that the head of Barclaycard famously said that he will never give his children a credit card. Because it's kind of rational moment, those people who know right now when
he spoke about his jewelry, but had a Barclaycard, because he would never give his children a credit card.
And this is the biggest thing you see, when you talk about financial literacy. The people who have wealth, they understand certain things, and one of the most important is is taxes, and credit, you know, taxes and credit, you know, most of us don't sometimes we think, Oh, they're giving us money, it's fine. We don't realize that the cost, the true cost of that money. And that's the debt based system. But I want to come back slightly, actually, to the previous question you asked about Islamic finance. So we spoke about the philosophy of money. The challenge was, you see, I guess I'm part of, genuinely in finance, they're going through a period of disruption. So you see the rise of fintechs,
and so on. These are disruptors in the the conventional financial services kind of space. And I think within Islamic finance, there's been a lot of talk and you spoke about two camps. And I think that actually people are at a space now where they say that actually Islamic finance needs a rebalancing.
And why do we because Islamic finance actually the products that we had mimicked conventional products? Right? And this was a big issue, because one of the criticisms, right?
It mimicked conventional finance. And so something that shouldn't be a debt
or something that they say isn't a debt ends up operating entirely like a debt.
Yes, this is this is this is financial engineering to make it Hello, by the way, it's structured, but actually it operates functions. Tastes, feels smells exactly like a normal product. Now, for me, something that's quite interesting is that, you know, everyone talks about Bitcoin, I'm sure you've spoken must have spoken about Bitcoin as well, when the rise of Bitcoin and why? Why we spoken about it, I've just discovered it recently. And I must say, it's quite confusing. Yeah. But if we take it back, rather than looking at the price hikes, what was it about Bitcoin that captured everyone's imagination? It was the fact that it was an opposition to conventional banking, the conventional
system of finance. Now, Bitcoin came out of nowhere, where we don't know actually, who came up with it. And the world has been captured by oh my god, there's another, there's an alternative to the conventional financial system.
Where were the people involved in Islamic finance when the financial crisis happened to say, actually, the alternative to the oppression within the conventional financial system is Islamic finance.
When the financial crisis happened, why did we not come forward? Why did this What does not come forward? And you know, why is because they couldn't stand up and say, Actually, our financial system is different. Because it wasn't
it wasn't different and they knew it. I wasn't in substance. It wasn't. I've sat in meetings. I was in order to have shards of glass you know, in London Bridge tallest building in Western Europe. Everyone loves it. That was actually funded using Islamic finance. Okay. Right. Parent finance that the parent company was Islamic finance, all of this subsidiaries, the companies underneath that actually built it, conventional finance. We were supposed to audit it. I was one of the auditors on there. I was sat there and I go, Okay, I'm going to audit the files and I go, I was supposed to be funded using Sharia compliant finance. And my manager non Muslim goes, yes. Make sure anywhere where
it says interest you change it to profit.
Anywhere in the way says interest just make sure it's crossed out and change it to a profit. This is one example is so when you speak to people in the industry, and they will tell you how it's just a fast people are involved behind the scenes. They will tell you that okay, that you know contracts. They're hidden from the scholars that weight of scholars go out the room that will change things
They play about with it. And the thing is that people on the ground, they can't honestly say that, that the product that comes to them feels any different, and then support the community as well, because they ask for products that are exactly like a conventional product. But this is the problem when the financial crisis happened. This was our opportunity to say Islam has a better way of doing things. Islam has the solution to this the debt where, you know, you privatize profits and socialized losses.
This is what's happening. Big banks spend money that they shouldn't have. They've spent people's money, and now they're bailed out. If the government wanted to do something, why didn't they give money to everyone to pay off their mortgages and debts, you'd have had more money in society flowing, people would have had the money, the banks would have been paid off. But the government has to think about it like that. And our guys failed in bringing it to the fore, that Islam was the solution to this.
What do you think is the reason for for that? Is it? Is it also that we lack a lack imagination? Like we don't have enough brains working on this to find genuine solutions? Is it because we acquiesce too easily to pressures and we just, you know, people in Islamic finance, just believe there isn't really a more radical way, it just, we just have to find a way to halaal halali? Fi, you know, conventional products. What would you say is like the core reason why we can't make or we haven't up to now substantially made Islamic finance really different.
We don't have talent, I think definitely have talent. hamdulillah we're awash with talent, I'm that I met some of the greatest minds. Who are Muslims working in the city in other fields. It's the application, I think, number one of actually, do we want to solve this problem? You know, do we want to solve this problem? Number one, number two, I think that some responsibility has to be taken
by the people who signed off on some of these products, to be honest, because it's okay, we've made them halaal now, so why do we need to pursue an alternative?
I have sometimes I've talked to scholars like that, you know, because I've noticed that there are scholars who you could say are more.
I don't want to use the word stricter. But you know, that they have a more conservative approach, you could say, right to Islamic finance, and so they will really not sign off on probably most of the stuff that's out there today, right. But then you have those who are on the boards, you know, literally, the banks, and you know, they do sign up. So I actually took the time to talk to some of those to see their thinking, right? And why I found is that they, they feel that they're being really pragmatic. And they do actually genuinely believe that maybe because they look at the lenient opinions, maybe you know, across motherhood, etc.
