• Special Issue: Islamic Banking and Finance 2019
    2019

    Al-Shajarah Special Issue: Islamic Banking and Finance

    For this Al-Shajarah Special Issue, the Islamic Banking and Finance takes the front by focussing on Islamic social finance (ISF) issues. ISF issues are rapidly gaining the attentions of all players in the field and Al-Shajarah plays its part in presenting several selected related issues, highlighting the challenges and recommending possible remedies and solutions based on either empirical evidences or analyses of current scenarios and best practices. Among the issues discussed are zakāt contributions, the impact of financial crimes on performance of firms, ISF and the imperative for social impact measurement, the value-based intermediation approach on ISF, the potential in reviving waqf through crowd-funding technology, crypto-currency, zakāt distribution on social welfare, Islamic fintech investment innovation, the role of ISF and the insurance practices which can be resolved by introducing takāful in India.

       This special issue starts with an extensive examination on the impact of corporate social responsibilities particularly on the application of ISF which is zakāt contribution by Islamic banks on their financial performances. The findings show that zakāt contribution has positive significant impact on Islamic banks’ financial performance. The next paper highlights the impact of financial crimes on the reputation of Islamic financial institutions. The study then proposes a conceptual framework which may safeguard public trust and confidence towards the integrity of Islamic financial institutions from reputation risks due to financial crimes. 

       Another study highlights the importance of social impact measurements in Islamic finance (IF) by exploring and critically reviewing existing related literature. The ongoing criticisms of IF failing to fulfil its purposes and objectives indicate gaps between its theory and practice. This study thus proposes mechanisms or frameworks for Islamic financial institutions to measure the social impact of their operations, products and services to realise the full potential of IF. This can be done through a stakeholder-based approach and assimilating frameworks of Value-Based Intermediation (VBI), Maqāṣid al-Sharīʽah, and Sustainable Development Goals.

       With the introduction of Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs in 2015, the notion of sustainability and impactful services provide an inspiration to the dual financial services industries in Malaysia. While Sharīʽah provides holistic objectives in comparison to SDGs, the approach of VBI opens a new pragmatic dimension for IFSI in providing impactful and beneficial services to the public at large. This study provides evidence that VBI facilitates Islamic banks to provide impactful services to their customers and other innovative strategies based on ISF.  

       Another study on waqf is discussed here but focusing on the case in Thailand. This study looks at the opportunity of reviving waqf in Thailand through crowd funding platforms. Such revival of waqf is essential for the society at large, especially for the Muslim community. The revival of waqf may provide essential assistance in alleviating poverty and gives an equal opportunity for economic participation particularly in Thailand. 

       The crypto-currency is a fairly new phenomenon in Malaysia thus the next study intends to examine the characteristics of Bitcoin currency based on the requirements of High-Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA) standards of Basel III and compare its volatility structure with other traditional asset classes that are already recommended by Basel III as HQLA. The findings provide appropriate information about Bitcoin asset behaviour compared to other traditional asset classes which will enable them to make the right investment decision with regard to hedging, diversification and liquidity risk management. The findings of this study may assist in evaluating the suitability of including crypto assets into HQLA to improve the liquidity requirement standards and ensure that banks have an adequate amount of HQLA specifically during times of financial turmoil.

       Another study examines the effectiveness of yearly zakāt distribution as an instrument for social welfare in the state of Selangor - Malaysia. Overall, the study found that the zakāt distribution contributes significantly to social welfare through education but contributes inadequately through income. This indicates that the current zakāt distribution system in Selangor provides only a marginal influence on increasing the income of the poor and insignificant to social welfare through healthcare, implying insufficient distribution channels.  A social health insurance policy for zakāt beneficiaries can be the remedy to this flaw. This can be done via ratification of insurance plan between zakāt agencies and insurance companies to cover the basic health needs for zakāt recipients.

       Another issue highlighted in this special issue is peer-to-peer financial services which are increasingly becoming significant game changers in the financial sector across the globe. Peer-to-peer arrangement connects crowd-funding investors with entrepreneurs through more transparency, speed dealings and almost free from complications in the documentation. This paper attempts to develop a new peer-to-peer financing which is based on the Mushārakah Smart Contract Model, in which the investors would be crediting their investments for mushārakah purposes with virtual lenders for specific Sharīʽah compliant businesses and share in the profit, based on an agreed dividend under the mushārakah principles. It also highlights the potential structures, cyber risks, and devices to mitigate them by using mushārakah standards and measures within the Sharīʽah principles.

       The role of ISF is explored further and this time in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly goal number two, “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. Three ISF tools namely infāq, waqf and zakāt are discussed together with iḥya’ al-mawāt and al-iqta’. Infāq, waqf and zakāt are found to be an excellent alternative philanthropies’ fund. Expanding quality agricultural land through iḥya’ al-mawāt and al-iqta’ can be the best alternatives to achieve the long-term target i.e. sustainable agriculture. Working together regionally or internationally in achieving the goal, especially for developing and least developed countries is ultimately recommended.

