College launches degrees in Islamic finance

A Scottish college is offering Masters degree programmes on Islamic finance.

Dundee’s Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education is collaborating with the University of Dundee to offer qualifications in MSc Islamic Finance, MSc Islamic Banking and Finance and MSc Islamic Banking, Finance and International Business.

Islamic Finance is based on Shariah law that prohibits charging or receiving interest.

Dr Salah Alhammadi, assistant professor in Islamic economics and finance at Al-Maktoum College, said that Islamic finance does not permit excessive speculation, including any financing of activities banned by Islam such as alcohol, gambling and pornography.

He added: “The financial outcome of the two systems is the same, but the process is different.

“Someone looking to buy a house, for example, would take out a mortgage or a loan in the conventional finance process.

“In Islamic finance, however, this would be achieved through rent (ljarah) where the bank would buy the house and then lease it to the client for a period of time. By the end of this period, the client would become the homeowner.”

Dr Alhammadi said Islamic finance has been adopted in Muslim majority countries as well as non-Muslim countries.

He added: “In 2014 the UK became the first country outside the Islamic world to issue sovereign Sukuk (Islamic bonds) with £200 million worth maturing in 2019.

“The London Stock Exchange recently claimed that the UK is leading western countries in Islamic Finance.”

Designed for students who have completed an undergraduate degree and are now looking to specialise, the programmes are suitable for those with a background in finance and business but also anyone new to the subject.

Acting head of Al Maktoum College, Dr Abi Abubaker, said: “This is a significant step for us and we look forward to bringing students to the city to undertake these three programmes for the first time.

“We believe they confirm our role as a leading centre of learning in Islamic finance and Islamic studies, generally.”

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