They do genuinely believe they're doing a service to the Muslim ummah, because they're helping Muslims to find real solutions to their, to their problems. And they don't feel that we need to be that strict, if you like, you know, in the way that the more conservative scholars are like, what would you say to that? I would say with all due respect, I really do value and understand empathize with their position of
making things easier for people. But I think you need to understand that in a context from dunya and hereafter perspective, where people are really, they understand that you're giving them an allowance, as opposed to making something permissible in and of itself. I'll just clarify that every single scholar without fail those within finance, who are full time within finance, and those who aren't in finance, but still agree with the structures. When I asked him the question, do you think this Islamic mortgage, for example, is permissible in and of itself? That it would be permissible in any time in any space in any condition? They say no, of course not.
Really? Yeah. It's because of the context in which we're operating the situation. Isn't de dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. Why does that not come out?
understood that, that there's still an allowance being made.
Then I think they would behave differently but it's not coming. It's obviously Hello. It's like that, like the fatwa for you can
Use a mortgage to buy the house that you live in one house. Most people know that they say, well, as long as it's your residential, you ask them a little bit further about that. What does that mean? MNOs. Like, you know, it's hard for you to buy a house that you want to live in.
What about the conditions? They want to know, the condition, they want to know that you've got to go through X, Y, and Zed before you get there before you establish it. And then if you can buy a house, do you buy the biggest house on the road? No, you buy the minimum that's required to fulfill the need of you having a roof over your head, but that's lost. The same with insurance is become so prevalent that yeah, you can buy, you know, car insurance, because it's law of the land and so on and so forth. They'll just get the the sound bites the headlines, and they think it's okay. And they don't realize actually, you're supposed to still interact with it in a way that you detest it. And
that level of detestation, isn't it when it's hard to detest something when?
You know, it's your house? Basically, you know, you're actually you're gaining something that you love from it. Right? Yeah. But that mechanism that you were forced to do that? Yeah. That? Well, I think it's because people don't even really know the fatwa. You know, they don't they don't they don't realize that the entire premise of it was based on considering owning a house to be the ruler, right? Or a hijab, or hyper. Yeah. Which is also a question questionable, right. The very premises like owning a lot of European countries, people don't own their properties. Now, there's something about Britain, I think, this is the point. You see, this is what rather than us completely going
down that oh, how do we mimic life and make these things halal? By Why don't we look at alternatives? Germany, they use the renting. Why is there a lobby group to try and say, Actually, we need to move away from homeownership to having more safe or secure rents. Thinking outside the box,
there's a number of housing kind of products I've seen, which are truly halaal truly halaal in the sense of the way that they are structured, that will that came about by non Muslims, who were looking up that game by non Muslims, they divide it because they didn't want people to get into debt to help people from a social housing perspective. Right? Who will lower down the socio economic ladder? non Muslims, because they started with what's the problem? How do we solve it? If you look at what debts then if you look at the house prices have risen completely in line with money circulation, money circulation that's been driven by credit. Yeah, the way Islamic mortgages work,
it completely mimics all economic or economic outputs of a mortgage. And that's a problem because you're part of the problem, then you're part of the reason why house prices are rising so high, you know, and this, what I'm saying, if you're going to give a fact one like that, make sure everyone understands the stipulations and all of the caveats around it. And the problem is, you see, once they've done that people have stopped trying to innovate or come up with real, right, because the demand isn't there anymore, right. Like, it's just diminished. Do you think do you think there are moves? Now you're saying that some non Muslims have come up with solutions? Do you think that now,
you could argue that maybe the few years back, it was still early years, so maybe people were a little bit more kind of, you know, we can't really, we can't really move this in the direction that we really want it to go in. But now, like you said, there is more talent, there's more savvy in the Muslim community, as well, right? Like, even like, there are experts who are on the map, but also, you know, experts in investment in all kinds of fields in law. So do you think now, like in the next decade, say, we're going to see a, like, a burst of truly halaal truly authentic products from Muslims?
I wish I could say yes. I wish I could say yes. What makes you not be able to see us? Because ultimately, the idea of wealth and making money is such a strong one. It's such a strong one, and even coming up with products, so you see something like micro financing? Yeah, so it's this micro financing. Have you heard of Grameen Bank? Yeah, Grameen Bank. Yeah. So you tell people a little bit about it, so that people who don't
Greenbank Yeah, it was
Dr. Muhammad Yunus. He set up he looked in bank
They said that the poor people there, they needed, they didn't have access to credit. And so by giving them loans, they can become self sufficient. And he got like a Nobel Prize for this, it was amazing. Oh, you know, he's really helped micro financing that they done, they were charging 30% 30% profit. But if you think about your normal rate of lending here, maybe 5% 6% 7%, they were charging 30% to the poorest in society, to lend them money, right. And so but everyone, he was applauded the world over, he got a Nobel Prize. And micro financing was seen, oh, this is where helping developing communities where, you know, doing X, Y, and Zed by micro financing. I know a friend of mine used to
work for a hedge fund. And he goes that, you know, 40% of their profit came from micro financing because they can charge the highest rates, highest rates to who the developing world,
you see, and so my worry is now,
with with the kind of the FinTech, the financial technology revolution, people, it's a lot easier, there's lower barriers to entry to set up companies, by also exposes people to more opportunities where people who aren't qualified, you don't have the expertise in advising or setting up companies. Now taking money. The democratization of flow of wealth has this as a as an impact. You know, so now people are coming into who, and their intention I know for when I've spoken to people, their intention isn't to build something to last. They're not looking at the value created in society, they're looking at, and they've said that the quickest I can exit out of creating a company, so
they're just looking to get the value of the company get out of it. And it's happened. It's happened in the Islamic finance space, the Islamic FinTech space, which is why I worry, which is why you still need to go back to basic principles, and all of these things about okay, why are you doing what you're doing? Are you trying to solve a problem? Or are you thinking about how do I slammy fi a solution? Because there's a difference?