       Shifting to focusing the issue of takāful in India, this particular study focuses on how unethical issues in insurance can be resolved by introducing takāful in the country. Based on the interviews conducted, the undesirable issues can be resolved if takāful is offered and the operators abide by the Sharīʽah requirements. Takāful is not solely for the Muslims. Besides offering the guarantees and securities that conventional insurance does, takāful contains an added feature particularly the fact that takāful is free from uncertainty, usury and gambling. Thus, the perfect tool to resolve the unethical issues existed in the insurance industry in India.

     

  • Special Issue: Education 2018

    This 2018 Education Special Issue of Al Shajarah covers a broad range of important contemporary educational concerns. It covers issues related to educational management and leadership, moral values in education, innovative pedagogies, integration of Islamic values, educational achievement, and setting of educational standards.

    In the field of educational management, a number of papers have been included. One discusses the concept of collegiality from the Islamic perspective; how it is related to the Islamic concept of ‘Jamaah’ and its practice in educational institutions. Another paper gives a critical review of the Scientific Management Theory which was propagated by Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-19915). It focuses on Islamic theories of administration, and critiques the values and ethics presented by Taylor, from the Islamic perspective. Educational leadership is discussed in another paper, which puts forth a model of leadership from the Islamic perspective based on authentic Islamic texts and primary sources.  In another paper, the relationship between emotional intelligence and self-leadership is examined within the context of a Malaysian university. A current topic which is of significant interest in the globalized world relates to the internationalization of higher education. This topic is discussed in relation to Bangladesh higher education in the context of strategic leadership to determine the success of internationalization of its higher education.

    Values in education is another prominent topic in this special issue. In an empirical study of how Islamic values can be instilled through problem solving in mathematics, improvements were reported in moral reasoning, classroom behaviour, interactions among students, and attitudes towards the assigned tasks and classroom activities. Western values in English language textbooks and their influence on Muslim students’ vision of their Islamic identity are investigated in another paper. The findings showed that Muslim students’ perception of Western values varied between acceptance and rejection. The importance of values is the context of Malaysian Adolescents’ moral awareness and cultural conformity is also discussed in this special issue. Results showed that respondents’ conformed positively to their cultural expectations and had positive moral awareness. Given the current Malaysian political scenario, a paper on anti-corruption education is timely. The paper compares Anti-corruption Education in both Indonesia and Hong Kong in relation to policies, strategies and practices in these two countries to educate the people about the evils of corruption and the need to fight corruption.

    Pedagogical issues involving innovative approaches are discussed in two papers. The first talks about a ‘blended-learner-led learning’ or ‘B3L’ by adapting the Flipped Classroom Method; whereas the second investigates the perception of Islamic Education teachers on the use of music and songs in the teaching and learning of Islamic Education.  This paper discusses its implications from the Islamic perspective, which should not contradict with the teachings of Islam. Pedagogical issues are also discussed with respect to self-related variables that affect the teaching and learning of statistics; as well as the Islamization of human knowledge. In the latter, the perceptions and practices of IIUM academics with regards to integration of Islamic values are deliberated.

    Matters on educational achievement and the setting of educational standards are also included in this special issue. In one study, a comparative analysis of the Malaysian school guidance with the Finnish’s, in relation to the PISA assessment programme in enhancing academic achievement in both countries, is reported. In another study, the use of Modern Test Theory together with the Objective Standard Setting Method to set cutscores and standards are discussed.

     

  • Special Issue: Migration and Refugee Studies 2018

    This Special Issue of the esteemed journal Al-Shajarah centres on the ever popular theme of Forced Migration and Refugees. It is a corpus of articles that prides itself in being multidimensional by focusing on the plight of refugees and migrants from several fascinating perspectives. As the contributors arm themselves with the underlying tone of empathy and compassion, the plight of refugees and migrants have been uncovered from the stances of the media, sports, education, shelter, healthcare, ethnic cleansing, the host country, mothers of the Rohingya refugee community in Malaysia, roles of UNHCR and OIC in forced migration, the historical account of Rawa migrants, development of Chinese migrants in Sabah and Muslim migration to the West. It is hoped that the Special Issue enlightens readers further on the predicament of refugees and migrants for future research development.

  • Special Issue: Islamic Banking and Finance 2018

    This Special Issue on Islamic Banking and Finance was organized again via IIUM’s Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance, and includes incisive contributions from a diversity of esteemed authors from IIiBF, other institutions from Malaysia, as well as from international institutions from Brunei, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Important contributions involve topics relating to Islamic social finance, including an Ottoman lease financing solution for affordable housing, as well as issues relating to Islamic micro-finance and alternative market rental pricing mechanisms for home financing. Various Shari’ah aspects were offered relating to Islamic finance regulations, comparative governance generally and specifically in credit cooperatives, issues relating to a floating charge and also zakat on legal entities, as well as takaful benefits in relation to deposit insurance. Interesting topics were also considered in relation to Islamic bank efficiency, firm performance and financial reporting for Islamic finance institutions.

  • Special Issue of IIBF
    Vol 21 No 3 (2016)
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