Finance in the Muslim World: Principles and Differences

Islamic finance has gained popularity in recent years due to its ethical and socially responsible investing principles. This article will explore the key principles of Islamic finance and how it differs from conventional finance.

Principles of Islamic Finance

Shariah Law

Islamic finance is based on the principles of Shariah law, which prohibit usury, gambling, and speculation. Shariah law requires finance to be ethical, fair, and socially responsible. This means that investments must benefit society as a whole and avoid harming it. For example, investments in industries such as gambling or alcohol are not permitted.


Islamic finance promotes risk-sharing between investors and borrowers. This is achieved through various financial instruments such as mudarabah, musharakah, and ijara. In mudarabah, the investor provides the capital while the entrepreneur manages the business. Profits are shared according to a pre-agreed ratio, while the losses are borne by the investor. In musharakah, two or more parties contribute capital and share profits and losses of the venture. This type of financing is often used for large-scale projects, such as real estate developments or infrastructure projects. In ijara, the financier leases an asset to the customer for a pre-determined period, and at the end of the lease, the customer has the option to purchase the asset at an agreed price.


In Islamic finance, profits and losses are shared between investors and borrowers. This promotes a fair and equitable distribution of wealth and encourages entrepreneurs to be more innovative. This is in contrast to conventional finance, which often relies on charging interest on loans and credit, regardless of the borrower’s financial situation.

Social Responsibility

Islamic finance promotes social responsibility by encouraging investments in projects that benefit society. It avoids investments in industries that are harmful, such as gambling or alcohol. This aligns with the growing trend towards socially responsible investing, where investors look beyond financial returns and consider the social and environmental impact of their investments.

Differences between Islamic and Conventional Finance

Interest (Riba)

Islamic finance prohibits interest (riba) as it is seen as exploitative and promotes inequality in society. In contrast, conventional finance charges interest on loans and credit. This can lead to borrowers paying more than they can afford, resulting in financial difficulties and hardship.


Islamic finance prohibits speculation and excessive risk-taking. This is because speculation and excessive risk-taking can lead to economic instability and harm society as a whole. Conventional finance, on the other hand, often encourages speculation, which can lead to market volatility and financial instability.


Islamic finance is a rapidly growing field that promotes ethical and socially responsible investing. Its principles are based on Shariah law and emphasize risk-sharing, profit-sharing, and social responsibility. Islamic finance differs from conventional finance in its prohibition of interest and speculation. As the world becomes more socially and environmentally conscious, Islamic finance is poised to play a bigger role in the global financial system.

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