Centennial College is opening up its doors to what could very well be a groundbreaking financial course in Canada.
This fall, the college will be offering a course in Islamic finance. The program will explore the economic order that conforms to Islamic scripture and traditions. The course will draw from Islamic Law and will source the Quran and Hadith. Islamic finance is described as neither socialist nor capitalist but a third option that doesn’t draw heavily from either system.
The core belief of the system is that financing should come with assets. Some of the provisions are that Islamic finance does allow the charging of interest. Collateral is used instead. Such loan products must be structured like lease-to-own arrangements.
Islamic economics focuses on improving life for the poor by asking governments to distribute wealth equally and making sure that anyone who participates in the marketplace benefits from exposing themselves to risk.
“Islam does not allow one to make money from lending money, but certainly allows the person to conduct business for profit. It promotes the concept of risk and reward sharing,” said Rehan Saeed, a Centennial instructor and a member of the Islamic Finance Advisory Board.
“The economic outcome of a transaction from an interest-bearing loan or a simple trade-based transaction can be exactly the same, but the underlying mechanics are different.”
The Muslim population base in Canada is nearly 1 million and a report inked by International Financial Services London suggests that Islamic finance assets invested at the end of 2008 totaled $951 billion.
The UK-based Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment has accredited Centennial as its first Canadian training provider delivering the Institute’s Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) — the first international benchmark in the area of Islamic finance.
“We’re absolutely delighted to bring this course to Toronto,” says David Johnson, dean of Centennial’s School of Business. “There is tremendous interest in Islamic finance within the Canadian banking community. It’s a concept that has become very popular globally beyond the borders of Islamic nations.”