Frontera Academy: A Primer on Islamic Finance
Islamic Finance


In the Frontera Academy series, we sit down with Reza Jaufeerally of Belgium’s University of Leuven for a fresh and entertaining lesson on the key principles of Islamic Finance.

The principles of Islamic finance have existed for centuries, but only for the past 40 years in their current form. Yet this is one of the fastest growing markets in global finance, with a total market size of over US$ 2 trillion today. A recent study estimates that it will expand to over US$ 6.5 trillion by 2020 – a 50x increase from just two decades ago.

By now you have certainly heard about Islamic finance, and you may even know a thing or two about it. But have you ever taken the time to understand its fundamentals? If you live, work or do business in any of the 57 countries that now practice Islamic finance then perhaps it’s time you do.

There are three ways to learn more about this topic:

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• Pick up a book. “Islamic Finance In A Nutshell” by Brian Kettell is a quick layman’s read. Several textbooks exist, and of course there is the ubiquitous “Islamic Finance for Dummies”.

• You can attend any of the myriad Islamic finance conferences and seminars now being held everywhere between Los Angeles and Dubai. For the rate of US$ 1,000 per day and a plane ticket, you can fall asleep in the back row of a Marriott conference room while listening to a bunch of bores drone on about takaful and murabaha.

• OR…you can tune into this interview with Reza Jaufeerally, an Islamic finance specialist at Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven. Reza has deep expertise on the principles and practices of Islamic finance, and also a gift for storytelling. That all comes through in this interview as he weaves centuries of Islamic history together with the religious and ethical principles behind it.

Obviously we are partial to the third option. And you should be too, since unlike the first two – it’s free! Not to mention a whole lot more enjoyable. If you have ever wanted to achieve more clarity on this topic, trust Reza to help you achieve that in less than 30 minutes.

This is meant to be an introduction to Islamic finance for those who have little to no familiarity with the topic. And unlike most textbooks, we think you’ll actually enjoy listening to it. More importantly, let us know if you learned anything from it. We are considering expanding this into a longer series that covers IF’s principles in more depth. If we hear enough feedback from our audience then we’ll proceed.

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