One thing is we you start from inception and you build up? What is the problem that you're trying to solve? And how you're going to solve it? Look, all the other is of that's doing really well? How do we make a Muslim version of it?
And this is a problem, because today, the narrative constant everywhere you look is how do you become richer? How'd you like make money, like not doing anything to become a site time, I, you know, hustler? And all of these types of things is throwing the focus is on wealth, wealth, wealth, making wealth making wealth, you know, and we will try and ask you something, what is wrong with making a Muslim version of it? Like? I'm just like, honestly asking, because
when I was thinking when I was looking back at the prophets, Allah salaams approach to the marketplace, right? Yeah. There were lots of different types of transactions that were taking place, right? In the medina marketplace. And you can actually, for our listeners, and viewers, like you could go in Medina, you can actually see the place where the prophets, Allah salaams. marketplace was still there, right?
There were lots of transactions going on. He didn't completely wipe out or stop all types of transactions. There were. Yeah, there were some transactions he told people to adjust. There was some that he removed. So it wasn't like, I'm trying to say is he didn't necessarily create a completely new, completely new transactions, right. So what's wrong with if, say, non Muslims, or? I don't know, banks have come up with a, an idea.
But it's not Islamic, that there are problematic elements? What's wrong with adjusting it a little bit?
To Islam Slammer for hit Islam effects from what I mean, the prophets, when he went into the marketplace, he stopped the transactions, which were, I guess,
going to have a negative impact or for what will prohibit the ones that had a lot of high level of
uncertainty? Yeah. inherent risk in that sense. And the underlying products? Well, what, what were normal products, I'm talking about coming from a mindset of, we're gonna target the Muslims with this product. We don't have a real interest in the product. We, you know, we haven't done that the heavy lifting in terms of the creativity. Does the market need the product? Do Muslims need this product? I'll give you one small example here.
a scholar we're on a call with somebody who works in the insurance industry. Mela, preserve the scholar. We were in this call on somebody who works in insurance industry and he want to talk to us about having Islamic products.
Okay, and he goes, Oh, he wants to create a, a, a burial or a funeral insurance product for Muslims.
good, isn't it to be able to pay for burial, burial and everything is expensive and so on and so forth. Like a good idea non Muslims have it Why can't Muslims have it? Okay. Yeah. And he's a he's seen as really popular. Let's push out to Muslims. You know, and, and this is why I kind of despair sometimes about the scholars who just look at things from all we're just involved in Samak finance, because when I've had similar discussions with other scholars to do with business, they straightaway jump into, okay, how do we make it halal, this scholar, Allah preserve him, he's took a step back and he goes, Why do you want to do that? And he goes, Oh, you know what Muslims should have everyone
else as it goes. But you know, that this is a communal obligation on burying and having the janazah of a Muslim and Allah azza wa jal wanted it to be a communal obligation and sign off this product really be removing that communal obligation, and going away from what Allah wants from us. Now, I noticed Yeah, yeah, I get that. That's, that's a completely different, because because you can see, even just with the life insurance and that kind of insurance with, with the wider non Muslim community, there's this, there are fear tactics, right, that are used to literally sell these products. And as Muslims, it's, if we have products like that, it's going to completely change our
I see what you mean, I see what you mean about how Islam are finding it. Before we do that, ask the question, should we even do this? Exactly. Is this product needed? For the Muslims? does it benefit the Muslims care homes? This is a big discussion at the moment. Yeah. People are now talking about Muslim care homes. And it's such a difficult discussion to be had. And the scholars do need to discuss it. But even saying a youth, you know, I remember when I first had this around 15 years ago, some people talking about single Muslim cameras. And at that time, I, I blanketly said, know what you're doing Islam, like, you know, we should be encouraging people to look after their parents. And
I know, there's a lot more nuance to this the discussion, some people just Oh, yeah, we can make money, we can look after Muslims in an Islamic environment. Makes sense. You know, but then actually, what are you doing to the family unit. But you know, back and looking at the impact, and this is my biggest criticism of a lot of the scholars involved in Islamic finance, because they just go into the transactions. And then once you sign off on it, and many of them serving on 5060 boards, I don't know how they can even have due diligence with the work that they do. But take the step back, tell the people Why are you doing this? Do you need to do this? What is going to be the output
of that product? Look at the bigger picture, a longer term impact. Yeah, exactly. That's what's required. And this is why there's nothing wrong with coming of product, a halaal version or a Muslim version or something. But why what was your route to, to getting there? Yeah. And will it be counterproductive? Yeah, exactly.
Okay, so what makes Wahid different? Okay.
Yeah, what makes?
What is why it first of all, like,
Okay, why? Why it is, at its most basic, it's a
investment platform that allows the average person to be able to invest in halaal
different types of asset classes, asset classes, or different types of investments. So we have we were set up in the US around five years ago, we have what's called an ETF fund that's listed in American NASDAQ. We're in the UK, we're in Malaysia. We're going to Nigeria, South Africa, a number of different countries anyway. So
we're global candlelight in terms of what we do. What we've done is we've created an app that allows the average person to invest in Halal investments at its most basic, you choose your risk appetite, and then you can invest and we invest in funds, so stocks and shares, which are screened to make sure that they're halal. So we look at what what business they're in, how much debt do they have, what level of impermissible activities do they have,
you can also invest in gold. Or you can invest in what's called a soup Cook, which is like an an asset backed bond, which is low risk. So based on your risk appetite, you invest, and then you just get a return and you can do all through the app. You can see how your investment is doing. You can create separate pots where you can say, maybe you're saving for or investing for hedge or a deposit for a house or even for your children's education. You put it in there and you just choose and you let it grow.
