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The guiding principles for an Islamic financial system is a set of rules and laws, collectively referred to as Shariah, guiding economic, social, political, and cultural aspects of Islamic societies. Shariah originates from the rules dictated by the Quran and its practices, and explanations rendered (more commonly known as Sunnah) by the Prophet Muhammad. Further elaboration of the rules is provided by scholars in Islamic jurisprudence within the framework of the Quran and Sunnah. In a sense, the combination of law and finance in Islam is inevitable. Islamic law, by its nature, is resilient enough to accommodate modern financing modes and institutions with great ease. Rather, it can be, perhaps, said, that Islam is not a rigid methodology which insists that certain specific directions be taken to reach a destination, but a framework which provides directional guidance when directions for certain types of activities have not been documented yet, or those that are already documented need to be reengineered to suit changing scenarios.

Islam, however, expects that the principles it enshrines are not breached while redefining, reengineering and adopting the same in practice.

Whereas the conventional financial system focuses primarily on the economic and financial aspects of transactions, the Islamic system places equal emphasis on the ethical, moral, social, and religious dimensions, to enhance equality and fairness for the good of society as a whole.
The system can be fully appreciated only in the context of Islam's teachings on the work ethic, wealth distribution, social and economic justice, and the role of the state.

Undoubtedly, prohibiting the receipt and payment of interest is the nucleus of the system, but it is supported by other principles of Islamic doctrine advocating risk sharing, individuals' rights and duties, property rights, and the sanctity of contracts. Similarly, the Islamic financial system is not limited to banking but covers capital formation, capital markets, and all types of financial intermediation.  

A quick summary of the well-known principles of Islamic Finance and the wisdom inherent in them will be in order, here :
bulletMaking Money from Money is not Permissible
bulletProhibition of Interest
bulletProfit and Loss Sharing
bulletGharar (Uncertainty or Speculation) is Prohibited
bulletInvestments Should only Support Halal Activities

*From a magazine article written by Colin Willis, Treasurer, Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation.

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