Islamic Finance: Prospects for Development in Russia

Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin
Chairman of Russian Muftis Council
Chairman of Religious board of Muslims of the European part of Russia

This article was part of a speech given at the conference, “Islamic Finance: Prospects for Development in Russia,” which was held in Moscow on Dec. 10.

History teaches us that when humanity tends with passion for unrestrained enrichment and consumption, when in pursuit of profit, it forgets moral percepts, transgress divine limits and doesn’t use their mind for the benefit, sooner or later it leads to losses, both material and spiritual.

Islam, as we know, doesn’t limit a human being rights only to the performance of religious duties, it urges all believers to be active members of society, actively solve scientific, economic and social challenges, and Muslims in Russia are not an exception.

In March this year, Moscow held a major international conference “Islamic Banking: Specifics and Prospects.” The participants of the conference admitted that “Islamic principles of financing, including questions of social orientation, deserve a close look and application in practice in Russia. Moreover, we need a comprehensive, gradual and harmonious development of Islamic principles of financing, which includes educational and research programs as well.”

We decided to create a working group on Islamic financial organizations and products, in particular to analyze the presence or absence of barriers to using Islamic financial products with the current taxation climate to achieve the same economic effect as traditional financial products. The Russian Muftis Council proposed the platforms for the working group. And today at our conference, after six months of its existence, the members of the working group will show their findings.

Of course, the work done by these respected experts is only the first step. There is a lot of work to be done on education, documentation, training people and Shariah advisers.

We would encourage the professional community of specialists in Islamic financing to consider creating a specialized professional association, which could help to solve the problems of skilled professionals, a lack of quality standards and other vital problems.

Much work in the field of practical implementation of Islamic finance principles is conducted in the regions of Russia. First of all in Kazan, which has had some success in this. Other Russian regions are also interested in the development and practical use of Islamic financial institutes and products.

I want to emphasis again and again that what we call Islamic economics and Islamic finance are not only and exclusively for Muslims. The fruits of fair trade, useful work and production, financing that are based on participation rather than on interest are first of all intended to improve fairness in relationships with people.

We expected that the Russian society will usefully apply that potential which is in Islam, especially regarding economic relationships.