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12.7.09

The Stock-Exchange from an Islamic Perspective

This is an interesting study of capital markets (albeit slightly outdated) presented from a governance point of view and evaluated through Shariah guidelines, published by the King Abdulaziz University Islamic Economics Research Centre (also checkout their archive for a lot more interesting content).

The notion of a standalone Islamic stock exchange (as opposed to having conventional and Shariah compliant products side by side) is debatable due to issues relating to implementation and practicality. However, the paper's focus is on how to restrain/control gharar.

It proposes two "Shariah restraints": [1] "calling for the provision of relevant information on one hand, and [2] the analytical ability to estimate true exchange values on the other. These two main restraints are intended to attack the problem of gharar, or to put it differently, they are intended to account for closer convergence of the actual share’s price with its true expected economic value."

The paper inlcudes a curious quote from John Maynard Keynes:

“The spectacle of modern investment markets has sometimes moved me towards the conclusion that to make the purchase of an investment permanent and indissoluble, like marriage, except by reason of death or other grave cause, might be a useful remedy for our contemporary evils" (1970)

Keynes, it seems, would have made for a great scholar!
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