What's really good at hamdulillah is that it's tax efficient. When you can create an ICER, most people won't know when I suppose this is why we need to do the financial literacy, it allows you to save or invest 20,000 pounds a year tax free, that the benefit of is tax free. Also pensions, and this is a huge topic of discussion, the pension issue, but you can also invest in halaal, pensions, via SIP or a workplace pension. So it's just the app that allows you to invest at its most basic, really simple, and you can see on screen and you can minimum investment is 50 pounds, and you can take the money out when you need to. But we would say look,
let it grow, stay in that. Now for me, there's one thing which is about the investment side. Okay? And what why he does his family law, why why it is different, is that you're investing in real, real economic activity. And there's no debt, we don't touch debt. We're not doing any structured products, we're not getting, you know, kind of, you know, exotic sounding Islamic products and putting them there where people don't understand what they're doing. We're keeping it really simple just giving access to people to invest their money. And there's no, there's no, like, we're not saying you've got a minimum of 5000 pounds or 20,000 pounds, you know, we're saying for the average
person, put your money aside in Sharla, and let it grow. And you can see it grow like that. Inshallah, obviously, there's, it's an investment, so it could go up or down, but you choose your risk appetite, and you leave it in there. Now, for me, this is a big thing. Actually, one thing is that the investment side, but there's a principle in the Sharia, that the prevention of harm takes precedence over any perceived benefit.
The prevention of harm takes precedence over any perceived benefit. Now, when you put your money in a heroin investment, what you're doing is taking out if you're taking out from your bank, out of the conventional system, at this point that you made earlier is so important that people don't know how banks work. When you leave your money in a bank, and even if you think, Oh, I don't want any interest in it, banks use your money to lend to other people. And they will use your money to make interest. Yeah, you know, that's how it's that's how the system works. Whether they give it to you or not. Exactly, they still get the interest. Yeah, so you leaving money in there, you're
effectively lending the money for them to go and do increase the oppression. So taking money out of such a system, and putting investment, not just with why I'm saying this, putting your money in halaal investments wherever they are, check your risk appetite, look at all of these things. But think of the reward, even just for taking it out of the banking system. Taking out the banking system. From a practical perspective, obviously, you want to leave some money. And you know, actually, the super wealthy, when you speak to them, they really keep their money in banks. You speak to them, they really, they keep it tied up in something, they have it working for them,
working for them. Yeah, they have it working for them. So we brought that concept and just made it easier for everyone to do. And it's important for people to understand, we're fully regulated, we've gone through the pain. every country, every jurisdiction we're in to be fully regulated, whether it's in the US sec,
OFAC excetera. In the UK, the FCA. The main one is the Financial Conduct Authority, and you have to you get checks by them, you have to do lots of reporting to them
went through the pain of doing that. Because it's important that you know, when we're dealing with people's money, it's an amine at the end of the day. So we're fully like regulated, we have a triple lock approach to it being Sharia compliant, as well. Hamdulillah. So people are working from that point of view, the areas where there may be some questions is okay, well, how did you choose your stocks and shares so are almost basically apply a level from IO fee, which is the International Accounting Standards for Islamic finance. And they've given a number of principles, we apply them. And then on top of that, we have a Sharia review bureau that we then go to, okay to check with them
and ask them and then thirdly, and Hamden there's a number of us who are obviously involved in Islamic finance, and for our markets, we understand the products and etc. So, so in the UK, if I'm not comfortable with something, I will then go and speak to the scholars ice. I know when I'm familiar with an ask them and or I will challenge something, you know, and it's important people understand that, that we constantly challenge it. I'll give you one small example actually one of this. We were going to run a competition, where if people put money into a wide open wide account, they could win. They could have the chance of winning a prize, a monetary prize.
And this had been signed off previously, right? With a slight variation. Everyone was really excited about this, that yeah, we're going to do this. And I came in the office, I said, No, we're not doing it. And they go, why I go, for me, it's, it's like gambling, they go how I go, because it's like buying a lottery ticket, the chance of winning money at the end of it.
And then they go on the stand, you know, and that's, that's why it's important that you have people Hamdulillah, who also understand on a practical level, because sometimes it can get quite disconnected from when the original thought was given down to how
and the behaviors that it has become the best. And this is a good thing. You know, and I guess this is why, why there's different in that sense that we're not looking to go into any type of credit, or lending. We're just trying to help Muslims build their own wealth. It's their money, it's not ours, it's their money and how they can build it. We're servicing nothing a quarter of a million people globally now from the Linda, you know, easy, yet the world's largest growing Islamic fintech. I still
have the love, I think what what I found good about Well, first of all, my husband,
whenever I asked him about an investment or some product, he always says, you know, ask Omar because because he he knows that you are quite you are scrupulous at the end of the day, you know, and like you said, not, not everyone has that kind of skewed scrupulousness. Or maybe sometimes they don't have the knowledge or whatever. Right. So I do really appreciate that, you know, even though I asked you how is y different.
But what I liked about y had was
I found it really accessible for somebody who doesn't really know anything about you know, Yeltsin chairs, and I know about it, theoretically, but I mean, I've never I never had experience of investing before. Wahid. Yeah, I found it very accessible. So So what would you say to like,
I don't know, a sister out there, or even a brother may be they don't
you know, that they don't have experience with saving. And they never really, I think it's also a psychological thing, isn't it? Like you never saw yourself as somebody who's not an investment investor? Yeah, you know what I mean, there is a psychological shift that needs to take place. Yeah, but say they're ready. Now. They've got some money. Maybe sister has her dowry? Or, you know, I'm being quite stereotypical here, but
I don't know she has.
