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Islamic Banking

A Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

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This guide is part of International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Trade Finance programme, which provides assistance to help small firms in developing countries develop their capacities to link to global markets through exports. It is intended primarily for trade support institutions of developing countries, and owners or finance managers of small firms. The aim is to help these firms decide whether Islamic banking options are feasible for them, and how to use them. This guide intends to help the non-specialist reader understand and use Islamic finance. Part I – Understanding Islamic Finance – covers the key principles and perspectives of Islamic banking relevant to small firms. Part II – Using Islamic Finance – consists of a “how to” guide to use Islamic banking instruments for specific transactions.

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The role of a sharia adviser

An important aspect of the rapidly growing and evolving Islamic banking industry is that financial institutions offering Islamic financial products are advised by sharia scholars. The knowledge and ability of these scholars to provide advice is improving. Modern scholars may undergo specialized training at a number of institutions, participate in a variety of scholarly and regulatory colloquia and pursue specialized designations in sharia audit, such as that offered by AAOIFI. This increasingly sophisticated body of scholars is able to advise clients, banks and regulators in a way that is business friendly. These scholars and advisers help bankers and customers to develop new products as well as to confirm that business activities and transactions are carried out in a sharia-compliant manner.

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