top of page

Ethical Foundations of Islamic Banking: Fostering Financial Ethics and Social Responsibility

Unveiling the Principles and Evolution of Islamic Finance

Principles of Islamic Banking

Islamic banking operates on fundamental ethical principles derived from Islamic law (Shariah) that govern financial transactions. Core principles include:

1. Prohibition of Riba (Interest): Quranic verses (Quran 2:275–279) and Hadiths explicitly forbid the charging or payment of interest among other situations where Riba is hidden and has a potential of occurring. Instead, Islamic finance emphasises profit-sharing (Mudarabah) and asset-backed financing (Murabaha), ensuring ethical wealth generation without interest-based transactions.

2. Avoidance of Gharar (Uncertainty) and Haram Activities: Transactions involving uncertainty or ambiguity (Gharar), the grave effects of which can be seen in the tens of Billions lost though various Crypto scams, and those related to forbidden activities, such as gambling or dealing with alcohol or unethical businesses, are prohibited in Islamic finance.
Quran (2:275) — “Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity.”

The Rise of Islamic Finance

In recent decades, Islamic finance has witnessed a global surge, offering an ethical alternative to conventional banking systems. Islamic financial institutions have proliferated, promoting principles of fairness, risk-sharing, and ethical investment practices.

Alternative Economic System in Islam:

Islamic economics stands apart from conventional capitalism by promoting an ethical economic framework. It emphasises:

1. Real Wealth Creation vs. Speculation: Islamic finance promotes wealth creation through tangible assets and productive economic activities rather than speculative or interest-based transactions. This reduces the likelihood of speculative bubbles and economic downturns.

2. Social Justice and Redistribution: Islamic economics emphasizes social justice and wealth distribution through mechanisms such as Zakat (obligatory charity) and Sadaqah (voluntary charity) to assist the disadvantaged, promoting economic equilibrium and minimising the wealth hoarding seen by the wealthy today, causing an increasing wealth inequality today.

Hadith (Sahih Bukhari) — “The wealth of a man is never diminished by charity.”
Islamic banking offers a model that intertwines financial success with ethical considerations, promoting a balanced and responsible approach to finance. It stands as a testament to an economic system that prioritizes ethics, fairness, and social responsibility, appealing not only to Muslims but also offering insights and alternatives to the broader global financial landscape.

  • Introduction to Islamic Finance: Principles and Practice by Kabir Hassan and Mervyn Lewis

  • Towards a Just Monetary System: A Discussion of Money, Banking, and Monetary Policy in the Light of Islamic Teachings by Muhammad Umar Chapra


bottom of page