She might have a job, you know. And, or a brother, you know, they don't really know where to start. Would something like this be a good place to start? Yeah, absolutely. Look, it's certain things I would say when you're looking at investments here. First of all, first and foremost.
Is it halal for me the first criteria? Is it valid? Yeah. So comply that semester. So that's done. Then you look at
what protection Do you have? What kind of legal are they organized? Are they is everything documented? Are their contracts, etc? General, these are general advice around investments, like look at it, who you dealing with? Are they you know, are they trustworthy? Is their sense of have they got experience in the business that they're doing, and so on and so forth. This is like, you get lots of people who give opportunities for investing, but you don't know where they are, what they've done. So look, who the people behind it, what are they doing, what the mechanisms they have for taking the investment?
Can I just share a little story about that? So
see, I'm a traditional Muslim woman, and I have with my dowry, I invested about half of it into an up and coming company. Okay. Yeah.
That sounded really good. Okay. Yeah. Some brothers basically. Okay. And it was it was actually revolutionary technology at the time, it was a finger pit, like, you know, like,
finger recognition thing. Yeah. By metric fingerprint. Yes, exactly. And that wasn't widespread at all at the time. Right. It was like starting out, and they were one of the pioneers, I think. And so sounds really good. Right? Like, yeah, yeah. And so I just kind of signed signed away half my theory to that. And that's without doing any research. Yeah, it sounds really stupid now, but that that's what that's that's the sort of thing that and by the way, it completely
you know, that company doesn't exist anymore. Right. Let's just put it that way. But it was a learning curve for me, you know, because then I was like, Wait a minute. I didn't do the due diligence. I didn't even really screwed
realize that and you know, when you watch programs like Dragon's Den, right, and you see, and you see the way
your real investors, they don't just hand over their money, you know, they literally want to see the finance, they want to see what's going on, you know.
And they want to see whether you're really going to make this work before they even hand over a penny. Well, I'm just, I just remember that experience that was like my first foray into any type of investing. And it ended badly. But at the same time, it taught me a lot, you know? Yeah, I can imagine. And I think people are scared of stuff like that, you know? Yeah. Like,
that's why I'm saying that you should definitely do your due diligence, look at who's behind the company, you can look at some things that are going to Companies House, what company? Who the directors? does, is it consistent with what you? You've said, if they've been running for a while, while their accounts etc? But generally look, who are behind the company? And since the things that have been regulated, make a difference like that? And then then the what, what is the recourse for you getting your money back? This is important. Yes. How do you get your money out? What is the form of your money? Can it come back as? And so this is often what happens is that people say, Oh, this
brother's open restaurant, got investment going to get really good returns? Okay, that's great. How would you get your money back? How if you need to
look to someone else have an exit plan, as well as Yeah, exactly. But there is a secondary market for that type of investment.
Are you willing to lose entirely where you've invested? This is a big one.
Are you mad? Sometimes you don't think of that? No, no, that because at the beginning, everyone is excited. And it sounds really good and understand what's going on. So poor tonight, because, you know, never make a decision when angry, and never make a promise when happy. You know? Yeah.
Yeah, exactly. Motion.
idea, really, and I gotta tell you something else, something I've kind of learned over the years. Spotify is that ideas, there's plenty of ideas out there. There's, there's no shortage of ideas, the issues with execution. And so many ideas fall short, because they never had the right people to execute them. You know, and this is why school is so important. And you will look at when the big investors, the whales, when you hear about people like Warren Buffett because he always looks at who the board is. And who's seen him actually more than than board senior management is
why they say it's because you got to look at who the people if somebody wants to go into I don't know, a technology company, the only job they've done today is that they were you know, I don't know, a teacher or something else where they were the technology for trying to change change in detail. Yeah, so the idea may be great, but are you going to execute? Because it's not easy? It's in the background? Yeah, yeah, exactly. At
all of those things. I think the thing is a lot of the books nowadays, about, you know, finances, even books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and you know, those kinds of popular Tony Robbins books about money and like, you pick them up, and in a few pages, you just realize how irrelevant they're going to be to you because they talk about compound interest. And, you know, that's what the right like. So I think there's just such a dearth of literature out there. There's nothing there for Muslims to kind of say, look, I actually know I do want to get financially savvy, I do want to take my finances seriously. As soon as you go into, like, the mainstream world of advice, if you like, or self
development in that, in that field.
It just becomes so irrelevant. So quickly, though. Yeah, absolutely. I think you should write a book brother. All right. No.
I mean, like a popular book, you know, not not one of these very kind of theoretical Islamic finance books. But literally, really the average person.
