The Islamic banking and finance industry is developing at a rapid pace in Pakistan. According to the Islamic Banking Bulletin issued by the State Bank of Pakistan, the market share of Islamic banking assets and deposits in the overall banking industry has been recorded at 19.5 percent and 20.5 percent respectively by the end of June 2022. In a short period of time, Islamic banking has achieved a lot against the conventional banking and finance industry.
The present gestures of the State Bank of Pakistan and the Government of Pakistan towards the elimination of Riba from the economy and banking are also very encouraging in this respect. In November 2022, the Minister for Finance & Revenue Mr. Ishaq Dar announced that the State Bank of Pakistan and the National Bank of Pakistan to withdraw their appeals against the Federal Shariat Court’s order to implement the Islamic banking system in Pakistan by 2027.
Keeping in view the marvelous growth and intentions of the authorities, there is a need to take prompt steps and actions in many areas for the smooth transformation of the Islamic banking system. As we all know that the banking system is a part of the economic and financial system, so the appropriate curriculum for Islamic economics, banking and finance is one of the major areas in which the concerned authorities must think.
Pakistan emerged in the name of Islam but after more than 75 years of independence, we could not implement Islam in our country. Like all other sectors, the economics and finance scenario is still following the western thoughts of the economy and consequently, the education system of economics, banking and finance is also based upon western and conventional thoughts. It means that we are equipping our students with western thoughts through which they can develop western thoughts in the practical economic and finance fields rather than Islamic thoughts.
In the present scenario, conventional education related to economics, banking and finance is primarily taught in educational institutions rather than Islamic economic, banking and finance education. Islamic economics, banking and finance subjects are even not taught in various colleges and universities and if they are taught, they are taught as secondary subjects. Consequently, the conventional economics, banking and finance curriculum is designed in detail and in the case of Islamic economics, banking and finance, generally the courses are not taught in detail and only basic education is delivered which is not sufficient.
Islam gives very much importance to education. The first revelation was the word “Iqra”. Islam appreciates the education that may develop an understanding of human beings with Allah and the education that may develop the skills in human beings for the welfare of humanity. Education in Islamic economics, banking and finance have both qualities but unfortunately, we have not changed our minds yet.
Unfortunately, we are living in an era in which Muslim Ummah has not the dominant position in the world but has been influenced by the West in almost all fields of life. In this situation, it is the responsibility of the Muslim Ummah to learn and know the western thoughts and developments and present the Islamic thoughts and developments in front of them.
In the field of conventional banking and finance, the Muslim Ummah has developed successful practical models according to Shariah against conventional banking and finance, and now, we see the robust development of Islamic banking and finance in the whole world.
At present, the Islamic banking and finance industry is offering all products and services the conventional banking and finance industry is offering. This development has been achieved after the proper study of western dominance and the western system in the fields of economics, banking and finance by Shariah scholars.
Therefore, it is mandatory to learn and study western economics, banking and finance concepts and philosophy to make a comparison between the two but in our education system, western economics, banking and finance education must not be given primary importance. The primary importance must be given to Islamic economics, banking and finance education. When the primary importance will be given to Islamic education in this area, the proper Islamic curriculum of economics, banking and finance will be prepared in which the related subjects will be taught in detail and our economics, business and finance graduates will have the complete and thorough knowledge of Islamic economics, business and finance guidelines as given by Shariah.
In this way, they will better understand the nature between the two philosophies and will better serve Islam in the economics, business, and finance fields. Western thoughts must be taught only with the intention to compare them with Islamic thoughts and philosophy.
We must understand that educational institutions are the first source of theoretical knowledge upon which the students become prepared and able to act in their practical life with confidence. It is a fact that the development of Islamic economics, banking and finance is linked with skilled professionals in these fields and the educational institutions are the factories to produce these professionals with the right mindset to develop and achieve the goal of Islamic economics and finance in Pakistan. These skilled professionals can only be produced when we will implement a comprehensive curriculum in educational institutions in this respect.
To design the ideal curriculum in this regard, the government must form a committee in which representatives of regulatory and concerned authorities, Shariah scholars, economic and financial experts, etc. must together and develop the curriculum for different education and degree levels. It must be understood that without an effective curriculum in educational institutions, we cannot achieve the required goals.
The Author is a Team Leader – the Training & Development Unit, Shariah Compliance Department, National Bank of Pakistan