MANY books have been written on Islamic financial markets but Introduction to Islamic Finance: Theory and Practice by Zamir Iqbal, Abbas Mirakhor (John Wiley) is the first book to introduce all of the essential topics in one volume. Economics is an earthly science, material and human. Religion looks to the beyond, and it teaches divine laws. How then are believers to design and build an economy, a system of production and distribution that leads to happiness in this world and salvation in the next? Zamir Iqbal, a principal financial officer with the World Bank, and Abbas Mirakhor, an executive director at the International Monetary Fund, sketch an outline of that compromise economy in their book. Though Islamic finance may be a niche market in the West, elsewhere it is widespread and growing. The General Council of Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions estimated that in 2005, the industry spanned 38 countries, with nearly 300 entities managing about US$200bil. In Iran and Sudan, finance is almost entirely Islamic. Other countries, like the Gulf states, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia, operate under more mixed systems in which Islamic and conventional finance compete.
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