Like, where do you start? What do these terms mean? Because that's another thing, isn't it? Like, what Yeah, definitely. What does equity mean? What is what is a share anyway? What is? Yeah, what is that's one of that. And then just giving people like, a plan, because I think a lot of the time people just want
they just want a plan. Yeah, I agree with you, I think, you know, definitely something I've wanted to do for a while, kind of like an everyday Islamic finance book. Like, what I mean by that is, you know, understanding finance as a Muslim, personally, person, everyday basis. So things like you know,
these Quidco, something like that, you know, where you get cash discounts, are they permissible? You know, how do you navigate through that? One of them credit cards, like okay, you never use a credit card, but you know, if you pay a fee for it, and you get
points, and, you know, just kind of navigate warranties. Like, you know, we kind of think of these things, okay? When I buy something I can extended warranty is allowed. Savings returns when you invest. The biggest thing I've noticed is when you speak to people about investments, they say, Okay, what's the return? And if you say you could get 7% as an example, typically, is that it? And that just shows that they don't know anything about investments. Right? Yeah, they risk I attended, I attended one of the Wahid webinars. Yeah, where they were taught this few years ago, and they were talking about, they actually gave a good plan for people like how to invest. And one of the things
they were saying, is that sort of regular regularly putting money into their account, and they showed on a graph, like, what that would mean, in a few years, you know? Yeah. And I think that that made a huge difference to the way I was looking at it, because, like, on paper, a few percent does. It does make you think, Well, you know, but when you actually think about it long term,
and somebody puts that in front of you, you know, yeah, I think that's when people start to understand. This is such an important point is because it is the small but regular, even from the Hadith of the person, something that's more than regular Islam by Allah works the same way, like, you know, the small amount that you put aside every month, think about it, lock it off, like, you know, non negotiable for someone. Yes. Exactly. And just let it build up, just forget about it and let it build up. You know, the problem, do you think that's a good way to start? Like, I'm just thinking, like, someone who's listening, they're like, Well, I haven't saved anything, you know,
what I want to start, I want to start, would you say like, 10%, or something like every time a certain amount, an amount of money comes into your bank account, from either a salary or a payment or whatever, work that you've done whatever, or even benefits, I'm just thinking, like, even people who are literally like, don't have a job, but they have an income of some sort. If they were to say, you know, what, 10% is untouchable, or something like that? And I'm going to directly put it into a fund every single month or whenever
non negotiable? Do you think that would be a good way to start? 100%? Start somewhere, start honestly. 10%? Because when it's in your bank account, you always find a reason to spend it. Yeah. Whereas if you see it, and it's invested, and you can see it's growing, then, you know, psychologically, you want to help it grow. And you put more in it? You see, yeah, one thing is people who aren't saving at all, definitely get them to start saving, like, you know, for something like the second set of people, or those people who are just and this is actually I say the vast majority, we just leaving money in the bank, you know, when you consider inflation, right, in real
terms, by inflation going up to 5%. What that means is, if you have 100 pounds, today, at a rate of 5%, inflation, it's only worth 95 pounds, right?
So the value of that is, basically, yeah, and then add to that, the cost that you have to pay on it, right, it's going down further. So you need to have your money in a place that beats inflation, and the cost that comes from it. And actually, there's a court ruling is different, because when it's an investment, depending on the type of investment, you'd pay the guy on the income that's generated, not necessarily the value of the whole investment, but the investor like that discussion. But you know, when it's growing and this compound investing, you heard about compound interest, this is compound investing, where that if you Yes, compound investing, compound growth. So if, for example,
a 10% return, and you think about the way we spoke about compound interest, how it completely drives the value Danis oppressive, then compound, investing Hamdallah works in the same way. So for example, if you receive 10% Return on 100 pounds, that's not 100 pounds now worth 110 pounds, the next 10% to be applied is going to be 110. And so over a period of time, they make some like marginal small increases, but they will continue to grow exponentially. Allah, you know, you see, you can see that compounding effect, and how that grows. And so after five or 10 years, you will realize how the money is on top of that you'll be putting money in regularly as well in sha Allah,
so you can see how that grows really well together. So on one side, you have growth and the other Yeah, you're actually tackling real deflation of,
of the value of your money, the value of your cash. Yeah, yeah. And also you're in
vesting in something beneficial? Because I think that's another thing, isn't it? Like Islam doesn't want people to just have money lying around it? Yeah, the whole point of it is that it should be put back into the community. Some were somehow in some market. Yeah. 100%. And this, this actually quite a profound point.
Because, you know, generally when you speak to most of our we invest, we invest in properties. And those properties. Yeah. When you look at what the Sharia calls for is money flowing in society, that money circulating in society, benefiting people, when you invest in a business versus a property, you're investing in something that creates? Wealth creates opportunities it provides for families, you know, that then we'll go nation? Exactly, yeah.
And Hamdulillah, that there's a purpose and behind that, so you're absolutely right, like, you know, when you invest in Sharla, in companies that are using the money for good, and it's, you know, we're the underlying companies we invest in, again, we're writing companies rather than just properties. You're helping create commerce, and you're helping grow the economy from that, as opposed to when you keep on investing in properties, what it does, the price of properties rise, and you're making it harder and harder for people to actually purchase properties that people don't think about it, I guess, I guess a lot of people want to have like, not put all their money into one thing, right?
So one question I have is, again, like, from a Muslim woman's perspective, if you have jewelry, for example, or gold? Is it, I just want to ask you like, is it good to just keep it as it is? Or is it better to sell it?
And then invest? That's a that's, you know,
I've always wondered that. So, look, my gut instinct is, it's better to keep it. Yeah, apart from the sentimental value. I mean, like just the fact that, you know, gold seems to stand the test of time. Absolutely. All times, in all places, gold is gonna have value, right. And so this is an important point, again, is around diversification, like, you know, you don't put all your eggs in one basket, all your money in one type of investments. So you distribute it invest in different types of investment, what asset classes and so on and so forth.
What I would say is, if you have gold, personally, if you have the physical gold, hold on to it, if you have it, like for yourself, I mean, you know, I assume that it's a it's a moderate amount, not excessive gold, Allah bless you that in this life, the next inshallah but you know, if you have a small amount of gold, because it's something of real value is tangible. It's an asset that you have, it's worth something, and it's something that you can pass on. Inshallah, you know, you just got to be mindful of the fact that you're not hoarding it, for the sake of holding it because there's a God that's Juwanna is do from yourself, yeah. Are you able to keep paying zakat on it? Of course, yeah.
