What is the Difference Between Islamic Finance and Conventional Finance?
Islamic finance and conventional finance are two distinct systems of financial management that are based on different principles and ethical considerations. While conventional finance is widely practiced globally, Islamic finance is specifically designed to adhere to the principles and guidelines of Islamic law, known as Shariah. In this article, we will explore the key differences between Islamic finance and conventional finance.
Principles and Ethics:
One of the fundamental differences between Islamic finance and conventional finance lies in their underlying principles and ethical frameworks. Islamic finance operates on the principle of avoiding riba (interest) and gharar (uncertainty or speculation), as these elements are considered unethical in Islam. Instead, Islamic finance promotes risk-sharing and profit-sharing arrangements to ensure fairness and equitable distribution of wealth. Conventional finance, on the other hand, does not have such restrictions and typically relies on interest-based transactions and speculative activities.
Interest vs. Profit-Sharing:
In conventional finance, interest is a central component of financial transactions. Banks and other financial institutions charge interest on loans and offer interest-based products such as savings accounts and bonds. In Islamic finance, the charging and receiving of interest are prohibited. Instead, Islamic financial institutions use profit-sharing arrangements, such as mudarabah (partnership) and musharakah (joint venture), where both parties share profits and losses based on pre-agreed ratios. This ensures that the lender shares in the risk of the investment and promotes a more equitable distribution of wealth.
Islamic finance emphasizes the concept of asset backing and prohibits speculative activities. Transactions in Islamic finance must be supported by tangible assets and real economic activities. This means that investments should be linked to physical assets or productive ventures, avoiding investments in sectors considered unethical or harmful to society, such as alcohol, gambling, or weapons production. Conventional finance, on the other hand, allows for speculative investments and does not necessarily require asset backing.
Prohibition of Unethical Practices:
Islamic finance adheres to a set of ethical guidelines derived from Shariah, which prohibits certain practices considered unethical in Islam. These include engaging in gambling, speculation, usury, and investments in businesses involved in prohibited activities such as alcohol, pork, or pornography. Conventional finance does not have such specific ethical restrictions and allows for investments in a wide range of industries and sectors.
Islamic finance operates within a specific regulatory framework to ensure compliance with Shariah principles. In many countries, regulatory bodies and boards of Islamic scholars oversee the operations of Islamic financial institutions and provide guidance on Shariah compliance. Conventional finance operates under a different regulatory framework, which varies from country to country but typically focuses on prudential regulations and consumer protection.
Social and Economic Objectives:
Islamic finance aims to promote economic justice, social welfare, and financial inclusion. It emphasizes the concept of shared prosperity and discourages excessive wealth accumulation. Conventional finance, while seeking profitability, does not have the same explicit focus on social and economic objectives.
In conclusion, Islamic finance and conventional finance differ significantly in their principles, ethical frameworks, transaction structures, and regulatory frameworks. Islamic finance operates in accordance with Shariah principles and promotes fairness, risk-sharing, and asset backing, while conventional finance is driven by interest-based transactions and allows for speculative activities.
Understanding these key differences is crucial for individuals and institutions seeking to engage with either system of finance based on their ethical, religious, or cultural preferences. Having studied the approaches in Islamic finance is obviously a huge number of advantages and that is why our exchange Q2 (https://quan2um.com) is halal and works according to Shariah law.