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Islamic Finance in the Global Economy$
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Ibrahim Warde

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780748612161

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612161.001.0001

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Riba, Gharar, and the Moral Economy of Islam in Historical and Comparative Perspective

Riba, Gharar, and the Moral Economy of Islam in Historical and Comparative Perspective

Chapter:
(p.52) 3 Riba, Gharar, and the Moral Economy of Islam in Historical and Comparative Perspective
Source:
Islamic Finance in the Global Economy
Author(s):

Ibrahim Warde

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612161.003.0004

Islamic banking is generally reduced and marginalised to ‘interest-free banking’. While the restrictions against riba form the very foundation of Islamic finance, debates still persist as to the exact significance of the word. Since the early days of Islam, the majority of scholars have adopted a restrictive definition: any form of interest constitutes riba. However, to date, the debate is still lively. This chapter focuses on riba, gharar and the moral economy of Islamic banking, beginning with the riba debate and determining its origin and significance. It then discusses gharar, which is a lesser-known, yet, in the contemporary world of finance, equally significant prohibition. The moral economy of Islam is also discussed from the perspective of spirit versus the letter of Islam, and the religious versus the secular. The chapter ends with a discussion on money and religious debate in comparative and historical perspective.

Keywords:   Islamic banking, interest-free banking, riba, gharar, moral economy

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