But I guess the value of gold has steadily gone up, I believe.
And, and also,
in a way, again, you know, we were talking about making your money, not easy to sort of squander, and not easy to spend. Gold is like that, isn't it like, because it's like, it's, it has that
kind of sentimental value, whatever. And also, it's a tangible metal, it's there, you, it's not so easy for you to kind of, it's very, it's much more likely that your family will keep it and of course, for a rainy day type thing, you know, like, even your children, the next generation, etc.
So, yeah, I think, you know, actually, what you've said is also quite significant
as Fatima, because, you know, when you hold something, whatever it is, in your hand, you're, like, your psychological approach to it is very different. And this is part of the reason I think many of us are in debt. We just spend money without seeing.
Type a few numbers into a computer or yet, and nowadays, you don't even have to type in just, if you have even if you've got cash in your wallet, and then you like, you've got to spend this. There's still that thing, isn't it? It's your cash. When your card use tap, it is a bit of a pain involved, basically. Exactly. Yes, exactly. You know, so all of these things make a difference.
Just like my brother Omar.
Is there anything else that you wanted to
wrap up with or to speak?
I guess really, I mean, look for for the audience is
invest in understanding how kind of money works the environment that we operate in, you know, teach your children these things in Sharla, because that it really is a silent killer. And sometimes we don't really appreciate that, and we don't appreciate the impact of interest on society. You know, genuinely we are with net beneficiaries living in the West primary of the banking system. If you want to see a countries that are suffering as a result of the financial system, you can look at any of the developing world where they have excess assets and minerals, but they just can't get their head above water, because of their drowning in debt. So we don't want to be people who support an
oppressive system. So it's important that we try and teach our children look, there's different resources out there available. I'd also say to people, look,
you know, people, youngsters, and maybe give this advice to young people who want to make a bark who are constantly like, you know, you know, looking for the next big thing, etc.
Have some patience. And if somebody is such a beautiful quality, in lots of different things, even in, even in chasing money, and all of these types of things, like, look at value that you're going to create, really 100 We have so much talent that's wasted, right? chasing the wrong things. Think about value creation. And I truly believe in Shala that when you look at value creation, then the monetary side of it will follow. Yeah, so this is advice for youngsters around like, you know, looking at creating value people who want to want to get into their own business or do things look at value creation. For people who are a little bit older and think it's too late. I will say no,
it's never too late. Start thinking about saving, putting money aside, etc. Whatever you want to do. I mean, obviously, I work for Wired, but I'm saying you know, I can speak for them in terms of their calendars. Look at putting money aside in a halal way it's more steady inshallah. And this is one thing that people can't, can't measure and it's not measurable in any financial statements or reports is Buttercup, of course.
Don't people undervalue the quality of Baraka? I can tell you Subhan Allah says Fatima when you mentioned that you grew up in what Hackney was it? Yeah, going from a council estate. Now how I'm gonna head Baraka look, Mashallah. I know from your father, where he's going on to do yourself, your children Mashallah. This is baraka. How many of us come from different tough, tough backgrounds? And when we needed Allah azza wa jal most Allah Baraka, what we do, so don't have that when you try and seek Allah's pleasure, then Allah azza wa jal Lewis facilities for you, you know, so look at the things that bring you Baraka in life. And this means sometimes going and doing things which are
completely unconnected to finance. And it might sound strange, but looking at vending relations with their relatives, who can't spike time that you spend with your siblings with extended family, giving sadaqa doing charity, like you know, waking up in the middle of night for prayer, all of these things, even going on Umrah and Hajj like, people don't think that that's that it's counterintuitive, isn't it? Because it's such a big expense. Right. But one of the, you know, there's that book, I don't know if you've seen it 15 Is it 15 ways to increase your increase your wealth, I think it's
also cloudy. And one of the things in there is hard to Nomura and people don't think of that, like no, you know, there's people who don't go on Hajj and Umrah because they think it's expensive. But actually it's like you're saying to Allah I'm spending in your way I'm, I'm doing this for you. And you will always get more back? Absolutely. I can guarantee you that you know when you really needed it unless it were done as provided for means you never expected I've seen in my own life, you know, and I'm sure you have I'm sure there's people who are listening where they thought you know what they're going to do an Eliza provided, you know, and so it's important that we always stay mindful
of that little Johnny's gonna provide for us you know, I I say this often when I'm talking about finances that look unless rsrq
risk was written when I created the pen in the cradle or my falls and it was written 50,000 years before creation, what we were going to earn and then when we are in the wombs of our mothers and our souls but he breathed into us it says how much we're going to and where we're going to live where we're gonna die. You know, sat risk is already be written, not guaranteed by the Bank of England, but by guaranteed by the robot Halloween that all of us what we're going to have. He's the one who's back to he's one who's written that check for it. So why stress and worry about it, whatever is going to come to you is going to come to a certainty as the angel of death. But just try and I guess
these are just means
Right, we still have the means. And we, of course, we do our best, but the actual result is in Allah. So you go out and that's why I always talk about the principles doing. You don't seek money in a way that's going to displease Allah, you know the rules. And you don't take advantage of anyone in the pursuit of there. You go about it, but you have to go out. And you work hard. And this new, there's a whole nother podcast on obviously on how I think we've got a generation who've completely disconnected to hard work and productivity. Unfortunately, I was having a lot of speaking to a lot of people who are involved even in the professional sphere as well as the Dawa, where they just
can't find people willing to work long hours or commit themselves anymore. And it's a shame.
