Banking and Insurance in Islam is an English rendition of the Persian book “Mas’aleh-ye Ribā wa Bank beh Ḍamīmeh-ye Mas’aleh-ye Bīmeh” by the great Muslim thinker and reformer Shahīd Murtaḍā Muṭahharī. Consisting of two parts, the present book is a series of theoretical discussions about usury (ribā), bank, and insurance given by the martyred thinker in 1352-54 AHS (circa 1973-76) at the height of interest in Islamic banking in Muslim countries as inspired by Malaysia’s Pilgrimage Fund and the interest-free banking in Egypt’s countryside of Mit Ghamr village and culminated in the establishment of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) as an intergovernmental pan-Islamic bank in 1974. Using his signature style of applying traditional Islamic sources to contemporary questions, the author delves into the theories on the philosophy behind the prohibition of usury and explores the concepts of trust, loan, promissory note, ownership, transaction, and guarantee, among others. Among the questions addressed are: Does production capital make a profit? Is the creditor’s loan a necessity? Can the state own? Are the offer and acceptance necessary for a contract? Is the insurance contract binding or optional? What significantly sets this book apart from others that deal with the same subjects is the inclusion of the Question-and-Answer sessions’ transcript and the detailed exchange of arguments between the author and the audience, not to mention the author’s candid expression of agreement and disagreement with his fellow resource speakers’ views on certain points.
Murtaḍā Muṭahharī was a leading theoretician of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. As an accomplished scholar of Islamic sciences, he played a pivotal role in forming the modern Islamic discourse which served as the foundation of the revolution. With close to ninety works to his credit, he is considered one of the leading thinkers of the global Islamic movement in the twentieth century.
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