Jesus saves, Moses lends, Muhammad invests – Islamic finance accounts for 1 trillion in banking

“The interesting thing about Islam,” says Professor Constant Mews, “is that it was a much more commercial culture from the outset than Christianity.”

And from around the middle of the eighth century to the middle of the 13th, while European Christians were struggling through the Dark Ages, the Islamic world enjoyed a golden age.

Arab merchants had a lot to do with it.

“They developed alternative ways of regulating funds,” says Mews.

“In particular the core Islamic principle is simply one of sharing profit and loss. The desire is to promote investment by taking commercial risk.

“Risk, incidentally, is an Arabic word, referring to where you lend money to others without requiring a return unless there is profitable growth.”

And for some 500 years, this financial model underpinned advances in science, the arts, architecture, and innovation generally. Then came the Crusades and the Mongol hordes, and the Islamic model of finance declined, the space becoming filled by that other model.

Islamic finance, however, is undergoing something of a renaissance.

It is now a USD1 trillion industry…Mohamed Ariff continues the litany of statistical growth: there are 57 majority-Muslim nations, 76 countries which already practice Islamic banking, 350 banks, 15 insurance companies and about 1,200 mutual funds.

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Pinterest valued at $1.5 billion – as megalithic Japanese website invests

Rakuten (the Amazon of Japan) has led a $100m funding round into Pinterest, which values the online “curation” community at around $1.5 billion.

The Japanese ecommerce giant won out over major US venture capital firms who were vying for a piece of Silicon Valley’s new sweetheart, which lets users clip images to a virtual pinboard.

The FT spoke to Hiroshi Mikitani, chief executive of Rakuten, about how social discovery can boost ecommerce and the growing importance of images over text on the web.

“I met Pinterest’s management a few months ago and we got along very, very well….They said they were planning to raise capital. I offered to take all of it.”

“They had a prior arrangement with their angel investors so I told them I would like to get as much as possible. We talked about how we can help each other and we can help their presence in Japan which is one of the major markets in the internet industry. And they liked the fact they we would be able to help their business in Japan.”

via – Financial Times

 

// Photo – Alan Cleaver