It's a shame, it's,
why do you think that is? Why do you think that is, because I think we're an instant gratification. Society, we're in this time of where everyone thinks they know business, and everything's transactional. And this is why I keep reminding people, that the transactions aren't just the transactions that you make between someone for money, but your transactions with Allah. And that's all of these other things that we're speaking about, you know, people, instantly This is transaction. I'm sure when you're growing up, and I'm sure my generation like the police spoke to people, they were always involved in some sort of our activity outside of work, they work, they go
school, college, university, even when they're working full time, they'd be involved in some sort of dour. They'd be doing things which doesn't make sense for someone to be doing, like, you know, like going halfway across the city to give out leaflets or attending circles, these types of things. I tell people to do it now. That's okay. What's it? What's in it for me? I've seen this Yes. What's in it for me? I started off my career in Islamic finance. I never worked in Islamic finance as a job until I worked at Whitehead.
This is the first time in my life I've been paid for working in Islamic finance. The last 15 years, I did it entirely on top of my day job. My family, honestly, my wife and kids. They didn't see me for for ages.
But that's because you've got you're motivated, you're you're seeing something bigger. So maybe that's what's missing. You know, they're not seeing
they're not motivated for something bigger. So that what is Yeah, absolutely, I think I think it's because of the Wi Fi personally, you know,
when you've got Wi Fi in the house, it's like having, you know, it's like a luxury Why should Why would you? You get all your hits all your kind of
right, yeah, I'm at home sitting at home. Yeah, so I think perhaps it's literally a case of shutting off the Wi Fi and forcing people to go out getting something else. Honestly Get out Get involved in diverse our activities and our could be anything to lots of different things, look at the great investment you can make honestly, in yourself, I keep on saying these people a great investment you can make.
And you need to do that through experiences through spending time through sacrifice, you know, and the rest will come inshallah.
Inshallah, brother and I think that's a good place to, to, to end, that was really inspiring. I think your message at the end was really important as well, like, even though we might spend time thinking about money, and, you know, we don't want it to sort of consume us.
Because, like you said,
Allah subhanaw taala is in control, we seek the means and we're supposed to be clever, it's supposed to be savvy, but the results are in his hands. So I think that was a good message to end on. Because, like the how, obviously for your time, and obviously for the engaging discussion, actually, it's nice to speak to people who actually sit from the other side, and, you know, have real examples and, and you're right, you know, there are there are genuine, real challenges in life and we need to look at it holistically.
Just like, okay, and actually, there's one thing I want to add, if you don't mind, like I saw that. You met with Habib, right. I just wanted to know like, I'm sure our listeners I know him feed people are fans of Habib, right. So
what was that like? And why did you What did you see in him as a person who, you know, you wanted to collaborate with? Yeah. So, I mean, have you been harmed Eliza is a global phenomenon. And he has he's one of those individuals that's transcended the sport. So like Muhammad Ali is so much was so much more than boxing. And I believe that Habib is so much more than MMA now, Mashallah. For us that the the key thing was the values that if you look at what he talks about how he's carried himself, despite the arena
He operated in something as violent something as I guess.
Yeah, as horrible as MMA with the way that they have in in that kind of hostile, tense environment, he's managed to maintain himself and his values and carried himself throughout that and preached that, inside and outside of the rain, for ourselves wide sees themselves like that. We're operating in a financial economic system, where we've got people all around us making moves, calling for oppression, doing things which are completely at odds with what Islam calls to, and we're trying to maintain our values in this environment, you know, for us, there was a natural alignment there, because it is about despite where you are, or situation, that you behave with the best values that
you have. And for us, those principles, which are non negotiable, it just tied up completely, you know, they love Shannon, what was it? What was he like, as a, you know, watch all I gotta say, He's phenomenal. Like, you can really see this this concept of tarbiyah
that when he was speaking, I saw him interact with children to really see the terribIe. Right. So first, we met him.
He was actually talking to some children, he's asking what their name was. And when they tell them, then he goes, Do you know where this name comes from? And he so and he referring the Quran, I one child, who's closer Korea, he said, Do you know when his name came from, this was the first name that was in the Quran, and so on and so forth. And hamdulillah so it was really nice seeing that, he had that, you know, and then mashallah, it was, man you see, is a very humble guy, you know, you can see, and he sees himself, he comes across that he really, he sees that he's bigger than the sport, if that makes sense. Not in an arrogant way. But he seems like someone who's got a mission. And he
said, you know, subhanAllah he's, he's a man with a mission, you know, him, then you can see that even from his, the people around him, they say, now that look, you know, Habib kind of really keeps them in check. And he's kind of taking the position of his father, I, honestly I say to everyone who really likes him, follows him, make the other Allah preserves him and protects him. You know, and he's people around him because we're in need of real role models. You know, we have enough people out there who are famous and do things the wrong way. And first, real genuine role models that we can kind of, you know, look up to and aspire to. And yeah, MC BA from is, yeah, phenomenal guy,
Well, thank you, brother and sisters for joining me today, please do share this episode. I'm sure you'll agree that, you know, it was really eye opening because we don't often talk about these kinds of topics. And I think it's really important that as a community, we become financially savvy, because then we can be a force to be reckoned with. We can be a community that can actually, you know, take action and, and make changes in the world.
Share the episode, tell somebody new about infeed and I'll see you next time in sha Allah. Does that come along Ferran Subhanak Allahu mobi ham the shadow Allah Allah Atlanta stuffy Roca what to do like Salam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh